2016 Gala Speakers and Celebrity Guests
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
Dan Patrick has been called a bold, determined, and principles-first leader who consistently articulates the views and values of the conservative majority in Texas. He is no friend of the mainstream media who have warned that Patrick “is underestimated at your own peril.”
First elected to the Texas Senate in 2007, Patrick has been committed to reducing taxes; limiting government spending; border security; protecting life, the family, and the Second Amendment; and education reforms that will assure that every Texan has the opportunity to prosper and the Lone Star State will continue to lead the nation in job creation and business expansion.
Patrick is a successful small businessman and radio host, a former television anchor, sportscaster, musician, Christian author, and movie producer. He was elected Lt. Governor in 2014. He and his wife Jan have been married 41 years. They have two children and four grandchildren.
A longtime resident of Wichita Falls, Texas State Rep. James Frank is committed to limited, efficient government principles that encourage economic growth, individual liberty, and maximized local control. With a degree in finance from Texas A&M University, 11 years in the banking industry, and over 15 years as the owner of both Sharp Iron Group and Transland, manufacturing businesses which employ more than 100 people, Representative Frank brings a unique and necessary set of skills to the Texas Legislature.
During his time in office, he has been a strong advocate for parental rights and home school issues, including working closely with THSC on both the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act and the “Tim Tebow” UIL Participation Bill. Representative Frank has served seven years on the board of THSC and is a committed community and church leader. He and his wife of 27 years, Alisha, have four sons, all of whom are or were home schooled.
Cathie Adams serves as the President of Texas Eagle Forum, the International Issues Chairman for Eagle Forum, and on the board of the national Eagle Forum. She was elected Republican National Committeewoman for Texas in 2008 and stepped down after being elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas from 2009-2010. She was named by Campaigns and Elections magazine’s August, 2010 issue as one of the top 50 Republican influencers in Texas.
Eagle Forum’s mission is to enable conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public policy-making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, respect for family integrity, public and private virtue, and private enterprise.
Cathie has been an election judge, a member of the district, state, and national resolutions/platform committees and a delegate to five Republican National Conventions. She especially enjoyed serving on the Republican National Platform Committee in 2000, 2004, and 2008.
Capitol Inside’s Texas Lobby Power Rankings placed Cathie first on their list of lobbyists for cause from 2005 through 2009. “The Democratic insurgence hasn’t pushed Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams out of the number one spot on the list of people who lobby for causes. Adams, a veteran activist who was elected to the Republican National Committee last summer, commands the immediate attention of GOP lawmakers whenever her organization decides to turn up the grassroots pressure on conservative issues dear to its heart.”
Most recently Cathie has been observing the United Nations design a Green Climate Fund. As an observer of major UN conferences since 1995, Cathie enjoys telling about her experiences. She attended the Women’s Conference in Beijing, China; the Housing Summit in Istanbul, Turkey; the Food Summit in Rome, Italy; and a number of Climate Change meetings in Kyoto, Japan, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bonn, Germany, The Hague, Netherlands, Poznan, Poland, Cancun, Mexico, Durban, South Africa, Doha, Qatar, Warsaw, Poland, and Lima, Peru. When the International Criminal Court was created in Rome in 1998, Cathie attended the proceedings. She also attended the 2000 Millennium Summit in New York City, the Global Taxing Summit in Monterrey, Mexico, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. She traveled to Hong Kong for a Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization and to Paris, France, for a UNESCO meeting.
Cathie has been involved in other civic activities, as well. She was a member of the Human Services Commission for the City of Dallas and has testified before the State Board of Education as well as several Legislative committees in Austin, Texas. The news media frequently calls her for the “conservative” side of their reporting.
Mrs. Cathie Adams is a full-time volunteer. She has been married to Dr. Homer Adams for 46 years and they have five grandchildren. Their son and daughter-in-law are both Texas A&M graduates.
Wayne Christian is the Republican Nominee for Texas Railroad Commissioner. He is a businessman and former state legislator from East Texas. Wayne graduated from high school as valedictorian and went on to graduate from Stephen F. Austin State University with a BBA in General Business in 1973.
After college Wayne found success in the music industry with his country/gospel band, the Mercy River Boys, and went on to be a finalist for a Grammy Award in 1979.
In 1987 after gaining valuable experience in business, banking, and real estate, Wayne Christian opened the financial services business that he still owns to this day. He is a three-time AIG top advisor nationwide. Wayne served in the Texas House from 1997-2013 as Vice-Chair of Regulated Industries and a member of the Energy Resource Committee.
Wayne knows the enormous impact the oil and gas community has on our state’s economy and budget. In spite of recent economic challenges, the industry paid $13.8 billion in taxes and royalties in fiscal year 2015 — the second highest total in Texas history. That money directly funds our schools, roads, first responders, essential public services, and Rainy Day Fund.
Wayne appreciates the hard work conducted by oil and gas professionals everyday. As a small business owner, Wayne understands that the energy sector needs our Railroad Commission to provide consistent, predictable, science-based regulations and leadership for the industry.
