2017 Speakers

 

Jill Abramson (mod.)

Former Executive Editor of The New York Times

Abramson is an author and senior lecturer at Harvard University. She served as executive editor of the Times from 2011 to 2015 and was the first woman to serve as executive editor, managing editor and Washington Bureau Chief. Previously, Abramson served as deputy Washington bureau chief and as an investigative reporter covering money and politics for the Wall Street Journal.

Art Acevedo

Chief of the Houston Police Department

Acevedo joined the Houston Police Department in 2016. Previously, he led the Austin Police Department for nearly 10 years, serving as the Department’s first Hispanic chief. Acevedo also serves as first vice president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and previously served as president of the National Latino Peace Officers Association.

Steve Adler

Mayor of Austin

Adler has served as mayor since 2015. He has represented Austin in the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, a network of 294 U.S. mayors focused on addressing climate change at the local level, and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a similar international effort by 90 major cities. Adler previously practiced civil rights law and sat on the board of the Austin Ballet and The Texas Tribune.

Julián Aguilar (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Aguilar reports on politics, immigration and border security issues for The Texas Tribune. His political coverage has included local, legislative and congressional races in Texas, as well as local and national elections in Mexico. Previously, Aguilar was a staff writer for the Laredo Morning Times and the Rio Grande Guardian.

Lissette Almanza

Policy Analyst for Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera

Almanza is a policy analyst at ATCF, an Austin-based nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about social and economic inequities along the Texas/Mexico border and promoting just trade relations between the U.S. and Mexico. She specializes in U.S.-Mexico trade policy issues. Previously, Almanza worked as a policy analyst at the Border Affairs Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Rafael Anchia

State Representative

Anchia, D-Dallas, has represented House District 103 since 2005. He serves as chairman of the House International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee and sits on the Pensions Committee and the House Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility. Anchia also serves as chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and is a managing partner of Civitas Capital, a private equity firm.

Lance Armstrong

Former Professional Cyclist and Host of "The Forward" Podcast

Armstrong, a former professional cyclist, founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation, now called the Livestrong Foundation, in 1997 to provide support for people affected by cancer. Armstrong is a cancer survivor himself who has been in remission since 1997. He is currently the host of The Forward, a podcast Armstrong started in the summer of 2016 featuring his interviews with personalities from the worlds of business, entertainment and politics.

Raney Aronson-Rath

Executive Producer of FRONTLINE

Aronson-Rath has served as executive producer of FRONTLINE since 2015. She first joined FRONTLINE in 2007 as a senior producer and was later named deputy executive producer. Aronson-Rath has produced several FRONTLINE documentaries, including "News War," "Law & Disorder," and "Post Mortem." She has also worked for ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and MSNBC.

Jodey Arrington

U.S. Representative

Arrington, R-Lubbock, was elected to represent Texas Congressional District 19 in 2016. He sits on the House Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Budget committees. Previously, Arrington served as vice chancellor of research and commercialization at Texas Tech University, chief of staff to FDIC Chairman Don Powell, and as an adviser to President George W. Bush on agriculture, water, and energy.

Eva-Marie Ayala (mod.)

Reporter for the Dallas Morning News

Ayala has been a reporter for the Dallas Morning News since 2012. She specializes in local, state, and national education news. Prior to joining the Dallas Morning News, Ayala covered education, economic development, and city government news for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 11 years.

Dan Balz (mod.)

Chief Correspondent for The Washington Post

Balz has contributed to the Post’s political coverage as both a reporter and editor since joining the paper in 1978, receiving the Robin Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting and the Gerald R. Ford Award for coverage of the presidency. Balz is also a regular panelist on PBS’ Washington Week and other public affairs programs.

Jon Barela

CEO of the Borderplex Alliance

Barela joined the Borderplex Alliance in 2016, where he leads efforts to promote economic development in the El Paso, Ciudad Juárez and southern New Mexico region. Previously, he served as New Mexico’s economic development secretary under Gov. Susan Martinez. Barela also served as assistant attorney general of New Mexico and director of the Civil Division.

Dan Bartlett

Former Counselor to the President for George W. Bush

As counselor to President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, Bartlett was responsible for all aspects of communications planning and overseeing the White House Press office and the Offices of Communications, Media Affairs, and Speechwriting. Bartlett also served as communications director for President Bush and director of rapid response for President Bush’s 2000 campaign.

James Bass

Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation

Bass has served as executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation since 2016. Previously, he held numerous roles at TxDOT including chief financial officer, finance division director, budget analyst in the Budget and Forecasting Section and accounting clerk in the Finance Division’s Revenue Accounting Section. Bass began his career at TxDOT in 1985.

Aman Batheja (mod.)

Political Editor for The Texas Tribune

Batheja currently oversees the Tribune's political coverage. He previously worked for more than a decade as a reporter covering politics and other issues, first at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and then at the Tribune. He has a master’s degree in economics from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Melissa Bell

Publisher of Vox Media

Bell is the publisher of Vox Media and co-founder of Vox.com. She leads Vox Media's Growth and Development team, which is responsible for brand expansion, developing audience-focused content plans, and engaging in innovative storytelling. Previously, Bell oversaw digital platforms at The Washington Post and helped launch Mint, a Wall Street Journal subsidiary in India.

Diego Bernal

State Representative

Bernal, D-San Antonio, has represented House District 123 since 2015. He serves as vice chairman of the House Public Education Committee and sits on the Administration and Urban Affairs committees. Previously, Bernal served as an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in San Antonio and as a San Antonio City Council member.

Kyle Biedermann

State Representative

Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, has represented House District 73 since 2017. He sits on the House County Affairs and Juvenile Justice & Family Issues committees. In addition to serving in the Legislature, Biedermann also owns and operates Biedermann’s Ace Hardware in Fredericksburg.

César Blanco

State Representative

Blanco, D-El Paso, has represented House District 76 since 2015. He serves as vice chairman of the House Defense & Veterans’ Affairs committee and sits on the Land & Resource Management Committee. He also serves on the Transportation Policy Board of the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization and is a member of the American Legion. Previously, Blanco served as a military intelligence analyst in the U.S. Navy.

Jamelle Bouie

Chief Political Correspondent for Slate

Bouie is chief political correspondent for Slate Magazine and a political analyst for CBS News, where he covers elections, campaigns and national affairs. His work has been featured in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Nation, and other national publications. Prior to joining Slate, Bouie was a staff writer at The Daily Beast and a writing fellow at The American Prospect magazine.

Krys Boyd

Host and Managing Editor of KERA’s “Think”

Boyd has served as host and managing editor of KERA's "Think" since 2006. She also hosted the weekly TV edition of Think from 2007 to 2011. Boyd joined KERA in 2001 and hosted the nightly radio talk show Conversations. She also wrote and produced the documentary JFK: Breaking the News in 2003 and was producer and co-host of the public affairs program On The Record.

Dan Branch

Former State Representative

Branch represented Texas House District 108 from 2003 to 2015. He ran for Texas attorney general in 2014. During his legislative tenure, Branch served as chairman of the House Higher Education Committee and was the author of the “Tier One Universities” bill, which incentivized emerging Texas colleges to compete for funding to become nationally recognized research universities.

H.W. Brands

Presidential Historian and Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin

Brands joined the University of Texas at Austin in 2005, where he teaches history and writing. He is a bestselling author on American history and politics, including The General vs. the President, Reagan, and Andrew Jackson. Brands is a regular guest on national radio and television programs and a frequent lecturer on historical and current events.

Donna Brazile

Political Analyst and Former Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee

Brazile is a veteran Democratic political strategist and served as interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in 2016. She became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign in 2000 after working on several Democratic campaigns since 1976. Brazile has been a regular contributor for several news outlets and is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates, a consulting, advocacy and training firm.

R.B. Brenner (mod.)

Director of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin

Brenner has served as director of UT-Austin’s Journalism School since 2014 after previously serving as deputy director of Stanford University’s Journalism Program, where he taught courses in public issues reporting, digital journalism and narrative writing. Brenner has also served as an editor at The Washington Post and played a leadership role in merging the Post’s digital and print newsrooms.

Douglas Brinkley

Professor of History at Rice University and CNN Presidential Historian

Brinkley is a professor of history and Baker Institute fellow at Rice University, presidential historian for CNN and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Audubon. He is the author of several award-winning books, including "The Great Deluge" and "Cronkite." Brinkley also served as editor of "The Reagan Diaries."

David Brown (mod.)

Host and Managing Editor of the Texas Standard

Brown is the host and managing editor of Texas Standard, a statewide public radio program produced at the studios of KUT News in Austin in association with KERA North Texas, Houston Public Media and San Antonio’s Texas Public Radio, along with media partners across Texas. He is a former host of the business program Marketplace and a longtime public radio correspondent.

David O. Brown

Former Chief of the Dallas Police Department

Brown served as chief of the Dallas Police Department from 2010 to 2016. He first joined the department in 1983, serving in patrol, SWAT and internal affairs divisions as well as serving as first assistant chief. Brown currently is a correspondent for ABC News and advises Texas organizations focusing on early childhood education, mental health awareness and assistance for formerly incarcerated persons.

Bech Bruun

Chairman of the Texas Water Development Board

Bruun has served on the Texas Water Development board since 2013 and was named chairman in 2015 by Gov. Greg Abbott. He also serves as the board’s designated appointee to the Texas Environmental Flows Advisory Group and the Western States Water Council. Additionally, Bruun serves as an ex-officio member of the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council.

Dawn Buckingham

State Senator

Buckingham, R-Lakeway, is currently serving her first term representing Senate District 24. She sits on the Senate Health and Human Services, Higher Education, and Veteran Affairs & Border Security committees. Buckingham is a practicing oculoplastic and reconstructive surgeon and previously served on the State Board for Educator Certification, Sunset Advisory Commission and the Lake Travis Independent School District Board of Trustees.

Steve Bullock

Governor of Montana

Bullock was first elected to serve as Montana’s governor in 2012, and was re-elected in 2016 after defeating Republican Greg Gianforte. Previously, he served as the state’s attorney general and as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School. Bullock also worked as an attorney in private practice for Steptoe & Johnson.

Cindy Burkett

State Representative

Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, has represented House District 113 since 2011. She chairs the House Redistricting Committee and sits on the Transportation, Local & Consent Calendars, and Public Health committees. Burkett previously served as a legislative aide and deputy regional director to former state Sen. Bob Deuell. She is also the president and co-owner of Highline Enterprises.

