Thursday, March 1, 2012

Congressman Charlie Gonzalez: Why can't we collaborate more?

US Congressman Charlie Gonzales (TX Dist. 20) issued a challenge to the next Congress to learn how to collaborate and compromise for the good of the nation. He addressed the SA to DC delegation for his last time before his retirement on Feburary 29, 2012. Congressman Gonzalez, always a favorite in San Antonio, talked candidly about the partisan politics and how it has hurt our nation's ability to move forward on important issues. Hear his entire address here.

Senator John Cornyn: What is holding our economy back?

US Senator John Cornyn addressed the SA to DC delegation on February 29. He reported that that the Federal Government "is broke." Looking back, he said constituents would be able to come to his office and ask for federal aid, and often he could provide needed aid. However under the current situation, tougher choices are being made. They are facing too much spending and everyone needs to find ways to cut budgets. He shared good news that the economy is showing some signs of recovery, but there are some things that are holding back the recovery. Cornyn said some of what may cause a slower recovery is the uncertainty and a growing regulatory environment. Listen to his entire address here.

Congressman Canseco addresses the SA to DC delegation

US Congressman Francisco Canseco (TX Dist. 23)told the SA to DC delegation heard cheers when he said he will push hard to pass a bill that would provide funding for revitalizing the missions in San Antonio. This is his entire address to the delegation.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett discusses issues facing the nation

US Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TXDist. 25) who will potentially seek reelection for the new Congressional district that includes some of Austin going down into San Antonio addresses the SA to DC delegation for the first time. He remarked that he had the opportunity to meet with most of the issue teams personally to talk about the priorities for San Antonio. This is his entire address to the delegation.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Congressman Cuellar outlines his priorities for the year

US Congressman from south Texas Henry Cuellar talks about the proposed new district lines for Texas and outlines his ongoing priorities. This is his whole address to the 2012 SA to DC delegation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

San Antonio is a Navy town now

Home for the Air Force, yes. Home for the Army, absolutely. San Antonio, now the home of all medical training for all branches of the military now has some of the largest training programs for the Navy too. Assistant Secretary of the US Navy, Juan Garcia III talked with the SA to DC delegation Tuesday morning.

Washington DC could learn a lot from San Antonio

Secretary of transportation Ray LaHood told the SA to DC delegation today that this country needs a transportation bill, but he isn't optimistic. He has low hopes because Washington is bogged down with politics - which has says is not the way it used to be. We need congress to work together, like school boards and city councils do all around the country. Here described what the national model would look like here.

If you need a really good presidential quote, watch this.

During the 2012 SA to DC Chairman's Dinner Richard Norton Smith, a well known presidential historian (if there are any well known ones) shared some great stories of our founding fathers and the men who have led our great nation through the years. This video is choc full of great quotes that few have used in speeches lately. And he threw in a lot of good jokes too. Seriously, there is some great material here for speech writers and any student looking for something to beef up a history report.

SA to DC Salutes Senator Hutchison

In 1993, Texans elected Kay Bailey Hutchison to the US senate in a special election, making her the first and still only woman to represent the state in th eSenate. One year later she was re-elected to a full six year term and has not looked back since. She played a key role in helping to make 'lemonade out of lemons' when San Antonio heard that Kelly Air Force Base would close. The transformation from Kelly AFB to Port San Antonio is now a national model of success.

Senator Hutchison was introduced in the meeting and likened to a 'blond Moses' who helped lead us through a wilderness, to come out in a much better place.

She recalled the many times she relied on the business community and the Bexar County delegation of legislators to get great things done for the citizens of San Antonio and Texas.

Here is a sample of her remarks to the SA to DC delegation.

Lou Diamond Phillips sighted

by Jeff Coyle kgbtexasdmt

Brooks City-Base chairman Manny Pelaez-Prada, ever the social connector, spotted actor Lou Diamond Phillips sitting in the P.O.V. bar above the W hotel next to the White House. Manny introduced him to our group of SA to DC delegates, and we spent the next hour talking politics and Texas with the La Bamba star.

Phillips grew up in Corpus Christi and went to the University of Texas at Arlington. He’s performed in San Antonio’s Majestic Theater and been woken up in his Houston Street hotel room by the sound of the Stock Show & Rodeo’s annual Cattle Drive.

Phillips was in D.C. shooting episodes of An Officer and a Movie, which offers some of the best military and war movies ever made, along with commentary from troops who know the true stories.




















– Jeff Coyle –

Scholarship awarded in honor of retiring Congressman Gonzalez

by Jeff Coyle kgbtexasdmt

The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce paid special tribute to retiring Congressman Charlie Gonzalez. The chamber awarded a $7,500 scholarship in his name to Thomas Edison High School student Selena Cantu. Cantu, a foster child, excels in advanced placement physics at Edison with a goal of attending the University of Texas at Austin or Texas Tech University. Gonzales is stepping down from the 20th Congressional District seat he has held for the past 13 years. Here’s Congressman Gonzalez shortly after watching Cantu accept the Charlie Gonzalez Scholarship.

