13:40 PM

‘Future of Urban Texas’ Addressed During Texas Tribune Event at UHD


By Mike Emery

Leaders from throughout the Lone Star State are headed to the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) for two days of conversations on issues facing Texas’ largest cities.

UHD and The Texas Tribune are teaming up to present “The Future of Urban Texas” Nov. 14 and 15 in the Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson Auditorium. This event will feature panel discussions on the Legislature, public health, education, transportation, poverty and other topics. It's free and open to the UHD community and the general public. Attendees can register here.

Panels will be moderated by members of The Texas Tribune’s editorial team and feature a who’s who of Texas leaders and legislators. The event kicks off at 6 p.m., Nov. 14 with “Urban Texas and the Legislature.” On Nov. 15, a full day of panels is scheduled, including “A Conversation With The Mayors”— featuring Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

This event is the second collaboration between UHD and the Texas Tribune. In 2017, the University hosted the Tribune’s successful “Parent & Educator Forum.”

Schedule of Panels, Participants & Sponsors:


6 - 7:15 p.m.: Urban Texas & The Legislature
Presented by CenterPoint Energy

  • State Rep. Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio
  • State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
  • State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place
  • State Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin
  • Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO, The Texas Tribune

7:15 p.m.: Welcome Reception


8:30 a.m.: Welcome & Program Begins

8:40 - 9:40 a.m.: Ensuring Urban Health
Presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

  • Elena Marks, president & CEO, Episcopal Health Foundation
  • State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston
  • Shreela V. Sharma, professor of epidemiology, UTHealth School of Public Health
  • Stephen Williams, director of the Houston Health Department
  • Moderated by Juan Pablo Garnham, urban affairs reporter, The Texas Tribune

9:55 - 10:55 a.m.: The Challenge of Affordability

  • State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston
  • Christine Drennon, director of urban studies, Trinity University
  • Myriam Igoufe, vice president of policy development & research, DHA
  • Moderated by Juan Pablo Garnham, urban affairs reporter, The Texas Tribune

11:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.: Investing in Transportation
Presented by Texas Central

  • Sue Bauman, member of the DART board of directors
  • Delia Garza, mayor pro tem for the City of Austin and vice chair of the Capital Metro board of directors
  • Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments
  • Sanjay Ram, member of the METRO board of directors
  • Moderated by Kyle Shelton, deputy director of The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University

1 - 2 p.m.: A Conversation With The Mayors
Presented by Humana

  • Steve Adler, mayor of Austin
  • Betsy Price, mayor of Fort Worth
  • Sylvester Turner, mayor of Houston
  • Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO, The Texas Tribune

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.: Educating The Next Generation
Presented by Presented by Raise Your Hand Texas, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium and Education Texas

  • Colette Pierce Burnette, president, Huston-Tillotson University
  • Pedro Martinez, superintendent, San Antonio Independent School District
  • Joe May, chancellor, Dallas County Community College District
  • Christina Mier, fourth & fifth grade gifted and talented teacher at Coldwell Elementary School, El Paso ISD
  • Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO, The Texas Tribune
About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.