03 May 2010


Under the auspices of the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs, Orthodox community leaders in the Lone Star State met late last week with senior Texas officials including Governor Rick Perry.

Governor Perry headed a meeting in the Texas State Capitol, where business leaders from the Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio communities joined with prominent rabbinic leadership and OU staff to discuss hot-button issues with the Governor, including implementing a corporate tax credit program that would generate scholarship funds and creating opportunity for the nonprofit sector to receive energy retrofit incentives. The governor expressed his support for these issues as well as for a potential school voucher program.

Meeting participants thanked Governor Perry for his strong commitment to Israel and for leading the charge on divesting state funds from Iran.

The OU also met with House Speaker Joe Straus and the chiefs of staff of both Attorney General Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.

“We had a valuable discussion with Orthodox community leaders from across our state regarding various issues they are facing today,” said Governor Perry. “We must remain an unwavering supporter of a strong Jewish state in the Middle East, and I also look forward to continue building on the good relationship we have by working together to address issues important to the Jewish community here in Texas.”

IPA Deputy Director of Public Policy, Maury Litwack, stated:

We thank Governor Perry as well as Speaker Straus and the Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor’s offices for their time and interest in hearing the needs of the Texas Jewish community. As energy incentive programs and corporate tax credits scholarships take off around the country, we appreciate the Governor’s support of these initiatives.

Rabbi Eliezer Langer, rabbi of Congregation Tiferet Israel in Austin, commented:

Meeting with Governor Perry was a wonderful opportunity for the Jewish communities across Texas to express our concerns and dialogue with the Governor on issues of importance to us. We very much appreciate the extensive time the Governor spent with our community and we look forward to continuing to work with him on these issues.

David Wohlstadter, president of The Linvest Company of Dallas, remarked:

Thank you very much to Governor Perry for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with us. We welcome his support on issues important to the Jewish community and look forward to continued conversation with his office.

This meeting is part of a nationwide effort by the IPA to facilitate discussion between our community leadership and their elected officials. The OU has a long history of elected officials, candidates for public office and other notables speaking to their leadership, including Samuel Alito, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chris Christie, Alberto Gonzalez, Al Gore, Tom Kean, Jr., Robert Menendez, George Pataki, Dean Skelos, Bill Thompson and numerous members of Congress in recent years as well as surrogates of both McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden during the 2008 presidential election.