On Thursday morning, I participated in a panel discussion about the growth of Austin at a Leadership Austin breakfast. Joining me on the panel were Senator Kirk Watson and Jesus Garza of the Seton Family of Hospitals. Our wide-ranging conversation addressed major concerns around Austin’s growth.
As I explained during this panel, in my view, Austin is not faced with a huge number of things we must accomplish to move forward as a community; we have three or four major issues that will require hard work and political will.
Smart transportation planning is not only key to the quality of life in the region but affects all manner of other things, like housing prices. We’re nothing without the environment, so protecting it and planning for growth, especially with regard to our water quality and supply is crucial. We must invest in education, both statewide k-12 and higher ed. And not least, we need to see to the quality and availability of health care.
The enormous expertise of the UT Austin faculty will inform our community’s decisions in every one of these areas as UT and Austin move into the future together. And nowhere more than at the intersection of education and health care.
As I said in my State of the University Address last month, we are moving ever closer to developing a medical school at UT Austin. There are myriad details yet to be worked out, but we are poised to tackle this region-transforming project. Our strengths in natural sciences and engineering, nursing and pharmacy, social work, business, economics, and many other areas make us the natural home for Texas’ next great medical school and teaching hospital. It will take foresight and perseverance, but I believe we can and we will create a UT Austin medical school.
On a completely different note, this is a special weekend for Longhorns everywhere as we face down our archrivals OU at the Cotton Bowl. I’m on my way to Dallas with the team today and hope to visit with many of you there. Our Horns are looking great. So let’s be safe, have fun, and beat those Sooners!