Looking Back, Looking Forward: State of the Union Viewing Party

Can’t get enough politics in your life?

Are you yearning for more than what the Fox News/CNN/Comedy Central squawk box offers?

Are you looking for a respite from the NFL?

Well, trek on down to 12th (and Chicon) on the 12th for some sides, sodas, speakers and a State of the Union.

Urban Co-Lab is excited to kick off 2016 with a bang, with bi-partisan networking starting at 6:30pm and a panel featuring notable speakers (to be announced) from 7-8pm. Afterwards, join us in watching President Obama’s final State of the Union speech (yes, feel free to live tweet it!)

Panel Francisco Enriquez - Co-Founder & Managing Director, Glasshouse Policy

Francisco Enriquez currently serves as the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Glasshouse Policy, a first of its kind policy crowdsourcing think tank based in Austin, Texas. Through his work, Francisco has appeared in the pages of the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, The Hill, Huffington Post, Times-Picayune, and the Houston Chronicle.

Francisco’s commitment to transparency and responsive government was developed through his early work on tax and budget policy for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, on consumer lending issues at the Virginia Poverty Law Center, and on detainee policy at the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria in La Plata, Argentina.

Francisco is also a partner and co-founder of BVE Partners, a research and advisory consultancy supporting policy makers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors seeking new approaches to impact policy, politics, and economies.

Greg Casar - Councilmember (District 4), City of Austin

Gregorio "Greg" Casar is a native Texan, the son of Mexican immigrants, and a newly elected Austin City Council Member representing District 4. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Greg became the Policy Director at Workers Defense Project, where he spearheaded campaigns that won major policy reforms to improve wages, education, and workplace safety across Austin, garnering national attention. Greg was elected to the City Council in 2014. At age 25, he is the youngest Council Member in Austin's history and District 4's first-ever direct representative. Casar's priorities include social equity, shared prosperity, affordability, environmental stewardship, and public safety for all.

R.W. Bray - Republican Party of Texas Black Engagement Director

Native New Orleanian, R.W. Bray moved to Houston, Texas after Hurricane Katrina ravished his life. A member of the U.S. Air Force Guard, Bray, takes pride in being a citizen soldier and in 2005 he received Air Force Metritis Award for saving lives while performing search and rescue missions in his torn city.  From that tragic experience Bray became a student and spokesman of politics.  Currently serving as the Republican Party of Texas Black Engagement Director, Bray travels the state promoting collaborative initiatives, political awareness and conservative principles.

Cliff Walker, Program Director- Candidate Recruitment and Campaign Services, Democratic Party

Cliff Walker, a San Antonio native, began his political career working in Congressman Henry Cuellar's local district office. Cliff then went on to direct the field effort for Joe Farias in his first campaign for State Representative in one of the most hotly contested general election races of 2006. After two legislative sessions and another successful campaign, Cliff left to run a newly-formed political action committee -- Back to Basics PAC, which ran an aggressive paid media campaign directly against Rick Perry throughout the 2010 election cycle. At Back to Basics, Cliff also led a creative new media team in producing hard-hitting websites targeting vulnerable Republican House candidates. In December 2010, Cliff began working as the Executive Director of the Texas HDCC, and worked closely with Democratic lawmakers and allies to recruit, field, and fund Democratic challengers during the 2012 campaign cycle. Most recently, Cliff served as the Political Director for Battleground Texas.

Moderated by Natalie Madeira Cofield, Founder, Urban Co-Lab