Texas House Speaker Joe Straus will be honored as the 2015 Texan of the Year on Thursday evening, March 26 in the New Braunfels Civic Convention Center. The ticketed reception kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with a brief ceremony at 8:00 p.m. At press time, the event was a sellout. Introducing Straus for the award will be State Representative John Kuempel. Birdie Kuempel, the wife of the late Edmund Kuempel will also be present with the Straus family.
The half day conference on Friday, March 27 is also a ticketed event and features a conference dedication to the late Tom Burrus, founder of the event in 1967. Burrus’ family will be at the dedication ceremony. Rep. Kuempel will then bestow the Edmund Kuempel Public Service Scholarship Awards to two area high school seniors, followed by an opening address by Speaker Straus.
Three consecutive panels follow including the Economics of Energy Exploration in Texas moderated by economist and former Texan of the Year Dr. Ray Perryman, Federal Intervention and Texas Infrastructure moderated by Texas Tribune Publisher Evan Smith, and New Leadership Dynamics at the Capitol moderated by Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report along with three media pundits.
The noon luncheon keynote will be delivered by former First Lady Laura Bush. Bush will speak on the Taking Care of Texas initiative she founded. The conference this year is chaired by Carlton Schwab, President of the Texas Economic Development Foundation. The Vice-Chair is State Representative Doug Miller. Chairing the Conference Arrangements Committee is Paula DiFonzo of NBU and the Vice-Chair is Rob Johnson of Johnson & Johnson.