Commitment to a Lifetime of Learning

Posted on Monday, Apr 22, 2019

For Aggies, a lifetime of commitment to learning is borne from a lifetime of commitment to our Aggie Core Values. The values of Respect, Excellence, Loyalty, Leadership, Integrity, and Selfless Service inspire us to take our experience further, beyond Aggieland and into the world. These values and our experiences call us to do more by demanding us to lead the world, share our experiences, help others, and make a difference. That mandate unites Aggies from generation to generation. We all have a shared experience that connects every Aggie. Whether you were in the inaugural class of 1880, the class of 1919, the class of 1969, or the class of 2019, we all took a stroll down military walk at one time or another. These shared experiences, traditions, and values are the genesis of the Aggies Commit campaign. This impactful and intentional commitment to learning is also a commitment to upholding the Aggie Core Values and representing ourselves in a way that honors the legacy of Aggies that came before us. There are individuals who have made these commitments, and they ought to be acknowledged for it.
           
There are many Aggies in the Capitol that selflessly serve the citizens of Texas with integrity through their leadership in a number of areas. They are loyal to the people that got them elected, represent their constituents with excellence, and have earned the respect of Texans from across the Lonestar state. Whether they be elected officials in the legislature or executive branch, or staff members in the same capacities or other state agencies that provide critical services to the people of Texas. All Aggies do more, push further, and make a positive impact on the lives of Texans.
 
Glenn Hegar ‘93 currently serves as the Comptroller for the State of Texas. A very powerful and impactful position, with a number of duties, most notably, formulating the anticipated revenue for the next biennium along with a recommendation for the accompanying budget. He has lead his life in service to the State of Texas and stayed true to his beliefs throughout his time climbing the political ladder. In the Texas Senate, two Aggies stand tall above all others. Senator Pete Flores of Pleasanton had led a life of service to the State as a Game Warden prior to winning the election to represent District 19. Senator Flores is the first republican to represent his area since the Reconstruction Era almost 140 years ago, he is very well respected by his colleagues in the Senate and constituents back home. Senator Paul Bettencourt of Houston has championed government transparency and led the fight against rising property taxes, most recently with his efforts through Senate Bill 2. Senator Bettencourt stands up for the local taxpayer and is a staunch conservative. There are many representatives in the House of Representatives, some I wish to highlight are Lyle Larson of San Antonio and John Raney of College Station. Representative Larson has made great strides in improving and is an expert in water policy across the State. John Raney ‘69 represents the B/CS area with ferocity, honor, and compassion and has been a great asset for small business and pro-life advocates.
 
Behind each of these elected officials, and all the others that are in office, are Aggies supporting and helping them accomplish their legislative priorities. Senator Flores has an office full of Aggies, just ask his interns Armando and Tyler. Many Aggies have had their hands in many different areas of public policy and made an impact that will last generations, including the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2069. The commitment we make calls us to continue to have Aggies leading the discussion in public service and policy formation and implementation.
 
I cite these examples to highlight the commitment other Aggies have made to a lifetime of learning. None of these individuals were experts in the law or public policy prior to getting into the field; but they were passionate about it so they learned it. They learned about statewide budgets, law enforcement (and it’s relationship to policy), tax policy (and it’s relationship to local control), and water policy. These topics are complex, impactful, and big picture yet simultaneously niche, but Aggies have made the commitment to learn them so that they can make Texas better and fully embody the core values they learned while at Texas A&M. These individuals have answered the call to honor past Aggies’ legacies through their commitment to: respect all Texans; be excellent in all areas, especially policy; live with loyalty by representing all their constituents; lead by developing a better Texas; live a life with integrity; and selflessly serve the State of Texas and her people. If other Aggies ever hope to make these commitments, they must first make a commitment to a lifetime of learning. Without learning there is no exchange of ideas, and without an exchange of ideas there is no growth, and without growth, there is no Aggie. The entire Aggie experience is growth. A lifetime commitment to learning, a lifetime commitment to embodying our core values, and a lifetime commitment to honoring the legacies of Aggies that came before, will directly result in growth. Aggies commit to a life full of growth.

Koy Kunkel
Office of State Senator Kel Seliger
Austin, Texas | spring 2019