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University of Houston Law Center & Hobby School of Public Affairs

Policy Prescriptions for
The Biden Administration

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Please join the University of Houston Law Center and Hobby School of Public Affairs for “Policy Prescriptions for the Biden Administration,” an all-day virtual event featuring candid analysis by a cross-section of national leaders discussing the President’s policies on the national budget, tax policy and the economy, health law and policy, voting rights and redistricting, racial justice/immigration, and energy/environment law and policy.

MAY 21, 2021 | 8:20 AM – 5:30 PM (CDT) | Virtual

Approved for 6.5 Texas CLE credits





Law Center
Hobby School of Public Affairs







8:20- 8:30am


Leonard M. Baynes, Dean UH Law Center

Kirk P. Watson, Dean Hobby School of Public Affairs




Jason Furman, PhD, Aetna Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy, Harvard University Kennedy School

Mark P. Mills, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Beverly I. Moran, Professor of Law Emerita, Vanderbilt Law School

Jim Granato, PhD, Associate Dean, Hobby School of Public Affairs and Professor, Political Science


9:45am- 10am




10am – 11:15am


Brian Blase, President and CEO, Blase Policy Strategies

Timothy S. Jost, Professor Emeritus, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Larry Levitt,  Executive Vice President for Health Policy, Kaiser Family Foundation

Jacob Reider, MD, CEO Alliance for Better Health

Seth J. Chandler, Law Foundation Professor of Law, UH Law Center

11:15am – 11:30




11:30am – 12:45pm


Kathay Feng, National Redistricting Director, Common Cause

Mark P. Jones, Senior Research Fellow, Hobby School of Public Affairs; Fellow, Baker Institute and Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, Rice University

Michael Li, Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program

Janai S. Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Richard Murray, PhD, Professor, Hobby School of Public Affairs

12:45pm – 1pm




1:00pm- 2:15pm

University of Houston Experts Roundtable

Jim Granato, PhD, Associate Dean, Hobby School of Public Affairs and Professor, Political Science

Seth J. Chandler, Law Foundation Professor of Law, UH Law Center

Richard Murray, PhD, Professor, Hobby School of Public Affairs

Michael A. Olivas, PhD, JD, William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law (Emeritus), UH Law Center

Leonard M. Baynes, Dean UH Law Center

Kirk P. Watson, Dean Hobby School of Public Affairs

2:15pm – 2:30pm




2:30pm – 3:45pm

Racial Justice/Immigration

Lenese Herbert, Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law

Erika Lee, Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, and Director of the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)

Cheryl Wade,"Dean Harold F. McNiece" Professor of Law, St. John's University School of Law

Michael A. Olivas, PhD, JD, William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law (Emeritus), UH Law Center

3:45pm – 4:00pm




4:00pm – 5:15pm


Toby Baker, Executive Director Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Marcilynn A. Burke, Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law, University of Oregon School of Law

Lizzie P. Fletcher, Congresswoman, TX Congressional District 7, U.S. House of Representatives

Ramanan Krishnamoorti, PhD, Chief Energy Officer and Professor University of Houston

5:15 pm – 5:30pm

Closing Remarks








Leonard M. Baynes

Leonard M. Baynes

As the ninth dean of the University of Houston Law Center, Leonard M. Baynes brings a national reputation as a communications law scholar with specializations in business, media, and diversity issues. He manages more than 60 full-time faculty and oversees 12 centers and institutes, including the No. 6 ranked Health Law & Policy Institute and the No. 7 ranked Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law as well as the No. 9 ranked Part-Time Program.

Baynes initiated an award winning Pre-Law Pipeline Program designed to create more opportunities for first-generation, economically challenged, and under-represented college students who are considering law school. He instituted a voluntary “Community Service Day” during which incoming first-year students, faculty, and staff fan out across the city to work on public service projects. He also has increased the number of scholarships and opportunities f or students to serve in school-funded, public service internships at home and abroad.

Baynes was inducted into the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council Hall of Fame, where former FCC Commissioner and MMTC Chair Henry Rivera described him as “a champion for diversity.” Baynes previously served as the inaugural director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John’s University School of Law

Kirk Watson

Kirk P. Watson

Kirk Watson is Founding Dean of the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. There, he leads a team that puts creative public policy to work for the world.

For three decades, Watson has been immersed in public policy, spanning local and state government in Texas. He served in the Texas Senate for over 13 years, leading on a wide range of issues including education, health care, transportation and government transparency. And he was a member and vicechair of multiple standing and special committees, including those overseeing state finance, education, higher education, nominations, and the Sunset Advisory Commission. His peers elected him President Pro Tempore of the Senate in 2019.