Colette Pierce Burnette

President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University

Pierce Burnette has led Huston-Tillotson since 2015. She serves on numerous boards and committees, including the steering committee for My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative started by President Obama to provide intervention and mentorship to young men of color, and on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Central Texas and Leadership Austin.

John Burruss

CEO of Metrocare Services

Burruss joined Metrocare Services, Dallas’ largest nonprofit provider of mental health and developmental disability services, in 2013. Prior to joining Metrocare, he served as executive medical director for affiliates and as associate professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Burruss also served as chief of psychiatry at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston.

Konni Burton

State Senator

Burton, R-Colleyville, has represented Senate District 10 since 2014. She serves as vice chairwoman of the Senate Administration Committee and sits on the Criminal Justice, Health & Human Services, and Natural Resources & Economic Development committees. Prior to her election, Burton served on the steering committee of NE Tarrant Tea Party and was later elected vice president of the NETTP Board.

George P. Bush

Texas Land Commissioner

Bush was elected Texas land commissioner in 2014. He is also chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board, where he oversees the administration of veterans benefits and housing loans. Previously, Bush served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, co-founded an investment firm focused on oil and gas transactions, and worked as a lawyer and public school teacher.

Sharon Butterworth

Chairwoman of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium

Butterworth is a veteran mental health activist and community leader. She serves as chairwoman of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium, which facilitates collaboration among executives from healthcare, government and nonprofit organizations. Butterworth also served on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Council and was former vice chairwoman of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

Buttigieg has served as mayor of South Bend since 2012. He is president of the Indiana Urban Mayors Caucus and was a candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2017. Buttigieg is also a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and took a leave of absence for a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2014.

Donna Campbell

State Senator

Campbell, R-San Antonio, has represented Senate District 25 since 2013. She serves as chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Border Security Committee and sits on the Business & Commerce, Education, and Intergovernmental Relations committees. In 2017, Campbell authored SB 715, which would require an election or petition when a city wants to annex land outside of its city limits.

Giovanni Capriglione

State Representative

Capriglione, R-Southlake, has represented House District 98 since 2013. He serves as vice chairman of the House Government Transparency & Operation Committee and sits on the Appropriations, Local & Consent Calendars, and General Investigating & Ethics committees. He also chairs the Subcommittee on Budget Transparency and Reform. Additionally, Capriglione is president of Texas Adventure Capital LLC, which provides management services to small businesses.

Lisa Caputo

Former Press Secretary to First Lady Hillary Clinton

Caputo is executive vice president of marketing and communications for Travelers, where she oversees marketing, research and corporate communications functions. Previously, she served as executive vice president of Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs for Citigroup. Caputo served as press secretary for First Lady Hillary Clinton, overseeing communications and media relations for the First Lady and First Family.

Mary Agnes Carey (mod.)

Partnerships Editor and Senior Correspondent for Kaiser Health News

Carey covers health reform and federal health policy for Kaiser Health News. Previously, she served as associate editor of QC HealthBeat, a daily report on health care policy for Congressional Quarterly. Carey has also covered budgets, economics and health care for Dow Jones Newswires.

Joaquin Castro

U.S. Representative

Castro, D-San Antonio, was first elected in 2012 to represent Texas’ Congressional District 20. He serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In 2013, Castro was elected president of the freshman Democratic class. Previously, Castro served for 10 years in the Texas Legislature.

Art Cavazos

Superintendent of Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District

Cavazos has led Harlingen CISD since 2013. He currently serves on several boards and councils, including the Texas State Board for Educator Certification, the Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network and the University of Texas College of Education Advisory Council. In 2017, Cavazos was recognized as the Region 1 Superintendent of the Year and Texas PTA’s Superintendent of the Year.

HD Chambers

Superintendent of the Alief Independent School District

Chambers has led Alief ISD since 2011. As superintendent, he has played an active role in education legislation, helping the Texas House develop House Bill 5 in 2013, which revamped the state’s curriculum and graduation requirements. Chambers also helped the House develop HB 22 in 2017, which reformed the state’s A-F school rating system.

Maurice Chammah (mod.)

Staff Writer at The Marshall Project

Chammah joined The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization focusing on the American criminal justice system, in 2014. He was a finalist for a 2014 Livingston Award for a story on the decline of the death penalty and his work has appeared in The New York Times and The Atlantic. Chammah was also a 2011-2012 Fulbright fellow in Egypt.

Robert Chesney (mod.)

Professor of Law at the University of Texas Law School

Chesney serves on the faculty of the University of Texas School of Law and is director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law. He is also a faculty member at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. His work focuses on U.S. national security policies and institutions. Chesney is a co-founder and contributor to the national security blog Lawfare and is a senior editor for the Journal of National Security Law & Policy.

Amy Chozick

National Political Reporter for the New York Times

Chozick was the Times’ lead reporter covering Hillary Clinton and the Clinton presidential campaign since 2013. Prior to joining the Times, she served as a political reporter for the Wall Street Journal and covered both the Clinton and Obama presidential campaigns in 2008. Chozick is set to release a memoir on her experience covering Hillary Clinton in 2018.

Chris Cillizza

Reporter and Editor at Large for CNN Politics

Cillizza joined CNN in 2017, where he covers national politics including the White House and Congress and is founder of CNN Politics’ daily news analysis, The Point with Chris Cillizza. Previously, Cillizza spent a decade at The Washington Post, where he founded The Fix, a daily political blog, and was a political contributor for MSNBC.

Alan Clark

Director of Transportation Planning for the Houston-Galveston Metropolitan Planning Organization

Clark oversees transportation planning for the Houston-Galveston MPO, which is responsible for developing the region’s long-range transportation plans. He has been a transportation planner for the Houston-Galveston Area Council since 1983, where he has managed transportation and air quality programs for over 30 years. Previously, Clark worked as a transportation planner for the Houston METRO and as a traffic engineering consultant.

Garnet Coleman

State Representative

Coleman, D-Houston, has represented House District 147 since 1992. He serves as chairman of the House County Affairs Committee and sits on the Public Health Committee. In the 85th Legislative Session, Coleman authored the House version of the Sandra Bland Act, requiring more training for jailers on mental health issues of prisoners.

Kiah Collier (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Collier reports on energy and environmental policy for the Tribune. Previously, she reported on government and politics for the Austin American-Statesman and the Houston Chronicle. Collier began her career in West Texas reporting for Reuters America Service and the San Angelo Standard-Times, where she covered the city council, water issues and the 83rd Legislature.

Will Conley

Hays County Commissioner

Conley was first elected commissioner in 2004. He also serves as chairman of the Capitol Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization, which develops long-term transportation plans for the Central Texas Region. Additionally, Conley serves on the board of the Austin-San Antonio Intermunicipal Commuter Rail District and the Capitol Area Council of Governments.

John Cornyn

U.S. Senator

Cornyn, R-Texas, has represented Texas in the U.S. Senate since 2003. He is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as well as the Finance and Judiciary committees. Cornyn also serves as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration and is also the Senate majority whip. Previously, he served as attorney general of Texas.

John-Michael V. Cortez

Special Assistant to the Mayor of Austin

Cortez advises Mayor Adler on transportation, land use and workforce development policy. He previously served as community involvement manager for Capital Metro and on the City of Austin Planning Commission. Cortez has served on the board for the Center for Public Policy Priorities and as a member of the Austin Community College Board of Trustees.

Stephen Costello

Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Houston

Costello was named chief resilience officer by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in 2016. He is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to improve the city’s drainage and reduce flooding risks. Costello is a former at-large member of the Houston City Council and is a practicing civil engineer who has worked on several drainage projects.

Ana Marie Cox

Host of the "With Friends Like These" Podcast

Cox is a political columnist and culture critic. She conducts the “Talk” interviews featured in The New York Times Magazine. Since starting the political blog Wonkette in 2004, she has contributed to a variety of outlets, including Time magazine, GQ and The Guardian. Previously, Cox was a senior political correspondent at MTV News and an editor at Mother Jones.

Paul Cruz

Superintendent of the Austin Independent School District

Cruz was named head of Austin ISD in 2015 after serving nine months as interim superintendent. He previously served as chief schools officer for AISD, supervising four associate superintendents and more than 120 campus principals. Cruz also served as the deputy commissioner for dropout prevention at the Texas Education Agency.

Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator

Cruz, R-Texas, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 and ran as a Republican candidate for president in 2016. He serves on the Senate Judiciary, Rules & Administration, Armed Services, and Commerce, Science & Transportation committees. Previously, Cruz served as solicitor general of Texas and worked as a top litigator for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

Henry Cuellar

U.S. Representative

Cuellar, D-Laredo, was first elected in 2005 to represent Texas’ Congressional District 28. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee and on the Subcommittees on Homeland Security and Transportation, Housing & Urban Development. Previously, Cuellar served as secretary of state of Texas and in the Texas Legislature.

Bryan Curtis (mod.)

Editor at Large for The Ringer

Curtis is editor at large for The Ringer, a website covering sports, technology and pop culture. Previously, he served as a national correspondent at Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and was a columnist at Play, the New York Times’ sports magazine, as well as Slate and Texas Monthly. Curtis’ work has also appeared in Grantland, The New York Time Magazine and GQ.

Sarah Davis

State Representative

Davis, R-West University Place, has represented House District 134 since 2011. She serves as chairwoman of the House General Investigating & Ethics Committee and sits on the Appropriations, Calendars and Corrections committees. She is also secretary of the Women’s Health Caucus. Davis is a partner with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edleman & Dicker, LLP and specializes in defending against personal injury lawsuits.

Wendy Davis

Former State Senator and Founder of Deeds Not Words

Davis lost in the 2014 general election to current Gov. Greg Abbott. In 2016, she founded Deeds Not Words, an online engagement initiative focused on women’s rights. Previously, Davis served in the Texas Senate for six years, representing parts of Fort Worth, and on the Fort Worth City Council.

Francisco Cabeza de Vaca

Governor of Tamaulipas, Mexico

Cabeza de Vaca has served as the governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas from Webb County to Brownsville, since 2016. He previously served as mayor of Reynosa, a border city across from Hidalgo, Texas, and as a federal senator. As governor, Cabeza de Vaca has advocated for greater cooperation between Texas and Tamaulipas.

James Dickey

Chairman of the Texas Republican Party

Dickey was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in June 2017. Prior to his election, he served as chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. Dickey has been active in the Republican Party since 1984, working on several campaigns, serving as a precinct chair and being elected a delegate and alternate delegate to numerous state and national conventions.

