Civics will take a Christmas break and will start up again in January. Please keep our Civics Coordinator, Gale Sayers in prayer as she will be returning to Barbados to care for her mother. Our 2019 Civics Meetings will be held at the new FEAST location.
We would like to thank Grace Baptist Church for hosting our class during this FEAST Transition.
Please plan to join us at 9am at the Capitol for a field trip as the 86th regular legislative session begins on January 8, 2019. Details will be announced soon. RSVP here.
What is the Free FEAST Civics Class? Civics class meets each month and is an excellent way for your children to learn first – hand how our political system is organized.
Students and parents have been richly blessed for over 14 years at the FEAST Civics Class, led by Gale Sayers. God is great and we seek to honor Him in all we do, including learning about our community and our political process. We have lively discussions at all of our classes as we hear from our speakers. Participation in civics is a great way to learn successful messaging to positively influence our world for God. Too many voices are silenced by empathy or discouragement and lack of knowledge, we are calling on you to let your voice be heard and to be the change for good that our world so desperately needs.
Each month, Gale Sayers, our Civics coordinator, schedules community leaders and guest speakers to share their world with our families. The class is conducted in a speaker-led manner with the opportunity to ask questions and give your opinions during the presentation. During the civics classes, we will hear from one of our elected officials or a prominent leader that serves our community, state, or nation as well as enjoy a complimentary lunch or refreshments.
The Free FEAST Civics Class is for parents and students of all ages. Plan to arrive early, music starts at 9:45am and our class will conclude with our fellowship lunch. Everyone is invited. Lunch will be provided. Dress code is modest business casual.
FEAST is excited to announce that Dr. Tim Goad, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, has opened his church to host our Civics Class. Attendees are asked to park in church parking only and do not park or block daycare across the street.
Email email@example.com with any questions.
Thanks to our November lunch Sponsor-Judge David Newell of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Judge David Newell was elected to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on November 4, 2014.
The son of Thomas and Linda Newell, David was born at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, though he grew up in Sugar Land, Texas with his much taller, older brother, Robert Newell. David graduated cum laude from William P. Clements High School. He earned his undergraduate degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. He graduated magna cum laude, earning University honors and honors in his major. He received his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1997 before returning home to work in the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office. He served as an appellate prosecutor for 16 years, first in Fort Bend County and later in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office from 2007 until his election to the Court.
Judge Newell has twice served as the Chairman of the Editorial Board for the Texas District and County Attorney’s bi-monthly journal, The Texas Prosecutor. He also co-authored a regular byline for the journal, “As the Judges Saw It,” a column that analyzed and summarized the significant decisions of the Court of Criminal Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He served repeatedly on the planning committee for the Advanced Criminal Law Course for the State Bar of Texas and he has presented the Court of Criminal Appeals Update at the Texas Conference on Criminal Appeals, the TDCAA Criminal and Civil Law Update, and the Texas State Bar’s Advanced Criminal Law Course.
Judge Newell is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in both criminal law and criminal appellate law. He is also licensed by the State Bar of Texas and admitted to practice before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. In 2013, David received the C. Chris Marshall Award for Distinguished Faculty from the Texas District and County Attorneys’ Association. David and his beautiful wife, Shayne, currently live in the Houston area with their two sons.
Legislative Spotlight with State Representative Phil King
As State Representative for the 61st District, Phil King represents the people of Parker and Wise counties in the Texas Legislature. He has earned a reputation as a principle-driven conservative who consistently provides key leadership in passing some of Texas’ most sweeping public policy legislation.
King serves on the National Board of Directors for the American Legislative Exchange Council and was the 2015 National Chair. He also chairs ALEC’s Center for Innovation and Technology. King also serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute. In the Texas House, King chairs the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee and serves on the Energy Resources Committee.
Phil was a police officer for 15 years and continues to serve in the Texas State Guard. He is a practicing attorney and small business owner. Representative King and his family have been active members of Trinity Bible Church since 1984. Phil and his wife Terry are the proud parents of six children, nine granddaughters, and five grandsons.
