Our 2017 Gala was a Night to Remember
As a testament to five years of getting stronger, Texas Values and Texas Values Action celebrated its 5th anniversary at our Faith, Family, & Freedom Gala in Houston last Thursday. A packed room of over 350 guests enjoyed a stirring keynote address by Fox News host and author Todd Starnes, who shared the stage with many of Texas’ best and brightest faith and family leaders.
Rev. Rafael Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz, gave the invocation. Cruz was followed by Rep. Briscoe Cain who led us in the pledges to the U.S. and Texas flags — topped off by a rendition of the National Anthem by Hope Johnson of Sen. Paul Bettencourt’s district staff. Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick greeted guests with video welcome addresses, of which we were honored to receive.
Sen. Bettencourt kept the gala running as emcee for the evening, introducing former NFL player Mark Cochran from Samaritan’s Purse, the faith-based relief ministry led by Franklin Graham. Texas Values worked alongside Samaritan’s Purse in Houston Harvey Recovery efforts, and wanted those present to hear directly about the work done and still being done to help Houston and communities along the Texas Coast recover.
Attorney General Ken Paxton provided an update on the state of faith, family and freedom in Texas, including major victories for religious liberty and life, and winning a court battle that stopped Obama’s transgender bathroom directive dead in its tracks. For his efforts this year, Paxton was presented with the “Protector of Family Values” Award.
Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values and Texas Values Action, highlighted many of the accomplishments of Texas Values and Texas Values Action over the past year.
In recognition of those in the Texas Legislature who scored 90% or above on our 2017 Faith & Family Scorecard, Texas Values Action honored our 2017 Faith & Family Champions. Those in attendance to accept their award were State Senators Paul Bettencourt, Dawn Buckingham, Joan Huffman, Lois Kolkhorst and State Representatives Briscoe Cain, Scott Sanford, Dwayne Bohac, Mike Schofield, Tom Oliverson, Dennis Paul, Kevin Roberts, Mark Keough, and Valoree Swanson.
The 2017 Kelly Shackelford Award was presented to the dynamic father, daughter duo from Dripping Springs – Rob and Shiloh – for their remarkable work in Dripping Springs and at the State Capitol fighting for the privacy rights of Texans.
Following the presentation of the awards, Starnes shared about the importance of why supporters of life and liberty must stand in the gap to keep freedom alive for the future of America. Starnes, the host of FOX News & Commentary, which is heard daily on hundreds of radio stations, spoke about his new book “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again” and recently “God Less America” — an investigation into the war on religious liberty. Notably, it was just last year when Starnes broke the Charlie Brown Christmas Poster story here in Texas. The Killeen ISD employee, Dedra Shannon, who was able to hang the Charlie Brown Christmas poster after Texas Values represented her in court, was in attendance and honored at the event.
(Starnes’ full speech was featured on our most recent edition of our radio show, “The Texas Values Report.” Listen here.)
We are so thankful to everyone that was a part of making the 2017 Texas Faith, Family, & Freedom Gala a night to remember.
Though our fifth anniversary gala is now concluded, our fundraising efforts are not over. We have until December 31 to raise $300,000 to support our mission in 2018. Please consider making a year-end, tax-deductible donation today.