Press Release
October 29, 2007
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121
Senator Judith Zaffirini, Higher Education Leaders Conduct Telephone Town Hall Meeting with SD 21 Families

(AUSTIN) -- Combining modern technology, expertise of leaders and a passion for increasing access to, participation in and affordability of higher education, Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, Thursday (Oct. 25) conducted the first in a series of Telephone Town Hall Meetings for SD 21 families. More than 3,000 persons participated in the conference that included the opportunity to have their questions answered by the senator and higher education leaders.

Joining Senator Zaffirini in discussing higher education with her constituents from her 17-county district were Dr. Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of Higher Education; Dr. Rey Garcia, President of the Texas Association of Community Colleges; Dr. Ray Keck, President of Texas A&M International University in Laredo; Dr. Juan Maldonado, President of Laredo Community College; Dr. Thomas B. Baynum, President of Coastal Bend Community College in Beeville; and William Serrata, Vice President for Student Services and Development at South Texas College.

They were assisted by her staff, including Dr. Warren von Eschenbach, Director of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, and Brent Whitaker, Budget Director.

"Participants were mostly students, parents and educators who were eager to learn more about higher education," Senator Zaffirini said. "They could ask any question, but most focused on access and affordability. I appreciate greatly the higher education leaders who took the time to interact freely with my constituents."

A recorded message by Senator Zaffirini was sent simultaneously to callers across the district. Persons reached were invited to join the Telephone Town Hall Meeting in progress and to press "0" to ask a question.

"We talked for an hour and 20 minutes and answered every question raised," Senator Zaffirini said. "It was highly informative for my constituents, and they truly appreciated interacting with higher education leaders."

Callers posed questions and received comprehensive answers about topics including tuition, financial aid, internships and admissions. Senator Zaffirini will conduct additional Telephone Town Hall Meetings regarding significant legislative issues.

To be added to the call list, please call 956/722-2293 or 512/463-0121.

Z photo

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, conducts a Telephone Town Hall Meeting about Higher Education at her Capitol office. Also participating are (L-R) Brent Whitaker, Budget Director; Dr. Warren von Eschenbach, Director of the Senate Higher Education Committee; and Dr. Rey Garcia, President of the Texas Association of Community Colleges.