Sherry Sylvester

Policy Orientation Day 2: What’s on the Agenda for Today

The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual Policy Orientation brings together the most influential thought leaders and policymakers for the premier policy gathering highlighting national, state, and local issues. 

This year, the conversations fostered during Policy Orientation are even more vital as they come at a time when we must face new challenges, embrace new opportunities, and set a course for public policy that will last generations. 

Press credentials are still available for in-person or virtual attendance. 

Here’s what’s on the agenda for today: 

Thursday, January 20, 2022 

7:00 AM Registration Opens  

8:00-9:15 AM Keynote Breakfast with Rob Henneke, State Attorneys General Ken Paxton (TX), Leslie Rutledge (AR), and Sean Reyes (UT): Back Off: States Unify to Protect Americans’ Rights from the Biden Overreach 

9:30-10:45 AM Concurrent Panels II  

Crime and Consequences: Conservative Solutions for a Broken Criminal Justice System 

Billions of tax dollars and the safety of our communities are held hostage with every emotional, knee-jerk reaction from the left—such as “defunding the police” or releasing violent criminals on “everyone deserves it” bonds. Join us for a conversation on data-driven, money-smart and common-sense solutions for keeping our communities and families safe. 


  • Brett Tolman – Executive Director for Right on Crime, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • JaRon Smith – Fellow, Right on Crime, TPPF 
  • Brian Hawthorne – Sheriff, Chambers County  
  • Scott MacNaughton – Law Enforcement, Public Safety  


Out of Air: How Unmitigated Wind Development Threatens the Environment and Human Livelihoods 

The growing wind industry is increasingly looking offshore to capture ample wind resources, especially in the Northeast U.S. However, the impact of this development on commercial fishermen, endangered species, and grid reliability is being ignored. Hear from a group of Rhode Island and Long Island fishing families who are suing the federal government to properly enforce its laws, and how Texas could be impacted by the outcome. 


  • Honorable Jason Isaac – Director of Life:Powered, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Meghan Lapp – Fisheries Liaison and General Manager, Seafreeze Shoreside 
  • Bonnie Brady – Executive Director, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association 
  • Honorable Jared Patterson – Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives  


The Accidental Activist: The Extraordinary Rise of the Unlikely Grassroots 

While states rush to ban Critical Race Theory, local changemakers are hard at work in their hometowns, making headway in the fight for their students’ education at the local school board level. This panel will explore why local involvement is so crucial in ensuring every student can thrive in an environment best suited for their educational needs.  


  • Lucy Vander Laan – Campaign Director, Next Generation Texas, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Ian Prior – Executive Director, Fight for Schools 
  • Kimberly Hermann – General Counsel, Southeastern Legal Foundation 
  • Hannah Smith – Trustee, Carroll ISD  


11:00 AM-12:15 PM Concurrent Panels III 

School House Shock: Reasserting a Parent’s Role in a Child’s Education 

Parents should be the ones making decisions about their children’s education, but they’ve found that education officials often are not interested in the concerns parents have with school curricula. Learn how families can regain control over their children’s education and build a better future for the next generation. 


  • Michael Barba – Policy Director, K-12 Education, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Corey DeAngelis, Ph.D. – National Director of Research, American Federation for Children 
  • Kurtis Indorf – President, Great Hearts Nova 
  • (V) Honorable Chris Sprowls – Speaker, Florida House of Representatives 


Taking On Tech: Is Regulation the Right Tool to Fight Censorship? 

Social media is far from the days of being a place for silly videos and food pictures—it’s America’s public square. We’ll discuss how policymakers should approach handling Big Tech censorship on the largest platforms in the world.  


  • Honorable Zach Whiting – Senior Fellow of Technology Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • W. Scott McCoullough – Principal, McCollough Law Firm PC 
  • Rachel Bovard – Senior Director of Policy, Conservative Partnership Institute 
  • Honorable Bryan Hughes – Texas State Senator, Texas Senate 


A Job: The Ultimate Anti-Poverty Program 

Employment is a fundamental and necessary step toward restoring dignity and purpose and putting individuals on a pathway to success. Join us to discuss how Texas can reshape safety net programs to include and prioritize getting people back to work. 


  • Vance Ginn, Ph.D. – Chief Economist, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Leslie Ford – Visiting Fellow, Heritage Foundation  
  • Honorable Tan Parker – Texas State Representative, Texas House of Representatives 
  • Randall Hicks – President & CEO, Georgia Center for Opportunity  


12:30-1:45 PM Keynote Lunch With Chris Rufo: Transparency  

Legislation: Fighting CRT and Political Indoctrination in Schools  


2:15-3:30PM Concurrent Panels IV  

Bidenomics: Inflation, Taxation, and Desperation 

Join us to discuss the economic impact of the Biden economy—inflation, supply chain issues, etc. 


  • Honorable Chuck DeVore – Vice President of National Initiatives, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Vance Ginn, Ph.D. – Chief Economist, TPPF 
  • Steve Moore – Co-Founder, Committee to Unleash Prosperity 
  • Tyler Goodspeed – Kleinheinz Fellow, Stanford University 


Do No Harm: Facing the Harsh Reality of Gender Modification 

Doctors performing experimental and harmful gender modification procedures on children is a growing problem in Texas. Join us for a discussion on what can be done to protect families and children.  


  • Derek Cohen, Ph.D. – Vice President of Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Quentin Van Meter – Pediatric Endocrinologist; President, American College of Pediatricians 
  • (V) Jennifer Bilek – Author/Founder, The 11th Hour Blog 

1620-1836: The War on Texas Identity 

Liberty, independence, and perseverance are in in the Texas DNA, part of the spirit of America that beats strongly in the heart of every Texan. Join our panel of eminent historians to discuss woke attempts to undermine American values and spirt and deny our Texas identity by re-writing our history—from 1620 to 1836 and beyond.  


  • Sherry Sylvester – Distinguished Senior Fellow, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Peter Wood – President, National Academy of Scholars 
  • Don Frazier, Ph.D. – Director, The Texas Center at Schreiner University 
  • Ernesto Rodriguez – Senior Curator and Historian, The Alamo 

3:45-6:00 PM General Session 

Convention of States Going Local 


  • Albert Torres – State Director, Convention of States  
  • Erika Hatfield – State Information Analyst, Convention of States 

Navigating the Healthcare System 

Dr. Marty Makary will discuss his work in helping patients navigate the complexity of the healthcare system. 


  • Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H. – Professor, Johns Hopkins University 


Step Aside Silicon Valley: A Vision for Texas as the Leader for New Tech 

Interview with the Honorable Zach Whiting of TPPF and Rex Founder, Peter Rex 


  • Honorable Zach Whiting – Senior Fellow of Technology Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Peter Rex – Founder and CEO, Rex 

Election Protection: How to Safely Collect and Count Our Votes 

Fraud, irregularities, harvesting, corrections, delays. Our election system is fraught with threats that could cause citizens to lose their most basic right in a democracy. This panel will discuss how the cheaters cheat and propose next steps for ensuring reliable election results. 


  • Honorable Chuck DeVore – Vice President of National Initiatives, Texas Public Policy Foundation (MODERATOR) 
  • Christian Adams – President and General Counsel, Public Interest Legal Foundation 
  • Hans von Spakovsky – Senior Legal Fellow, Heritage Foundation 
  • Honorable John B. Scott – Texas Secretary of State 

Learn more about Policy Orientation and view the full agenda at 

Click here to register for Policy Orientation as a member of the media.