Ben Domenech

Publisher of The Federalist and Host of "The Federalist Radio Hour"

Domenech is publisher of The Federalist and hosts the Federalist Radio Hour. He also writes The Transom, a daily subscription newsletter for political insiders. Domenech previously served as editor in chief of The City, an academic journal covering politics and culture, and as a media fellow at The Manhattan Institute.

Matthew Dowd

Author, Entrepreneur and Chief Political Analyst for ABC News

Dowd serves as chief political analyst for ABC News and is the founder of Paradox Capital, a social impact venture fund. Previously, he served as chief political strategist to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 and President George W. Bush in 2004. Most recently, Dowd is author of A New Way: Embracing the Paradox as We Lead and Serve.

Robert Draper (mod.)

Writer at Large for The New York Times Magazine

Draper is a writer and author who contributes to National Geographic, GQ magazine and The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of several books, including Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives and Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush. Previously, Draper wrote for Texas Monthly and The Austin Chronicle.

Josh Earnest

Former Press Secretary for President Barack Obama

Earnest served as President Obama’s press secretary from 2014 to 2017, after serving as principal deputy White House press secretary and chief of staff to Jay Carney. He joined the Obama presidential campaign in 2007 as Iowa communications director and later served as White House deputy press secretary. Earnest currently works as a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Harold Eavenson

Rockwall County Sheriff

Eavenson has served as sheriff of Rockwall County since 2001. Prior to his election, he founded and managed Harold Eavenson & Associates, a consulting firm and investigative company. Eavenson also spent 8 years as director of security for InterFirst Bank Dallas, where he oversaw the bank’s security program and coordinated its executive protection program.

Sarah Eckhardt

Travis County Judge

Eckhardt has served as judge since 2015. Prior to her election, she spent 8 years working as an assistant attorney for the county and was elected to the Commissioners Court in 2006. Eckhardt also serves on the Transportation Policy Board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and on the Texas Conference of Urban Counties Policy Committee.

Veronica Escobar

El Paso County Judge

Escobar is currently serving her second term as El Paso County judge. Previously, she served as county commissioner for Precinct 2 and as a member of numerous boards and commissions in El Paso, where she focused on border policy, education and youth leadership development. Escobar has also written about border policy for The New York Times.

Marissa Evans (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Evans reports on health and human service policy issues for the Tribune and has been in Austin since October 2016. Before the Tribune she reported for CQ Roll Call in D.C. where she covered state legislatures and health care issues. Evans’ reporting has appeared in Civil Eats, CityLab, NBC BLK, Cosmo for Latinas, Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post.

David Fahrenthold

Reporter for The Washington Post

Fahrenthold has been with The Post since 2000. Most recently, he was awarded a 2017 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for his coverage of Donald Trump, the Trump family and their business interests. Previously, Fahrenthold served as the Post’s New England correspondent and covered environmental issues, federal bureaucracy, Congress and the D.C. police.

Mindy Finn

Co-Founder of Stand Up Republic and 2016 Independent Candidate for U.S. Vice President

Finn was the running mate of independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin in the 2016 election. In January, she co-founded Stand Up Republic, a nonpartisan political advocacy organization, with McMullin. In 2008, Finn founded Engage, a political digital media agency, and has led digital and tech programs for the Republican National Committee, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush.

Steve Flores

Superintendent of the Round Rock Independent School District

Flores has led Round Rock ISD as superintendent since 2013. Previously, he served as superintendent of Harlingen CISD and as assistant superintendent for both Pflugerville ISD and Round Rock ISD. Flores also worked as executive assistant for special projects for the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Brandon Formby (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Formby writes about the challenges facing Texas’ largest metro areas as they experience unbridled growth. He joined the Tribune in October 2016 and is the organization’s first reporter based in Dallas. Previously, Formby spent more than 13 years at The Dallas Morning News, where he covered transportation, local government and politics.

Deborah Fowler

Executive Director of Texas Appleseed

Fowler heads Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit that focuses on promoting social and economic justice for all Texans. She is a nationally recognized expert in school discipline and juvenile justice issues, having authored three major reports on the school-to-prison pipeline in Texas. Previously, Fowler served as Texas Appleseed’s deputy director and has worked as a judicial clerk and supervising attorney.

Al Franken

U.S. Senator

Franken is author of the best-selling memoir, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate about his decision to run for office and his 2008 campaign. He is a Democratic senator from Minnesota, and was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008. Before entering politics, he was an award-winning comedy writer, author and radio talk show host. Franken is graduate of Harvard University.

James Frank

State Representative

Frank, R-Wichita Falls, has represented House District 69 since 2013. He serves as vice chairman of the House Human Services Committee and sits on the Local & Consent Calendars and Natural Resources committees. In the 85th legislative session, Frank sponsored House Bill 5 and House Bill 6 to reform Child Protective Services and its parent agency, the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Sylvia Garcia

State Senator

Garcia, D-Houston, has represented Senate District 6 since 2013. She serves on the Senate Criminal Justice, Intergovernmental Relations, Natural Resources & Economic Development, and Transportation committees. Previously, Garcia served as director and presiding judge of the Houston Municipal System and was later elected as the Houston city controller and as a Harris County commissioner.

Antonio Garza

Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

Garza served as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2002 to 2009. Before his appointment, he served as the Texas secretary of state and as chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. He is currently counsel in the Mexico City office of White and Case and chairman of Vianovo Ventures, a management consulting firm specializing in cross-border business development.

Kami Geoffray

CEO of the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas

Geoffray has served as head of the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas since 2016. She has served with nonprofit and governmental organizations at the state and national level. Most recently, Geoffray worked for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Allen Gilmer

Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Drillinginfo and Chairman of TIPRO

Gilmer co-founded Drillinginfo in 1999 and currently serves as executive chairman. In 2016, he was elected chairman of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association, one of the largest oil and natural gas groups in the United States. Previously, Gilmer worked as an independent oilman and later joined Marathon Oil as a geophysicist working in research, seismic acquisitions and South American exploration.

Brooke Gladstone

Co-Host and Editor of WNYC’s On the Media

Gladstone has been co-host and editor of On the Media since 2000. Previously, she served as a Moscow-based reporter for NPR and senior editor of NPR’s All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. Gladstone has received two Peabody Awards, a National Press Club Award and an Overseas Press Club Award.

Russell Gold (mod.)

Senior Energy Reporter at The Wall Street Journal

Gold has been a reporter in Texas for The Wall Street Journal since 2000. He covers fracking and the U.S. energy industry and is the author of the book The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. Gold has previously worked for the San Antonio Express-News and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Mark Gonzalez

Nueces County District Attorney

Gonzalez was elected district attorney in 2016. Prior to his election, he served as a criminal defense lawyer for eight years and was named 2011 Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year from the Corpus Christi Bar Association. Gonzalez is a graduate of Texas A&M Corpus Christi and St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Mary González

State Representative

González, D-Clint, has represented House District 75 since 2013. She serves as vice chairwoman of the House Agriculture & Livestock Committee and sits on the Appropriations Committee. Previously, González worked for state Reps. Paul Moreno and Richard Peña Raymond, at the National Hispanic Institute and as the assistant dean for student multicultural affairs at Southwestern University.

Vicente Gonzalez

U.S. Representative

Gonzalez, D-McAllen, was elected to represent Texas’ 15th Congressional District in 2016. He is a member of the House Financial Services Committee and the Capital Markets, Securities & Investments; Housing & Insurance; and Oversight & Investigation subcommittees. Gonzalez opened his own law practice, V. Gonzalez & Associates, in 1997.

Joshua Green

Senior National Correspondent at Bloomberg Business Week

Green covers politics for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine and Bloomberg News. Previously, he served as senior editor of The Atlantic and as a political columnist for the Boston Globe. Green is also the author of The Devil’s Bargain, which details the relationship between President Trump and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

Garrett Groves

Economic Opportunity Director at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

Groves leads a team of policy analysts at the CPPP specializing in education and economics. He is a former Senior Policy Analyst for the National Governors Association, focusing on workforce, post-secondary education and economic development policies. Groves also worked for the Office of Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Labor and oversaw the evaluation of education and training programs.

Lauren Gustus

Executive Editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Gustus was named executive editor of the Star-Telegram in June 2017. Previously, she served as executive editor at the Fort Collins Coloradoan, where she helped lead efforts to modernize Colorado’s open records law. Gustus also spent seven years working as an editor for the Reno Gazette-Journal and for newspapers in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

Clyde Haberman

Former Columnist and Correspondent for The New York Times

Haberman was a columnist and correspondent for The New York Times from 1977 to 2014. He served as The Times’ foreign correspondent for 13 years, reporting from Tokyo, Rome and Jerusalem. Haberman returned to New York in 1995, where he wrote the popular NYC Column until 2011.

Maggie Haberman

White House Correspondent for The New York Times

Haberman first joined The New York Times in 2015, where she served as a presidential campaign correspondent covering the 2016 election, and was named White House correspondent in 2017. Prior to joining The Times, she worked as a senior political reporter for Politico and wrote for the New York Post and the New York Daily News.

Peter Hamby

Head of News at Snapchat

Hamby first joined Snapchat as head of news in 2015. He is the host of Good Luck America, Snapchat’s self-produced political news show, which launched in 2016. Before joining Snapchat, Hamby was a national political reporter for CNN and was a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Chris Hayes

Host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes

Hayes has served as host of All In since 2013 and works as editor-at-large of The Nation. He has written on a variety of political and social issues, and his work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Time and The Guardian. Most recently, Hayes authored the New York Times’ best-selling A Colony in a Nation on race and policing in America.

Robert Hebner

Director of the Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin

Hebner leads the Center for Electromechanics at UT-Austin, which develops advanced technology in the areas of power and energy. Previously, he served as acting director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Hebner also worked in the Office of Management and Budget to prepare technology portions of the Bush Administration’s 1990 budget.

Nathan Hecht

Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court

Hecht was appointed chief justice by then-Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. First elected to the state high court in 1988, he is the longest-serving Texas Supreme Court member in history. He has led the court’s efforts to ensure Texans have access to basic civil legal services and serves as the court’s liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Commission.

Virginia Heffernan

Cultural Critic and Co-Host of Slate's Trumpcast

Heffernan is a journalist, critic and author. In addition to co-hosting Slate's Trumpcast, she serves as a contributing editor at Politico and a columnist at FastCompany. Heffernan wrote "The Medium," a weekly column about internet culture for The New York Times, from 2008 to 2012 after spending four years at The Times as a television critic.

