Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott

Deep in the Heart of Texas

A Personal Blog of Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott

  • Thursday, July 23, 2015

    TBT – Kickstart Kids Gala

    In today’s Throwback Thursday I’m recalling an event Greg and I attend back in May. We were honored to help celebrate Texas students who participate in KICKSTART KIDS.

    KICKSTART KIDS is an in-school physical education program that teaches students martial arts. The program was started over 20 years ago by martial artist Chuck Norris. But KICKSTART KIDS is teaching Texas students more than just the martial arts – it’s also teaching values. Texas students are learning responsibility, discipline, courage, loyalty, respect, dedication, self-esteem – and all of this is helping to build strong character in the next generation of Texans.

    I’ve had the privilege of working in schools in Texas as a teacher, vice principal, and principal, and I’ve also visited schools across Texas. I’ve seen such a passion for education among our teachers, administrators, parents, and communities. But it is our students who inspire me the most. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders, so we must help our students master not just chemistry and calculus, but also character.

  • Monday, July 20, 2015

    DEADLINE EXTENDED for 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Awards Nominations

    The deadline for Texans to submit nominations for the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Awards has been extended! You now have until 11:59 p.m. CDT Tuesday, July 28, 2015 to submit your nominations.

    As a reminder, here are the nine categories:

    Governor’s Lone Star Achievement
    ​First Lady’s Rising Star
    Partners in Education
    Service to Veterans
    Higher Education Community Impact
    Corporate Community Impact
    Community Leadership
    Senior Corps Community Impact
    AmeriCorps “Make a Difference”

    If you know an individual or organization who fits into one of these award categories, I encourage you to nominate them!

    To see descriptions and criteria for each award, visit http://onestarfoundation.org/2015-governors-volunteer-awards/.

    To submit a nomination for an award, visit http://www.tfaforms.com/379117.

    I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as Honorary Chair of the 32nd Annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards. The Governor’s Volunteer Awards are administered by the OneStar Foundation and honor the exemplary service of individuals, groups and organizations in Texas that have made a significant and measurable contribution to their communities through service and volunteering. The positive impact that volunteerism and service to others has is immeasurable, and I’m looking forward to recognizing and honoring those who go above and beyond to help their fellow Texans.

    With me in this photo is Eric Cooper, President/CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank.

  • Monday, July 13, 2015

    Governor’s Mansion Restoration receives prestigious award!

    I’m so excited to report that the Governor’s Mansion Restoration recently received a prestigious Preservation Award from The Victorian Society In America (VSA.) What an honor for our beautiful home!

    The Victorian Society is a national non-profit organization committed to historic preservation, protection, understanding, education, and enjoyment of our nineteenth century heritage. It was founded by leading preservationists in 1966, in part as a reaction to the destruction of New York's Pennsylvania Station.

    The annual Preservation Awards Program honors outstanding preservation and restoration projects throughout the country. To be eligible for an award the building must have been constructed between 1837 and 1917.

    Texas is also home to two other Preservation Award winners! Austin Hall at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville received an award in 2013 and the State Capitol's Governor's Reception Room received a Citation for Excellence in 1988.

    The Texas Governor’s Mansion and its storied history – from its early days in the 1800s to its recent restoration – represents one more reason why Texans should be proud of our state’s rich heritage. I hope you enjoy this wonderful piece of history as much as my family and I do.

  • Thursday, July 09, 2015

    TBT - McMurry University Women’s Leadership Luncheon

    Today's Throwback Thursday is for the McMurry University Women's Leadership Luncheon I attended back in March. The luncheon celebrated outstanding women leaders and honored the recipient of the Dr. Sandra S. Harper Women's Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded each year to a student at McMurry University. Taylor Russell, who will graduate in May 2016 with a degree in biomedical science and is captain of the basketball team, was the recipient of this year’s scholarship award.

    Texas is home to so many strong, accomplished women - women who inspire us to dream big and give back to our communities. I was honored to be a part of the event to celebrate and recognize the leaders at McMurry University who have distinguished themselves through their accomplishments in the classroom and stewardship to their community. Congraulations again to this year's scholarship recipient, Taylor Russell. And thank you to all of the students who were nominated for the scholarship for enriching your community and building an even better future for our great state.

  • Monday, July 06, 2015

    The Dangers of Leaving Children (and Pets) in Vehicles

    I received an alert from the Texas Department of Public Safety a few days ago that I wanted to share here on my blog. DPS is reminding Texans about the dangers of leaving children in vehicles during the hot summer months, and I want to help spread the word.

    Here is the DPS alert:

    The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding Texans that as summer temperatures increase, so does the potential for vehicular heatstroke deaths in children. Every year, children die from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle or entering a vehicle unnoticed.

