Texas Our Texas
Sunday, March 06, 2011
There are many storied places where brave men have died, but the Alamo is sacred. It was built more than 250 years ago. It has gone from mission to fortress to museum – and still attracts more than three million people a year from around the world. They visit to pay tribute to that spirit of freedom, heroism and courage that the Alamo represents.
We’ve all heard the stories, but being there is something else altogether. Our Texas heroes become real and we can almost feel their presence. They believed in doing the right thing regardless of the outcome. They stood up for freedom, and we’re told that the Mexican army was impressed with their valor. Even the generals were astonished by their resistance and how passionately they fought.
Every year on March 6, descendants of the Alamo defenders gather for a memorial. The fortress becomes a chapel again. They honor the bravery of their forefathers – including the many Hispanic heroes who fought for independence. Men of different races and cultures died together for a higher cause. They made the ultimate sacrifice because it was right. Those convictions, that confidence, and that bold swagger we’re known for… I believe it all started right there at the Alamo!
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
It may not be noted on your Day Runner calendar, but today is Texas Independence Day, honoring the many signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. They ranged in age from 24 to 70, and came from Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, New York, North and South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia – and even Mexico, Ireland and Scotland. History tells us that they came to own land, create opportunities for their families and be part of something bigger than themselves. The founders of no other state in the union were ever so bold to break free and operate as an independent country.
The Lone Star flag is still proudly flown and serves as a reminder of our independent spirit. It’s still fundamental to our DNA as Texans, and honors the sacrifices and vision of heroes like Mirabeau Lamar, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and the brave men and women from all over who came here, fought for freedom and set us on a fiercely proud course. Today, if Texas were a standalone country we would have the 11th largest economy in the world!
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Did you see the latest award? Texas has won Site Selection Magazine’s Governor’s Cup for 2010, which is awarded annually to the state with the most new and expanded corporate facilities announced over the year. We continue to lead the national economic recovery, adding more jobs than any other state in 2010 and attracting companies from around the world thanks to our low taxes, reasonable and predictable regulatory climate, fair legal system, competitive workforce and incentives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and Texas Emerging Technology Fund. Winning the Governor’s Cup further confirms that Texas is the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family, and our governor remains committed to strengthening the economic environment that allows employers to thrive and create jobs for Texans.
Texas claimed 2010’s top spot with 424 projects, a 50-project increase over its second-place finish last year. Ohio placed second this year with 376 projects, followed by Louisiana (347), Pennsylvania (337) and Georgia (251).
Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection, said, “Gov. Perry has worked diligently in recent years to make his state pro-business, which is why Texas ranks as high as it does on matters of interest to site selectors. The Governor’s Cup is a clear example of this – and a critical one to the governors, because it objectively measures actual project activity.”
Texas’ economy continues to receive national recognition. Newsweek recently ranked four Texas cities in its list of 10 cities best situated for economic recovery and described Texas as the top destination for job-seeking Americans. The Wall Street Journal recently credited the state’s low taxes and employer-friendly environment with helping make Texas the job creation capital of the nation. Additionally, Texas was recently designated the top exporting state for the ninth year in a row, and no other state is home to more Fortune 1000 companies.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Did you know that Texas is home to the only school of rural public health in the nation? I recently spoke to a group about the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health - which, in less than 10 years, made the list of top 25 grad schools in the country. Quite an accomplishment! Their students are given the training and creative environment to develop practical health solutions with local and global implications.
I have a deep appreciation for public health and where we are as a country, state, and community – especially compared to so much of the world. Most of us have the luxury of taking things like clean water for granted, but we should always challenge the status quo and seek out creative, practical, cost-effective solutions to everyday health issues that affect our world. Yes, A&M is known for some legendary programs but its school of rural public health – in my opinion – is one of the state’s best-kept secrets!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
For their dedication, their passion, and their love of Texas, we chose Brownsville as the recipient of this year’s First Lady Texas Treasures Award. I recently had the opportunity to formally present the award and thank the people of Brownsville for making their community a true Texas treasure. From the Cameron County Courthouse to one of the first Modernist homes in Texas (the 1937 George Kraigher house), they’ve shown such a deep commitment to restoration and their heritage. They know that preserving their oldest structures may not always be the most obvious choice for development, but it is a noble endeavor and can greatly improve quality of life - for us and our children. Saving them creates a more beautiful, inviting community for those who call it home, and those just passing through. This award recognizes visionary communities that put in the hard work required and ensure that their hometown is different from the next. I was delighted to present The First Lady’s Texas Treasures Award and honor their preservation of our great state. Congratulations to Brownsville!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Congratulations to San Angelo for just being named one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations! Communities with this designation are chosen because they have a strong sense of history, commitment to historic preservation, vibrant artistic institutions and a rich and diverse cultural life.
