U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said he is "definitely considering" opening a Department of Defense office in Austin after visiting the city and meeting with technology leaders on Thursday.
"I would like the entrepreneurs of Austin to meet our entrepreneurs and also our war fighters so they understand both how we're trying to innovate and also what our mission is, our really vital mission, of fighting and winning wars," Carter said during a press conference at Capital Factory this afternoon.
Carter toured the Capital Factory office in downtown Austin before hearing pitches from three local companies — Correlated Magnetics, Macromoltek and Firefly Space Systems — and participating in a roundtable discussion with "leading tech influencers" in Austin.
After wrapping up his meetings, Carter said he was impressed with the city and said people he met with described it as being "free thinking, but very American – and that's attractive."
"We are going to increase our presence here in Austin," Carter said. "I don't know exactly what form that will take because I'm experimenting."
Earlier in the day, Carter visited the University of Texas at Austin where he met with administrators and researchers from the school of social work to discuss efforts to combat sexual assault on college campuses.
"Whether you are members of a prestigious university like this or a proud and noble institution like our Department of Defense, we do encounter similar challenges and we should share a common commitment, which is to create an environment where everyone is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve," Carter said while addressing a ballroom full of ROTC cadets and students.
More than 18 percent of female undergraduates at UT-Austin say they have been sexually assault since arriving on campus.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday morning addressed black business leaders at the Capitol, making good on a promise to pay more attention to the community in his first term as governor.
"The bottom line is this: I want to see the state of Texas succeed. That is my goal," Abbott said. "The state of Texas is not going to succeed if anybody gets left behind. Everybody must enjoy the fruits of prosperity that the state of Texas has to offer."
Charles O'Neal, president of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, introduced Abbott, suggesting he has been more attentive to the black business community than the governor who came before him, Rick Perry.
"Governor Abbott has been responsive to us, and that's much more than we did receive from his predecessor," O'Neal said.
The business leaders were convening in Austin for Black Business Day, an annual summit put on by the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce.