It's like Christmas in May for political junkies after the Texas Tribune Festival released half of the star-studded 2014 lineup. Returning this year to the University of Texas at Austin from September 19-21, the Fest features some pretty big names — and a few notable absences.
So far, 75 speakers have been confirmed, representing nearly all facets of Texas politics. Among the headliners is U.S. Sen. — and potential 2016 presidential hopeful —Ted Cruz, along with his predecessor Kay Bailey Hutchison. Superstars on the rise, the Castro brothers, San Antonio's Mayor Julian Castro and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, will also be making appearances.
Other notable names in public policy include Houston Mayor Annise Parker, lieutenant governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte and Kinky Friedman, who’s running for Texas agriculture commissioner. Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes, will be one of the more prominent political commentators speaking at the festival.
While the list of confirmed names is impressive, there’s still more to come, considering a total of 150 speakers will be appearing during the festival. Neither Attorney General Greg Abbott or State Sen. Wendy Davis is on the list, which isn't terribly surprising considering Trib Fest takes place just weeks before November's gubernatorial election.
It's like Christmas in May for political junkies after the Texas Tribune Festival released half of their star-studded 2014 lineup.
Also absent from the lineup is a Perry. Last year’s festival featured Texas First Lady Anita Perry, who surprised festival attendants when she said, “I see [abortion] as a woman's right. If they want to do that, that is their decision. And they have to live with that decision." Her husband, Gov. Rick Perry, who appeared as the opening speaker in 2012, is also absent.
This year’s festival will also include nine tracks of programming: public education, higher education, immigration, transportation, criminal justice, energy, the environment, health care and open government — a new topic for this year.
Registration is now open, with the early bird rate ringing in at $150, which is 50 percent off of the walk-up price. However, for a limited time current Texas Tribune members can register for $125, and students and educators can register for as little as $50. More information is available on the online home of the Texas Tribune Festival.