Health & Human Services – Is Texas' Stem Cell Policy Good For Texans?
Chairman, Texans for Stem Cell Research
David Bales founded Texans for Stem Cell Research in 2008 to help people with chronic diseases and injuries. Bales' professional life has always been tied to the state Capitol. For more than 35 years, his family owned Scholz Garten, where Bales discovered his love of politics and public service.
Executive Vice President, Celltex Therapeutics
Andrea Ferrenz is the executive vice president of CellTex Therapeutics. Ferrenz has more than 14 years of experience as a practicing attorney representing companies in health-related industries. Her practice has focused on regulatory compliance and litigation, with expertise in FDA law, advertising law, administrative law, civil litigation and contract law.
State Representative, R-Vernon, Chairman, House Agriculture & Livestock Committee
State Rep. Rick Hardcastle, R-Vernon, was elected in 1998 to serve his first term in the Texas House representing District 68, which consists of 16 counties in North and West Texas. Hardcastle has served on several House committees, including Public Education, Land and Resource Management, Energy Resources, Natural Resources, and Border and International Affairs.
Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics & School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Leigh Turner is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics, School of Public Health and College of Pharmacy. His research examines ethical issues related to medical travel and the emergence of a global market in health services. He is co-editor of "The View From Here: Bioethics and the Social Sciences and Medical Tourism: Understanding the Global Market for Health Services."
Law & Order – An 83rd Legislative Session Preview
State Senator, R-Southside Place; Vice Chairwoman, Senate Criminal Justice Committee
State Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Southside Place, was re-elected for a full term in 2010. She was first elected in 2008 after winning a special election to fill the vacated office of Senate District 17. Before serving in the Senate, Huffman served as a prosecutor in Harris County and was twice elected to the 183rd Criminal District Court.
State Representative, D-El Paso
State. Rep. Marisa Marquez, D-El Paso, was elected in 2008 and is serving her second term in the Texas House. Marquez represents District 77, which contains downtown El Paso, the University of Texas at El Paso and neighborhoods near Fort Bliss. She is the vice chairwoman of the County Affairs Committee and a member of the Corrections Committee and the House Administration and Local and Consent Calendars committees.
State Senator, D-El Paso
State Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, was elected in 2010 to represent District 29. Rodríguez previously served as the El Paso County attorney for 17 years. Rodríguez began his 37-year legal career as a staff attorney with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.
State Representative, R-Travis County
Paul Workman was involved in commercial construction for more than 35 years before he defeated the Democratic incumbent in the 2010 general election. He is currently the national director of the Associated General Contractors of America and serves on the board of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10 years as an engineering officer and retired as a captain.
Additional panelist to be announced soon.
Energy & Environment – Eminent Domain: The Great Debate
Legal Adviser, Texas Pipeline Association
James Mann represents most major intrastate natural gas and pipeline distribution companies in Texas. His practice is focused on representation of pipeline companies, LNG facilities, gas gathering and processing companies, underground storage companies, and gas marketers in regulatory matters. He has been a legal adviser for members of the Texas Pipeline Association for over 25 years.
Chairwoman, We Texans; former gubernatorial candidate
Debra Medina is the executive director of We Texans, a nonprofit organization advocating for liberty, justice and integrity in Texas public policy. Medina has a 20-year history of political activism, including a run for governor in the 2010 Republican primary, in which she won almost 20 percent of the vote.
State Representative, D-Brownsville; Chair, House Land & Resource Management
State Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, has represented South Texas' District 37 since 1991 and is the current chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He is also a member of the State Affairs Committee and has in past sessions served on the House Corrections and Regulated Industries committees.
Government Relations Consultant, Texas Alliance of Energy Producers
Bill Stevens is the government relations consultant for Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, where he has also served as vice president. In previous roles, Stevens has worked with Pride Refining and Westico Energy and served as executive vice president of the West Central Texas Oil and Gas Association.
Public & Higher Education – Chancellor Confidential
Chancellor, University of Texas System (tentative)
In 2009, Francisco Gonzalez Cigarroa became the first Hispanic to be elected chancellor of the University of Texas System. As chancellor, Cigarroa oversees one of the largest public systems of higher education in the nation. In addition to his duties as chancellor, Cigarroa is a working surgeon who frequently performs liver and kidney transplants.