Sharing a few laughs with Ari Fleischer

How would you like to have been President George W. Bush's Press Secretary? For some it would be a dream, for others a daily nightmare. Like others who have been in Washington DC for years, Ari Fleischer always maintained a sense of humor about him. He was the president's spokesperson during some of the worst times in our nation's history, helping craft the language for a nation hurting after 9-11 attacks, and in the end, defending a president who had plummeted in approval. Today he is a regular contributor to CNN and also does a little sports PR (a huge Yankees fan). Fleischer was the featured speaker at The Chairman's Dinner at the 2012 SA to DC trip. Hear what he had to say.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How has social media changed reporting on politics?

Unlike the often unfriendly atmosphere of a White House briefing, President Obama's Press Secretary Jay Carney was welcomed with easy questions when he met with the SA to DC delegation on February 27.

Carey was first asked about the role that social media is playing in his job. He answered by looking back on how much time that he had in previous jobs to prepare. Here was his answer.

Isn’t it time for passenger rail?

by Jeff Coyle kgbtexasdmt

One of the items on the agenda for the SA to DC trip is “legislation to expedite projects providing new or improved rail passenger service in existing rail corridors or on existing rail lines as well.” Specifically, the delegation is hoping the federal government will help move forward the Lone Star Rail District’s plans for a 15-stop passenger rail service linking the Austin and San Antonio metro areas.

After a recent derailment of a freight train and subsequent story by KENS-TV asking why the state comptroller has yet to release the $182 million allocated in 2009 for rail relocation, has the issue top-of-mind. So I pulled aside Lone Star Rail District board member and Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson for an update on the project.

Mayor Castro for Cabinet position?

by Jeff Coyle kgbtexasdmt

A few of us were speculating over dinner during the SA to DC trip whether San Antonio Mayor Juli├ín Castro would be tapped for a position within the Obama Administration if President Obama is reelected in November. (Hey, just because the mayor refuses to speculate about his future doesn’t mean we can’t, right?) You’ll recall Mayor Castro was a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at last month’s State of the Union.

Well, this morning I had a chance to pose that question to Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, after he spoke to the San Antonio delegation. Here’s his response:

Congressman Smith clarifies what was intended with SOPA

Congressman Lamar Smith (TX21) spoke with the SA to DC delegation Monday morning and answered questions about recent legislation regarding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

National Intelligence Director Anxious About Budget Cuts


San Antonio business leaders should tell their legislators they are against draconian budget cuts in the Department of Defense, Lt. Gen. (USAF Ret.) James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence told the SA to DC delegation at the opening breakfast February 27. The automatic cuts that are scheduled as a result of the failure of the super committee last year could mean putting the nation at risk, he warned.

Clapper described himself as the "guy with the bad news," at the briefing, and his remarks were definately gloomy. He had just returned from a visit to Israel and Lybia, where much of the world has been focused as unrest continues in the Middle East a year after the 'Arab Spring' began. In fact he struggled to find any positive answer when asked if things were better anywhere. He did not express much optimism to the group as he described many locations around the world that continue to be a concern including Korea, Russia, China and Mexico.

Our national intelligence capabilities are more critical today than ever before and severe cuts will mean lowering our standards, Clapper said; it is easy to see that we cannot afford to let our guard down. Yes, pretty gloomy.

He will be giving a speech/briefing this afternoon on the international situation. Hopefully we can catch it on CSPAN.

SA to DC is ‘unprecedented,’ according to Chamber chairman

Jim Greenwood, 2012 Chairman of the Board of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, has spent more than 20 years of his career working on Capitol Hill, first as a staffer tohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif members of Congress and currently in government relations for Valero Energy Corp. Greenwood says the annual trek to Washington by San Antonio business and community leaders is “unprecedented,” among America’s major cities.



The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and KGBTexas .communications are collaborating to bring you interviews, analysis and insight from the 34th annual SA to DC trip. The trip gives members of our business community and state and local elected officials a unified voice in Washington, D.C. to urge members of Congress, the Administration, and Pentagon officials to address the specific needs and concerns of the South Central Texas region.

– Jeff Coyle –

National political figures to meet with delegation

Here’s SA to DC 2012 Chairman Blakely Fernandez on the importance of the trip and caliber of speakers scheduled to meet with the San Antonio delegation.



The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and KGBTexas .communications are collaborating to bring you interviews, analysis and insight from the 34th annual SA to DC trip. The trip gives members of our business community and state and local elected officials a unified voice in Washington, D.C. to urge members of Congress, the Administration, and Pentagon officials to address the specific needs and concerns of the South Central Texas region.

– Jeff Coyle –

Sunday, February 26, 2012

SA to DC 2012 is ON

SA to DC 2012 is ON: Get even more of the story from KGBTexas' SA to DC 2012 blog.

Business Leaders Gather in Washington, Taking San Antonio Priorities to Capitol Hill


More than 120 business and community leaders have arrived in San Antonio and will be taking federal legislative priorities to our nation's leaders in a show of unity that is rare in days of partisan politics at every level. By Sunday evening most of the SA to DC delegation had arrived and were welcomed at a reception held at the host hotel, the Marriott Metro Center.

The SA to DC group has divided into 'issue teams' that will take specific legislative priorities in key industry area that are outlined in the 2012 Federal Legislative Agenda. This document is prepared by hundreds of volunteers working together through The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Free Trade Alliance, the three business associations who partner each year on the SA to DC effort.

Read the Legislative Agenda here.
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