Heard on the Hill: The DFW Congressional Summit

By Amy Gibson, Manager, Public Policy

Hello from Washington, D.C.!  We’re starting day three of our joint DFW Congressional Summit, and have had a productive trip thus far.

The majority of our business leaders arrived over the weekend, and the summit unofficially began Sunday with a trip to Nationals Park to see the Washington Nationals play baseball.  That night, the group attended a reception celebrating the presentation of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to Chamber member Freese & Nichols. 

Congress established the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1987 to promote quality awareness, to recognize quality and business achievements of U.S. organizations and to publicize these organizations’ successful performance strategies. Now America’s highest honor for innovation and performance excellence, the Baldrige Award is presented annually to U.S. organizations by the President of the United States. Awards are given in manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care and nonprofits.

This is an impressive honor, and celebrating the success of Freese & Nichols was an exciting way to kick off the trip.

Monday was spent at the offices of Patton Boggs, where we were briefed on transportation policy, education and tax and banking regulations by the experts.

Yesterday wrapped up with a cocktail reception at the Mayflower Summit Hotel, during which U.S. Trade Representative and former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk stopped by to say hello. The reception was followed by dinner and a presentation by Patton Boggs Managing Partner Ed Newberry covering leading municipal governments, colleges and universities, hospitals and other organizations in developing and implementing federal funding strategies and addressing public policy issues.

Tuesday was an exciting day on the Hill.  Our business leaders had the opportunity to spend some time with DFW-area legislators during the Congressional Delegation Meetings.

Senator John Cornyn; Congressman Joe Barton, 6th District;  Congressman Michael Burgess, 26th District; Congresswoman Kay Granger, 12th District; Congressman Jeb Hensarling, 5th District;Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, 30th District; and Congressman Sam Johnson, 3rd District; Congressman Ken Marchant, 26th District; and Congressman Pete Sessions, 32nd District participated in the meetings providing insight into key issues facing our region.

Lunch, also in the Capitol building, provided a special opportunity to honor the public service of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

“Senator Hutichson has been such a positive force for Texas,” said Amb. James C. Oberwetter, President & CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “She has impacted millions of lives during her career in public service in positive ways. Her accomplishments will benefit all Texans for years to come.”

In 1993, Texans elected Kay Bailey Hutchison to the United States Senate in a special election, and has been serving ever since.  She is the first – and, to date, the only – woman elected to represent the state in the Senate.

During her tenure, she has been a leader on issues important to business, commerce and Texans.  Her dedication to improving the lives of Texans and ensuring a strong business environment has led to a thriving economy in the state.

The DRC and Fort Worth Chamber are grateful for all she has done for the state, and our region in particular.  As a special thanks, the Chambers created a resolution in her honor and presented it to Sen. Hutchison during the event.

Day two ended with a casual cocktail reception and dinner.  Mark McKinnon, the Global Vice-Chairman of Hill + Knowlton Strategies, who provided a solid overview of the political landscape, including briefings on No Labels and Americans Elect.

The joint DFW Congressional Summit wraps up today, so visit the Chamber blog later this week for details on our final day on the Hill.

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