by Dave Moore, Staff Writer
If adversity reveals and builds character, the City of Dallas has character to spare, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told a sold-out crowd of about 730 individuals at his State of the City address, which was hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Rawlings used his annual address as much to review the events of 2017 as a springboard toward the city’s future. The event occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
He framed the past through the prism of a book he recently completed; David Brooks’ “The Road to Character.”
“The road to character often involves moments of moral crisis, confrontation and recovery,” Rawlings told the crowd, summarizing Brooks’ work. “When they were in a crucible moment, they suddenly had a greater ability to see their own nature. This really speaks to what we’ve been through as a city over the past 18 months.”
Rawlings recalled issues the city was addressing during his previous State of the City speech:
“Our financial troubles were coming to a head just as our city council was discussing a very important topic… the prospect of an $800 (million) to $1 billion bond election, to start attacking our growing needs of streets and parks and flood control,” Rawlings said. “And it wasn’t as if we didn’t face major battles at the state level. I don’t have to tell this room of business leaders that we were in a war to protect the Dallas, Texas, miracle – fighting the legislature on the Bathroom Bill, Sanctuary Cities legislation and property tax reform.”
Rawlings thanked the Dallas Regional Chamber, VisitDallas, Dallas voters, public servants and others for joining to overcome those challenges. He also used the occasion to recognize that the city has made strides in reducing its childhood poverty rate and its property tax base has increased to an all-time high of $118 billion, among other gains.
“We’ve been given a tremendous hand,” Rawlings said. “The question is, what are we going to do with it?”
The key, he said, will be a great deal of work to be done to increase community involvement and connecting Dallas’ business community to those who need assistance. Toward that end, Rawlings promoted his “Dallas 2030” initiative, which is geared toward individuals living in the city of Dallas.
The 2030 initiative, which hasn’t been completely fleshed out yet, will attempt to better coordinate employment training, and educational and industry initiatives to improve the city’s quality of life and standard of living, he said.
Rawlings paraphrased David Brooks’ “The Road to Character” again in closing: “He [Brooks] says, ‘You do not ask, “What do I want from life?” Ask, “What does life want from me? What do my circumstances ask of me to do?’”
The State of the City event was presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas; gold sponsors Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Oncor; and silver sponsors BKD LLP, Boeing and The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated, Inc..
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7, and voters in the Dallas Region will be casting their votes for seven state propositions and countless local propositions.
The city of Dallas in particular has an important opportunity to improve and expand many elements crucial to the city’s quality of life such as streets, parks, police and fire facilities without raising taxes by voting “FOR” City of Dallas Propositions A-J. You can learn more about the City of Dallas bond, and the DRC’s endorsement, by reading our blog post on the issue.
Every vote matters, and it is important for every voice to be heard. We hope that you will remember to vote and encourage your employees, co-workers, friends and family members to do so as well.
With so much information out there about voting and the voting process, we’ve created an easy, one-stop shop of useful information to help guide you through election season.
When is early voting and who is eligible?
Early voting began Monday, October 23, and closes Friday, November 3.
Any registered voter may vote early in person. Polling place hours will vary at each early voting location. To find early voting locations, click here or contact the Early Voting Clerk in your county.
What is on the ballot?
Figuring out what is on the ballot and how you feel about each person or issue can be overwhelming. To learn more about the items on the ballot, and the platforms of parties and candidates, click here.
Where do I go to vote?
Polls are open 7 AM – 7 PM on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7. You may only vote at your assigned precinct on Election Day. Your designated precinct number (Pct. No.) can be found next to your year of birth on your voter registration card. To find your voting location, check here two days before Election Day. Many newspapers will also publish polling locations.
Who is currently representing me?
Visit Who Represents Me for information about the national and state elected officials who represent you.
Our government at every level needs more leaders like Speaker Joe Straus, and we are sorry to learn that he is retiring from the Texas House of Representatives.
Speaker Straus has been a champion of common sense government and a leading voice for pro-growth policies for the Texas business community and for all Texans who live and work here. His has been a distinguished tenure. Speaker Straus has been a true statesman and has shown dignity at every turn in leading a diverse body in a challenging political environment.
The Dallas Regional Chamber will continue to work tirelessly to protect our business climate and ensure our continued economic prosperity, to strengthen our educational system and prepare the workforce of tomorrow, to enhance the quality of life for all Texans, and to attract the best and brightest workers from around the world.
We hope the next Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives will follow Speaker Straus’ lead by promoting legislation that focuses on the issues most critical to achieving those goals. We look forward to working with leadership and the North Texas delegation as we prepare for the 86th Legislative Session.
This November, Dallas voters will have the chance to improve and expand our streets, parks, libraries, cultural and performing arts, police and fire facilities and more without raising taxes. The City of Dallas bond package will be on the ballot with 10 items crucial to growing Dallas’ quality of life and economic vibrancy – and the Dallas Regional Chamber endorses them all.
