The Chamber’s 53rd Annual Texas Legislative Conference will include a special video introduction of 2019 Texan of the Year Lamar Smith by former U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. The video and recognition of Smith will take place at the Texan of the Year Reception on Thursday, March 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the New Braunfels Civic Convention Center.

Ryan was the 54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. In office from October 2015 to January 2019, he was the youngest speaker in nearly 150 years. He was first elected to Congress in 1998 as a Wisconsin Representative and was the Vice Presidential candidate in 2012. Having worked together for 20 years as U.S. representatives, Smith and Ryan had the opportunity to collaborate many times and develop a friendship. Ryan is pleased to introduce his colleague and congratulate him on his Texan of the Year honor. 

The Thursday Texan of the Year Reception is followed by a half-day conference on Friday with a special address by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and three panels of elected officials and subject matter experts discussing important issues affecting Texas. The panels will be livestreamed to high school classes across Texas to provide the state’s youth with an exclusive opportunity to hear directly from our leaders.

The Friday Conference begins at 7:45 a.m. with registration and breakfast followed by a welcome from Conference Chair E. Ray Covey and the presentation of the Edmund Kuempel Public Service Scholarship Awards by State Rep. John Kuempel. The panels kick off at 8:55 a.m. with Changing Demographics of Texas moderated by Ray Perryman with panelists State Rep. Donna Howard, Blue Cross Blue Shield President Dan McCoy, former U.S. Census Bureau Director Steve Murdock, and Dallas Federal Reserve Bank Economist Pia Orrenius.

Co-Founder and Executive Editor of the Texas Tribune Ross Ramsey will lead the second panel: Property Taxes and School Finance with Senator Paul Bettencourt, Senator Kirk Watson, and John Colyandro, Policy Director with the Governor’s Office. Providing a break in the panels, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will then give his address also touching on school finance and property taxes.  The final panel, Transitions in the Legislature, will take place at 11:05 a.m. with Texas Association of Business CEO Jeff Moseley as the moderator and panelists Senator Pete Flores, State Rep. John Turner, former State Rep. Larry Gonzales, and former State Rep. Paul Workman.

Tickets are still available for the conference for $55 each, including breakfast and lunch. The panels have been approved for 3.0 State Bar of Texas accredited CLE hours. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.