Glenn Hegar

Texas Comptroller

Hegar, who was elected comptroller in 2014, serves as Texas’ treasurer, check writer, tax collector, procurement officer and revenue estimator. Previously, he served as a member of the Texas Senate and House. Hegar also served as chairman of the Sunset Advisory Commission, which reviews the operations and efficiency of each state agency.

MJ Hegar

Retired Air Force Officer and Democratic Candidate for U.S. Representative

Hegar is a retired Air Force officer and recipient of the Purple Heart. In 2012, she successfully sued the Department of Defense to repeal the Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which prevented women from serving in combat positions. Hegar is the author of the bestselling memoir Shoot Like a Girl and is a Democratic candidate for Texas Congressional District 31.

Brenda Hellyer

Chancellor of San Jacinto College

Hellyer was appointed chancellor of San Jacinto College in 2009. Since joining the college in 1996, she has served in a number of executive positions including director of the San Jacinto College Foundation, executive vice president for resource development and vice chancellor for fiscal affairs. Previously, Hellyer worked as an accountant in the private and public arenas.

Jim Henson (mod.)

Director of the Texas Politics Project

Henson directs the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a founder and co-director of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, the only open-source statewide survey of public opinion in Texas. Henson is also the co-author of a Texas politics web-based textbook used at several universities throughout the state.

Ana Hernandez

State Representative

Hernandez, D-Houston, has represented House District 143 since 2005. She sits on the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, Licensing & Administrative Procedures, and Redistricting Committees. Hernandez works as an attorney at Soto & Hernandez, L.L.P., a Houston-based law firm specializing in civil litigation. She also served on the board of directors for the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston.

Kathleen Hicks

Senior Vice President at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

Hicks is a frequent writer and lecturer on U.S. foreign policy; national security strategy, forces and budget; and strategic futures. Previously, she served in the U.S. Department of Defense as principal deputy undersecretary for policy, where she assisted in the development and oversight of global and regional defense policy, strategy and operations.

Josh Hinkle (mod.)

Executive Producer of KXAN’s Investigative Team

Hinkle is the executive producer of KXAN’s duPont and IRE Award-winning investigative team. He also leads the station’s political coverage as an investigative reporter and as the executive producer and host of “State of Texas,” a Sunday morning program covering the Texas Legislature and elections. Hinkle also teaches broadcasting at St. Edward’s University.

Chuy Hinojosa

State Senator

Hinojosa, D-McAllen, has represented Senate District 20 since 2003. He serves as vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and is a member of the Sunset Advisory Commission. He also serves on the Transportation, Natural Resources & Economic Development, and Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs committees. Previously, Hinojosa served in the Texas House and in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.

Gilberto Hinojosa

Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party

Hinojosa was first elected chairman of the Texas Democratic Party in 2012. Previously, he served as chairman of the Cameron County Democratic Party after serving 12 years as county judge. Hinojosa has also served as Justice of the 13th District Court of Appeals, a state district judge, and a trustee on the Brownsville ISD school board.

Gina Hinojosa

State Representative

Hinojosa, D-Austin, is in her first term representing House District 49. She sits on the House Economic & Small Business Development, Homeland Security & Public Safety, and Administration committees. Previously, Hinojosa served on the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees and practiced law, specializing in workforce discrimination and wage theft.

Debbie Hiott

Editor of the Austin American-Statesman

Hiott has served as the Statesman’s editor since 2011. She began her career at the Statesman in 1990 as a reporter and covered transportation and City Hall. She became an editor in 1999. Hiott also serves on the board of directors of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors.

Lisa Hollier

Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force Chairwoman

Hollier is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Children’s Hospital, where she specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases during pregnancy. She also serves as chairwoman of Texas’ Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, which studies cases of pregnancy-related deaths and makes policy recommendations to reduce maternal morbidity.

William Lee Hon

Polk County Criminal District Attorney

Hon has served with the Polk County District Attorney’s office since 1996, when he was first appointed Assistant Criminal District Attorney for the felony division. He was previously a lead appellate counsel for the State and has served on the Board of Directors of the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association since 2008.

Donna Howard

State Representative

Howard, D-Austin, has represented House District 48 since 2006. She serves as vice chairwoman of the Calendars Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Budget Transparency & Reform. She also sits on the Administration, Higher Education and Appropriations committees. Howard also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III, which handles education funding.

Steny Hoyer

Minority Whip of the U.S. House

Hoyer, D-Maryland, has represented Maryland’s 5th congressional district since 1981. He has served as House minority whip since 2011 after previously serving as minority leader from 2003 to 2007 and as majority leader from 2007 to 2011. As whip, Hoyer is charged with mobilizing the party vote and shaping the party’s legislative priorities.

Dan Huberty

State Representative

Huberty, R-Houston, has represented House District 127 since 2011. He serves as chairman of the House Public Education Committee and sits on the Pensions Committee. In the 85th regular legislative session, Huberty helped carry House Bill 21, which aimed to overhaul the state’s school finance system. Previously, he served as president of the Humble ISD school board.

Don Huffines

State Senator

Huffines, R-Dallas, has represented Senate District 16 since 2015. He serves as vice chairman of the Senate Veteran Affairs & Border Security Committee and sits on the Administration, Education, Intergovernmental Relations, and Natural Resources & Economic Development committees. Huffines is the co-founder of the Huffines Communities, a real estate land development company.

Laura Huffman

Texas State Director of the Nature Conservancy

At the Nature Conservancy, Huffman establishes conservation strategy, provides policy leadership and leads a statewide team of scientists and conservation experts to protect Texas’ natural resources and landscapes. Huffman has also worked with legislators on water conservation legislation and the expansion water protection funds in Central Texas. Before joining the Conservancy, Huffman spent 20 years in city management.

Susan Simpson Hull

Superintendent of the Grand Prairie Independent School District

Hull has led Grand Prairie ISD since 2007. She has been an educator for 37 years, serving as a superintendent for more than two decades and in five school districts. In 2005, she was named Texas Superintendent of the Year. Hull was appointed to the State Board of Educator Certification in 2015 by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Will Hurd

U.S. Representative

Hurd, R-Helotes, has represented Texas’ 23rd Congressional District since 2015. He is a member of both the House Homeland Security Committee and the Oversight & Government Reform Committee as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence. He also serves as chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee. Previously, Hurd spent nine years working for the CIA.

Jason Isaac

State Representative

Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, has represented House District 45 since 2011. He sits on the House Energy Resources and Urban Affairs committees. Isaac has been active in water regulation legislation, sponsoring Senate Bill 1198 in the 85th Legislative Session, which converted the Hays water agency into a water authority. Isaac is the founder of the Hill Country Caucus in the House.

Celia Israel

State Representative

Israel, D-Austin, has represented House District 50 since 2014. She serves as vice chairwoman of the House Elections Committee and sits on the Transportation Committee. Previously, she served on the boards of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance for Public Transportation. Israel is also a real estate agent with Home and Hearth Realty.

Clay Jenkins

Dallas County Judge

Jenkins has served as County Judge since 2011. Previously, he served as a lawyer on President Obama’s 2008 campaign and a former clerk with the Texas Supreme Court. Jenkins is the President of Jenkins & Jenkins, his Dallas-based law firm. Jenkins is also a member of the Dallas Criminal Justice Advisory Board Executive Committee.

Eric Johnson

State Representative

Johnson, D-Dallas, has represented House District 100 since 2010. He serves as vice chairman of the House Redistricting Committee and sits on the Investments & Financial Services and Ways & Means committees, as well as the Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility. Johnson also works as an attorney at Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP.

Marsha Jones

Executive Director of the Afiya Center

Jones is co-founder and executive director of The Afiya Center, which focuses on reproductive health access for black women. She is a member of the Texas Equal Access Fund Board of Directors and serves on several national boards. Jones is also a steering member of the National Women AIDS Coalition and co-chair of the Texas Black Women Initiative’s Dallas Team.

Jason Kander

President of Let America Vote and 2016 Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate

Kander founded Let America Vote in February 2017, an organization aimed at increasing voting opportunities across the country. In 2016, he ran unsuccessfully to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate. Previously, Kander was Missouri’s Secretary of State and a member of the Missouri House. He also served as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

Paula Kerger

President and CEO of PBS

Kerger has served as President and CEO of PBS since 2006, overseeing nearly 350 member stations. During her tenure, she has focused on expanding PBS’ audience across genres and digital platforms. Kerger is also president of the PBS Foundation, which raises private sector funding for PBS. She previously served as executive vice president and CEO of the Educational Broadcasting Corporation.

Renu Khator

Chancellor of the University of Houston System; President of the University of Houston

Khator has served as University of Houston System chancellor and University of Houston president since January 2008. During her tenure, the system has experienced record-breaking research funding and enrollment. Previously, Khator served as board chair for the American Council on Education and worked as provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida.

Philip Kingston

Dallas City Council Member

Kingston was first elected in 2013 to represent District 14 on the Dallas City Council. He was appointed by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings as chairman of the Ad Hoc Judicial Nominations Committee and is a member of the Police and Fire Pension Board. Kingston is also a founding member of the Dallas Bar Association’s Public Forum Committee.

Matt Krause

State Representative

Krause, R-Fort Worth, has represented House District 93 since 2013. He sits on the House Culture, Recreation & Tourism and Land & Resource Management committees. Krause is a constitutional attorney, professor of American history and government, and public speaker. Krause and his business partner also consult organizations on ways to creatively reward and retain key employees.

Indira Lakshmanan

Washington Columnist for The Boston Globe

Lakshmanan writes about foreign policy and politics for The Boston Globe. Previously, she worked at Bloomberg News, traveling regularly with Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Lakshmanan is also the Newmark Chair in Journalism Ethics at the Poynter Institute and began her career at the foreign desk at National Public Radio.

Austin Lane

President of Texas Southern University

Lane has served as head of TSU since 2016. Previously, he served as executive vice chancellor of Lone Star College. He also served as vice president for student affairs at Tyler Junior College, where he directed a college-wide enrollment management team, and as the dean of students at University of Texas at Arlington, where he helped plan and oversee enrollment and retention initiatives.

