For 53 years now, the New Braunfels Chamber has brought together federal officials, statewide elected officials, business leaders and political pundits to hold the Texas Legislative Conference, the most successful conference of its kind in the state. 2019 was no different with an exceptional Texan of the Year awardee, three panels of subject matter experts, and special addresses by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath.

The event kicked off with a Texan of the Year Reception honoring retired U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith. Two special video introductions were provided: one by former U.S. Speaker of the House and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and the other by current U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. He was honored for his effectiveness and bipartisan efforts during his 32 years in Congress. Smith accepted his award with his family in the audience.

The half-day conference on Friday had a full schedule and focused on two of the priority issues being addressed during this Texas Legislative Session. The first two panels were Changing Demographics in Texas and Property Taxes and School Finance. A special address was then provided by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who expressed his optimism about the current legislative session, the collaboration happening between both the House of Representatives and Senate, and the bipartisan attitude between lawmakers.

The final panel, Transitions in the Legislature, was followed by lunch and a keynote address. TEA Commissioner Mike Morath provided the engaging address focused on the state of the Texas education system. While he said it still needs work, he did provide data and anecdotes pointing out that we’re moving in the right direction.

Next year’s event will take place on March 26 and 27 right here in New Braunfels with a full slate of business leaders and elected officials. The Texas Legislative Conference is a nonpartisan organization of Texas business and political leaders who meet annually to focus on public policy matters. For decades this event has been an inspiration to hundreds who gather in New Braunfels to hear respected individuals offer their insights on the issues affecting Texas voters.