    “Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle regardless of the weather; however especially in warmer temperatures, the likelihood of serious injury or death increases exponentially when a child – or anyone – remains in a hot vehicle for too long,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS urges parents, caretakers and the public to do their part to prevent vehicular heatstroke by never leaving a child inside a vehicle without an adult present, and by notifying emergency personnel if they see a child alone in a car.”

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, temperatures inside a car can rise more than 20 degrees in only 10 minutes; and even with an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees. Leaving windows partially rolled down does not help. In addition, young children are particularly at risk since their bodies heat up faster than an adult.

    DPS offers the following tips for preventing vehicular heatstroke deaths and injuries:

    • Always check the back seats of your vehicle before walking away.
    • Establish reminders that help ensure you remove children from the vehicle. For example: leave your bag, lunch or cell phone in the back seat with the child’s car seat.
    • Call 9-1-1 if you see a child alone in a car, and emergency personnel will instruct you what to do next.
    • If a child goes missing, open the doors and trunks to every vehicle in the area. One-third of all of the deaths occur when a child accesses a parked car unnoticed.
    • Teach children not to play in vehicles and make sure to place the keys out of reach when not being used.

    For more information, visit www.safercar.gov/parents/index.htm.

    While the DPS alert only mentions children, I think it's very important for Texans to know that it is also extremely dangerous for pets to be left in hot vehicles. As the alert notes, temperatures can rise quickly, and leaving the car windows rolled down doesn't protect against the heat. During these hot summer months, take extra precautions to make sure that your precious cargo - whether it be yourself, your children, or your pets - are not left unattended in hot vehicles. I wish all Texans a happy and healthy summer!

  • Thursday, July 02, 2015

    TBT - 2015 Texas Medal of Arts Awards

    Every once and a while I’m going to have a “Throwback Thursday” post about an event I participated in or a group I met a while back.

    Today’s TBT is about the 2015 Texas Medal of Arts Awards, which were held here in Austin in February. I was thrilled to be able to participate in this occasion and help honor and celebrate Texans who have impacted our state’s culture through the arts.

    Here is a photo of one of the 2015 honorees - the Kilgore College Rangerettes – at the Governor’s Mansion.

    Photo by Jim Debth of InDebth Photography.

    To see all the 2015 honorees, visit http://texasmedalofarts.org/honorees/.

    Congratulations to all of the honorees of the 2015 Texas Medal of Arts Awards! The moments and masterpieces created by each of these recipients provide invaluable inspiration for future generations of Texans, and we are thankful for their extraordinary contributions to the uniqueness and richness of our state.

     

  • Monday, June 29, 2015

    Nominations Now Open for 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Awards

    I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as Honorary Chair of the 32nd Annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards. The Governor’s Volunteer Awards are administered by the OneStar Foundation and honor the exemplary service of individuals, groups and organizations in Texas that have made a significant and measurable contribution to their communities through service and volunteering.

    Nominations are now open. If you know an individual or organization who fits into one of these award categories, I encourage you to nominate them! The categories are:

    Governor’s Lone Star Achievement
    ​First Lady’s Rising Star
    Partners in Education
    Service to Veterans
    Higher Education Community Impact
    Corporate Community Impact
    Community Leadership
    Senior Corps Community Impact
    AmeriCorps “Make a Difference”

    To see descriptions and criteria for each award, visit http://onestarfoundation.org/2015-governors-volunteer-awards/.

    To submit a nomination for an award, visit http://www.tfaforms.com/379117.

    The nominations will close on Tuesday July 21, 2015.

    Photo from the Leo C. Benavides Awards Dinner earlier this year in Fort Worth.

    I believe that we are each called to service – whether we serve our neighbors, our communities, our state, or our country. The positive impact that volunteerism and service to others has is immeasurable, and I’m looking forward to recognizing and honoring those who go above and beyond to help their fellow Texans.

  • Friday, June 26, 2015

    The Governor’s Gallery

    A few months back, I was asked to view over one hundred pieces of art created by Texas students from all across the state. Viewing the art was easy and fun! But then came the hard part…picking a dozen or so pieces to hang in the Governor’s Business Office in the Capitol for a year. This yearly tradition, called The Governor’s Gallery, was established by First Lady Laura Bush during her husband’s tenure as Governor of Texas, and is coordinated by the Texas Art Education Association.

    This afternoon I hosted a reception at the Capitol to unveil the Gallery. I had a wonderful time getting to meet these talented young Texans, their families, and their art teachers. Congratulations to all of you!

  • Thursday, June 25, 2015

    Texas First Ladies Historic Costume Collection at Texas Woman’s University

    I was so honored when Texas Woman’s University asked for the scarlet red gown I wore to the Inaugural Ball to become a part of their Texas First Ladies Historic Costume Collection. It is such a privilege to have my gown join others worn by former Texas First Ladies and other notable Texas women as part of the collection.

    Photo courtesy of Texas Woman’s University and Susan Sponsler-Carstarphen.

