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A conversation began at TribFest. Let’s keep it going.

A number of folks approached us during the recent Texas Tribune Festival and asked, “What is Texas 2036 all about?”

It’s exactly the question we were hoping to hear. We explained that Texas 2036 is a nonprofit organization building statewide support for sustained, data-driven planning efforts. We are focused on the challenges and opportunities our state faces as it prepares for its bicentennial in 17 years — and the 10 million more people who will call Texas home by then.

Fueling Texas’ banking industry future

Once again, Texas Tech has recognized another need and is on the precipice of developing a solution. With the help of local industry leaders, the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business will begin the Excellence in Banking Program this fall, designed to produce top-notch bankers by giving students a comprehensive understanding of modern banking operations and practices.

Mental health awareness in our rural communities

Many of us can attest to our own personal struggles with mental illness, or that of family members and friends. Today, one in five U.S. adults live with mental illness, and young adults (ages 18 to 25) experience the highest prevalence (25.8%) of any mental illness. Mental illnesses and substance use disorders are the leading causes of disability worldwide, with a strong connection to suicide.

How the wind saved Starr County

Everyone likes a good comeback story, and Starr County’s is one I am happy to tell. As a rural border community, we have seen our share of difficult times, and the budget is always one of our biggest challenges. Finding the funds to meet the needs of our residents can be difficult, and just two years ago, we were forced to take out loans to keep the county running. Jobs were lost and critical government departments, including the sheriff's office, saw severe budget cuts. Our situation was dire.

The cloud your datacenter always wanted

When it comes to building a cloud infrastructure, the options are endless, and time is limited. With the IBM Cloud Private Storage, clients enjoy access to their data both on- and off-premises in a dedicated hosted private storage cloud infrastructure. As an industry leader, IBM Cloud Private Storage comes with the confidence of increased security and cost effectiveness.

How the Texas Legislature can fulfill "our promise to patients" this session

Texas consumers increasingly have their access to emergency medical care delayed or altogether thwarted, and their coverage for legitimate care denied. After witnessing this alarming trend, Texas’ freestanding emergency room community is taking action to better protect and inform patients and their families.

Laws against texting while driving save lives

New evidence from the Texas A&M School of Public Health indicates that texting-while-driving laws may avert the need for emergency treatment following motor vehicle crashes. Researchers found that states with primary texting bans on all drivers saw, on average, an 8 percent reduction in emergency department visits resulting from motor vehicle crashes.

Heart attackers, tackling heart disease in Texas.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in Texas and the U.S., but thanks to an important discovery made at UT Southwestern Medical Center, it could one day be a thing of the past. The pioneering Dallas Heart Study launched by UT Southwestern geneticists Dr. Helen Hobbs and Dr. Jonathan Cohen yielded invaluable findings that led to a new class of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors — the next generation of cholesterol-controlling medications.

Learn about the business of education

According to the Texas Education Agency, there are 1,246 school districts and charters with more than 3,000 campuses in Texas. These schools serve more than 5.4 million students. It is an enormous responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for these school children — a responsibility not taken lightly by the many people who care and are committed to public education.

Funding our future: Expanding access to state-based student financial aid

In the Lone Star State today, there are four million Texans with some college and no degree. Yet by 2020, 65 percent of the jobs available in the U.S. will require some college education or above, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. This gap in educational attainment translates to lost career opportunities for Texans without degrees and impacts the state’s overall economy. If we are to preserve — and improve — our current and future prosperity, we must work urgently to close the gap in the shortfall of college graduates needed for the workforce.

Poll shows Texas voters oppose price-gouging by medical providers

When Texans walk into the grocery store, they know what they’re going to be charged for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. Texans should also know what they’re going to be charged for medical tests and procedures. Unfortunately, that’s increasingly not the case — and they’re fed up, according to a recent statewide poll. A majority of Texas voters are so frustrated by a lack of transparency by some medical providers that they support new laws that would protect consumers from price-gouging, according to a survey of 801 Texas voters, conducted by Baselice & Associates using accepted statistical methods.

The future of immigration

Although there is wide agreement that the immigration system is broken, federal government and cities perspectives on solutions differ greatly. While national leaders are moving aggressively to restrict immigration, with little to no understanding of what immigration means for our economy and our society, our cities and communities understand and welcome the added value that immigrants bring with them, especially to local economies, entrepreneurship, neighborhoods and cultural landscapes.

A conversation about criminal justice reform in Texas

With a 93 percent success rate, probation in Texas is very effective. That’s due to its unique ability to maintain local control, which ensures individual and community needs are met. However, the system, which is composed of 122 different departments across the state, has limited resources.

Each legislative session, the Texas Probation Association (TPA) continues to fight for the continuation of adequate funding and local autonomy in the adult and juvenile probation systems.

