Health & Human Services – Texas vs Obamacare
Texas Attorney General
Attorney General Greg Abbott was re-elected as the 50th attorney general of Texas in 2010. Before winning office, Abbott served as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court and as a state district judge in Harris County. As the state’s head lawyer, Abbott oversees more than 700 attorneys who represent the state.
Law & Order – Free At Last: Three Stories of Innocence
Kerry Max Cook
Former death row inmate seeking exoneration
Kerry Max Cook was 20 years old when he was arrested for the rape and murder of an East Texas woman. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. After Cook spent two decades on death row maintaining his innocence, DNA testing proved that he was innocent.
Spent 25 years in prison; exonerated in 2011
Michael Morton and his wife, Christine, lived in Austin for 10 years before she was brutally murdered in their home in 1986. Michael was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison. After spending nearly 25 years in prison, Michael was released in October 2011 after DNA evidence linked his wife's killing to another man.
Spent 19 years in prison; Exonerated in 2006
Indicted for aggravated sexual assault in 1986, Billy James Smith served nearly 20 years for a rape he did not commit. After attempting to secure DNA testing for four years, Billy James Smith was finally granted DNA testing in 2005. The tests led to his exoneration in 2006.
Energy & Environment – The Future of Water
Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund
Amy Hardberger is a professor at St. Mary’s School of Law who teaches property and land use planning. Before joining St. Mary’s, Hardberger worked at the Texas office of the Environmental Defense Fund. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Western District of Texas and is a professional registered geologist in the state of Texas.
State Representative, R-San Antonio
State Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, was elected in 2010. Larson currently serves on the House Natural Resources Committee; the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee; and the Local and Consent Calendars Committee. Larson previously served as a San Antonio city councilman and as Bexar County commissioner from 1997 to 2008.
General Manager, Lower Colorado River Authority
Becky Motal became the Lower Colorado River Authority’s general manager in 2011. She began working for LCRA in 1972 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin. She left to pursue a law degree before returning to LCRA in 1987 as manager of economic and financial planning. Motal also serves on the board of the Texas Public Power Association.
Executive Director, River Systems Institute; Former Executive Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Andrew Sansom is a former executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, executive director of the Texas Nature Conservancy and founder of the Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas. His published works have appeared in Texas Monthly, The Texas Observer, Houston City Magazine, Politics Today, Texas Highways, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Town & City.
Public & Higher Education – One on One with Robert Scott
Former Commissioner of Education
As Commissioner of Education for the state, Robert Scott served as the head of the Texas Education Agency, which oversees the state’s 1,200 school districts and charter schools. Mr. Scott is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, a member of the State Bar and the longest-serving education commissioner of the past two decades.
Race & Immigration – The Future of Texas Politics
Mayor, San Antonio
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro is the youngest leader of a major American city. Castro, 37, earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1996 and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2000. In 2001, at the age of 26, Castro became the youngest elected city councilman in San Antonio history.
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate
Ted Cruz is the Republican candidate running to succeed Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate. Cruz previously served as the state's solicitor general, the associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice and a domestic policy adviser for the 2000 Bush-Cheney presidential campaign.
Trade & Transportation – An 83rd Legislative Session Preview
State Representative, R-San Angelo; Vice Chairman, House Transportation Committee
State Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, has served District 72 in the Texas House since 2006. Darby is serving his third term on the House Appropriations Committee, chairing the subcommittee on Natural Resources, Business and Economic Development and Regulatory. Darby also serves as vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
State Senator, R-Jacksonville; Vice-Chair, Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee
Elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, Robert Nichols represents 19 counties in East Texas. Nichols serves as vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee and sits on the Transportation and Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Nominations and Natural Resources committees. In 2010 he was selected by his colleagues to serve as chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus.
State Representative, R-Sherman; Chairman, House Transportation Committee
State Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, was elected to represent Fannin and Grayson Counties in House District 62 in 2003. Phillips is chairman of the House Transportation Committee and serves on the House committees on Redistricting, General Investigating and Ethics, and Border and International Affairs. He has previously served as vice chairman of the Transportation Committee and has served on the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee.
State Senator, D-Austin; Vice-Chair, Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee
State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, represents District 14. He is a partner with the law firm Brown McCarroll, L.L.P and a former mayor of Austin. He is also a former chairman of both the Texas Advisory Board for Environmental Defense and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.