Newsletter from the Texas A&M Advocacy Network
Newsletter from the Texas A&M Advocacy Network

A Letter from the Director

Howdy, and welcome to the post-special session edition of our Advocacy Network newsletter. I am thrilled to be a member of  The Association's team and look forward to serving our University and its former students.
In some form or fashion, all Texans have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, and Texas’s colleges and universities are no exception. As recently expressed in the Texas Tribune: “Texas universities have been on the front lines of Hurricane Harvey in many different ways since the storm hit. Some schools, like The University of Houston and UT’s Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, found themselves in the eye of the storm, bruised and battered, but unbroken.”  Over 177,00 Aggies - both current and former students - live in areas that were impacted by the hurricane.  We wish everyone a speedy recovery and a brighter future.
In this edition of the newsletter you will hear from The Association of Former Students' President and CEO, read about a dedicated Texas Legislator as part of our Aggie Spotlight Series, receive some news about an important new role for our Chancellor, read a brief wrap-up of the 85th Legislature’s Special Session, and be reminded of just one of the ways in which Aggies demonstrate selfless service.
Although higher education was not part of the special session debates in the House and Senate, the issues surrounding state funding for colleges and universities will most likely re-occur during the 2018 election cycle and into the 86th session.  Texas public universities continue to face the “perfect storm” of funding cuts as a result of the reduction of state-provided resources, proposed tuition freezes, and actual and potential reductions in federal funding.  In addition, national polling reveals a sharp divide along the political spectrum regarding the perception of universities, as well as the “value” (both in terms of cost and future earnings potential) of higher education.  These issues will continue to permeate the debate.
Even in the interim, it’s important to stay informed on the issues surrounding higher education, as well as the politicians and policy makers who have a direct effect on our university.  Your continued support and advocacy is vital.
Thanks and Gig ’Em,
Dave Fujimoto ’17, Lt Col, USAF, Ret.
Director of Strategic Engagement
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In Times Of Crisis, Aggies Come Together

from Porter S. Garner III '79
President and CEO 

September 1, 2017
For the last week, the Texas Gulf Coast and parts of Louisiana have dealt with unprecedented devastation in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. More than 11 million people, including potentially 177,000 Aggies, found themselves in Harvey’s path, with many of them suffering significantly. People who have generously helped others in the past now find themselves in need of help.
To Learn more about the Aggie Reponse to Harvey, click here:
President Michael K Young standing in Harvey Relief Efforts #BTHOHarvey Team

Aggie Spotlight: The Honorable Christopher 'Chris' Paddie '96

Chris Paddie was born in Center, Texas and raised in Carthage.  He graduated from Carthage High School and went on to graduate from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Distribution. 
After graduation, Chris moved to Houston where he worked selling safety equipment and industrial products. Chris worked with numerous businesses, ranging from small businesses to national corporations, to provide efficient and affordable solutions for construction projects. While in Houston, Chris married Brooke Hanszen '97, his high school sweetheart.
Chris and Brooke returned home to East Texas and settled in Marshall, where Chris became the general manager of the KMHT radio station.
Chris was elected to the Marshall City Commission in 2008.  Chris was selected by his colleagues to be Mayor of Marshall. On the Commission and as Mayor, Chris was known for his honesty, steadfast leadership and his strong conservative values, as well as his ability to work with all parties.

Chris was first elected to the Texas House, District 9, in November 2012 and was reelected to a second term in November 2014.  Chris has earned the support of a wide range of groups including Texas Alliance for Life, Texas Medical Association, Texas Association of Manufacturers, Association of Texas Professional Educators, Texas Association of Realtors, the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas, and Texas Parent PAC, amongst others. 