Jim Graham is the president of Texas Right to Life, having served as the executive director for over 20 years. An experienced lobbyist and uncompromising advocate for Life, Mr. Graham is a fixture in the Pro-Life movement of Texas and across the nation. In addition to assisting in legislative development, Mr. Graham fosters the educational outreach of Texas Right to Life, which has seen great success, especially with the Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship for College Pro-Life Leaders.
Educated in Houston, Mr. Graham was an avid rugby player who pursued advanced studies in philosophy and theology at the University of St. Thomas before becoming the executive director of Texas Right to Life. As an active member in the political landscape of Texas, he has led numerous political committees and served as a member or delegate for several conventions for the Republican Party in Texas.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller
Sid Miller is an eighth generation farmer and rancher and the 12th Commissioner of Agriculture for the great state of Texas. Commissioner Miller has devoted his life to the agriculture industry and supporting Texas producers and the communities they call home. He is a businessman, rancher, community leader, former ag teacher, and former school board member.
Throughout his service to the state of Texas, Commissioner Miller’s real-world agricultural experience has helped shape his policy decisions and make a difference for Texans. As the leader of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), Commissioner Miller is focused on safeguarding private property rights and water resources, as well as protecting Texas consumers and agricultural producers. He is passionate about ensuring rural communities have access to the infrastructure they need to thrive.
Commissioner Miller also works to promote growth, job creation, and innovation in the agriculture industry through domestic and international market development efforts, as well as partnerships with Texas universities and research facilities. He oversees TDA’s dynamic marketing program — GO TEXAN — which showcases the best products, cultures, and communities the Lone Star State has to offer.
As Agriculture Commissioner, Miller has implemented several positive reforms to the agency. This includes the restructuring of TDA’s regional operations to improve efficiency throughout the agency, as well as changing the way TDA conducts fuel pump inspections. Previously, fuel pump inspections took six-to-eight years to complete. Under Commissioner Miller’s leadership, the inspection and calibration of all 400,000 pumps in the state happens every 24 months.
Commissioner Miller also created TDA’s Office of Water, which is dedicated to ensuring all Texans have access to clean water and addressing issues surrounding water rights. He expanded the GO TEXAN program to reach national and global markets, as well as broaden the types of businesses that qualify for membership in the program. Commissioner Miller continues to work at expanding access to health care in rural Texas, which has traditionally been critically underserved.
In the realm of child nutrition, Commissioner Miller has risen as a leader in the fight against childhood obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles for all Texans. Farm Fresh Fridays is an initiative championed by Commissioner Miller that works to increase the availability of fresh, local produce in schools. He has also been very active in promoting urban agricultural education courses and the planting of school gardens.
Commissioner Miller was born in De Leon, Texas. He is a farmer and rancher who breeds and trains American Quarter Horses. He is a rodeo cowboy and holds nine world championship titles. He is an honors graduate of Tarleton State University in Stephenville, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Vocational Agriculture Education.
Commissioner Miller and his wife Debra have been married for almost 40 years. The Millers have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren.
Attorney General Ken Paxton
Texas’ 51st Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is known for his principled and uncompromising devotion to America’s founding values and as a man who has demonstrated enormous political courage throughout his service to Texas.
The son of an Air Force veteran, General Paxton is a stalwart leader with an abiding passion and deep-seated respect for our U.S. Constitution.
In his first year in office, General Paxton hit the ground running, filing eight lawsuits against the federal government to protect Texas sovereignty on environmental issues, health care, religious freedom, and immigration. The lawsuit he led for a 26-state coalition stopped President Obama’s illegal immigration plan in its tracks, winning in federal courts three times.
He also launched a new unit targeting human traffickers in Texas, fought for the rights of consumers against unscrupulous companies and institutions, and protected the privacy rights of Texans during the RadioShack bankruptcy hearings.
While serving in both chambers of the Texas Legislature, General Paxton worked to protect the 10th Amendment, defending Texas’ state sovereignty. He co-sponsored and defended Texas’ Voter ID bill and has been a prominent voice in the defense of religious liberty and the protection of the unborn.
A defender of our free enterprise system, General Paxton has worked to make Texas a beacon of economic prosperity, opposing burdensome government regulations that harm Texas jobs and stunt economic growth.
Ken Paxton was born December 23, 1962, in Minot, North Dakota, while his father was stationed at Minot Air Force Base. He graduated from Baylor University, where he served as student body president, earning a B.A. in psychology in 1985 and an MBA in 1986.
In 1991 he earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, founded by Thomas Jefferson. After law school, he joined the firm of Strasburger & Price, LLP, and later served as in-house counsel for J.C. Penney Company.
First elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2002, General Paxton represented House District 70 for 10 years, one of the fastest-growing regions in the state. In 2012 he was elected to the Texas State Senate, representing Senate District 8 in Collin and Dallas counties.
He met his wife Angela, a guidance counselor at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco, while they were students at Baylor. The Paxtons have four children: Tucker, Abby, Mattie, and Katie. They are members of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.