By now you may have seen the marquee names most recently added to the busting-at-the-seams lineup of this year's Texas Tribune Festival: U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; the Honorable Julián Castro, former San Antonio mayor and now U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza; U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine; journalist and education reform advocate Campbell Brown; former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu; former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh; former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige; and Piper Kerman, the criminal justice reform advocate who wrote Orange is the New Black, the memoir on which the Netflix series is based.
But with eleven weeks to go, we're not done — not hardly. Even though we have more than 200 speakers (the most ever) confirmed for our fifth-annual politics-and-policy gabfest on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, choose your preferred cliche: the best is yet to come, you ain't seen nothing yet, etc., etc.
In a month or so we'll be announcing another round of big gets, and not long after that we'll reveal the program — as I write this, we're putting the finishing touches on the panels and panelists an expected crowd of more than 3,000 will be fighting to see October 16-18. I won't tell you everything we're planning, but I can share a few of the not-entirely-unexpected topics on tap: higher ed affordability, border security, Medicaid and the social safety net, charters and choice, multi-modal transportation, floods and emergency preparedness, the prosecution of public officials, the legal fight over abortion, and the political fight over marijuana.
Tickets are selling at a brisk pace. The good news is that there are plenty available. The less good news is that they'll soon be more expensive. On August 6 the early-bird price of $200 gives way to series of stair-stepped increases. It's true that if you're a student or an educator, you can pay $50 at any time to register. It's likewise true that if you're a Tribune member, you get a generous discount of your own. But if you're a non-member, you have one week left to access what is truly a bargain rate for a great weekend of full ideas, networking and socializing.
To sign up, go here. Hope to see you at the fest!
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.