Five stories that have North Texas talking: Have your Texas members of Congress held a town hall this year?; Dallas Stars have their new coach; Texans concerned over Kelcy Warren’s role in state parks and wildlife; and more.
Town halls have been well-attended events this year as the Trump administration has unfolded. The public forums have allowed Texans to air grievances and ask questions with their representative’s full attention. As Reps. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, and Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, know, health care has dominated the conversation.
But, as The Dallas Morning News has found, most Texans in Congress haven’t held any in-person town halls this year — 25 out of all 36 members in the state’s delegation to be exact; 19 Republicans and six Democrats.
Several Texans are using the April recess to fit in a town hall, including Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, who already held two town halls in March. He’s holding three more this month. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, who’s taken over the House investigation into Russian attempts to influence the election, is making six Texas stops over the next two weeks, according to the Morning News. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, who recently announced his Senate bid, is holding a hometown meeting today. And Rep. Michael Burgess will be in Fort Worth on April 22.
The North Texans who haven’t held an in-person town hall include: Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth; Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas; Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas; Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Plano; Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, and Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath. [The Dallas Morning News]
- The Dallas Stars already have a replacement for coach Lindy Ruff days after announcing his departure. Ken Hitchcock will take over as head coach of the Stars, anonymous sources with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to The Associated Press and SportsDay on Wednesday. Hitchcock won the Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999, coaching there for parts of seven seasons from 1995-96 through 2001-02, according to AP. The formal announcement is expected today. The Stars finished 34-37-11 this season, 11th in the Western Conference with 79 points. [The Associated Press]
- How do you tell your kids you’re sick? A Baylor program is helping families navigate terminal illness. Carolyn Brown was diagnosed in July with Stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer, and she knew she couldn’t promise her then 5-year-old son that everything would be OK. That’s when Brown and her husband turned to Baylor, Scott and White Health’s child life specialists — people trained to help kids understand and cope with a loved one’s illness. There are specialists at Baylor hospitals in Dallas, Plano and Fort Worth. They see 125 families a month in Dallas alone, and the program is run entirely off donations. Learn more. [KERA News]
- Texans voiced concerns Wednesday on pipeline CEO Kelcy Warren’s role on the the state’s Parks and Wildlife Commission. In November, opponents demanded Warren’s resignation from the commission. Some say there’s a conflict of interest for Warren, whose company Energy Transfer Partners is behind a number of high-profile pipeline projects, including the Dakota Access. No one gave testimony supporting Warren on Wednesday, Jen Rice reports. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Warren to the commission in November 2015. This is the Legislature's first opportunity to confirm Warren because he was appointed after the 2015 session. [Texas Station Collaborative]
- The University of Texas at Dallas has been ranked No. 1 in the United States among universities founded less than 50 years ago. The Young University Rankings, released this week by Times Higher Education, rate 200 universities across the globe. UT-Dallas, which opened in June 1969, ranked 21st in the world, up three spots from last year. The universities were measured and compared in five areas: teaching (the learning environment), research (volume, income and reputation), citations (research influence), international outlook (staff, students and research) and industry income (knowledge transfer). Here’s the full methodology. [Young University Rankings]
The High Five is KERA's daily roundup of news stories from Dallas-Fort Worth and across the state. Explore our archives here. And sign up for our weekly email for the North Texas news you need to know.