Chancellor, Texas Tech University System
Kent Hance became the third chancellor of the Texas Tech University System in 2006. As chancellor, Hance is the CEO of all campuses and academic sites of Texas Tech University. He also works in Austin and Washington, D.C., to enhance funding for all institutions.
Chancellor, University of North Texas System
Lee Jackson was appointed chancellor of the University of North Texas System in 2002 after a 30-year career in government in Dallas and with the state of Texas. Jackson began his career in the Dallas City Manager’s Office, served 10 years in the Texas House and was elected four times as Dallas County judge.
Chancellor, University of Houston System; President, University of Houston
Renu Khator has served as both the chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston since 2008. A native of Uttar Pradesh, India, she was named to the Indian Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council in 2009. She is the UH System’s first female chancellor and the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive research university in the U.S.
Chancellor, Texas State University System
Brian McCall is chancellor of the Texas State University System, the first university system established in Texas, comprising eight institutions with more than 77,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff. McCall previously served in the Texas House, first elected in 1991 to represent the areas of North Dallas, Frisco, Allen and Plano.
Chancellor, Texas A&M University System
As chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, John Sharp serves as chief executive officer under the direction of the Board of Regents. The A&M System is a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center that educates more than 120,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year.
Race & Immigration – Does Texas Still Need The Voting Rights Act?
Attorney, Brazil & Dunn
Chad Dunn, partner at Brazil & Dunn Attorneys At Law, was recently successful in obtaining a federal court injunction against state restrictions on voter registration programs in the Galveston case of Voting for America vs Andrade. Dunn also represented several challengers to Texas' recently enacted photo voter I.D. bill and examined many of the witness in the recent trial that resulted in the photo ID law being struck down under the Voting Rights Act. Chad, in 2008, won an agreed settlement against Harris County for illegal voter registration practices and also successfully argued before the 5th circuit affirmance of a district court decision to prevent Tom DeLay from handpicking his successor on the ballot for election to Congress.
State Representative, R-Edinburg
Representative Aaron Peña is currently serving his fifth term in the Texas House of Representatives for District 40 in Hidalgo County, Texas. He presently serves as the chairman of the House Committee on Technology, the Redistricting Committee, the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, and the Select Committee on Voter Identification & Voter Fraud.
Vice President of Litigation, MALDEF
Nina Perales is a leading civil rights litigator and an expert on a range of issues, including immigrants' rights, voting rights, and redistricting litigation. For the past 8 years, she has been MALDEF's Southwest Regional Counsel and has also served as National Senior Counsel and Staff Attorney. Ms. Perales' voting rights work has included representing Latino intervenors in the defense of the federal Voting Rights Act in 2009 and successful statewide redistricting cases in Texas and Arizona.
State Representative, R-Carrollton
State Rep. Burt Solomons is an attorney in North Texas who was first elected to represent District 65 in 1994. He currently serves as the chairman of the House Redistricting Committee. In 2001, Solomons authored and passed the telemarketing Texas No-Call List and the first countywide transit system bill in Texas.
Trade & Transportation – Is Light Rail the Answer?
Austin City Councilman; Capital Metro Board Member
Before taking office in 2006, Austin City Councilman Mike Martinez served as a firefighter for 13 years. In 2003 he was elected president of the Austin Firefighters Association, where he led a successful public campaign to secure collective bargaining rights for Austin firefighters. Martinez also serves on the board of Capital Metro as chairman.
Jesse D. Oliver
Deputy Executive Director, DART; Former State Representative, D-Dallas
Jesse Oliver is the deputy executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). A former Texas legislator and judge, Oliver co-sponsored the legislation that created DART. He was later appointed by the city of Dallas to the DART board and served for 10 years as a member and chairman.
Manager of Rail Passenger Research, Texas A&M Transportation Institute
John Sedlak is the manager of Rail Passenger Research at Texas Transportation Institute and is currently working on a Texas Department of Transportation project to help determine the role, development and implementation of high speed and intercity passenger rail in Texas. John served at METRO for 29 years, where he was responsible for the development of METRO’s first light rail line, 100+ mile High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane system and an expansive system of Park & Ride lots and Transit Centers.
Additional panelist to be announced soon.