Paula Lavigne

Reporter & Data Analyst for ESPN’s Outside the Lines

Lavigne been with ESPN since 2008, working primarily for the investigative sports news show Outside the Lines. In this role, she has covered major sporting issues including Baylor University’s sexual assault case. Most recently, Lavigne is co-author of the upcoming book Violated, which documents the evolution of the Baylor case.

Jeff Leach

State Representative

Leach, R-Plano, has represented House District 67 since 2012. He serves as vice chair of the House Urban Affairs Committee and sits on the Economic & Small Business Development Committee. Leach practices law with Gray Reed & McGraw P.C., where he specializes in general business, real estate and construction law.

Ezra Levin

Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Indivisible Project

Levin co-founded the Indivisible Project, a grassroots progressive advocacy organization, following the 2016 election. Previously, he served as associate director of federal policy for Prosperity Now and worked on poverty policy at the Corporation for Enterprise Development. Additionally, Levin served as deputy policy director for U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and worked as field director for his 2010 congressional campaign.

Marc Levin

Director of the Center for Effective Justice and Right on Crime at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Levin works for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank. He is also an attorney and author on legal and public policy issues who has been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Texas Review of Law & Politics. Previously, Levin served as a law clerk for a federal judge on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dave Levinthal (mod.)

Senior Political Reporter at the Center for Public Integrity

Levinthal joined the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit news organization, in 2013 and leads a reporting team investigating the influence of money in federal politics. Previously, he reported on campaign finance and lobbying issues for Politico. Levinthal also edited OpenSecrets.org, a nonpartisan research group tracking money in U.S politics.

Mara Liasson

National Political Correspondent for NPR and Contributor for Fox News

Liasson covers national politics for NPR, reporting regularly on All Things Considered and Morning Edition. She joined NPR in 1985 as a general assignment reporter and later served as NPR’s White House correspondent during the Clinton administration. Liasson also joined FOX News in 1997 and currently serves as a contributor and regular panelist on FOX News Sunday.

Michael Li

Senior Redistricting Counsel the New York University School of Law

Li serves as senior counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, where he focuses on redistricting, voting rights and elections. He is also the author of txredistricting.org, a widely cited redistricting blog. Previously, he practiced law at Baker Botts LLP in Dallas and served as executive director of Be One Texas, a donor alliance working to increase voter participation.

Abby Livingston (mod.)

Washington Bureau Chief for The Texas Tribune

Livingston joined the Tribune in 2014 as the lead reporter in Washington, D.C. She has covered political campaigns, House leadership and Congress for Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper. Previously, Livingston pitched and produced political segments for CNN’s John King, USA, worked as a TV editor for The Hotline and was a political researcher at NBC News.

J.M. Lozano

State Representative

Lozano, R-Kingsville, has represented House District 43 since 2011. He serves as chairman of the House Higher Education Committee and sits on the Environmental Regulation Committee. Previously, he served on the House Republican Caucus Policy Committee and as vice chairman of the House Energy Caucus.

Eddie Lucio lll

State Representative

Lucio, D-Brownsville, has represented House District 38 since 2007. He serves as chair of the House Rules & Resolutions Committee and sits on the Government Transparency & Operation and Natural Resources committees. In 2014, Lucio was appointed to the SWIFT Advisory Committee, which oversees the implementation of new policies related to the state’s water supply.

Jo Anne Lyon

Ambassador of The Wesleyan Church

Lyon was ordained as a minister in The Wesleyan Church in 1996, where she currently serves as ambassador. She has participated in several interfaith conferences on the refugee crisis and has advised Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on humanitarian issues. Additionally, Lyon has served as founder and CEO of World Hope International, a faith-based international relief organization.

Corrie MacLaggan (mod.)

Managing Editor at The Texas Tribune

MacLaggan has previously worked as a national correspondent for Reuters, writing and editing stories about Texas and nearby states and overseeing a network of freelance writers. Before joining Reuters, she covered Texas government and politics for the Austin American-Statesman. She has also worked in Mexico City, where she wrote for publications including the Miami Herald's Mexico edition.

Jim Malewitz (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Malewitz is an investigative reporter for the Tribune, and he also covers voting rights. He previously covered energy and environmental issues. Before arriving in 2013, he reported for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C. A native of Michigan, he has an undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa.

Dee Margo

Mayor of El Paso

Margo was elected mayor in May 2017. Previously, he represented District 78 in the Texas House and served as chairman of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. Margo also helped found the Regional Economic Development Corporation and served as president of the El Paso ISD Board of Managers.

Brandy Marty Marquez

Public Utility Commissioner

Marquez was appointed a public utility commissioner in 2013 by then-Gov. Rick Perry. Previously, she served as Gov. Perry’s chief of staff, director of the Budget, Planning and Policy Division and as deputy legislative director. Marquez also serves on the Nuclear Waste Storage Coalition and Texas Reliability Entity, which addresses cybersecurity, regional standards and enforcement issues.

Jolie McCullough (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

McCullough reports on Texas criminal justice issues and policy for the Tribune. Previously, she worked on the Tribune's data visuals team, and spent four years as a reporter and web developer at the Albuquerque Journal. McCullough also interned at the Arizona Republic before she graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

DeRay Mckesson

Civil Rights Activist and Organizer

Mckesson is a prominent activist within the Black Lives Matter movement and an outspoken voice against police violence. He began speaking out against police violence during the August 2014 protests in Ferguson, Mo. and has since amassed a large online following. In 2015, Mckesson co-founded Campaign Zero, a policy initiative aimed at ending police violence.

Mark McKinnon

Founder of No Labels and Creator and Co-Host of Showtime's The Circus

McKinnon has served as a commentator and a media adviser for numerous companies and candidates including former Texas Gov. Ann Richards and former President George W. Bush. He is a cofounder of No Labels, an organization dedicated to promoting bipartisanship in politics. McKinnon is also co-host of Showtime’s The Circus.

José Menéndez

State Senator

Menéndez, D-San Antonio, has represented Senate District 26 since 2015. He sits on the Senate Criminal Justice, Higher Education, and Intergovernmental Relations committees. In May 2017, he filibustered and successfully killed SB 715, a bill limiting cities’ annexation powers. Previously, Menéndez spent 14 years in the Texas House, representing House District 124.

Wanda Mercer

Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas System

Mercer oversees academic affairs for the University of Texas System. She previously served as vice president for student life at Tarleton State University and associate vice president and dean of students at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Mercer has also served as president of the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators, and as Council of Student Services vice president.

Matthew Miller

Former Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice

Miller is currently a partner at Vianovo, a strategic advisory firm for brand, policy and crisis issues. He previously led the Department of Justice’s communications team under President Barack Obama and served as spokesman for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Miller also previously served as communications director for the House Democratic Caucus and for U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Sid Miller

Texas Agriculture Commissioner

Miller has served as Agriculture Commissioner since 2014. Previously, he served six terms in the Texas House. During his tenure, Miller chaired the Agriculture & Livestock Committee and Homeland Security & Public Safety committees. Miller also served on the State Agriculture Policy Board and was appointed to serve on the National Energy Council.

Ina Minjarez

State Representative

Minjarez, D-San Antonio, has represented House District 124 since a 2015 special election. She sits on the House Human Services, Local & Consent, Calendars, and Transportation committees. She has her own private law practice where she represents child abuse victims in Child Protective Services cases. Previously, Minjarez worked as an assistant district attorney in Bexar County.

Ayan Mittra (mod.)

Editor of The Texas Tribune

Mittra oversees the Tribune's newsroom, which includes more than 30 journalists who have won multiple state, regional and national awards. He joined the Tribune in 2012 after more than a decade at The Dallas Morning News, where he worked as a copy editor, assistant political editor and as a night city editor supervising the coverage of late-breaking news. Mittra was also on the editing team for the 2009 and 2011 Texas legislative sessions.

Joe Moody

State Representative

Moody, D-El Paso, has represented House District 78 since 2009. He serves as chair of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, vice chair of the General Investigating & Ethics Committee and sits on the Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee. Previously, Moody served as a prosecutor in the El Paso County District Attorney’s office.

Robert Moore

Editor of the El Paso Times

Moore has been with The El Paso Times since 1986, serving in various editing roles. He spent six years as executive editor of the Fort Collins Coloradoan before returning to The El Paso Times. Moore’s work has focused on investigating public corruption, particularly in public education.

Mike Morath

Texas Education Commissioner

Morath was appointed education commissioner by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016. In this role, he heads the Texas Education Agency, which oversees pre-kindergarten through high school education for more than five million Texas students. Morath has previously served on the Dallas Independent School District board of trustees.

Ken Morgan

Director of the Energy Institute at Texas Christian University

Morgan has served as founder and director of the TCU Energy Institute since 2008. As director, he has established an advisory board of 24 energy companies and started the Texas Metroplex Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium of over 160 companies. Morgan also serves on the board of the Texas Natural Gas Education Foundation and on the Texas Interstate Oil & Gas Commission.

Geanie Morrison

State Representative

Morrison, R-Victoria, has served House District 30 since 1999. She serves as chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee and sits on the Higher Education Committee and the Select Committee on Texas Ports, Innovation & Infrastructure. In the 85th legislative session, Morrison was one of the authors of House Bill 100, which set statewide regulations on ridesharing services.

Andrew Murr

State Representative

Murr, R-Junction, has represented House District 53 since 2014. He serves as vice chairman of the House Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility and sits on the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, Local & Consent Calendars, and Ways & Means committees. Murr is a member of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission and the Texas Judicial Council, which helps counties develop and maintain indigent legal defense systems.

Malcolm Nance

Executive Director of the Terror Asymmetric Project and Counterterrorism & Intelligence Expert for MSNBC

Nance is executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project, a nonprofit virtual defense research institute. He is a career counterterrorism and intelligence officer with over 33 years of experience with the U.S. Navy, Special Operations, Homeland Security and Central Intelligence agencies. Nance has authored several books on counterterrorism and has been a frequent guest policy analyst on several TV networks, including MSNBC.

Valencia Nash

Dallas County Justice of the Peace

Nash has served as Dallas County’s justice of the peace since 2007. Previously, she served as assistant general counsel for the State of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and as the Texas' solid waste enforcement attorney. Nash has also worked as in-house counsel for a construction management company, where she assisted with the City of Atlanta’s Wastewater Systems Improvement Program.

Poncho Nevárez

State Representative

Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, has represented House District 74 since 2013. He serves as vice chair of the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee and sits on the Calendars, General Investigating & Ethics and Natural Resources committees. Nevárez heads his own law firm, the Nevárez Law Group.