    If you are ever in Denton or close by, I encourage you to visit the Texas First Ladies Historic Costume Collection, as well as the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, both housed at Texas Woman’s University. To view TWU’s announcement, and learn more information about the exhibit, click here. To learn about the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, click here.

    Thank you to Texas Woman’s University for your commitment to preserving this part of Texas history.

  • Monday, June 22, 2015

    2015 Governor’s Small Business Awards

    Last week I attended two Governor's Small Business Forums, and at the forums I announced the recipients of the 2015 Governor’s Small Business Awards. Small businesses are crucial to our state’s economy and play an important role in the future of Texas. We believe in encouraging more Texans to invest in themselves and their communities, and that begins with policies that make it easier to start and grow a business. In Texas, we know that means low taxes and reasonable regulations. These policies not only benefit business owners, but also employees, their families, local communities, and the entire state. I can guarantee you that Governor Abbott will continue to make sure that Texas remains the model for doing business in the nation.

    On Tuesday I was in Waco at the 2015 Texas Rural Challenge, where three Texas small businesses were presented with the Governor’s Small Business Award:

    Free Flight Systems
    Shield Bearer, Inc.
    Taste Elevated

    Here I am with Lori Krieger of Taste Elevated.

    On Thursday, seven women-owned small businesses based in Central Texas were awarded the 2015 Governor’s Small Business Award at the Governor’s Small Business Forum in Austin:

    Latina Entrepreneurial Excellence Award: Rebecca Contreras of AvantGarde
    Excellence in Veteran Engagement Award: Charmane Sellers of Aleon Properties, Inc.
    Cultural Arts Excellence Award: Elizabeth Avellan of Troublemaker Studios
    Excellence in Innovation Award: Rebecca and Elizabeth Arreaga of Mercury Mambo
    Emerging Woman-Owned Business of the Year Award: Isabella Rose Taylor
    Community Investment Excellence Award: Lauren Foster of Stretch Recipes, Inc.
    Supplier of the Year Award: Harutunian Engineering, Inc.

    Here I am with all seven winners.

    The Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism, in conjunction with the Texas Workforce Commission, hosts Governor’s Small Business forums throughout the year and all across Texas. The first 2015 Governor’s Small Business Forum was held in La Vernia on March 17, 2015, where the following Texas small businesses were named as 2015 Governor’s Small Business Award Winners:

    O.G. Supply
    Papa Dante’s Italian Restaurant
    McMahan Welding Service, Ltd.
    Cycle Ranch
    Frames and Things
    Hyde’s Hen House
    Main Drug Company and Gift Shop
    Power Plant Texas Grill
    V.L.S. Industries
    Martinez Highway 90 BBQ
    Wendel Motor Company

    The El Paso Governor’s Small Business Forum was held on April 16, 2015 and honored Texas small business that have been in business for longer than 25 years:

    Good Luck Café
    DWS Building Supply
    Economy Cash & Carry
    WestStar Bank
    Pizza Properties DBA Peter Piper Pizza

    For more information on future 2015 forums, click here.

  • Tuesday, June 16, 2015

    Texans: Take Precautions As Tropical Storm Bill Approaches

    Greg appeared on The Weather Channel this morning to talk about the approaching Tropical Storm Bill and to urge Texans in its path to heed the warnings of local officials.

    To view Greg's appearance on the Weather Channel, click here or on the image below.

    Greg's office also shared this information about Tropical Storm Bill:

    • The outer bands of Tropical Storm Bill are starting to affect the Gulf Coast and the storm will make landfall shortly between Rockport and Matagorda.
    • Expect tropical downpours with showers and storms moving over the same areas for an extended period of time, resulting in flash flooding. Event Total Amounts of 4 to 8 inches with isolated amounts up to 12 inches are expected along and east of the track of Bill.
    • Expect sustained winds between 50-60 mph in the affected areas.

    Additionally, Greg has activated the State Operations Center - more information on that here.

    Stay safe, and heed the warnings of local officials, emergency responders and weather alerts.

  • Friday, June 12, 2015

    Visiting Wimberley

    Greg and I had a great time last Saturday visiting Wimberley. We were there to support the local economy and spread the word that while this town and its residents sustained heavy damage from the recent flood, Wimberley has bounced back and is open for business. We stopped in many of the shops on the square and shopped - Greg bought me a pair of earrings, and we purchased a gift for friends from out of state. Greg also purchased two rocks with "Hope" and "Faith" carved in them, and placed them in a nearby garden. And we enjoyed a delicious lunch!

    We had the opportunity to meet many locals who exhibited such strength and pride in their town, and I was so glad to have met Texans from all across our state who were visiting Wimberley to shop and support the community, as well as several Red Cross volunteers who were there to help with the ongoing recovery. While there is still work to be done, there is no doubt that this community is #WimberleyStrong. Governor Abbott and I continue to pray for all of those affected by the severe weather in Wimberley and all across Texas.