Texas Tribune hosts state representatives in political discussion at St. Edward’s University

Jacob Rogers

The Mabee Ballroom was packed Thursday for a political panel discussion hosted by Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune.

A Conversation with State Reps. Celia Israel, D-Austin, Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, and Paul Workman, R-Austin, is the first of many college visits the Tribune will be doing, Smith said. It was also the first event for the Tribune in 2016.

Cristina Bordin, chief of staff to St. Edward’s University President George E. Martin, said the Tribune asked if St. Edward’s would be able to host the event.

“It is a great way for our community, faculty, staff and students to be engaged with local politics,” she said. “I was happy to see many Hilltoppers in attendance.”

Topics discussed included property taxes, border security and a lengthy discussion on gun control.

Rodriguez and Israel both voted against S.B. 11, which legalized concealed carry of firearms on college campuses. Israel called it an easy vote and Rodriguez says he supports the Second Amendment, but there should be limitations.

“We have a Second Amendment, and I think it’s become an all or nothing game,” Rodriguez said.

Workman voted in favor of the bill, saying we have to do a better job on the front end, particularly when it comes to mental illness.

“You have to be 21, got to go through a background check and you got to be trained. And so, I’m not sure what more you need to do,” Workman said.

Director of Communications Mischelle Diaz was pleased with the attendance and enthusiasm for the event.

“Today’s Texas Tribune event was a great opportunity for the university community to hear from elected officials and to participate in discussions on important issues,” she said.

Disclosure: St. Edward’s journalism students, including current Print Editor-in-Chief Jacob Sanchez, have interned at The Texas Tribune.