Robert Nichols

State Senator

Nichols, R-Jacksonville, has represented Senate District 3 since 2006. He serves as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and sits on the Senate Administration, Business & Commerce, and Finance committees. Prior to joining the Senate, Nichols served as a transportation commissioner for eight years and served as Mayor of Jacksonville.

Ron Nirenberg

Mayor of San Antonio

Nirenberg was elected mayor in June, defeating incumbent Ivy Taylor. Previously, he served on the San Antonio City Council, where he chaired the city’s Quality of Life and City Council Comprehensive Planning committees and served on the board of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Nirenberg also worked as a program director for the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Joe Nocera

Columnist for Bloomberg View

Nocera joined Bloomberg in January after serving as a sports business columnist for The New York Times. He has also written business columns for Esquire and GQ and was the former editorial director of Fortune. Nocera is author of Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA, co-authored with Ben Strauss.

Kate Nocera

Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief for Buzzfeed News

Nocera rejoined Buzzfeed in 2016 after having served as its senior congressional reporter from 2013 to 2015. She briefly stepped away from journalism at SKDKnickerbocker, a strategic communications firm and later as a senior editor in Vox’s branded content department. She covered Congress and health care for Politico after starting her career at The New York Daily News.

Ali Noorani

Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum

Noorani has led the National Immigration Forum since 2008. Previously, he served as executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. Noorani was named a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and, most recently, is the author of There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice.

Jess O’Connell

CEO of the Democratic National Committee

O’Connell was named CEO of the DNC in May 2017 and oversees the Committee’s day-to-day operations and political strategy. Previously, she served as executive director of EMILY’s List and as director of operations for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. O’Connell has also served as chief of staff and senior vice president of the Center for American Progress.

Kim Ogg

Harris County District Attorney

Ogg was elected Harris County District Attorney in 2016, serving as the department’s first Democratic top prosecutor in more than four decades. Previously, she served as chief felony prosecutor in the Harris County DA’s office, as head of Houston’s first Anti-Gang Task Force and as executive director of Crime Stoppers. Ogg has been a practicing attorney for 28 years.

Beto O'Rourke

U.S. Representative

O’Rourke, D-El Paso, has represented Texas’ Congressional District 16 since 2013. He is the vice ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee and is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. O’Rourke announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in March, challenging Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

Pia Orrenius

Vice President and Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Orrenius is a labor economist and researcher focusing on the labor market impacts of immigration and U.S. immigration policy. She is also a senior fellow at the Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. Orrenius previously served as senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers for President George W. Bush.

Chris Paddie

State Representative

Paddie, R-Marshall, has represented House District 9 since 2013. He sits on the House Calendars, Licensing & Administrative Procedures, and State Affairs committees. Paddie authored House Bill 100, which set statewide regulations on ridesharing services. He previously served on the Marshall City Commission and as mayor of Marshall.

Richard Painter

Chief Ethics Lawyer for President George W. Bush's Administration and Vice Chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Painter served as chief ethics lawyer for President Bush from 2005 to 2007. He serves as vice chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit organization of lawyers and researchers focused on campaign finance reform and ethics law. Painter is also a professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota.

Jennifer Palmieri

Former White House Communications Director for President Barack Obama

Palmieri served as communications director for President Obama from 2011 to 2015. Previously, she served as president of the Center for American Progress Action fund. Palmieri also served as director of communications for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and as national press secretary for John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign.

Arif Panju

Managing Attorney – Texas Office at the Institute for Justice

Panju litigates economic liberty, First Amendment, property rights and school choice cases for the Institute of Justice. Previously, he served as an attorney at Cantilo & Bennett LLP and as a constitutional law fellow at the Institute of Justice. Panju’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and The Washington Post.

Annise Parker

Former Mayor of Houston

Parker served as mayor of Houston from 2010 to 2016. Previously, she served on the Houston City Council and was later elected city controller. Parker was one of the co-founders of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, a coalition of U.S. mayors committed to enacting local initiatives to combat climate change.

Mary Anne Piacentini

Executive Director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy

Piacentini oversees the conservancy’s operations and programs, including coordinating land protection initiatives and providing conservation assistance to private landowners. During her tenure, she has helped expand the conservancy from 1,300 acres to over 20,000. Piacentini is also on the board of the Harris County Flood Control District’s Cypress Creek Overflow Committee.

Charles P. Pierce

Writer at Large for Esquire Magazine

Pierce covers politics for Esquire, where he has worked since 2011. His work covering sports and politics has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated and The Chicago Tribune. Pierce is also a regular panelist on NPR’s game show Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.

Jennifer Pizer

Law and Policy Director for Lambda Legal

Pizer joined Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization specializing in LGBTQ rights, in 1996. She has worked on anti-discrimination cases dealing with employment, health care and religious protections. In 2013-14, Pizer co-authored several friend-of-the-court briefs arguing against religious challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision.

Betsy Price

Mayor of Fort Worth

Price was first elected in 2011 to lead the city of Fort Worth. As mayor, she has led initiatives to promote fiscal sustainability and further develop the city’s urban city center. Previously, Price served as Tarrant County’s tax assessor for more than a decade and was a private business owner.

Four Price

State Representative

Price, R-Amarillo, has represented House District 87 since 2010. He serves as chairman of the House Public Health committee, where he oversees matters pertaining to mental health programs and the oversight of the state’s 22 health-related agencies. Price also sits on the General Investigating & Ethics and Natural Resources committees. Price is a licensed attorney working in Amarillo.

Shakira Pumphrey

Executive Director of Just Liberty

Pumphrey leads Just Liberty, a bipartisan coalition advocating for criminal justice reform. Previously, she served as the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition’s first-ever policy director, where she coordinated the organization’s research and policy work. Pumphrey also served as senior policy adviser for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.

Jon Ralston (mod.)

Editor of The Nevada Independent

Ralston has covered Nevada politics for over 30 years. He has written for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Reno Gazette-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun, in addition to running his own political blog, Ralston Reports. Ralston is also a contributing editor at Politico Magazine and regularly appears on MSNBC, Fox News and PBS.

Ross Ramsey (mod.)

Executive Editor at The Texas Tribune

Ramsey is the executive editor and co-founder of the Tribune, where he writes regular columns on politics, government and public policy. Before joining the Tribune, he served as editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly and as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Times Herald. He also served as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications at the state comptroller’s office.

Emily Ramshaw (mod.)

Editor-in-Chief of The Texas Tribune

Ramshaw oversees The Texas Tribune’s editorial, technology, events and audience-building operations. Under her leadership, the Tribune has won a Peabody Award, 10 national Edward R. Murrow Awards and top honors from the Online News Association. She is a member of the board of the Pulitzer Prize. Previously, Ramshaw spent six years as a political and investigative reporter at The Dallas Morning News.

Dan Rather

President and CEO of News and Guts Media

Rather launched News & Guts Media, an independent production company, in 2015. He joined CBS News in 1962, where he spent 24 years as anchor of CBS Evening News and hosted 48 Hours and 60 Minutes. After leaving CBS News, he launched the newsmagazine Dan Rather Reports. Rather is the author of the upcoming book What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism.

Mike Rawlings

Mayor of Dallas

Rawlings was first elected Dallas' mayor in 2011. As mayor, he has led initiatives to increase economic development in southern Dallas and to increase the city’s international profile. Previously, Rawlings served as chairman and managing partner at CIC Partners, a private equity firm, and has also served as chairman of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Richard Peña Raymond

State Representative

Raymond, D-Laredo, has represented House District 42 since 2001. He serves as chairman of the House Human Services Committee and sits on the Health & Human Services Transition Oversight and Ways & Means committees. Previously, he passed legislation that helped to create the Texas Tomorrow Fund, a prepaid college tuition program.

Sudeep Reddy

Managing Editor at POLITICO

Reddy joined POLITICO in January 2017 after a decade in The Wall Street Journal's Washington bureau, where he was an economics editor directing coverage of U.S. and international economic news. Previously, Reddy worked as a Washington correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and covered the energy industry and business issues at the Texas Capitol.

Vikrant Reddy

Senior Research Fellow at the Charles Koch Institute

Reddy specializes in criminal justice policy and research at the Koch Institute. Previously, he served as an analyst for the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice and coordinated the Foundation’s national Right on Crime initiative. Reddy is an attorney in private practice.

Raul Reyes

Mayor of El Cenizo

Reyes has served as head of the city of El Cenizo, located along the U.S.-Mexico border, since 2004. He is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed against the state of Texas’ Senate Bill 4, a 2017 law that seeks to penalize law enforcement officials who do not comply with federal immigration policy.

Cecile Richards

President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Richards joined Planned Parenthood in 2006, where she oversees more than 600 affiliate health centers and advocates for reproductive rights. In 2011, she led a nationwide campaign to preserve Planned Parenthood preventive care through federal programs. Previously, Richards served as deputy chief of staff for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and founded America Votes, a coalition aiming to maximize voter participation.

Frank Rich

Writer at Large for New York Magazine and Executive Producer of HBO’s Veep

Rich has been with New York Magazine since 2011, writing monthly essays on politics and culture. Prior to joining New York Magazine, he worked as an op-ed columnist at the New York Times since 1994 after serving as its chief drama critic. Rich has also worked as creative consultant for HBO since 2008 and is executive producer of "Veep."

Hanadi Rifai

Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Houston

Rifai teaches civil and environmental engineering at the University of Houston. She specializes in groundwater flow and transport modeling, hazardous waste, and urban storm water quality. Rifai is also the co-director of the UH-Rice Severe Storm Prediction, Education & Evacuation from Disasters Center, which convenes faculty and regional experts in flood planning.

Matt Rinaldi

State Representative

Rinaldi, R-Irving, has represented House District 115 since 2015. He sits on the House Agriculture & Livestock and Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence committees. He is also a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Additionally, Rinaldi serves as senior counsel at Dykema Cox Smith and has worked at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Robert Rivard (mod.)

Director of The Rivard Report

Rivard founded the Rivard Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan local news website based in San Antonio, in 2012. Previously, he served as editor and managing editor for the San Antonio Express-News. Rivard also served as a foreign correspondent in Central America for Newsweek magazine and as chief of correspondents, where he oversaw the magazine’s 35 foreign and domestic news bureaus.

Alana Rocha (mod.)

Multimedia Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Rocha joined the Tribune staff as the multimedia reporter after working eight years in television and radio news. She has covered politics for stations in Florida and Kansas, and was most recently YNN’s lead political reporter in Austin. Rocha received bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish from the University of Florida.

