On April 4, 2023, the Public Service and Administration Department at the Bush School of Government & Public Service hosted the 2023 Cameron Fellows Lecture, with Cameron Distinguished Fellow Joseph R. Straus III, former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. Straus served as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives from 2009-2019, making him the longest serving Republican Speaker in state history.
General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III, Dean of the Bush School, opened the night introducing Straus to those in attendance. Straus began by discussing his time visiting with Bush School students earlier in the day and how optimistic he is for the future of the country based on the Bush School students with whom he had crossed paths during his visit. Straus continued by stressing the importance of bipartisanship governance in today’s world.
“When it comes to the issues that really matter, you need people with different experiences and perspectives working together,” Straus said.
Following his opening remarks, Straus spoke with Dr. Lori Taylor, Head of the Department of Public Service and Administration at the Bush School. The duo discussed Straus’s proudest achievements, including balancing the state’s biannual budget in good and poor economic times.
“Being a Cameron Fellow means a lot to me,” Straus said. “It’s an honor and I’m grateful to all of you who have made this school a fitting and successful tribute to a great president and fantastic public servant, President George H.W. Bush.”
The Cameron Fellows Program, hosted by the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, was created by Florence Cameron Crichton, a dear friend of President and Mrs. Bush. The program initially began as the Cameron Lectureship which brought many high-profile public servants to speak at the Bush School. Over the 20 years of the program, Mrs. Crichton expanded the initial endowment to include the Fellows program, allowing speakers greater connection with students and faculty at the Bush School.
Nationally recognized for his commitment to public service, Straus serves on the Brookings Institution Board of Trustees, and he is a member of the Class of 2009 of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership. He also serves as a member of the Honorary Board of Directors at the SMU John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and serves on the Texas Biomedical Research Institute Board of Trustees. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University.
By Paige Grande