December 13, 2011
On Sunday, I had a cameo as Mother Ginger in the Ballet Austin production of The Nutcracker. It’s a fun thing the group does to work so-called celebrities (you know, like state senators willing to be made fun of) into the production – since they apparently don’t trust us to be regular dancers or something.
This wasn’t the only time I’ve been able to sit in as Mother Ginger on-stage. My first time was 14 years ago, shortly after I was elected mayor of Austin. I was part of the initial effort to have amateurs make fools of themselves. Apparently, I was good at that. I’m told I’ve been a “celebrity” Mother Ginger more than anyone else.
That first appearance very nearly did in my Daddy, who was suffering bad from cancer at that time and wasn’t exactly prepared to see a picture of me – in all my Mother Ginger glory – in the newspaper. I wrote about that story about a year and a half ago; it’s here.
As for this year’s set of pictures, brace yourself, because here they are:
Finished makeup for Mother Ginger. Proudly wearing my Baylor shirt.
It’s me just before going on stage.
At Ballet Austin with the Bon Bon dancers after the performance.
I was also excited to take part in a ceremony last week commemorating a $3 million grant that the St. David’s Foundation made to the UT-Austin School of Nursing and a facility there that’s now known as the St. David’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Underserved Populations.
This type of collaboration – between generous Central Texas leaders and our flagship research university – is actually more common than many people know. It exemplifies the massive assets we can bring to bear in our effort to build a medical school and health science center in Austin.
The St. David’s Center works with low-income people, folks with disabilities, children, the elderly and others who tend to be underserved when it comes to healthcare. The $3 million grant will help the center with its work to reduce health disparities through research and programs that promote healthier lives and lifestyles.
School of Nursing Dean Alexa Stuifbergen and Earl Maxwell, chief executive of the St. David’s Foundation, both deserve a ton of credit – not just for pulling off this great partnership, but also for the tremendous amount of good they’ve done in our region and across the state.
It’s the kind of work that will help us build a medical school, health science center and other vital healthcare resources in Austin.
You may remember that earlier this year, I passed a bipartisan bill clarifying the state law governing “sexting,” a 21st Century legal issue that’s starting to confront kids, parents and prosecutors.
Before my bill passed, there was a possibility under state law that kids who send sexually explicit images electronically (the practice known as “sexting”) might actually be prosecuted under child pornography laws.
My bill sought to make sure the punishment would fit the crime. It said minors who engage in sexting would face what’s known as “conduct in need of supervision,” while 17-year-olds would face no more than misdemeanor charges. The bill still ensures prosecutors have the discretion to pursue felony charges against budding predators.
The San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board had an update on the issue, and some kind words for my bill, in a piece that ran last week. You can find it here.
Thanks for your interest and your support on this and the other legislation I was able to carry and pass this year. I’m looking forward to updating you in 2012 as I start putting together my agenda for the 83rd Legislative Session.