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Robert Henneke — Texas Public Policy Foundation

Posted by on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 in Blog

Reported by Margaret Curtis

President Julie Benkoski called the meeting to order, and members recited our Club’s vision statement with feeling. Rod “No Microphone” Simonsen led us in the Pledges, Rich Fikani delivered the Invocation and Past President Dale Lowe led the Four Way Test. Carl Noble introduced our guests and visiting Rotarians, and Manny Cavazos greeted because he showed up early and has natural greeting skills.

Congratulations also go to Manny Cavazos on attaining his Blue Badge today, and thank you to Arnold Garcia for bringing Manny into the Club!

This week’s Membership Minute was presented by Caroline Valentine, a Human Resources consulting business owner (“We Speak Human”). HR constricts this reporter’s breathing; meeting this new Rotarian with expertise was a minute well spent. Caroline is ready to commit 100% to Rotary and has already volunteered at Pecan Springs Elementary. Way to go, Caroline!

President Julie asked for anyone who either hasn’t pledged yet during this year’s Annual Ask campaign or for anyone who might be willing (and able) to give just a little more to donate to our Club Projects for the upcoming year. We are currently short about $10,000 toward our anticipated Projects budget for 2019-2020, as compared to last year’s donations. Please let Jennifer know if you have any questions or would like to pledge.

Todd Coleman and two of the cutest dancing elves EVER invited all members to take part in wrapping gifts for the children at Helping Hand Home next Tuesday. Elf Betty Cunningham and Elf Barry Curlee danced into view with tales (threats?) of a dance contest and a winner, and a public performance?!? Assembly line gift wrapping will take place on December 11th at 1:05 pm after our regular Club meeting here at St. David’s. It takes about one hour to help. These gifts will be delivered to the children at their special Rotary-sponsored party on December 18th!

Ann Marie Ellis follow ed the shenanigans with a beautifully prepared two-minute Global Awareness Update. Globally, three million children die of poor nutrition each year. Rise Against Hunger will take place on the morning of Saturday, February 23, 2019. Please mark your calendars, as we need 100 volunteers to pack 22,248 meals in four hours on that morning. Friends, family, children, grandchildren — all are welcome to help us!

Announcements: President Julie reminded those who shop on Amazon to please use AmazonSmiles and designate Austin Rotary Club Foundation as your charity of choice. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase values to ARCF to support the Club’s good works. Scott Rider, already filling in for Jon Yates as Sergeant-at-Arms today, also stepped up to fill a last-minute gap in the Camp Enterprise student interview schedule. Thank you, Scott!

After some seriously boisterous fellowship, Richard Payton introduced his friend and our speaker Rob Henneke, Executive Director and General Counsel with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)3 research institute that promotes and defends liberty, personal responsibility and free enterprise. Rob centered his talk around how citizens might stay abreast of issues proceeding through the Texas State Legislature: What to Watch, What to Follow and What to Watch Out For. He reported that we may expect more bipartisanship in the new session due to a closer majority/minority party ratio. The Legislature may also attempt to broadly preempt cities’ and other local governments’ restrictions on markets (the various sharing economies, for example).

A Foundation-prepared paper was left on the tables for Rotarians to take a deeper dive into property tax financing of public schools. Rob’s talk provided additional perspective to school financing challenges covered by a prior guest speaker. We must all be lifelong learners to stay informed on this subject!

President Julie closed the meeting by thanking Reggie Nisbett for supporting our newsletter and with a quote honoring former President George H.W. Bush who spoke about the value of service. Rest in peace–November 30, 2018.

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