Freedom has a new home in Austin: 901 Congress. I cannot remember a time when I traveled to Austin to testify in a hearing when I did not speak with someone at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), and my recent trip on the pension issue was no different. This trip coincided with San Jacinto Day and the grand opening of the new home of the Texas Public Policy Foundation – an organization that I consistently rely on for fact-based evidence on important issues.
TPPF’s new building is named for Michael S. Stevens. Michael was a great Houstonian – a patriot, longtime advocate of good governance, and former TPPF board member. Houstonians should be proud of this connection to 901 Congress. Michael is greatly missed and I like that the building in Austin is named in honor of him.
This building symbolizes conservative thought in the midst of a sea of structures representing special interests. Now, supporters of responsible governance have a structure of their own – a home for freedom and liberty. The nice spaces around the Capitol are no longer reserved for special interests and their lobbyists.
Accommodating as always, the folks at the Texas Public Policy Foundation took me on a tour and I wish to thank Sarah French and James Quintero for showing me around the new digs. Inside, you will find:
- The Albert and Ethel Herzstein Lobby, which welcomes TPPF guests and honors a couple who dedicated their lives to creating opportunity for others – also Houstonians.
- The Trisha and L.C. “Chaz” Neely “Come and Take It” Foyer features a seal of the famous “Come and Take It” cannon from the Battle of Gonzales, as well as an oculus with the words Liberty, Freedom, and Opportunity.
- The state-of-the-art Joe B. Hogsett Theater houses the inspiring Sparks Foundation Travis Letter Inscription and the Fifth Age of Man Foundation East Mezzanine. You can’t miss the enormous screen that gives every seat a front-row view.
- The Red McCombs Event Center on the sixth floor honors a Texas legend in a space that will house countless events with the nation’s leading thinkers.
- The Governor Rick Perry Liberty Balcony recognizes Texas’ longest serving governor and offers wrap-around views of downtown Austin.
TPPF’s organized efforts and hard work cannot be overstated. TPPF is structured around policy centers manned by the best and brightest.
You will always find TPPF members in committee hearings involving big issues and problems. As I mentioned, I was in Austin to testify at the pension hearing and James Quintero, Director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, testified on local pension control and outlined the problems of the unfunded liabilities to certain pensions covered by state legislation.
My wife and I attended Dr. Arthur Laffer’s February presentation at Rice University regarding his recent research contained in The Texas Economy and School Choice. The event was attended by an interesting mix of people whose philosophies did not necessarily coincide with Dr. Laffer’s conclusions. It was a great discussion and dialog at Rice where area educators got a good look at how conservative thought can improve education. TPPF puts on thought-provoking events in Austin and around the state that improve the debate on various subject matters. Find one and come see.
Marc Levin, director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation is the go-to guy for Criminal Justice in the United States. Levin’s work through Right on Crime has revolutionized the way we think about crime and punishment. More importantly, Levin’s research efforts have shaped our laws and policies and saved millions through the prevention of new prison construction.
It is crucial to recognize the history of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the original thinkers and visionaries – people like Dr. Leininger and Michael Stevens. Their early and strong financial support created this important organization. These men were also smart enough to hire Brooke Rollins to lead this organization into what it is today – a leader in public policy.
I would personally like to thank the many contributors to the Texas Public Policy Foundation. I often rely on TPPF resources and appreciate your generosity and commitment to good government. Whether your passion is civil & criminal justice, education, energy and the environment, health care, fiscal affairs, taxes and spending, the Texas Public Policy Foundation is leading the way with facts and evidence. These efforts are possible because of the financial contributors so, THANK YOU!