Association of Rural Communities in Texas

Small & Rural Communities Unified for Collaboration, Education, & Advocacy.

The Future of Rural Texas - A Texas Tribune Symposium

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Agenda of Events

Monday, Nov. 12

6-7:15pm The 86th Legislative Agenda
Presented by Texas A&M Agrilife

  • State Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin
  • State Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo
  • State Rep. Mary González, D-Clint
  • State Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass
  • State Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo
  • Moderated by Evan Smith, co-founder and CEO of The Texas Tribune

7:15-9pm Opening Reception
Presented by Texas A&M Agrilife

Tuesday, Nov. 13

7:30am Breakfast & Expo Open

8:20-8:40am Setting the Table: What is Rural Texas?
Presented by Texas Rural Funders Collaborative

  • Tom Luce, founder and chairman of Texas 2036

8:45-9:05am Public Opinion and Rural Texas
Presented by Texas Rural Funders Collaborative

  • Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project

9:15-10:05am Educating the Next Generation
Presented by Texas Tech University System

  • Kim Alexander, superintendent of the Roscoe Independent School District
  • Jimmie Don Aycock, former state Rep. and former chair of the House Public Education Committee
  • Sylvia Leal, senior program officer for Education and Economic Development at the T.L.L Temple Foundation
  • Cheryl Sparks, president of Howard College
  • Moderated by Alana Rocha, multimedia reporter for The Texas Tribune

10:15-11:05am Investing in Infrastructure
Presented by Oncor

  • Will Conley, chairman of CAMPO and a former Hays County commissioner
  • State Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin
  • State Rep. Ben Leman, R-Anderson, and former Grimes County judge
  • Bill Stockton, executive associate agency director for the Interdisciplinary Research Group at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute
  • Moderated by Brandon Formby, urban affairs reporter for The Texas Tribune

11:15am-12:05pm Preserving Natural Resources
Presented by Corteva Agriscience™ The Agriculture Division of DowDuPont

  • Blair Fitzsimons, CEO of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust
  • State Rep. Kyle Kacal, R-College Station
  • Roel Lopez, director of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute
  • Lara Zent, executive director and general counsel of the Texas Rural Water Association
  • Moderated by Andrew Sansom, executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University

12:05pm Lunch

12:40pm Introduction: Bruce Esterline, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and grants at the Meadows Foundation

12:45-1:35pm The View from Rural Communities
Presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

  • Donnie Allred, Oldham County judge
  • Shelley Brophy, mayor of Nacogdoches
  • Alma Moreno, San Patricio County commissioner
  • Ramiro Rodriguez, mayor of Palmhurst
  • Moderated by Evan Smith, co-founder and CEO of The Texas Tribune

1:45-2:15pm The State of the Rural Economy
Presented by Texas Association of Dairymen

  • Glenn Hegar, Texas comptroller of public accounts

2:25-3:15pm Building an Economic Future
Presented by WGU Texas

  • Becky Garlick, executive dean of Blinn College
  • Marilu Hastings, vice president for sustainability at the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation
  • Arleene Loyd, executive director of the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation
  • Ines Polonius, CEO of Communities Unlimited
  • Moderated by Brandon Formby, urban affairs reporter for The Texas Tribune

3:25-4:15pm Ensuring Rural Health
Presented by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas

  • Debra Flores, director of the West Texas Area Health Education Center at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health
  • John Henderson, president and CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals
  • Susan Rushing, CEO of Burke
  • State Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville
  • Moderated by Alana Rocha, multimedia reporter for The Texas Tribune

Become a Member of ARCIT Today!

Your ARCIT membership offers a strong voice and resource to the Texas State Legislature, Texas State Agencies and the Federal Government to promote the best practices of rural policies and programs while enhancing the quality of life for all rural Texans.

ARCIT is the ultimate resource for rural and small communities in Texas to have one voice! Become a member today!!

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    ARCIT is the only organization in Texas dedicated solely to serving the needs of Texas’ rural and small communities.

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See What Our Amazing Members Have to Say

ARCIT epitomizes what rural Texas is and does; work together.

Lee Norman
Lee Norman Garza County Judge

I believe that rural Texas must have a strong voice as choices are made that effect our special places. ARCIT provides an opportunity to work together to promote our common goals.

Adena Lewis
Adena Lewis Bastrop County Tourism & Eco. Dev.