The 2019 Texas Tribune Festival

The 2019 Texas Tribune Festival starts today. Here's what you need to know.

The ninth annual Texas Tribune Festival couldn't be happening at a more newsworthy time. This year's event features House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, a slate of presidential candidates and more.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry discussed his memoir, "Every Day is Extra," with Evan Smith at last year's Texas Tribune Festival.

As Congress and the nation begin to grapple with an impeachment inquiry, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will sit down for an hourlong interview Saturday evening in the closing keynote at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.

The impeachment inquiry — stemming from the allegation that President Donald Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in exchange for a politicized investigation into the business activities of former Vice President Joe Biden's son — is sure to be a major topic of conversation during the three-day festival that kicks off Thursday. Pelosi will sit down with Texas Tribune CEO and co-founder Evan Smith at 7:15 p.m. Saturday. Before then, attendees will be able to watch more than 120 panels, featuring over 400 speakers. Even if you can't be at the Tribune Festival in person, you can watch livestreams of some of our featured events and visit our site to see coverage of the newsmaking events. Here are some of the highlights of what will be discussed.

The future of the GOP

There are several conversations taking place this weekend that focus on the Republican Party and where it is headed — including our opening keynote with U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, at 7 p.m. Thursday. Doors to the keynote will open at 6:30 p.m. Hurd is among five Texas Republicans in Congress who aren't seeking reelection. Here are some related panels:

  • The Republican Do-Over: Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek will moderate a discussion with top Republican strategists about how they're making sure 2020 doesn't turn out like 2018. This takes place at 10 a.m. Friday at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
  • The Elephant in the Room: Does the GOP have a problem with women voters? Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Emily Ramshaw moderates a discussion in the McCombs Events Center at the Texas Public Policy Foundation at 4 p.m. Friday.
  • Trump's Party: Jane Coaston, a senior politics reporter at Vox, will moderate a conversation about how the GOP became one with Trump. Join us Saturday at 10:45 a.m. in Central Presbyterian Church.
  • Playbook Exchange with Members of the House Freedom Caucus: The co-authors of POLITICO Playbook will moderate a conversation Saturday with three members of the House Freedom Caucus. Join us at 11:15 a.m. at Open Congress — a free event to attend regardless of whether you hold a badge.

2020 Democratic primary

Five Democrats running for president in 2020 will sit down for hourlong interviews this weekend. All of these conversations will take place in the Paramount Theatre, and all will be livestreamed if you cannot attend in person.

  • Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, sits down at 2 p.m. Friday with Stephanie Ruhle, a correspondent for NBC News and anchor of "MSNBC Live." Watch here.
  • Beto O'Rourke, a former U.S. congressman and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate, sits down at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with Garrett Haake, a Washington correspondent for MSNBC. Watch here.
  • U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, sits down with Steve Kornacki, a national political correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, at 10:15 a.m. Saturday. Watch here.
  • U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, sits down with MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell at 2:45 p.m. Saturday. Watch here.
  • Julián Castro, former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development, sits down with NBC News correspondent Katy Tur at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Watch here.

How to Fest

Those panel summaries are just a small preview of what attendees will see at the Tribune; there are 100 other panel discussions on a range of topics including school finance and rural broadband. If you're coming to The Texas Tribune Festival and want to get the most out of your experience, here are some tips:

  • Download the mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play and make your schedule in advance. Arrive early for popular panels to ensure you get a seat!
  • You can pick up your badge at the Festival Hub, 800 Congress Ave., from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.
  • Parking in downtown Austin is limited during the week, so we recommend using alternate forms of transportation to get to the events. On Saturday only, we have the use of several state parking lots around the Capitol complex and will be running shuttles from the lots to the Festival.
  • Please come prepared for the weather. The event is on, rain or shine.
  • Don't bring any large bags over 14″ x 12″ x 6″ in size. The Paramount and Stateside theaters will not allow large bags or backpacks, so use the clear plastic tote that comes with your badge!
  • If you're bringing a computer or your phone, come prepared with charger! You'll run out of battery power quicker than you'd think.

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