Republican strategist Karl Rove told local leaders he wants them to “realize not everything is affected by politics, and to look at the underlying strength in the American economy.”
Rove was the guest of honor Thursday at the University of Texas at Tyler’s second annual Leaders and Legends event.
The former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush spoke to gathered business and community leaders about issues including the political climate and the economy.
“Our consumers are good; housing is good,” he said. “Wages are rising. Particularly if you look at 2015-16, wages were rising, but they were rising 75% more for managers than they were for normal people. The last two years they’ve been rising for everybody, but 25% more for working people than for their managers or supervisors. So that’s good news for the economy.”
He also said that while there is political turmoil in Washington, D.C., with the president facing an impeachment hearing, business leaders don’t need to panic.
“We can’t talk ourselves into a recession; we must not allow that to happen,” he said.
“We’ve got a good economy, good policies in place, (and) we need to be talking about what it is we need to do next to keep the economy going and spread prosperity even more broadly.”
John Soules Sr. said the perspectives of speakers like Rove and last year’s guest Steve Forbes bring immeasurable value to the community.
“You get such a broader perspective,” Soules said. “We’re only one small spot in the state, and the state’s only one small spot in the universe and they bring a perspective that we don’t have the opportunity to get exposed to.”
Soules said Rove’s message was that business and community leaders should focus on the work ahead, rather than politics.
“(The biggest takeaway) was to not get too caught up in the news, and to have a greater perspective of time and a little more faith in the country in general,” Soules said.
Rove recalled working as an aide for Gov. Bill Clements as Tylerite A.W. “Dub” Riter worked with the state and UT System to get UT Tyler up and running. He said he was impressed by Riter’s leadership and advocacy for the region.
“(UT Tyler has) been a great economic driver for this region,” Rove said. “It allows people who live here to go get a quality education and skills that are of great need in the local economy and stay where they want to stay — which is in East Texas. So I think it’s a great sign that so many business leaders are so intimately involved in activities with the university.”
Rove also touched on national politics and the 2020 presidential election. He said that while former Vice President Joe Biden is currently the front-runner, that doesn’t mean he will win the Democratic nomination.
Rove also thinks the impeachment proceedings are likely to backfire on Democrats.
“They’re going to try and push the resolution through the House in the worst way and they’re going to rush it,” he said.
Rove praised the strength of the economy under President Donald Trump and his drive to hold allies more accountable when it comes to doing their fair share.
“The president should be, if he were the normal president, acting in a normal way, his numbers would be off the charts,” Rove said. “But he’s an unusual character and sometimes the things that he does, and the tweets that he sends out, might otherwise put off people who would otherwise be his natural allies.”
The Leaders and Legends gathering is an annual event, launched last fall, designed to bring national leaders to UT Tyler to offer their perspectives to business and community leaders.
A packed house cheered from their stadium seats as dirt flew through the air while cowboys rode bucking bulls during CityFest BuckOut at Cross Brand Cowboy Church’s arena.
The free event brought out over 5,000 people Wednesday evening to watch competitors ride bulls and broncos, enjoy live music and hear the Gospel.
Speakers Phil Robertson, a reality television star from the show “Duck Dynasty,” and evangelist Andrew Palau shared messages of hope in Jesus Christ with the crowd, followed by a performance by country singer Curtis Grimes.
The CityFest BuckOut was one of many events leading up to CityFest, a free two-day festival featuring live music, action sports, family-fun activities and opportunities to hear the Gospel, set for Saturday and Sunday.
John Nix has suspended his campaign for mayor of Tyler, leaving one man in the race, although there is still time for other candidates to file.
Nix made the announcement Thursday morning on his campaign Facebook page and in an email to supporters.
Though he said he put much thought and prayer into his decision to announce his run for mayor in March, “we don’t always know the full scope of God’s plan for our lives.”
He said he has the opportunity to buy out his partner, who is also his father, in his construction business, and that will require much of his attention moving forward.
Nix said these changes are a positive development in the life of his family. “I’m eager to move forward and see what God has in store for us in this new season.”
Nix, who is a self-employed residential builder, has a long history of service to the city, his church and the community as a whole.
He served as District 6 city councilman from 2013 through March 2019, before announcing his run for mayor.
Prior to that, he served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for three years and as chairman of the city’s Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals for two years.
Although he will not seek the mayor’s seat at this time, Nix said he is no less passionate about his commitment to the city, and pledged to continue his involvement in city governance and the business community.
He threw his support behind his friend, Don Warren, who was his opponent in the race, and said he knows Warren’s commitment to the city is no less heartfelt than his.
In a prepared statement, Warren said, “I have the utmost respect for John Nix and his years of service to the city of Tyler. We served together for six years on the Tyler City Council and we have many similar views about leading our city into the future.”
Warren highlighted the fact that Nix currently serves on the Half Cent Sales Tax board and is chairman of the Developers Roundtable.
“... While we wish John the very best in his future endeavors, his expertise in leading these boards is invaluable as we move our great city forward,” said Warren, who represents District 4 on the City Council.
Nix said he knows that God wants him to continue to serve the city and its residents and he is sure that, in the future, he will run for mayor again.
Clark Hunt, CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs football and FC Dallas soccer teams, is committed to faith being a part of his teams.
Hunt spoke at the CityFest East Texas Men’s Luncheon Thursday at Harvey Convention Center in Tyler. The event is one of several taking place throughout this week to share a message of hope with people across East Texas.
Hunt said he makes Christian faith a top priority for his staff.
The Kansas City Chiefs stadium has a chapel service for people at the games and chaplains are a part of the Chiefs and FC Dallas organizations, he said.
“We want our employees to develop spiritually,” Hunt said. “In the National Football League, Christ is really glorified. My identity is my faith in Christ.”
He also stressed to the crowd to not let success become an idol.
Hunt’s connection to Tyler dates back to childhood. He said he became a Christian at age 10 while attending Pine Cove camp.
Hunt’s ties to the professional sports teams began with his late father, Lamar Hunt. The younger Hunt has been owner of the teams since 2006 when his father died.
The elder Hunt dreamed of owning a professional sports team. Lamar Hunt started the Dallas Texans in 1960, a team that became the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963.
The Chiefs have taken the league by storm with Whitehouse native and quarterback Patrick Mahomes leading the team to the AFC Championship Game in 2019 and winning the NFL’s MVP award in his first full season as a starter.
“Watching Patrick last year was an unbelievable revelation,” Hunt said. “You would have thought he was a 10-year veteran.”
Hunt said the Chiefs needed a young quarterback to reach the next level.
Although the team took some criticism for drafting Mahomes, it’s been nice to have those critics eat some crow, he said.
“There’s nothing wrong with being 4 and 0 and the talk of the league,” he said. “I like having Patrick on our team.”
After Hunt’s message, evangelist and CityFest leader Andrew Palau spoke of the importance of having a life with God.
Palau said at a younger age he ignored God and ran after the things of the world.
“The only way to experience ... (life) is to have a life with God,” he said. “I lived it up and guess what it ended in? Death. I cried out to God in a moment of opportunity. I want to experience this abundant life. A life worth living. I need you (God) to take it and I will follow you forever until I see you in heaven.”
Palau said man’s enemy is Satan.
“He wants you to feel alone,” Palau said. “We’ve all gone astray in our own way. It’s good to be together discussing the real issues of life. You can ask ... (God) to speak with you.”
He also affirmed Hunt’s statement that success should not be a person’s idol.
During his speech, Palau also read Bible passages from Luke 18 and 19.
“The true spiritual seeker is God himself,” Palau said.