Judge Melisa Skinner is a 6th generation Texan who was born and raised in San Antonio. She attended Providence High School, the University of Texas at Austin and St. Mary’s School of Law, graduating with honors from all three. Judge Skinner was licensed to practice law in 1993 and began practicing criminal law as a solo practitioner. In 1994, she became an Assistant Criminal District Attorney for the County of Bexar. She then served the community for almost 15 years as a prosecutor representing the State of Texas against those accused of crimes ranging from misdemeanor offenses to cases in which the State sought the death penalty. She was honored as Best Lawyer in Prosecution in 2006, 2009 and 2010 before she was elected as Judge of the 290th Judicial District Court. As the judge of the 290th District Court, she has presided over every type of felony offense, including multiple Capital Murder cases. Judge Skinner has extensive experience in the area of criminal law as a trial lawyer and now, as a State District Court Judge.
Mr. Grant Moody is delighted to spend time sharing about his recent trip to Israel. Mr. Moody’s topic is Israel: Our Partner in the Middle East. He recently traveled to Israel and will share much exciting news. Mr. Moody will capture your heart.
Grant is a business executive at a large military financial services firm headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. He previously served 10 years on active duty as a Marine F-18 pilot with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He continues to serve as a Major in the Marine Reserves. Since leaving active duty, Grant has been politically active supporting veterans for public office. In 2017, he was appointed by Texas Gov Greg Abbott to serve on the Texas Veterans Land Board alongside Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Soldiers’ Angels a national non-profit. Grant is a distinguished graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. in Quantitative Economics. He also holds an M.S. in Statistics from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. Grant is married with 3 young children. They reside in San Antonio.
Home should be a safe place but for many in our community, it’s not. When dysfunction in a family, household or dating relationship becomes violent, people in Bexar County often find themselves in County Court #13, a court dedicated to bringing justice to domestic violence cases.
I’m Crystal Chandler, Judge of County Court #13. I see this court as integral to the health and safety of our community because it affords the judge an opportunity to address the root causes of domestic abuse and works to stop the sometimes deadly cycle of domestic violence.
Raised by my grandmother in a small Texas town with a single blinking yellow light in humble conditions, I knew that to make it in life I had to focus on getting an education. At sixteen, I moved to San Antonio and upon graduating from Winston Churchill High School, I put myself through college at The University of the Incarnate Word where I graduated with honors. I was the first person in my family to obtain a college degree. I attended law school at St. Mary’s University and began my career in public service because I wanted to help create change for those who may have come from similar backgrounds.
I took the bench in 2015 with a deep commitment to public service and extensive criminal law experience, having spent 2 years as a judicial briefing attorney at Texas’ highest criminal court, and more than 15 years as a prosecutor with the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s office.
As a felony trial prosecutor, I spent several years specializing in the prosecution of domestic violence murders, death and serious child abuse cases, sex crimes against children and other violent crimes. As an appellate prosecutor, I handled these cases before the appellate courts, including the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. While a prosecutor, I also sought other ways to help people. I taught criminal justice classes at San Antonio College where I encouraged my students to believe in themselves and to strive for the extraordinary. I helped found a national human trafficking organization – Chapter 61 Ministries (now known as Truckers Against Trafficking) – a world recognized anti-human trafficking non-profit.
As a former felony trial and appellate prosecutor specializing in the field of criminal family violence and child abuse, and while serving as judge of County Court #13, I’ve met with thousands of victims, defendants, and their families. I have personally witnessed the impact family violence has had on them. It’s this hands-on experience during my 20 years of practicing criminal law that allows me to identify how to help ensure the safety of victims while taking a comprehensive approach with defendants by imposing just sentences and providing tools to help them change their pattern of behavior.