Watson was first appointed in 1991 by Gov. Ann Richards as Chair of the Texas Air Control Board, the agency charged with addressing air quality issues in Texas. He was elected mayor of Austin in 1997, where he won praise for bringing different political sides together around transformative environmental and economic development initiatives. In 2012, serving the Austin area in the Texas Senate, he led the effort to build a new medical school at The University of Texas at Austin. The Dell Medical School became the first medical school in nearly 50 years to be built from the ground up at a top-tier research university.

He has served as Chair of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Advisory Board of Environmental Defense, and he has been a member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Texas. He also chaired the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the primary transportation planning agency for Central Texas.




Budget/Tax/Economy | Health | Voting | Racial Justice/Immigration | Energy/Environment


Jason Furman
Twitter: @jasonfurman

Jason Furman is the Aetna Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy jointly at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the Department of Economics at Harvard University. He is also nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. This followed eight years as a top economic adviser to President Obama, including serving as the 28th Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from August 2013 to January 2017, acting as both President Obama’s chief economist and a member of the cabinet. During this time Furman played a major role in most of the major economic policies of the Obama Administration. Previously Furman held a variety of posts in public policy and research. In public policy, Furman worked at both the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council during the Clinton administration and also at the World Bank. In research, Furman was a Director of the Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and also has served in visiting positions at various universities, including NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy. Furman has conducted research in a wide range of areas, including fiscal policy, tax policy, health economics, Social Security, technology policy, and domestic and international macroeconomics. In addition to articles in scholarly journals and periodicals, Furman is the editor of two books on economic policy. Furman holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Mark Mills
Twitter @MarkPMills

Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a faculty fellow at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he co-directs an Institute on Manufacturing Science and Innovation. He is also a strategic partner with Cottonwood Venture Partners (an energy-tech venture fund). Previously, Mills cofounded Digital Power Capital, a boutique venture fund, and was chairman and CTO of ICx Technologies, helping take it public in 2007. Mills is a regular contributor to and is author of Digital Cathedrals (2020) and Work in the Age of Robots (2018). He is also coauthor of The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy (2005).

His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Real Clear. Mills has appeared as a guest on CNN, Fox, NBC, PBS, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In 2016, Mills was named “Energy Writer of the Year” by the American Energy Society. Earlier, Mills was a technology advisor for Bank of America Securities and coauthor of the Huber-Mills Digital Power Report, a tech investment newsletter. He has testified before Congress and briefed numerous state public-service commissions and legislators.

Mills served in the White House Science Office under President Reagan and subsequently provided science and technology policy counsel to numerous private-sector firms, the Department of Energy, and U.S. research laboratories.

Early in his career, Mills was an experimental physicist and development engineer at Bell Northern Research (Canada’s Bell Labs) and at the RCA David Sarnoff Research Center on microprocessors, fiber optics, missile guidance, earning several patents for his work. He holds a degree in physics from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada

Beverly Moran

Beverly Moran's work focuses on federal income taxation, including individuals, partnerships, tax-exempt organizations and corporate. In addition to her work on the Internal Revenue Code, Professor Moran’s interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work encompasses empirical legal studies ("Coitus and Consequences"), international and comparative tax law ("Taxation" in The Oxford Handbook of Legal Studies), Islamic law (“Islamic Law and Elder Care in the Central Asian Edgen System”), labor law ("The Right to Religious Accommodation in Pension Plans”), law and development (“Local Government Tax Incentives for Economic Development”), legal education (“Revisiting the Work We Know So Little About: Race, Wealth, Privilege, and Social Justice”), legal philosophy (“Capitalism and the Tax System: A Search for Social Justice”), and politics (“United States’ Trade Policy and the Exportation of United States’ Culture”). Over the course of her career, she has won a number of teaching awards and grants, including a Fulbright award and grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, International Rotary and the Ford Foundation. While on Vanderbilt’s law faculty, she served on the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools, the board of governors of the Society of American Law Teachers and as a committee member of the American Bar Association Initiative on the Middle East and North Africa. She is a former director of Vanderbilt’s LL.M. and Social Justice programs, and was the first director of the Vanderbilt University Center for the Americas. She spent 2008-09 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an American Council on Education Fellow. Before joining Vanderbilt's law faculty, Professor Moran taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she directed the Center on Law and Africa. She began her academic career on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Colorado, the University of Asmara in Eritrea, the University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, People's University in Beijing, the Peking University in Beijing, and the University of Giessen in Germany.

