Thursday, June 11, 2015 8:19 AM | Anonymous

AUSTIN The Texas Lyceum, thepremier statewide non-profit, non-partisan leadership group focused on public policy issues facing Texas, today announced that Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush would join members of the Texas Lyceum in Panama City, Panama for a three- day visit.

“The Texas Lyceum aims to provoke thoughtful and informed discussions about important public policy issues facing Texas,” said Jane Cummins, president of the Texas Lyceum. “The expansion of international trade and the role ports play in our diverse, vibrant economy are critical to Texas’ future. By taking a firsthand look at the Panama Canal Expansion, we will forge important bonds with our Central American neighbors, andenable our members, guests and state officials to best prepare Texas for future growth and economic opportunity.”

Texas ports provide jobs for 1.4 million Texans and contribute $2.4 billion in state and local taxes. Texas leads the United States in goods exports and waterborne commerce, which expands the Texas brand globally. Ports are vital to the economic strategy of Texas and maintaining a competitive edge is essential in long-term economic opportunity for Texans. The Panama Canal is currently undergoing substantial expansion to increase traffic flow and lower shipping costs across the globe. The expansion will double the Panama Canal’s current capacity, allowing larger ships (1,200-foot vessels) that carry cargo three times as great as previous trips.

“The Texas economy is greatly influenced by international trade and our extensive port system,” said Secretary Cascos. “Texas should be preparing today for the opportunities that will come with the Panama Canal expansion tomorrow.”

"The Panama Canal has played a key role in international trade for morethan 100 years. The new expansion will double the Canal's capacity,” Commissioner Bush said. "More shipping means more business opportunities for Texas, and we have to be ready to capitalize on it."

Members and guests of the Texas Lyceum will address two key questions over several days of meetings, presentations and site visits to both the existing and newly expanded sections of the canal. First, do Texas ports have the infrastructure to deal with the larger vessels? And second, how can Texas partner with Panama to increase shipping traffic between Texas and Asia?

In addition to panel discussions with leaders from Texas businesses andports, Lyceum directors are pleased to welcome statewide officials to Panama for the visit. Secretary Cascos and Commissioner Bush will both lead “fireside chats” with guests on subsequent evenings of the trip. The fireside chat is a long-standing Texas Lyceum tradition, in which invited speakers deliver remarks in a casual format that encourages discussion, debate and the thoughtful exchange of ideas, consistent with the organization’s mission.

The trip, which runs from June 11-June 14, 2015 is open to Texas Lyceum directors, guests and sponsors. Sponsors of the meeting in Panama City include AT&T, SureScore, the Port of Houston Authority and the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation.

About The Texas Lyceum

The Texas Lyceum, a non-profit, non-partisan group is the premier statewide leadership organization focused on identifying the next generation of top Texas leaders. The Lyceum consists of 96 men and women from throughout the state who begin their six- year term while under the age of 46, andhave demonstrated leadership in their community and profession, together with a deep commitment to Texas. For more information, please visit The Texas Lyceum is on Facebook at and on Twitter @TexasLyceum

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