May 1, 2020
It’s May 1st–my first day as the Founding Dean of the Hobby School of Public Affairs. And it doesn’t feel at all like anyone imagined.
Most of us are working remotely and when we go out to buy groceries, many of us look like old timey bandits. (Please wear masks.)
The other day, I tried and tried, over and over again, to join a videoconference at the scheduled time. No luck. I kept at it, clicking and clicking various buttons. Then, out of nowhere—boom!–I was finally in. I have no idea what I did that succeeded in letting me join. I’m like that monkey that first went into space. At some point, there’s simply a statistical probability I’ll hit the right button. And if I don’t? Well, heck, I’m just a monkey.
The New Gig
The world is a different place since I decided to leave my seat in the Texas Senate and take on this wonderful new challenge. The novel coronavirus has transformed every aspect of American life. More than an unprecedented event, the COVID-19 pandemic creates a new condition affecting every level of society. It’s changed how we work, learn, worship, get and stay healthy, and spend time with each other.
It also has changed — it must change — how we make public policy. This makes my move to lead a public policy school even more exciting and challenging.
I look forward to envisioning, designing and building a world class, modern public policy school to train future generations of policymakers who will govern through this new condition, and to be a resource for current generations who are wrestling with it today.
I’m a brand new Dean starting in a brand new era. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic.
Thanks to all of you
I’ve been in public office in the Austin area—first as Austin Mayor and then as State Senator—for over two decades. I’ve loved it. I love the people who’ve lifted me up, inspired me and trusted me. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and what we’ve fought together. I thank each and all of you. I’ve learned from you and will share what I’ve learned in this new role. I’ve looked for the joy in service and found it. Heck, I wrote a book about it called Austin Unlimited, although I haven’t made it a required Hobby School textbook. Yet.
And stay tuned for future Watson Wires. I started the Wire back in 2006. (Yeah, I’m old enough to remember when there wasn’t that Twitter thing.) After all, I need a venue to brag about my grandbaby Effie and share pictures of that stunning bulldog Doc. And, of course, I’ll continue to share my thoughts on public policy, politics and life in general. It may look a little different without my State Senate logo and with my Hobby School reference. But, then again, I look a little different than I did in 2006. All that change and what not.
Thank you for all of the advice, help and support for such a long time. We’ll be in touch. God Bless You.