Conservatives continue to lead the way on clean energy issues

Successful clean energy efforts in Texas have largely been and will continue to be the result of strong conservative Republican leadership.  In 1999, while still Governor of Texas, George W. Bush signed legislation that deregulated the state’s power market and set the state on a path to becoming a leader in generating electricity from carbon-free electricity.  That policy has now become a national model and roadmap for economic success. 

Transformative higher education to serve a thriving state

We are privileged to live in a state with growth opportunities on all fronts. Simply meeting today’s demand for a career-ready workforce will not be enough to sustain our economic advantage. It is more important than ever to prepare college students to become highly skilled professionals who can lead Texas into a future of even more significant impact.

Texas A&M thanks its student veterans for going above and beyond

Texas A&M senior Matthew Curtis spends most of his rare free time working on a life-saving tourniquet device, hoping to reduce the human challenges of trying to rescue a bleeding arm or leg. “In a stressful situation, your ability to concentrate and perform fine motor movements decreases drastically,” Curtis said, referring to those precious, agonizing minutes that follow being wounded. “As much as possible, equipment should compensate for that, which means it should be as simple to apply as possible, so that you don’t have to think about what you’re doing.”

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe brings jobs to Texas; keeps entertainment spending in state

On February 15, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas welcomed its two-millionth visitor to Naskila Gaming. Naturally, quite a celebration took place. The lucky gentleman from Crockett was showered with prizes — including significant free play on the electronic bingo games that are the feature of Naskila Gaming — for his moment of historic happenstance.

Property tax relief, improved school funding must go together

Property tax relief is inextricably tied to improved school funding. Locally elected, locally accountable school board members know that property tax restraints cannot be addressed in isolation without detrimental effects to Texas schools. Over the past decade, the Texas Legislature has shifted more and more of the burden for funding the state’s public schools onto the shoulders of local taxpayers because of an outdated school finance system.

Texas trauma hospitals need continued state funding

When most of us think of trauma events, we think of mass casualty events like school shootings, natural disasters or terror attacks. But each year, more than 130,000 Texans experience trauma injuries requiring hospitalization.  Often these hospitalizations require medical care of the highest specialization — neurosurgery, orthopedics, burn care — as well as long-term physical rehabilitation services.

A digital literacy update for Texas

Technology has the ability to help personalize the educational experience and teachers’ instruction of classroom material—matching students’ interests and goals with their abilities. A growing effort is underfoot to ensure that technology is used in such a way that every Texas student’s educational needs are being more fully met.

Baylor University’s path to research excellence

When I returned to Baylor University in 2017 to begin serving as president, after having been away from Texas in leadership roles at other universities for 15 years, I was impressed to find that Baylor had grown and developed in remarkable ways while still maintaining its heart and soul as an unambiguously Christian university. Today, after more than a year as president, I believe Baylor’s increasingly national reputation for excellence in teaching and research, combined with our strong Christian commitment places us in a distinctive and promising position within American higher education.

Texas is rural; rural is Texas.

In July 2017, a group of funders convened to consider how, working together, we might bring additional attention and resources to areas of rural Texas. The Texas Rural Funders Collaborative (TRFC) is made up of private foundations, community foundations and health-conversion foundations. We represent a variety of interests. But our shared belief is that the health of our state depends upon the success of all of its communities, and that urban and rural areas are inextricably linked.

A search for safer water

There is no limit to the distance Aggies will go to help those in need. During his holiday break, environmental geosciences major Brian Lynch ’19, together with geology and geophysics doctoral student Yibin Huang, joined researchers and professors from Texas A&M and the University of Guanajuato to study vulnerable mountain aquifers in Mexico.

Is the American dream a mirage for today's youth?

Over the past half-century, children’s prospects of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90 percent to 50 percent, according to the Equality of Opportunity Project. In his book “Dream Hoarders,” Dr. Richard Reeves cites extensive research showing that the top 20 percent of income earners have pulled further away from the bottom 80 percent on multiple fronts, from educational attainment to health and longevity. What implications does this widening inequity have on American society, prosperity and economic growth?

Powering The Future

There’s one source of clean energy that could power the earth for an unlimited amount of time: the sun. Unfortunately, harnessing its power through fusion has proven to be a daunting, near-impossible task because there have been no materials that could survive the conditions at the core of a fusion reactor. Until now.

The Hackett Center for Mental Health will put sound policy into practice

The Houston and Gulf Coast region has faced a harrowing set of challenges over the past year, with Hurricane Harvey leaving much more than just physical damage in its wake. Such disasters can have lasting and harmful effects on the mental health of children, youth, and adults, which is why it's time to improve mental health access and quality in Harris County and the region.

Make Texas nursing homes safe

When making the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, family members deserve to know that the facility is adequately regulated to ensure their loved one is safe and in good custody. In Texas today, those assurances don’t exist.

The looming fiscal cliff for Texas hospitals

The consequences of not increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates and reducing the number of uninsured are not theoretical. The good news is the Legislature knows ahead of time what it needs to do, and it can act to avoid the looming fiscal cliff.