This session, Chris was appointed to the State Affairs; Licensing and Administrative Procedures; and Calendars Committees; and the Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Regulation.
In his second session, Chris has been appointed as the Vice Chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee as well as to the Transportation and House Administration Committees.  He was also appointed to the Transportation Subcommittee on Long-term Infrastructure Planning and the Select Committee on Federal Environmental Regulation.
In his freshman session, Chris was appointed to serve on the House Energy Resources Committee and the House Land and Resource Management Committee.  He is also the House of Representatives appointee to the Texas Bioenergy Policy Counsel.  Chris has previously been appointed to the Joint Committee on Coastal Barrier Systems, the House Energy Subcommittee on Seismic Activity, and the Select Committee on Health Care Education and Training.
Chris is a member of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the Texas Energy Caucus, the Young Texans Legislative Caucus, a member of the TEA Party Caucus, the Texas Tourism Caucus and the Fine Arts Caucus.
For his work in the 85th Legislature, Chris was named as one of the Top 10 Legislators by Texas Monthly and an Exemplary Conservative for Transportation and an overall Effective Conservative by the Conservative Roundtable of Texas.  
Chris has previously been honored as a Courageous Conservative by the Texas Conservative Coalition and as a Lone Star Conservative Leader by the Texas Conservative Roundtable.  He has also been named a Champion of Free Enterprise by the Texas Association of Business and one of the Best in the House by the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas.
Chris is a former Chairman of the Texas Association of Broadcasters.  He has also previously served as the Chairman of the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce and on the board of directors for the Marshall Harrison County Literacy Council, the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Pines (past president), and Junior Achievement for East Texas.
Chris and Brooke have two sons, Christopher, 16, and Noah, 13.  Chris and his family attend the Immanuel Baptist Church in Marshall.

Chancellor John Sharp Appointed to lead Harvey rebuilding effort

'Meet the Chair of the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas'
As Hurricane Harvey washed onto the Texas shore last month, flooding streets and toppling buildings, John Sharp '72 stayed up late into the night working the phones. 
The chancellor of The Texas A&M University System had no official role to play at that moment. But in his usual restless manner, he wanted to check on his old friends and his childhood home in Victoria County.
The friends were safe, and the woman who lives in his old house told him it survived even though "the wind went right through it,” Sharp recalled.
To read more, click on the picture on the right!
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Recap for the 85th Legislature's Special Session

When the 85th Legislature ended its regular session, it was certain that the Governor would call them back for an additional session. After a 49-day "cooling off" period, the special session began on June 16. Governor Greg Abbott initiated the deliberations by sharing his 20 item agenda which consisted of many topics including: local property tax regulation, bathroom restrictions, texting-while-driving bans, and school finance reforms. Members of both the House and Senate also had their own agenda based on legislation that was not completed during the regular session. The special session ended on August 15, just one day shy of the 30-day limit, with nine out of the twenty items on the Governor’s agenda passing through both chambers.
The types of legislation that triggered Governor Abbot to initiate the special session are known as ‘Sunset Bills.’ The Texas Constitution requires that all of its 150 state agencies be reviewed periodically by the Sunset Advisory Commission. At the conclusion of the 85th regular session, certain agencies (including the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Medical Board) had not received votes to "continue" their existence. Governor Abbott notified the Legislature that these bills were a ‘must-pass’ before any of his agenda items were to be debated. The Texas Senate approved all of the necessary sunset bills on midnight of July 20.
During every Legislative session in Austin, thousands of bills are filed within the House and Senate. Overall, the 85th Legislature was able to pass over 1,000 bills, at least 50 of which were related to higher education. These ranged from university finances, to academic affairs, to university human resources. No bills having a direct effect on higher education were passed during the special session.
It is important to note that during the special session, the House and Senate chambers were debating proposed legislation at different speeds - the upper chamber was able to pass 18 bills within the first week alone while the lower chamber was still debating the ‘must-pass’ sunset bills. This dynamic is reflective of the partisan differences, some of which are within the same party, between the members of the House and the Senate.  Issues - both policy and partisan - that were not resolved during this 85th session have the potential to continue through the 2018 election cycle, and into the 86th session. 

Two Aggies Fly Relief Missions To The Gulf Coast 

Korry Hamman '02 and Brian Harper '98  were called up by the state of Texas to provide humanitarian airlift support for the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Hamman and Harper, who are both airline pilots in their civilian jobs, are members of the 181st Airlift Squadron from the Texas Air National Guard based in Fort Worth.
The photo above was taken just prior to one of their many missions to Houston, delivering medical personnel, supplies, food, and water.
Hamman graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences and was in Corps of Cadets Squadron 5 and Company C-2. He now is a pilot for American Airlines.
Harper graduated from A&M with a degree in business management. He was also in Corps of Cadets Squadron 5. He is a pilot for Southwest Airlines.
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