Eddie Rodriguez

State Representative

Rodriguez, D-Austin, has represented House District 51 since 2003. He sits on the House Environmental Regulation, Redistricting, and State Affairs committees. He is also chairman of the House Farm-to-Table Caucus and vice chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. Additionally, Rodriguez serves on the boards of the Capital Area Council of Governments and the Alliance for Public Transportation.

José Rodríguez

State Senator

Rodríguez, D-El Paso, has represented Senate District 29, which includes more than 350 miles of the Texas-Mexico border, since 2011. He serves as vice chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs Committee and sits on the Natural Resources & Economic Development, Transportation, and Veteran Affairs & Border Security committees. Rodríguez also serves as chairman of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus.

Justin Rodriguez

State Representative

Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, has represented House District 125 since 2013. He sits on the House Appropriations, Pensions, and Texas Ports, Innovation & Infrastructure committees. Previously, he served on the San Antonio City Council and on the San Antonio ISD Board of Trustees. Rodriguez works as an attorney, focusing on education policy issues.

Jay Root (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Root is an award-winning journalist and author of Oops! A Diary from the 2012 Campaign Trail, an insider’s account of Rick Perry’s gaffe-filled run for president. Since 2011, Root has been a senior political and investigative reporter at the Texas Tribune. Last year Root oversaw the Tribune’s award-winning Bordering on Insecurity project, a yearlong series of stories and multimedia focused on the hot-button issues of border security and immigration.

Toni Rose

State Representative

Rose, D-Dallas, has represented House District 110 since 2012. She sits on the House Appropriations, Calendars and Human Services Committees. She also serves on the Health & Human Services Transition Oversight Committee and is treasurer of the Texas House Democratic Caucus. Rose has served on various city of Dallas Boards and Commissions and is a mental health professional.

Avik Roy

Opinion Editor for Forbes and Founder of The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity

Roy is the author of Transcending Obamacare. In 2016, he helped form The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, a think tank devoted to expanding economic opportunity to low-income individuals. Previously, he worked as a policy adviser for three presidential candidates: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Chip Roy

Director of the Center for the Tenth Amendment Action at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Roy directs the Center for the Tenth Amendment Action, which researches the constitutional balance between states and the federal government. Previously, he served as the first assistant attorney general of Texas and as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Roy also worked as a special assistant U.S. attorney and led Texas' Office of State-Federal Relations.

Jim Rutenberg (mod.)

Media Columnist for the New York Times

Rutenberg has served as The Times’ media columnist since 2016 after serving as the chief political correspondent for the New York Times Magazine. He has also worked as a media reporter, White House correspondent and City Hall bureau chief since joining The Times in 2000. Previously, Rutenberg wrote for the New York Daily News and New York Post.

Jonathan Saenz

President of Texas Values

Saenz heads Texas Values, a nonprofit group dedicated to advancing a culture of family values in Texas. He assisted in the passage of Texas laws to protect religious liberty and Bible curriculum in public schools. Previously, Saenz was the director of legislative affairs and an attorney for the Liberty Institute.

Rey Saldaña

San Antonio City Council Member

Saldaña has represented Council District 4 since 2011. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and as chief engagement officer for KIPP San Antonio. Saldaña has worked on several education initiatives, including organizing the Books in the Barrio effort to attract and maintain a bookstore in South San Antonio.

Carlos Sanchez

Executive Editor of The McAllen Monitor

Sanchez joined The Monitor as editor in 2013 after serving as managing editor of the Baton Rouge bureau of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Previously, he worked as executive editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald for almost 10 years and also worked in the newsrooms of the Austin American-Statesman, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Washington Post.

Ronny Sandoval

Director of Grid Modernization for the Environmental Defense Fund

Sandoval manages the Environmental Defense Fund’s grid modernization efforts and works with national and regional energy stakeholders to maximize opportunities for clean energy adoption. Previously, he worked for the energy firm Con Edison, where he led energy efficiency efforts and oversaw the safe operation of its transmission and distribution systems. Sandoval has held management positions in Con Edison’s electric, gas, and steam organizations.

Andrew Sansom

Executive Director of the The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

Sansom is executive director of the Meadows Center at Texas State University. He oversees university policy and research related to freshwater resources and administers the Center’s freshwater environmental education program. Sansom is the founder of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and previously served as the executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Nature Conservancy.

Neena Satija (mod.)

Investigative Reporter and Producer for The Texas Tribune and Reveal

Satija works for the Tribune and Reveal, a public radio program from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Previously, she was the environment reporter for the Tribune. Satija has also worked for a number of East Coast news outlets, including the New Haven Independent, the Connecticut Mirror and WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio.

Matt Schaefer

State Representative

Schaefer, R-Tyler, has represented House District 6 since 2013. He sits on the House Corrections and Homeland Security & Public Safety committees and is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Previously, he served as director of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's regional office in Tyler. Schaefer is also a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Steve Schmidt

Republican Political Strategist

Schmidt is a veteran Republican political strategist. He served as a top strategist for President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign and in his administration as his deputy assistant. Schmidt also worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign; Woody Harrelson played him in the HBO film Game Change.

Kel Seliger

State Senator

Seliger, R-Amarillo, has represented Senate District 31 since 2004. He serves as chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and sits on the Finance, Education, and Natural Resources & Economic Development committees. Before joining the Legislature, Seliger served four terms as mayor of Amarillo.

Walter Shaub

Senior Director of Ethics at the Campaign Legal Center and Former Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics

Shaub was appointed director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics by President Obama in 2013. Previously, he served as the office’s deputy general counsel and also as a supervisory attorney. Shaub also worked as an attorney focusing on federal employment law for a private firm. In July 2017, Shaub joined the Campaign Legal Center, which specializes in election law.

Jessica Shortall

Managing Director of Texas Competes

Shortall leads a coalition of more than 1,200 Texas employers and chambers of commerce advocating an economic case for Texas to adopt a more welcoming approach to LGBTQ issues. Previously, she co-founded The Campus Kitchens Project, a food rescue and hunger relief nonprofit, and served as the first director of giving at TOMS Shoes.

Ron Simmons

State Representative

Simmons, R-Carrollton, has represented House District 65 since 2012. He sits on the House Appropriations, Local & Consent Calendars and Transportation committees. During the 85th legislative session, Simmons authored a bill to ban cities and school districts from enacting trans-inclusive policies for bathrooms, showers or changing facilities.

Ryan Sitton

Texas Railroad Commissioner

Sitton was elected to his first term on the Railroad Commission in 2014. He is the co-founder of Pinnacle Advanced Reliability Technologies, an engineering and technology company focused on programs for the oil, gas and petrochemical industry. Sitton has also served on the board of the Texas A&M University Energy Institute.

Andy Slavitt

Acting Administrator of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services under President Barack Obama

Slavitt oversaw Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Health Insurance Marketplace programs under President Obama. He currently serves as senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center, specializing in health policy. Previously, Slavitt spent 10 years working at UnitedHealth Group, serving as the executive vice president for Optum, a health services and innovation group.

Morgan Smith (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Smith is an investigative reporter at the Tribune, where she recently completed a multi-part series on child sex trafficking. Previously she covered public education, including school finance reform and accountability and testing in Texas public schools. Smith’s political coverage has included four legislative sessions, congressional and legislative races, as well as Gov. Rick Perry's first presidential campaign.

Sierra Smith

Baylor University Student and Advocate for Sexual Assault Survivors

Smith is a junior at Baylor University. She is an advocate for reforming the handling of sexual assault cases at Texas colleges and universities. In April, Smith shared her story as a sexual assault survivor before the House Higher Education Committee, testifying in favor a bill that aimed to prevent accused students from transferring schools without a record of their disciplinary violation.

Burt Solomons

Former State Representative

Solomons is a real estate attorney and former member of the Texas House. While in the Legislature, he represented North Texas’ District 65 from 1995 to 2013 and served as chairman of the House Redistricting Committee. Solomons is also a former municipal judge for the cities of Carrollton, Lewisville and Flower Mound.

Michael Sorrell

President of Paul Quinn College

Sorrell has served as president of Paul Quinn College since 2007. During his tenure, the college was named the historically black college or university (HBCU) of the year and Sorrell was recognized as HBCU Male President of the Year. Prior to his appointment, he was a member of the college’s board of directors. Sorrell has worked as a lawyer and a public affairs consultant.

Todd Staples

President of the Texas Oil & Gas Association

Staples has led the Texas and Oil & Gas Association, the state’s oldest and largest oil and gas trade association, since 2014. Previously, he served two terms as Texas agriculture commissioner. Staples was also a member of the Texas House and Senate and a member of the Palestine City Council.

Ken Starr

Former Solicitor General of the United States

Starr is a lawyer and judge who served as solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush, where he supervised and conducted government litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court. In the 1990s, he was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Whitewater controversy during President Bill Clinton’s tenure. Starr also served as President of Baylor University from 2010 to 2016.

Michael Steele

Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland

Steele served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2009 to 2011, where he led the committee during the 2010 congressional elections in which Republicans picked up the greatest number of congressional seats since 1938. He also served as Maryland’s lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007. Steele currently works as a political analyst for MSNBC and is author of Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda.

Eli Stokols

White House Reporter for The Wall Street Journal

Stokols joined The Wall Street Journal in April 2017, where he covers the Trump administration. Previously, he spent two years as a national political reporter for Politico, covering the 2016 Republican primaries. Stokols covered Colorado politics for KDVR-TV, a Fox affiliate based in Denver. He is a frequent contributor to MSNBC, Fox, and NPR.

Joe Straus

Speaker of the Texas House

Straus, R-San Antonio, was elected in 2005 to represent House District 121 and has served as speaker since 2009. He is joint chairman of the Legislative Budget Board, the Legislative Audit Committee and the Texas Legislative Council. Prior to his election, Straus served on numerous campaigns for federal, state and local candidates.

Patrick Svitek (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Svitek covers politics for the Tribune. Previously, he worked for the Houston Chronicle’s Austin bureau and interned at The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Huffington Post Politics and the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Svitek is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Aliyya Swaby (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Swaby covers public education for the Tribune. She joined the Tribune in October 2016 from the hyperlocal nonprofit New Haven Independent, where she covered education, zoning and transit for two years. After graduating from Yale University in 2013, Swaby spent a year freelance reporting in Panama on social issues affecting black Panamanian communities.