We hope that you will vote “For” City of Dallas Propositions A – J and encourage your co-workers, friends, and family members to do so as well.
It’s been five years since the last bond campaign and improvements to Dallas’ streets and facilities are sorely needed for the continued growth and success of our region. Let’s pass all bond items and make this election a perfect 10 for Big D!
To learn more about the items on the bond, including an interactive map of proposed project, please click here.
Early voting begins Monday, October 23, and runs through Friday, November 3.
To find your early voting location, click here.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7.
by Dave Moore, Staff Writer
The DRC recently hosted two public policy events to update members on the legislative landscape in Washington, D.C., and to allow Dallas business leaders to weigh in on federal issues that are most important to business.
Chairman Kevin Brady Luncheon
U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Houston) addressed the topic of tax reform at a luncheon with business leaders from across North Texas organized and held at the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Rep. Brady, who serves as the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he and his peers in Congress are energized to revamp the federal tax code, which hasn’t undergone a major overhaul since the Reagan Administration. Brady said aspirations are to make the changes boldly, and permanently, and to emphasize the notion of simplifying the nation’s tax code. Among his goals are permanently eliminating the estate tax, while preserving deductions for interest paid on home mortgages, for charitable donations, and for dependents. Another reform Brady and others are advocating would allow 9 out of 10 Americans to complete their tax returns using a postcard-size form.
“When we set out on this, in the House, I set two goals,” Brady said. “I want a tax code built for growth, designed to grow jobs and wages in this economy, and while we’re doing that, leapfrog America from nearly dead last in competitiveness in tax codes (right now, we rank 31st out of 35) into the top three best places on the planet. Those two elements, growth and leapfrogging to the lead, drive every decision that I make, and Speaker Ryan as well, in tax reform.”
AT&T, an unwavering supporter of the Dallas Regional Chamber and our business community, graciously provided lunch for the event.
2017 DRC Congressional Forum: Free Trade, Advanced Training Key in Boosting North Texas Economy
More than 350 people filled the Stemmons Ballroom at the Hotel Anatole on Aug. 16 to attend the DRC’s 2017 Congressional Forum, which featured a candid discussion by North Texas Congressmen Pete Sessions, Joe Barton and Marc Veasey, and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.
All agreed that international trade is crucial to building the North Texas and national economy, though the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needs to be updated.
“I think we should renegotiate NAFTA, but I don’t think we should throw it away,” said Barton, addressing the question of the fate of the agreement, posed by event moderator and Texas Tribune reporter Brandon Formby. “I’ve told President Trump that; it’s made us a more competitive nation. It’s cemented a partnership – not only economically, but politically – with Mexico and Canada.”
Barton, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he backed NAFTA when it was still legislation in the early 1990s.
“I helped round up votes for it,” Barton recalled. “I was in the Oval Office with President Clinton as part of the whip team. Took congressmen to Mexico,” he said. “It’s helped the United States. It’s helped Texas.”
Johnson, who sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said Texas benefits greatly from commercial traffic on Interstate 35, which runs from Mexico to Canada.
“If you haven’t driven [I-35] recently, then you don’t realize how much traffic there is related to [NAFTA],” she said. “So, I’m very much in favor of improving the trade agreement, not tearing it up.”
Johnson added that one key export for North Texas and the United States is its technology, and that preparing students to step into such advances is key to remaining competitive in the marketplace.
“It’s clear to me that we’re not going to survive as an isolationist nation,” she said. “It’s very clear that the technology has made us very global. We want to be on a world stage. And the only way we’ll compete in a global environment [is] more training, accepting that tech and innovation will be part of our lives as any other element.”
Sessions, who chairs the House Rules Committee, suggested that Donald Trump appoint a negotiator who can identify mutual interests between Mexico and the United States, and who can build upon the relationship.
“We’ve got to send someone down who is knowledgeable; who views the Mexico-United States relationship as important,” Sessions said. “And that we should do no harm to either, but upgrade the agreement, to where it makes sense today, in 2018, and moving forward.”
Veasey said the key in gaining support for trade agreements in the future will be convincing the public that technology – not trade – is reducing manufacturing jobs. Veasey said any trade agreements will need to earn bi-partisan support, much as NAFTA did.
Those attending the event also were given the DRC’s pro-growth legislative accountability index, which can be viewed here.
The Aug. 16 forum coincides with the Chamber’s mission to protect and promote the region’s pro-business climate through its work in public policy.
Gold sponsors of the event, which was presided over by 2017 DRC Chair Hilda Galvan, were AdvoCare and Lockheed Martin. Silver sponsors were the Dallas County Community College District, Fidelity Investments, Texas Central Partners, Texas Instruments, and the UNT System/UNT Dallas.
We welcome your questions and comments. To request more information about area businesses or to share an idea, contact us: