2017 Gala Speakers and Celebrity Guests
Rafael B. Cruz
Rafael Cruz is a powerful example of the American Dream. Born in Cuba, Rafael lived and suffered under a cruel, oppressive dictator. He began fighting Batista’s regime as a teenager and was imprisoned and tortured simply because he wanted to be free.
Rafael arrived in Texas in 1957 on a student visa. He got a job as a dishwasher, making 50 cents an hour, and worked his way through the University of Texas, while learning English. He later built a small business in further pursuit of the American Dream.
In early 1980, Rafael Cruz joined the State Board of the Religious Roundtable, a Judeo-Christian organization that mobilized millions of people of faith during the Presidential Campaign of Ronald Reagan.
He is an ordained minister and the Director of Grace for America, sharing the Word of God in churches and Pastors Conferences throughout the United States. He is the author of A Time for Action, Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America.
His son, Ted Cruz, is a constitutional conservative U.S. Senator from Texas and former a candidate for United States President.
When Ted was a child growing up in Houston, Rafael would tell him, “When we faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to flee to. If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?”
That’s why Rev. Cruz is passionate about returning America to the biblical and historical foundations that made this country exceptional.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
Dan Patrick was elected Lt. Governor of Texas in 2014, winning the general election by almost 20 points, including historic levels of support from Hispanic voters and women.
A preeminent voice for principled conservative policies both in Texas and across the nation, Lt. Gov. Patrick is leading the fight for life and liberty in Texas including securing the border, reducing property and business taxes, standing up for the Second Amendment and addressing Texas’ infrastructure challenges to assure that our state continues to flourish economically.
Lt. Governor Patrick presided over what have been called the most conservative and productive sessions of the State Senate in Texas history. Focusing on strategies to keep Texas families and communities safe and the state economy strong, under his leadership, the Senate passed legislation to dramatically increase support for border security and reduced the franchise tax by 25% on a pathway to eliminating it all together.
Lt. Governor Patrick has championed property tax relief over several legislative sessions and continued the education reforms he began as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, tackling the problems of failing schools and giving parents more choices for their children.
Lt. Governor Patrick is an outspoken supporter of law enforcement and, among other things, initiated a program that ensures that every police officer on patrol in Texas has a bullet proof vest that is capable of withstanding a high caliber rifle shot. Lt. Governor Patrick passed the sonogram bill and has championed numerous other measures to support and protect every life in Texas.
Before he was elected Lt. Governor, he was twice elected to the Texas Senate representing part of Houston and Northwest Harris County. He is a successful small-business man and radio host, a former television anchor, sportscaster, musician, Christian author and movie producer.
Lt. Governor Patrick is also involved in his community. He has raised over $16 million for children with disabilities through his radio show and started the first seminary in a Texas prison to train long-serving inmates for the ministry.
Lt. Governor Patrick has been married to his wife Jan, a former schoolteacher, for 42 years. He and Jan have two children, Ryan and Shane and five grandchildren.
A longtime resident of Wichita Falls, Texas State Rep. James Frank is committed to limited, efficient government principles that encourage economic growth, individual liberty, and maximized local control. With a degree in finance from Texas A&M University, 11 years in the banking industry, and over 15 years as the owner of both Sharp Iron Group and Transland, manufacturing businesses which employ more than 100 people, Representative Frank brings a unique and necessary set of skills to the Texas Legislature.
During his time in office, he has been a strong advocate for parental rights and home school issues, including working closely with THSC on both the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act and the “Tim Tebow” UIL Participation Bill. Representative Frank has served seven years on the board of THSC and is a committed community and church leader. He and his wife of 27 years, Alisha, have four sons, all of whom are or were home schooled.