Halfway through the Texas Legislative Session, the pace is faster and the stakes are higher. Want to know what helps me ride the proverbial waves at the Capitol?
Stepping just outside the pink dome. The stately old live oaks and spring-blooming trees put everything in perspective, and offer shade while I chat with concerned Texans, local leaders and committed researchers.
I recently had the pleasure of joining over 350 Texans from around the state outside the Capitol as we rallied for expanded health care coverage. Two busloads of Texans from the Lower Rio Grande Valley left at 3:00 am to get to the Capitol and make themselves heard. Hard-working Texans can’t get insurance because state leaders won’t accept federal funding to close the health care Coverage Gap. I was honored to join these Texans on visits with legislators to tell their stories and share their concerns.
Earlier this month I ventured about a half mile from the Capitol to help launch our State of Texas Children 2015 report. I moderated a panel on Why Pre-K? Why Now?, with State Representative Joe Deshotel, Catherine Morse of Samsung Austin Semiconductor, and Elizabeth Gershoff, Ph.D. of the University of Texas. Together they made a strong case for the benefits of expanding Pre-K in Texas. We’re now channeling the energy of the 250 child advocates and concerned Texans in the room as we advance Pre-K reforms inside the Capitol.
The same morning, instead of considering fact-based investments for a strong future, the Senate Finance Committee was hearing testimony on tax cuts that would affect Texas public schools and other critical services. More tax cut giveaways are on the horizon, and those would mean local governments have to pick up the tab.
This week I’m farther from the Capitol, visiting partners and supporters in Houston, including a Texas legacy – former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby. Hearing tales of perseverance from the likes of Governor Hobby will fuel my trip back to Austin, and inspire our work together to make this the best state for hard-working Texans and their families.