As a judge, I have handled over 7,000 cases, presided over more than 60 jury trials, cleared the case backlog, ensured that police are aware of orders of protection as bond conditions on violent offenders and enforced compliance of firearm surrenders in domestic violence cases. I’ve also created two initiatives at no additional cost to the taxpayers that help young adults and people with mental illness get their lives back on track. I routinely speak about family violence and human trafficking. I am a member of several legal and community organizations, including the Bexar County Task Force on Family Violence. I have been married to my husband, Scott Zimmerer, for nearly 20 years and am the proud parent of two wonderful teenage sons, Luke and Thomas. We are also part of the Community Bible Church family. Bexar County is our home and I want to make a positive difference.
Domestic violence affects all members of our Bexar County community, and County Court #13 is about making home a safe place for every person in every family.
Former Speaker Archive:
Pete Flores is the Senator for Texas Senate District 19. Pete was born and raised in South Texas and is a lifelong public servant: he served the state of Texas as a Game Warden for 27 years, rising to the rank of Colonel. His District stretches across west Texas from San Antonio to Pecos, sharing hundreds of miles with Mexico’s border. As a State Senator, Pete Flores plans to secure the border and work with other state leaders to enact policies that promote job creation and respect conservative values. Pete Flores currently resides in Pleasanton, TX with his wife of 36 years, Elizabeth.
Chip Roy is a genuine and principled conservative running to represent the 21st Congressional District in Texas. Chip’s Texas roots date back to the 1850s when his family settled in Central Texas, near Dripping Springs. Chip is a graduate of the University of Virginia and holds a law degree from the University of Texas.
Chip worked as an investment-banking analyst with NationsBanc Capital Markets and is a former federal prosecutor. Chip has served as general counsel to Sen. John Cornyn and held several top leadership positions for Texas elected officials, including the First Assistant Attorney General of Texas under Ken Paxton, Chief of Staff to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and senior advisor to Texas Gov. Rick Perry—and serving as his director for State-Federal Relations.
Previously, Chip served as the Vice President of Strategy for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. In that role, Chip helped spearhead Life: Powered, TPPF’s major initiative to change the national dialogue on energy and promote the use of affordable and reliable fossil fuels.
Currently, Chip serves as general counsel for Brigham Resources, an oil and gas company headquartered in Austin,
Texas. In this role, Chip advocates for responsible energy production, empowers clients to provide reliable energy at an affordable price through the free market, and is a champion of American energy independence.
Most importantly, Chip is a dedicated husband and father. He is married to Carrah Roy and they live in Austin, TX with their two young children Charlie and Virginia.
Meet Christi Craddick Christi Craddick is in the forefront of the newest wave of pragmatic conservatives in leadership roles across Texas. Raised in a strong conservative household, retained as legal counsel by prominent Texas firms, and shaped by more than a decade as a trusted political adviser, Christi has set a clear standard of integrity, self-reliance and innovation in her role as Chairman at the Railroad Commission of Texas.
Since her tenure on the Commission began in November 2012, Craddick has pushed to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of an energy industry that is driving the state’s unparalleled economic success. In the process, she has repeatedly proven that sensible regulations, careful listening and plain talk can foster innovation that has solidified Texas leadership in the energy sector.
Making it a top priority, Christi has worked to educate the public about the oil and gas industry and its impact in Texas. She has fought against Washington’s one-size-fits-all environmental policies that would kill jobs and stifle energy production growth. Christi has advocated for recycling in the oilfields, helping to drive the percentage of reclaimed water upwards, an essential achievement in a state enduring a multi-year drought.
As part of her efforts to modernize the agency, Christi has championed an Information Technology overhaul for the Commission, seeking improvements that would upgrade the Geographic Information System, increase public access to the agency’s data, and speed up inspections and permitting times.
A native of Midland, Christi earned both her Bachelor’s Degree as a Plan II graduate and her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas at Austin. During her career as an attorney, she specialized in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.
Following the example of her father and mother, Craddick has been drawn to public service and politics. As president of a grassroots advocacy firm, she took the lead on work in coalition building in the public policy arena and development and implementation of issue strategies.
Christi serves her community as an active member of organizations including the State Bar of Texas, University of Texas Liberal Arts Alumni Advisory Council, and Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation. Christi resides in Austin with her daughter, Catherine, and is an active member of St. John Neumann Catholic Church.