MODERATOR: Jim Granato
Twitter @JimGranato

A native of the south side of Chicago, Jim Granato is professor and Associate Dean of the University of Houston's Hobby School of Public Affairs.  He was also appointed as an inaugural University of Houston Energy Fellow.   

Prior to coming to the Hobby School, Granato taught in the department of Government at the University of Texas (2005-2006) and in the department of Political Science at Michigan State University (1991-2001). His teaching and research interests include American politics, political economy, public policy, econometrics, and the unification of formal and empirical analysis.

Granato’s professional experience also includes service as the political science program director and visiting scientist at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  During his service at NSF, he helped develop and implement research and education training reforms in quantitative analysis, foremost was the Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM) initiative, one that still is being supported by NSF and has had a national impact.

His research and teaching has been supported by the city of Houston, various Texas governmental agencies, the Houston Endowment, the BB&T Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.  He has also given public testimony to local and state government committees on various issues. 
His academic service includes serving on several editorial boards as well as chairing or membership on scientific and academic panels with primary focus on education and quantitative research.

Granato is the author or co-author of numerous publications in academic journals such as American Journal of Political Science, Economics and Politics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Macroeconomic Dynamics, Political Analysis, Political Research Quarterly, Public Choice, and the Southern Economic Journal.  Samples of his research can be found in the books, The Role of Policymakers in Business Cycle Fluctuations, and The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models in Political Science --- both published by Cambridge University Press.

Jim Granato earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and business administration from Southern Illinois University (1982). His first venture to Texas was as a graduate student at Texas A&M University, where he earned a master’s degree in political science (1985). He also received his Ph.D. in political science and a certificate in political economy from Duke University in 1991.



Brian Blase
Twitter @BrianBlase

Brian Blase, Ph.D., is the CEO of Blase Policy Strategies LLC and a senior research fellow at the Galen Institute and at the Foundation for Government Accountability. Blase previously served as a special assistant to the president for economic policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC).
At NEC, Blase coordinated the development and execution of many of the Trump Administration’s health policy achievements, developed legislative and regulatory strategies, and advised the President, the NEC Director, and other senior government officials. Notably, this work included promulgating rules expanding association health plans, short-term limited-duration insurance, and health reimbursement arrangements as well as the development of the 120-page report, Reforming America’s Health Care System Through Choice and Competition. Blase also played a central role in the Trump Administration’s actions to increase health care price and quality transparency.

Blase served in both the U.S. House of Representative and Senate. He guided the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s health care and entitlement program oversight efforts and related investigations from 2011-2014. In that capacity, he developed oversight strategies, conducted dozens of transcribed interviews, prepared members and staff for hearings, and was the primary author of eleven staff reports issued by the Committee. From 2014 through 2015, Blase served as the health policy analyst at the Senate Republican Policy Committee. In that capacity, Blase authored papers distributed at the weekly Senate Republican policy lunch and participated in the development of legislative proposals and strategies.

Prior to working in the White House, Blase worked as a senior research fellow with the Spending and Budget Initiative at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University from 2015-2017. Prior to working in Congress, Blase worked as a health policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation from 2010-2011.
Blase has authored or co-authored dozens of research papers, written more than 100 commentaries, regularly briefed federal and state policymakers, and frequently appears in media. Blase’s work has been mentioned many times by the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and he is a regulator contributor to the Wall Street Journal and New York Post. His commentaries have also been published in the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Forbes, among numerous outlets. He has also appeared on television several times, including on FoxNews, CSPAN, CNBC, and PBS, and has frequently appeared on radio.

Timothy Jost

Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, J.D., is an emeritus professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.  He is a coauthor of a casebook, Health Law, used widely throughout the United States in teaching health law and now in its eighth edition.  He has written numerous monographs on legal issues in health care reform for national organizations and until 2018 blogged regularly on regulatory issues for Health Affairs, where he is a contributing editor.  He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and is widely quoted in the media on health reform issues.

Larry Levitt
Twitter @Larry_Levitt

Larry Levitt is Executive Vice President for Health Policy, overseeing KFF’s policy work on Medicare, Medicaid, the health care marketplace, the Affordable Care Act, women’s health, and global health. He previously was Editor-in-Chief of, KFF’s online health policy news and information service, and directed KFF’s communications and online activities and its Changing Health Care Marketplace Project.

