Former Arlington state lawmaker moves on from Austin foundation

The Texas Capitol.
The Texas Capitol. Star-Telegram

Former state Sen. Kent Grusendorf has moved on.

In recent years, the man who represented the Arlington area in the Texas House for 20 years has been directing the Center for Education Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

But the former Education Committee chairman who helped rewrite the state’s school finance plan has left that post and is now working independently.

“Kent Grusendorf laid the foundation for our education-freedom efforts in the 85th Legislature,” TPPF Executive Vice President Kevin Roberts said. “Without him, we would not be as close as we are to securing real education freedom for Texas children.

“All Texans owe him a debt of gratitude for his tireless work in this important cause.”

Grusendorf served in the House until he was unseated by Rep. Diane Patrick of Arlington in 2006. The House seat is now held by state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington.

New leaders

The third annual class of presidential scholars program will begin meeting in February.

The next Presidential Leadership Scholars of 121 “emerging leaders” will participate in an “executive style program where they will learn from the experience and leadership” of former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson, drawing on the resources at each of the presidents’ libraries.

The new class will meet once a month in a different location, including four visits to Texas. In March, they’ll meet at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Center in College Station. In May they’ll go to the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

In June, they’ll meet at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Center in Austin and by July they’ll hold their closing ceremony and graduation back at the Bush center in Dallas.

“Each class of scholars represents a diverse group of professionals from a variety of backgrounds, geographies, and professional areas including private, public, non-profit, military, and academia, creating a dynamic group experience that fosters cooperation and collaboration,” according to a statement from the program.

Tax-free flags

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, believes Texans shouldn’t have to pay sales tax when they buy a Texas flag.

That’s why he filed House Bill 660, which he believes will give Texans another reason to buy the state flag.

“The Texas flag is more than just a symbol for Texans. It is an icon of the virtues our Forefathers held dear and those for which we stand every day,” he said. “The Lone Star Flag represents who we are as Texans and this bill officially makes that legacy known.”

A charitable moment

A Copperas Cove volunteer got a lot of attention — and more than she ever expected — during the recent Texas State Society Black Tie and Boots Ball held the night before President Donald Trump was sworn in to office.

Joann Courtland, director of Operation Stand Down-Central Texas, was told that U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, whose district runs from the edges of Tarrant County through Austin, wanted to fly her out for the ball to highlight the work she does for homeless veterans.

Her work was highlighted — and she was given a new Toyota Tundra to help with her much needed work.

“I was hoping for some monetary help, that was all. I had no idea that this was coming, and we as an organization are truly blessed,” Courtland told the Killeen Daily Herald.

Salary hikes

Wages recently were hiked for four city employees who report directly to the Fort Worth City Council. The council unanimously approved the pay raises.

City Manager David Cooke received a 4 percent raise, upping his salary to $327,595. City Attorney Sarah Fullenwider also received a 4 percent raise and is now earning $253,544, and City Secretary Mary Kayser, $129,787. City Auditor Patrice Randle received a 6 percent raise and is now earning $146,619.

Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley