There was a light moment in what was a glamorous hearing for the U.S. Senate — featuring Academy Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren — about a very serious subject.
Mirren was testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing led by both Texas GOP senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, who each head subcommittees, about making it easier for Holocaust survivors and their families to recover art stolen by Nazis.
Dame Helen Mirren developed a passion for art recovery when she prepared for a role as Maria Altmann, who fought for the recovery of a famous painting of her aunt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt. The film, “Woman in Gold,” was released in 2015.
When she started speaking, her mike wasn’t on. Cruz, who was chairing the hearing, gently asked her to turn on the red button. Later in the hearing, when she spoke again, she forgot to turn on the button again.
“Idiot,” she said to herself as the audience laughed.
Five years ago, Fort Worth and Guiyang, China, paired up as sister cities.
Now Mayor Pro Tem Sal Espino is leading a delegation of 20 Fort Worth “ambassadors” to China to mark the partnership.
They will be there until June 19, touring the area, visiting Beijing and Shanghai, and attending an official celebration of the partnership. The trip is also designed to promote more trade, Espino said.
“Fort Worth is eager to recommit to this important relationship with China and looks forward to many more beneficial exchanges between our two cities,” Espino said in a statement.
Espino said this is his first trip to China and he will brush up on Chinese phrases on the 13-hour plane flight. The trip is being paid for through his council travel budget. His wife is joining him, but Espino said he personally is paying for her trip. He will present a proclamation from the city.
Our commitment to growing our educational, business and cultural connections must remain a long-term priority for sustainability of our relationship with Guiyang.
Fort Worth Mayor Pro Tem Sal Espino
Guiyang, a city of more than 4 million in southwest China, is one of Fort Worth’s eight sister cities..
Fort Worth donor
Alice Walton, the wealthiest woman in the world, made one political contribution in the 2015-16 cycle, according to opensecrets.org, which aggregated Federal Election Committee reports between Jan. 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016.
Heiress to the Wal-Mart Stores fortune, Walton — with an estimated net worth of $34.5 billion, according to Forbes — gave $33,400 in December to the DNC Services Corp., which is the political action committee for the Democratic National Committee. That is the annual maximum from individuals to party committees.
Tax group scores Texans
The Club for Growth, a conservative group that promotes free market economic issues, has issued its congressional scorecard and gives top marks to some Texans.
Republicans — Sen. Ted Cruz, Reps. Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock, John Ratcliffe of Heath and Jeb Hensarling of Dallas — scored 90 percent or higher for 2015 votes on bills that affect the economy.
And Tarrant County GOP congress members? Top score went to Rep. Kenny Marchant of Coppell with 95 percent, followed by Rep. Roger Williams of Austin, 90 percent, and Rep. Michael Burgess of Pilot Point, 85 percent. Rep. Joe Barton of Ennis earned 69 percent; and Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth drew 67 percent.
In the Senate John Cornyn of Texas ranked 40th with a 63 percent score, and Cruz was ranked fourth on 25 votes scored by the Club for Growth.
Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report.
Maria Recio, 202-383-6103
Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610