24 Austin speakers you're going to want to see at the Texas Tribune Festival, Sept. 22-24

On Tuesday, The Texas Tribune released its list of speakers for its 2017 Texas Tribune Festival. With more than 60 sessions and 250 speakers featured, the following will take their place on the stage to talk about important issues:

Austin stakeholders



  • Art Acevedo, who currently serves as the chief of the Houston Police Department, and recently ended his time as the Austin Police Department's chief, will discuss how to police in large metropolises.

  • Mayor Steve Adler will sit on a panel discussing what cities can be doing to address climate change.

  • H.W. Brands, who serves as the presidential historian and Jack S. Blanton Sr. chair in history at the University of Texas, will join other historians and Dan Rather in talking about how the Trump presidency is doing in its first year.

  • Will Conley, a Hays County Commissioner, will talk about how Texas must adapt its transportation infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the population.

  • John-Michael Cortez, who serves as the special assistant to Adler, will speak to long commute times in big urban centers.

  • Paul Cruz, Austin ISD superintendent, and Steve Flores, Round Rock ISD superintendent, will sit on a panel together to discuss testing and accountability as it relates to preparing students for the future.

  • Sarah Eckhardt, Travis County judge, will talk about how to grapple with local control in a time where it has become a controversy.


State elected officials



  • Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, will speak in a session on the impact of the "sanctuary city" law's passage and its impending effect.

  • Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, will weigh in on whether religious refusals related to are constitutional related to foster care and same sex marriages.

  • Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, will sit on a panel about the challenges in fixing school finance.

  • Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, will join other speakers to discuss water as a resource in Texas and the challenges it brings to the state.

  • Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, will speak to transportation woes related to heavy traffic in big cities.

  • Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, will address the embattled Congressional district maps and the fight over voter identification.

  • Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, will talk about how to properly address sexual assault on college campuses.

  • Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, will talk annexation after proposing a number of related bills to limit a city's power to annex in the special session.


State government chiefs



  • James Bass, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, will talk about how Texas should update transportation infrastructure to meet the needs of a quickly growing population.

  • George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush and a Texas land commissioner, will discuss how his time served in the military prepared him for his time in public office.

  • Wendy Davis, former state senator and candidate for governor against Gov. Greg Abbott, will discuss whether Democrats have any chance at gaining ground in 2018.

  • Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, will discuss how to make justice more equitable through indigent defense and bail reform.

  • Glenn Hegar, a former Texas senator and current Texas comptroller, will sit down in a one-on-one interview to discuss a number of topics, including the best use for the Rainy Day Fund.

  • Lisa Hollier, the chairwoman of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, will discuss why so many mothers are dying and potential solutions to the crisis

  • Mike Morath, the Texas education commissioner, will participate in a one-on-one interview to discuss ways to improve the Texas public school system.


National elected officials



  • Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will cap off the festival in a sit-down interview about how Texas is represented in D.C. and the state of the Republican party.


Registration is now open for the festival, with tickets ranging from $50-$2,500. You can view the full program here.

Community Impact Newspaper is a media partner for the 2017 Texas Tribune Festival held Sept. 22-24 on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Join us for three days of debate, dialogue and discussion with more than 250 industry leaders and lawmakers. Learn more at www.texastribune.org/festival


MOST RECENT

The Austin City Council is set to meet May 6 to go over a 70-item agenda. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Votes on revamped APD cadet academy, possible shift in homeless strategy on tap May 6

Council may look to the possibility of establishing designated campgrounds for the Austin's homeless this spring, with a citywide public camping ban set to go into effect May 11.

Heidi Sloan will assume the position of head of school on July 1. (Courtesy St. Michael's Catholic Academy)
St. Michael’s Catholic Academy announces new head of school

As director of academics, Sloan spearheaded the school’s Winter Term program—a global travel internship program currently in its sixth year.

building
WellMed clears next hurdle, gaining permit for proposed South Austin clinic and senior center

Sunset Valley will still have to approve a future building permit for the project later this year.

Austin City Council will vote on whether to reboot the police department's training academy May 6. (Courtesy Austin Police Department)
Benchmarks for 'reimagined' APD cadet academy on track ahead of City Council commencement vote

Training of the Austin Police Department's 144th cadet class could get underway next month following an overhaul of the academy's instructional process and curriculum.

Photo of a gloved hand holding a vaccine vial with the words "vaccine news" superimposed
Austin-area health officials prep for vaccines to open to kids 12 and up

Austin-Travis County interim Health Authority Mark Escott said he expects the FDA to authorize Pfizer's vaccine for kids 12 and up within a week.

The ACC Pinnacle campus has been closed since the spring of 2018 due to required maintenance of the out-dated facility. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Community College to negotiate lease of Pinnacle campus, prohibiting concrete batch plant use

Trustees revised a previous action to negotiate a lease agreement with the contractors of the Oak Hill Parkway project in Southwest Austin.

New penalties for camping and several other activities will be enforced after the May 1 election is certified and Proposition B's homeless ordinances are in effect. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
With Proposition B's passage, Austin City Council looks to solidify homelessness summit goals, may consider designated campgrounds

The city may look to the concept of temporary designated campsites to house individuals experiencing homelessness after a new camping ban enacted through Proposition B goes into effect.

Photo of hands in purple gloves prepared a vaccine vial
As Travis County receives fewer vaccines this week, state asks for 'one more big push' in distribution

The Texas Department of State Health Services is shifting its distribution model for vaccines moving forward.

Voters line up at the Carver branch of the Austin Public Library on May 1. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin May 1 election: See the results from all eight propositions

Nearly 60% of city voters supported Proposition B, which will reinstate criminal penalties for camping, solicitation and sitting or lying down in certain public areas.

Dripping Springs residents could vote in two City Council races May 1. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Dripping Springs election: Final voting results are in for City Council, DSISD races

The Dripping Springs area has elected three new officials to public office, while two additional incumbents will hold onto their positions.