Kara Swisher

Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Recode and Host of the “Recode Decode” Podcast

Swisher is executive editor of Recode, a technology news site, and host of the weekly Recode Decode technology podcast. She co-founded Revere Digital, the previous owner of Recode, and co-produced and co-hosted D: All Things Digital, the Wall Street Journal’s high-tech conference. Previously, Swisher worked in the San Francisco bureau of the Wall Street Journal and authored the BoomTown column.

Charlie Sykes

Radio Talk Show Host and Host of the Indivisible Podcast

Sykes is a contributor at MSNBC and a prominent conservative political commentator. He hosted a daily talk radio show for 23 years, leaving to join Indivisible, a national radio show about America in a time of change produced by WNYC. Sykes is also founder and editor in chief of Right Wisconsin, a conservative political analysis and commentary website.

Mustafa Tameez

Founder & Managing Director at Outreach Strategists

Tameez currently serves as managing director for Outreach Strategists, a global communications and public affairs firm. Previously, he served as a consultant to the Department of Homeland Security, specializing in countering violent extremism. In 2014, Tameez partnered with local Muslim leaders in Houston to create a community-based plan for combating extremism and promoting resiliency and engagement within the community.

Melinda Taylor

Executive Director of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business at the University of Texas Law School

Taylor is a senior lecturer and executive director of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business. Taylor joined the faculty of the University of Texas Law School in January 2006. Previously, she served as director of the Ecosystem Restoration Program of Environmental Defense and as deputy general counsel of the National Audubon Society in Washington, D.C.

Van Taylor

State Senator

Taylor, R-Plano, has represented Senate District 8 since 2015. He serves as vice chairman of the Senate Nominations Committee and sits on the Finance, Health & Human Services, Transportation and Education committees. Previously, he served in the Texas House. Taylor also works as the director of Churchill Capital Company, a real estate financing firm, and manages other small businesses.

Shawn Thierry

State Representative

Thierry, D-Houston, is currently serving her first term representing House District 146. She sits on the House County Affairs and Juvenile Justice & Family Issues committees. In the 85th legislative session, Thierry pushed for legislation to require the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to study the disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality among African American women.

Chris Tomlinson (mod.)

Business Columnist for the Houston Chronicle

Tomlinson has written commentary on business, energy and economics for the Houston Chronicle since 2014. Previously, he spent 20 years with The Associated Press reporting on politics, conflicts and economics from more than 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Tomlinson also served in the U.S. Army as a military intelligence officer.

Karen Tumulty

National Political Correspondent for The Washington Post

Tumulty covers national politics for The Washington Post, where she has been since 2010. She previously served as national political correspondent for TIME Magazine, where she spent 15 years writing or co-writing more than three-dozen cover stories. Tumulty also worked for the Los Angeles Times, covering Congress, business, and economics.

Katy Tur

NBC Correspondent and Anchor for MSNBC Live

Tur is a correspondent for NBC News and an anchor of MSNBC Live. She was assigned to cover Donald Trump during the 2016 election and spent more than 16 months reporting from across the country. Tur is the author of the upcoming book "Unbelievable," her first-hand account of covering the Trump campaign.

Chris Turner

State Representative

Turner, D-Grand Prairie, has represented House District 101 since 2013. He also served as the district’s representative from 2009 to 2011. He sits on the House Higher Education, Insurance and General Investigating & Ethics committees, as well as the Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility. He also serves as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.Turner also works as a communications consultant.

Sylvester Turner

Mayor of Houston

Turner was elected Houston’s mayor in 2015. Previously, he served in the Texas House for more than 20 years. In the Legislature, he served three terms as Speaker Pro Tem and on the Legislative Budget Board. In 2017, Turner worked with the Legislature to develop and pass a bill to overhaul the city’s troubled pension fund.

Alexa Ura (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Ura covers politics and demographics, with an emphasis on the state’s surging Hispanic population. She also covers LGBT issues at the Tribune, where she started as a reporting fellow in 2013. Ura has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Beth Van Duyne

Southwest Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Van Duyne was appointed by President Trump to serve as a HUD regional administrator in May 2017. Previously, she served as mayor of Irving. Van Duyne was a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Advisory Board, the Texas Municipal League and the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Jessica Vaughan

Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies

Vaughan has been with the Center for Immigration Studies since 1992, where she specializes in immigration policy and operations. She covers topics including visa programs, immigration benefits and immigration law enforcement, and advises state lawmakers and agencies on immigration issues. Vaughan previously served as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, serving in Belgium and Trinidad & Tobago.

Filemon Vela

U.S. Representative

Vela, D-Brownsville, has represented Texas’ Congressional District 34 since 2013. He sits on the House Agriculture and Homeland Security committees and serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Border Caucus. Previously, Vela served as an attorney in both state and federal courts in South Texas for more than 20 years.

Peggy Venable

Senior Visiting Fellow for the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Education Freedom

Venable specializes in education policy for the TPPF. She served as the first White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Education under President Reagan and served on the board for the Texas Center for Education Research. Venable is also founder of the Red Apple Project, which advocates for transparency and accountability in public education as well as school choice.

Jason Villalba

State Representative

Villalba, R-Dallas, has represented House District 114 since 2013. He sits on the House Business & Industry and Economic & Small Business Development committees. He is founder of the Freshman Delegation, a bipartisan group dedicated to building relationships through the legislative process. Villalba has also been a partner at Haynes and Boone, a Dallas law firm.

Edgar Walters (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Walters is an investigative reporter for The Texas Tribune, where he started as an intern in 2013. Previously, he had a political reporting fellowship with the Berliner Zeitung, a daily newspaper in Berlin. He is a graduate of the Plan II Honors Program at The University of Texas at Austin, where he worked as an editor for The Daily Texan.

Matthew Watkins (mod.)

Reporter for The Texas Tribune

Watkins writes about higher education and the business of college sports for the Tribune. Previously, he covered local government as the Dallas County government reporter at The Dallas Morning News and was a staff writer at the Bryan-College Station Eagle, covering a variety of topics, including natural disasters and college football games.

Kirk Watson

State Senator

Watson has represented Senate District 14 since 2007. He serves as vice chairman of the Senate Nominations Committee and sits on the Finance, Health & Human Services and Higher Education committees. In the 85th legislative session, Watson authored multiple campus sexual assault protection bills.

Ben Wear (mod.)

Transportation Reporter for the Austin American-Statesman

Wear covers transportation for the Statesman, where he has worked since 1994 and held the transportation beat since 2003. He also teaches journalism as an adjunct professor at Austin Community College.

Lou Weaver

Transgender Programs Coordinator for Equality Texas

Weaver is an advocate for transgender Texans and a prominent activist in Houston’s LGBTQ community. His advocacy has focused on trans health care issues and providing guidance to local law enforcement. Weaver joined Equality Texas in 2016 and is a part of the organization’s Texas TransVisible Project, a public education campaign. He also serves as co-chairman of the city of Houston’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.

Michael Webber

Deputy Director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin

Webber is the Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources and an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the co-director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator. Webber’s research focuses on policy and technology as they relate to energy and the environment.

Jacob Weisberg

Chairman and Editor in Chief of The Slate Group and Co-Host of Trumpcast

Weisberg is chairman and editor in chief of The Slate Group, which includes Slate magazine and Panoply. He is also the creator and host of Slate’s Trumpcast. He joined Slate as chief political correspondent in 1996. Weisberg is the author of several books, including the 2008 New York Times bestseller The Bush Tragedy, and his latest, a 2016 biography of Ronald Reagan.

James White

State Representative

White, R-Woodville, has represented House District 19 since 2010. He serves as chairman of the House Corrections Committee and sits on the International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. Previously, White served as an instructor at the U.S. Infantry School and a professor of government at Angelina College.

Hank Whitman

Commissioner for the Department of Family and Protective Services

Whitman was appointed commissioner by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016 to reform and repair the state’s foster care system. Previously, he spent 22 years with the Texas Department of Public Safety, serving as chief of the Texas Rangers. Whitman also served as president of Whitman Consulting, specializing in security consulting and private investigations.

Charley Wilkison

Executive Director of the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas

Wilkison has served as executive director of CLEAT since 2014, where he oversees the largest law enforcement officers’ union and legal services provider in Texas. In this role, he manages the organization’s legislative efforts and serves as its chief lobbyist. Previously, Wilkison worked in the Texas Legislature.

Larry Wilmore

Comedian and Host of the “Black on the Air” Podcast

Wilmore has been a producer, actor, comedian and writer for more than 25 years. Previously, he hosted The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central and was an executive producer for ABC’s Black-ish. Wilmore currently serves as host of Black on the Air, a podcast premiering on The Ringer.

Mike Wilson

Editor of the Dallas Morning News

Wilson has served as editor of the Dallas Morning News since 2015. Previously he worked for ESPN, where he helped launch the data website FiveThirtyEight, the Tampa Bay Times, where he eventually became managing editor, and the Miami Herald.

Rick Wilson

Republican Political Strategist and CEO of Intrepid Media

Wilson is a Republican political strategist and media consultant. He has produced television ads for several gubernatorial and Senate candidates, as well as superPACs and corporations. He is also a columnist for The Daily Beast, where he covers national politics. Wilson’s work has been featured in Politico, The New York Daily News and The Federalist.

Paul Workman

State Representative

Workman, R-Austin, has represented House District 47 since 2011. He sits on the House Business & Industry and Natural Resources committees and the Subcommittee on Special Water Districts. Previously, he served 10 years in the U.S. Army Reserves. Workman is also the founder of Austin-based Workman Commercial Construction Services, Ltd.

Lawrence Wright

Staff Writer at The New Yorker

Wright is an author, screenwriter, and playwright who joined The New Yorker in 1992. He is the author of "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," which was translated into 24 languages and won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. He also co-produced HBO’s Emmy award-winning documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief."

Gene Wu

State Representative

Wu, D-Houston, has represented House District 137 since 2013. He sits on the House Appropriations and Human Services committees. In the 85th legislative session, Wu co-authored and passed House Bill 7, a CPS overhaul bill reforming court processes and procedure for child welfare suits. He is also an attorney in private practice, representing children and parents in CPS cases.

John Zerwas

State Representative

Zerwas, R-Richmond, has represented House District 28 since 2007. He was named chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for the 85th legislative session after serving eight years on the committee. Zerwas also previously served as chairman of the Higher Education Committee. He has worked as a physician in private practice for more than 30 years.