Catching up from the city election and reflecting on some recent events seems apropos as we begin to focus on the March primary. So, here are a few words about a couple of events that I attended over the last few weeks with my lovely wife.
I planned to attend several election night parties; but, I never got past Michael Kubosh’s party. Michael, Paul, and Randy have been friends of mine for many years. I rarely miss speaking to one or all of the brothers on a weekly basis so Michael’s event was a no-miss proposition. The evening was fun with great results.
Those in attendance were the real story and I spent quite a bit of time catching up with Reverend James Nash and other fine guests. With a DJ in place, Jolanda Jones encouraged the crowd to celebrate Michael’s heavy lead in the election returns with dancing. This event was a true representation of the Kubosh family: organized, friendly, fun, and inclusive.
I am quite certain that this was the only party in town where Paul Bettencourt, after paying props to Michael, handed the microphone to Jolanda. This simply emphasized the fact that the Kubosh family brings people together.
Some people did not like Jolanda because she spoke out. While I don’t agree with Jolanda on everything, she was one of the most conservative members of city council and always questioned much of the Mayor’s spending. I love to point out Jolanda’s conservative positions to her too. I am not always sure that she likes the label; but, I respect her because she does fight and speaks out against outrageous spending in the city.
Texas Public Policy Foundation
On Thursday evening, I attended a Texas Public Policy Foundation event at the home of David and Windi Grimes. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan research institute. The Foundation’s mission is to promote and defend liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise in Texas and the nation by educating and affecting policymakers and the Texas public policy debate with academically sound research and outreach. Thursday’s event was intended to educate interested Houstonians on these issues.
The crowd heard from Brooke Rollins, TPPF’s President and CEO, along with three policy specialists: Chuck DeVore, Joshua Treviño, and Kathleen Hartnett White. Mr. DeVore is Vice President of Policy at TPPF. He provided the audience with a historical comparison of California and Texas policy. As a reformed California politician, Mr. DeVore was able to tell the crowd about first-hand problems with California’s economics and the importance of keeping Texas pure. Mr. Treviño is the Vice President of Communications at TPPF and he was extremely entertaining. He used humor to emphasize the importance of free enterprise in Texas. As the co-founder of RedState.com, Mr. Treviño had a unique perspective to share about media strategies. Ms. White is a Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence and Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment. As the former Chairman and Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Ms. White has an impressive history and captivated the crowd with important facts about energy and the environment. Ms. White and I have met in the offices of Playa Oil and Gas to discuss air quality and emissions for the Houston region. She is unquestionably the leading conservative policy expert in the energy arena. Brooke’s ability to recruit policy leaders and conservative thinkers at TPPF makes this organization one of a kind.
Greg Abbott at Torch Energy
Tuesday, I attended a private lunch with Greg Abbott at Torch Energy. The offices of Torch Energy Advisors are home to a successful, privately held energy company. Moreover, these offices house the private art collection of J.P. Bryan, Torch CEO. So, this educational event occurred in the midst of a beautiful collection of Texas history, which emphasized the importance of the 2014 election cycle.
Attorney General Greg Abbott entered the room and seemed to know each person in attendance. He greeted each attendee with a personal message. What cannot be debated is the fact that General Abbott symbolizes everything that is great about Texas – he overcame tremendous physical loss to serve as a Texas Supreme Court Justice and Texas Attorney General. He is a loving father and husband who, rather than focusing on financial success, has chosen to fight for Texas – our liberty and financial freedom are is passion. While I do not agree with every decision he has made as Attorney General, his faith and strength in the midst of adversity is extremely impressive.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to hear J.P. Bryan read an excerpt of Lonesome Dove at the Museum of Natural Science. He holds the largest private collection of Texana materials including rare rifles, swords, and books. J.P. served as Guest Curator of the museum’s exhibit which he loaned to the museum. It was clear that J.P.’s love for Texas runs deep. His knowledge about our state is beyond impressive; so, I took the opportunity to wear my “Come and Take It” pin on my lapel. I am always amazed when I go to the Torch offices and see a picture of Stephen F. Austin on the boardroom wall. J.P. is a direct descendant of Austin and J.P.’s son, J.B., looks just like Austin, as was pointed out by the curator to me several years ago.
J.P. is a legend in his own right in the oil and gas field. He spoke at a conference I attended a few weeks ago. I asked J.P. about his remarks at the conference – there, he chastised a room full of executives to speak out more about the direct attacks by the government on our industry. J.P. pointed out that the government had taken down the financial and medical industry and we were next. J.P. gave example after example of new regulations and EPA policy decisions that are strangling the industry. There is little doubt that a government takeover of the energy industry is the desired result. I told him that I would do more and thanked him for the invitation. It is always an honor to spend time with him. J.P. has turned around my thinking on Greg Abbott and I am a proud supporter of the General.