Tommy Stolhandske is the judge of the Bexar County Court at Law No. 11. He was elected in 2014 and took office January 1, 2015. Judge Stolhandske has heard thousands of criminal cases and presided over many jury trials. In addition to his regular court, Judge Stolhandske also presides over the Bexar County Adult Drug Court, which is a special court that provides judicial intervention by supervising the highest risk and highest need offenders suffering from drug addictions in Bexar County. He was born and raised in San Antonio and is a graduate of Churchill High School. Stolhandske earned an undergraduate degree from Texas Lutheran University, where he was a three-time All-American basketball player and then went on to receive his J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law. Stolhandske worked as an attorney in Bexar County from 2009 until his judicial election in 2014. He is a husband and is a father to a beautiful 3-year-old daughter with a son due in December. Judge Stolhandske loves sports and is a die-hard fan of the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Cubs!
Ken Mercer, Board Term: Jan. 1, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2021
Ken Mercer is a technology project manager, as well as a former member of the Texas House of Representatives.
Mercer, a Republican, was elected to State Board of Education in November 2006 and re-elected in 2010, 2012 and 2016. He is currently a member of the Committee on School Finance/Permanent School Fund. The committee’s duties include overseeing the Permanent School Fund, the nation’s largest education endowment.
During his tenure on the board, he has also served as chair of the board’s Committee on School Initiatives, vice chair of the board’s Committee on School Initiatives and vice chair of the board’s Committee on Instruction.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Business Administration from UT-San Antonio. He also has a Master’s of Business Administration in finance and management from St. Mary’s University. Mercer was a member of the Delta Mu Delta Graduate Business Honor Society.
The former state representative served as an advisor to the governor as a member of the state Homeland Security Council, He has also served on the State Republican Executive Committee
Mercer was named 2005 Alumnus of the Year by UTSA and was given the Distinguished Legislator Award by the Texas Republican House Caucus. In 2003, the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association named Mercer the Legislator of the Year.
Mercer represents the following counties: Blanco, Caldwell, Comal, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Hays, Kendall, Kerr, Llano, Mason, San Saba and parts of Bexar and Travis counties.
Judge Daphne Previti Austin
When the Honorable Daphne Previti Austin was elected to the 289th District Court in 2014, she saw a need for a boys mental health court. Bexar County already had a national award-winning specialty court to serve girls that were started by the Honorable Laura Parker but there wasn’t an equivalent program for boys. She is pleased that her court was awarded the first grant for which they applied and has now started the first juvenile boys’ mental health court in the country.
Judge Previti Austin began her advocacy career in the St. Mary’s University Law School Clinic for Legal and Social Justice when she wrote an appellate brief and argued before the Fourth Court of Appeals and prevailed. She quit while she was ahead and continued with a courtroom practice. She spent many years at the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and several years as a solo practitioner concentrating on Criminal and Juvenile defense in State and Federal Court. She became Board Certified in Juvenile Law in 2002.
Judge Scott Roberts
Judge Scott Roberts- Judge, County Court at Law #12, Bexar County, Texas, 2011
– Southwest Texas State University, B.S. in Education, 1984
– St. Mary’s University School of Law, J.D., 1989
– Texas State University, M.A. in History, 2009
– Judge, County Court at Law #12, Bexar County, Texas, 2011 – current
– Assistant District Attorney, Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, 1998 – 2010
– Solo Law Practice, 1996 – 1998
– Briefing Attorney, Fourth Court of Appeals, Justice Phil Hardberger, 1994 – 1996
– Associate, Law Offices of Pat Maloney, 1990 – 1994
– Briefing Attorney, Supreme Court of Texas, Justice Lloyd Doggett, 1989 – 1990
– Teacher, Pleasanton High School, Pleasanton, Texas, 1985 – 1986
– Married to Lisa Hollas-Roberts, almost 30 years
– Two children: Laura (22) Senior at Baylor University, and Matthew (18) Senior at Churchill High School
– Two cats: Patty and Mike
– Parishioners at St. Matthew Catholic Church