Last week the Republican Party of Texas hosted its annual legislative dinner.  The dinner, the 5th under Chairman Munisteri’s leadership, raised $225,000, which is a record for this event, and all of the legislative dinners combined have raised over $850,000 for the RPT.

The event, which started with a host reception and photo opportunity followed by dinner for all paying guests, was attended by over 300 people and would not have been successful without the participation of our Republican House and Senate members and our statewide elected officials.  In total, we had 77 House members and 18 Senate members commit to attend.  In addition, Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus, Comptroller Glenn Hegar, Land Commissioner George P Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Railroad Commissioners Ryan Sitton, Christi Craddick and David Porter, Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justices Jeff Brown, Jeff Boyd, Debra Lehrman, Phil Johnson and Eva Guzman all attended the event and stood for photos with event sponsors for almost an hour.  It should be noted that Attorney General Paxton lent his name to the invitation but had a last minute scheduling change that prevented him from attending.  The RPT is extremely grateful to all of our elected officials who supported the fundraiser, especially during the legislative session, which is a very busy time of year.  In fact, some of our honored guests had to step out early to attend other events in the area but they made it a priority to come to our event first.  Because of their participation, the event raised money that will help to fund RPT operations of running the primary, building party infrastructure, hosting state convention and coordinating Victory operations.

Following the reception and photo line, guests were asked to join us in the dining room for dinner and formal remarks from the new Texas leadership.  The dinner program was kicked off with a prayer led byChairman Jim Keffer and pledges of allegiance led by Kathaleen Wall.  Kathaleen and her husband, Holly Frost, have been two of the RPT’s biggest financial and political supporters during Steve’s tenure as Chairman.

Following the formalities, Chairman Munisteri introduced Governor Abbott as the driving force behind our exceptional Victory effort this past election cycle.  Governor Abbott thanked Chairman Munisteri for his tireless work and showed off the “Munisteri Award” which Governor Abbott presented to Steve in December.  The award will be given every year to the volunteer who is the most valuable player for the RPT.  Governor Abbott continued by highlighting some of the goals he plans to accomplish this session, including Better Schools, Tax Relief and Improved Roads.

Lt Governor Patrick was up next and echoed Governor Abbott’s comments.  Lt. Governor Patrick is standing shoulder to shoulder with Governor Abbott to address issues that Texas Voters responded to overwhelmingly during last fall’s elections, including immigration, taxes and transportation.

House Speaker Joe Straus was among the honored guests who had to depart early due to having additional commitments.  He was unable to deliver formal remarks which means that Comptroller Glenn Hegar was up next.  Comptroller Hegar directly addressed the issue that is on everyone’s mind – the prediction of oil prices in Texas and what that means for the Texas budget.  He believes that his budget estimate is a conservative one and like years’ past, Texas will survive this unpredictable climate.  He then continued to thank the people in the room, many of whom represent some of Texas’ most vibrant businesses. He wanted all of our donors to know that our leadership understands that job creation in the state is created by private enterprise.  Or, by the people in the room who they themselves or their employers have risked their own capitol to create jobs in our great state.

Land Commissioner George P Bush addressed the crowd next.  He reminded the crowd that the Republican Party of Texas has a message that resonates with the fastest growing demographic in Texas.  We have a new generation of Republican leaders in the state and according to exit polls, these men and women were elected by a record number of Hispanic and young voters.  He’s using his election as the Land Commissioner to reduce the size of government, support Texas’ military veterans and protect the Alamo.

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller spoke next.  He thanked Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick for her record victories as Victory Chair in 2014.  He then gave us some fun statistics about agriculture in Texas: Texas Agriculture is the second largest industry in the state, producing 18 billion hamburger patties a year.  And while that is a fun statistic, the fact that we are losing jobs because of the keystone pipeline is sobering.  We must elect a President in 2016 who will support Keystone and support Texas jobs.

2014 Victory Chair and Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick used the stage to recap some of Victory 2014 efforts.  She said that the Victory committee spent close to $2 million and she remembers when Republican could have met in a phone booth.  If we are to continue to be successful, Texas cannot stop campaigning on Election Day.  Because of her leadership as chair, the RPT 6 field offices that will work continuously through the cycle to ensure that Texas is the stopping point for the overregulation that is happening in the rest of the country.  The next battle is in 2016 to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House and just as Gov. Abbott and the Republican Women’s Clubs did against Wendy Davis, Texas Republicans will once again win the women’s vote in 2016.

Commissioner David Porter spoke next about some of the work of the commission that others may not know about.  Specifically, he said that it’s important for the regulatory framework in Texas to be fair, balanced and consistent and that commission works to make it so.

Commissioner Ryan Sitton closed out the speeches for the evening by thanking all of the people that contributed to his campaign and the RPT throughout the last election cycle that made it possible for Republicans to have such big wins across the state. He also talked about his early work on the Railroad Commission and how he hopes to make a big impact over the course of his first term.

Chairman Munisteri closed the program by thanking the elected officials for attending and the sponsors and guests for participating. Regarding the success of the dinner, Chairman Munisteri commented: “This year’s dinner was the largest of the five that I have hosted since being elected as Chairman and raised the most amount of money. What struck as I looked out over the attendees was the fact that we had more State Senators, Representatives, party leaders, and donors at the dinner than ever before. This proved to me that by working together, we will succeed and continue to ensure Texas remains a model conservative state for years to come.”