With its grand historic structures and sophisticated galleries, San Angelo weaves together centuries of Native American, Texan and pioneer cultures. Fort Concho National Historic Landmark is one of the best preserved forts of the Indian Wars era (1886-91). Downtown is growing, and will soon be home to a spectacular new library and a beautifully restored City Hall. San Angelo’s historic downtown is known as “Block One,” and offers a glimpse into the past through a group of eclectic buildings, restaurants, antiques stores and gift shops. City landscapes are lush, the Concho River area is more beautiful than ever, and the historic murals downtown tell the story if its growth throughout the years. Oh, and check out the artistic energy at The Chicken Farm Art Center! San Angelo is truly a distinctive destination. Well-deserved!
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
True to typecast, we Texas women have been known to show off our Big Hair, Big Nails. OPI must have heard our battle cry, because their Spring 2011 nail polish collection is a color palette just for us!
OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, said, “Texas provided the inspiration for this season, with bright colors and classic neutrals that draw from the American spirit. Taking cues from the state’s naturally beautiful backdrop, the Texas Collection features warm tones from honey and tangerine to dazzling hues of violet and sky blue – complementing trends from the runway.”
And true to the OPI color system, they must have had some fun they coming up with those names! Wear them with pride - and for your next vacation, visit the places that inspired these colors: Austin-Tatious Turquoise, It’s Totally Fort Worth It, Houston We Have a Purple, San Tan-tonio and Guy Meets Gal-veston.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
One of our own Texas-filmed movies is up for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture! True Grit – most of which was filmed in Austin, Blanco and Granger – is a stunning display of Texas scenery, and a beautiful story of heroism. If you haven’t yet seen it, be sure to catch it on the big screen. We hope to see it sweep the Oscars!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
January 18th is the day set aside for a joint session swearing-in ceremony of the Texas governor and lieutenant governor. It’s a good time for everyone to come together – regardless of how they voted – and support the future of our great state. We’re so thankful for the prayers and support for the leadership of Texas. Rick and I are blessed to be serving in this way, and even more blessed to have our children and our parents up there on the platform with us. If you were there with us on the South steps of the Capitol or watched it on TV, you know what a special moment it was. You can read remarks from the ceremony here.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
That’s the theme for this year’s national Stalking Awareness Month. Earlier today, in conjunction with Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and Texas Council on Family Violence, I participated in a press conference to help raise awareness of a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year in the U.S.
Did you know that stalking is a felony crime in Texas? Unlike other crimes, it’s not a single, easily-identifiable crime, but a series of acts directed at a person. Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile. And stalking can take the form of assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary or even unwanted cards, calls, gifts or visits. One in four victims reported that their stalker used a computer, GPS device or hidden camera to track their daily activities. So while important steps have been taken, we must adapt to keep pace with new stalker tactics and make every effort to hold stalkers accountable and protect these victims.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutia of the holiday that we forget to take a moment and just relax, celebrate and enjoy this time of year – especially with the many expectations we have for ourselves and those around us. As my own family continues to change and grow, it’s fun to welcome new traditions and routines. Whether you try a new recipe or spend your holidays with new friends or family… let the expectations go and have fun with it all. After all, we’re celebrating a miracle that didn’t exactly occur in the most idyllic setting. Regardless of where you are, where you want to be, or whether that meal or gift is perfect enough - remember that we’ve already been given the greatest gift of all.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
We’ve just announced a few of the details for the inaugural and the celebrations, which are right around the corner. I’ve marked my calendar and hope you will, too. It’s January 18th here in Austin on the South Steps of the Capitol. The inaugural swearing-in ceremony for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor will be at 11 a.m., and it will be outside for all to see. We are planning a big BBQ immediately afterward, and everyone is invited, but you have to get your ticket on the Web site first. Visit www.2011texasinaugural.com.