If I were to write a news headline for my first full year at CPPP, it would be “Dang, let’s dare Texas to be the best!”
As we close out 2014, I’m reflecting on the incredible work we’ve done together this year. We’ve made progress on our vision of a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure.
2014 was a year about health care. We released a blockbuster study about widespread surprise medical billing, which sticks Texans with bills for emergency room visits they thought were covered. We studied and supported implementation of the Affordable Care Act and analyzed coverage gaps that threatened Texans’ health and wealth.
2014 was a year about kids. Over the summer CPPP promoted a new program to feed more Texas school kids free breakfasts and lunches. Newly released data show that Texas has signed up more kids for this beneficial program than any other state. And in the spring we helped release the 25th anniversary edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS Count research project.
2014 was a year about LBJ – Lyndon Baines Johnson and Luci Baines Johnson. Throughout the year we marked the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. It’s uplifting to remember how far we have come toward promoting economic opportunity, and it is our duty as Texans to point out all the work that remains. In October we honored Luci Baines Johnson at our most successful Legacy Luncheon. As Luci said, “We’ve made some significant progress. We just can’t rest on those laurels.”
2014 was a year about people and partners. We brought together hundreds of Texas thought leaders and change makers during the Hobby Policy Summit to discover, engage, ignite – and paint! We roasted Associate Director Anne Dunkelberg and Senior Fiscal Analyst Dick Lavine for their 20 years on staff. I won’t soon forget the site of a blindfolded Anne Dunkelberg swinging away at an anniversary piñata. We hired Oliver Bernstein as our new Communications Director and Garrett Groves to lead our Economic Opportunity team. And we laid to rest CPPP founding board member Ray Farabee, a titan of Texas policy.
From groundbreaking research to engaging artists in social change, in 2014 we challenged our great state to help all Texans reach their full potential. And we couldn’t have done this important work without our generous supporters and partners.
I wish you all a joyful holiday season and a restful winter break. We’ll all need lots of energy in the New Year as we dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.