Read the latest news about Texas A&M's Advocacy Network
Read the latest news about Texas A&M's Advocacy Network
Howdy, Advocates!
With the fall semester completed, it has continued to be a busy time in Aggieland as more than 5,000 students earned their diplomas, and were welcomed into The Association of Former Students this December. Congratulations to these new former students!
In this newsletter, you will read more about the FUTURE Act, 20th anniversary of Bonfire, state interim charges, and a new home for Union Pacific 4141.
As always, thank you for your willingness to be an advocate for Texas A&M. Please feel free to contact me at (979) 307-5641 or
I look forward to working with all of the Advocates in 2020. I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and safe travels this holiday season! 

Gig ’em,

Jordyn Senkirik '17
Director of Strategic Engagement


On December 10, Congress overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2486, the “FUTURE Act,” The bill permanently reauthorizes $255 million in annual funding to historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions. Further, the measure would also streamline the FAFSA application process by allowing the IRS to share taxpayer information directly with the Education Department and would provide additional funding for the Pell Grant program. The measure now goes to the president’s desk, and he has indicated he intends to sign it. Seventeen members of the Texas Congressional delegation voted in favor of the bill, seventeen voted against, and two did not vote. To see how your member of Congress voted, click here. The bill passed by unanimous consent in the Senate. 

Appropriations Update

With the current Continuing Resolution (CR) set to expire at midnight on Friday, Dec. 20, we are hearing that Congressional Appropriators appear to be closing in on a deal that will fully fund the government in FY20, avoiding either a government shutdown, or another CR. On Tuesday, the House passed the CR, and now the CR needs to be passed in the Senate and signed by the President by 11:59 pm on Friday night. Should a deal ultimately be reached, in our next update we will let you know what that means for Texas A&M. 

'We Remember'

The lives of 12 Aggies who died in the Bonfire collapse were honored by thousands who gathered at the site early Monday, Nov. 18, the 20th anniversary of the tragedy. The Remembrance Ceremony — which included the crowd singing the Spirit of Aggieland and a solemn version of the Aggie War Hymn — drew current and former students, as well as first-responders and staff members from Texas A&M University.
Learn more about the Remembrance Ceremony here.

After Treating 6,000 Animals In Need, VET Team Has Good Reason To Celebrate 

The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) is having its 10th anniversary next month, and the one-of-a-kind unit has plenty of reasons to celebrate: it’s treated more than 6,000 animals during numerous disaster situations and provided immeasurable relief to their owners. The VET is the country’s largest and most sophisticated disaster response veterinary team, providing medical support to animals in need as a result of natural or man-made disasters.

Read more about the VET here

Governor Abbott Announces Retirement of Tommy Williams ′78 

Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the retirement of his Senior Advisor, Tommy Williams '78, from the Office of the Governor. Williams joined the Office of the Governor in 2017, and has served as a trusted confidant on a variety of fiscal matters, including the pivotal school finance and property tax legislation enacted during the 86th Legislative Session. His last day with the Office of the Governor will be Dec. 31, 2019.
Read more about this here

Governor Abbott Names Sarah Hicks ′99 as Policy and Budget Director

Gov. Abbott announced changes to his senior staff, naming Sarah Hicks ′99 as Director of Policy and Budget for the Office of the Governor. Hicks has served as the Budget Director since she joined the Office of the Governor in 2017. 
Read more about this here.

Union Pacific 4141 To Be Permanently Displayed at Bush Library 

The funeral train that carried President George H.W. Bush last December to his final resting place on the Texas A&M campus will be put on permanent display on the grounds of his presidential library. Union Pacific 4141, painted blue, gray and white to mirror the colors of Air Force 1, was brought to College Station for the announcement.

Read more about this here.

Gates discusses career achievements in United States government and at Texas A&M

Former Texas A&M President and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates joined Dean of the Bush School Mark Welsh in Rudder Theatre on Nov. 13 for a discussion about his decades of public service.

The event offered insight into Gates’ many achievements throughout his career. In addition to his roles running A&M and the Department of Defense, some of Gates’ most notable credits include director of the CIA and interim director of the Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Read more about this here

Interim Charges Released for Texas House and Senate Committees 

Both the Texas House and Senate released the interim charges following the 86th Regular Session. These charges focus on the implementation of legislation passed earlier this year, and reflect on issues and priorities that have been requested for the 2021 legislative session. 

Read more about the interim charges for the Texas House here and the Texas Senate here

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