2015 Texas Tribune Festival Keynotes Talk Respect in Politics

todayOctober 19, 2015 8

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KTSW News Department

Taken by Taylor Zavala
Taken by Taylor Zavala

The 2015 Texas Tribune festival was held this weekend, where a variety of speakers shone spotlights on different panels and sessions that took place. Topics such as higher education, environment, transportation and more were covered.

However, the crowds grew largest at the Special Events, National and State keynotes that took place throughout the weekend.

The Festival kicked off Friday evening, featuring a Special Event one-on-one with Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and was moderated by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith.

The evening with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick focused mostly on campus carry, where Smith continuously questioned Patrick about the issue, and it’s controversies. Smith also pointed out that the Umpqua Community College shooting occurred on the 275th day of the year and was already the 294th mass shooting in 2015.

Smith also asked Patrick about his response towards the UT Professor who quit following the passing of the campus carry law, where in response, Patrick emphasized that the law of Texas is campus carry, and “the professor has the right to quit or protect themselves.”

On topics such as health care, Patrick said “The affordable care act, the biggest mistake ever made, is giving health care to healthy adults”, where he stressed that he has an issue whenever the federal government intervenes in Texas saying “They make things worse”.

When asked about his preferences for President, Patrick said he “wants a President who loves Texas, wants to protect the border, and embraces the oil and gas industry”.

Taken by Taylor Zavala
Taken by Taylor Zavala

On Saturday, a National Keynote took place titled “Can the Center Hold” which featured Former U.S. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, Former Gov. of New Hampshire and Former White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu and Former U.S. Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

The hottest topic during the panel was Congress, how they are doing, how they should respond during this Speaker of the House confusion and how they can appeal to the American people more during this upcoming election for President.

Hutchison started off the session by emphasizing that “A dialogue is not 2 monologues” and that Congress needs to consider being more bipartisan in their efforts.

Cisneros added that news media has a bad habit of covering the mechanics of elections, not people.

Sununu had the shortest immediate response in saying that he simply “doesn’t get it”, but also adding that voters need to be educated about their important role and electorates need to be smarter and responsible.

Hutchison also added that she cannot recall a time where almost 12 candidates were running, but that it shows that almost anybody can run for President.

A State Keynote that also took place was another one-on-one with Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss.

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Taken by Taylor Zavala

Strauss took many questions from moderator Evan Smith, mostly about how the Texas House was doing and what Texans should expect from the legislation that was passed.

Strauss started off the talk by emphasizing that the House is “not divided by aisle. We invite everybody to the table,” adding that even though representatives are there for their districts, they work together as a core. He also added that he didn’t mind turnover, and enjoys the idea of the lobby not knowing in advance “who’s going to be where.”

On the topic of campus carry, Strauss stressed that “We have a crime and mental health problem, no gun problem”, adding that mental health is also a very serious issue and that Texans need a more holistic view. He also added that with the way the campus carry legislation was passed, some schools will want restrictions but the plan allows schools plenty of room to decide what works best for them.

On a final note, Strauss ended the conversation emphasizing respecting individual freedoms stressing that “You need to be very careful when talking about religious liberty, and treat each other with respect and dignity.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also spotlighted a National Keynote one-on-one where she gave insight on the potential government shutdown, Speaker of the House confusion, and overall wisdom for how to approach politics.

Pelosi started the discussion on what drives her as a leader, saying she focuses “to build consensus within her caucus, establish priority and create opportunities” for Americans.

In terms of the Hill, Pelosi emphasized that a “speaker resigning after refusing to shutdown the government is a very big deal” but that Congress will come to a conclusion soon on the new Speaker of the House. She also stressed that Congressional members need to “take care of your party” adding that you can’t let a small percentage upset the party because they wouldn’t defund Planned Parenthood or shutdown the government.

Pelosi also stressed the importance of the December 11 deadline, saying “the entire budget of the government is on the line, and if we did nothing else, deciding the budget has it’s own huge ramifications.”

When asked about women in politics and what they bring to the table, Pelosi said “We have to have more. You reduce the role of money in politics when you elect more women and minorities to office.” She also added “Know you purpose, totally be yourself. Don’t model yourself off of anybody else. Authenticity is what people respond to most.”

For more live coverage on The Texas Tribune Festival, you can follow @KTSWNews on Twitter.

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