Prior to joining KFF, he served as a Senior Health Policy Advisor to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services, working on the development of President Clinton’s Health Security Act and other health policy initiatives. Earlier, he was the Special Assistant for Health Policy with California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, a medical economist with Kaiser Permanente, and served in a number of positions in Massachusetts state government.

He holds a bachelors degree in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a masters degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Jacob Reider
Twitter @JacobR

Jacob Reider MD, FAAFP, is a family physician who wants the world to be healthier. He has worked for decades to improve the health of our communities through the innovative use of technology, and the promotion of benevolence in business. He is currently CEO of Alliance for Better Health, a New York DSRIP care transformation initiative, Chief Health Officer of Health Coda, and co-founder of RS Partners, a health IT consulting and investing firm. He previously served as the Deputy National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the US Department of Health and Human Services. In his three years at HHS, he was responsible for the policies and programs designed to improve health through the development and implementation of safer, more resilient, reliable, usable, helpful and interoperable information technology. He has more than 20 years of experience in health information technology with a special interest in user experience, clinical decision support and information portability. He served as the CMIO of Allscripts, one of the nation’s largest health IT developers, and was Associate Dean for Biomedical Informatics at Albany Medical College where he continues to teach on an adjunct basis. He co-founded four successful health IT start-up companies, and has held Directorships on boards of both non-profits and private companies. He has also held leadership roles in the American Medical Informatics Association and the New York State Academy of Family Physicians. His interests include organizational leadership and culture, shared clinical decision-making and evidence-based management of common outpatient conditions.

Seth Chandler

Moderator: Seth Chandler
Twitter @SethJChandler2

Seth J. Chandler is a Law Foundation Professor of Law at the UH Law Center who specializes in insurance law and the application of mathematics and computer science to law. Professor Chandler won a prestigious university-wide teaching excellence award in 1995, was a first year winner of the Innovator Award from Wolfram Research, received the President’s Medal from Loyola University for extraordinary service in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and has been called on twice to testify before Congress on the Affordable Care Act. Professor Chandler has a broad Internet presence; he is the author of over 100 interactive Demonstrations, 21 Resource Functions) and several Data Repositories on the Wolfram Research website. He founded two blogs,, which addressed the ACA, and, which addressed catastrophic insurance in Texas. Professor Chandler’s blog entries have over 400,000 views. He practiced with Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles and Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. before beginning his academic career in 1990 at the UH Law Center. Professor Chandler teaches contracts, health law, analytic methods and constitutional law. Orcid page:



Kathay Feng

Kathay Feng

Kathay Feng is Common Cause’s National Redistricting Director.

Feng has led Common Cause’s work to challenge partisan and incumbent gerrymandering, through litigation, state-based organizing around ballot initiatives and legislation and creating new platforms for community-based redistricting. As Executive Director of California Common Cause, she championed and won election and redistricting reforms, stronger government sunshine and accountability laws, campaign finance reforms, stronger net neutrality laws, and the voting rights of traditionally disenfranchised communities. Kathay is the architect of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, leading the multi-year effort to study, write, and pass the two initiatives, Propositions 11 and 20, that created the commission and new community-focused process. She also led efforts that secured passage of California laws bringing online voter registration and same day registration (called conditional voter registration) to the state.

Locally, Kathay helped lead successful efforts to improve Los Angeles’ matching funds campaign finance system, providing a super-match of public funds to city office candidates that raise small dollar donations from city residents. Under Kathay’s leadership, CCC has anchored California’s election protection efforts, assisting and independently monitoring elections throughout the state, since 2006. Kathay has been an activist and civil rights attorney in California for more than 20 years.

Before joining Common Cause in 2005, she headed the Voting Rights and Anti-Discrimination Unit at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. She helped the center secure key voting rights, anti-hate crime, language rights and consumer rights laws while also working on high profile hate crimes cases, civil liberties advocacy, and election monitoring and polling. Her advocacy led to creation of the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review, which provides citizen oversight over the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department on issues ranging from discrimination to use of force. She serves, or has served, on numerous boards including the California Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Voter Participation and Outreach, the LA County Human Relations Commission, and the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. She is a graduate of Cornell University, and holds a law degree from UCLA School of Law.

Mark P. Jones
Twitter @MarkPJones

Mark P. Jones, Ph.D., is the fellow in political science at the Baker Institute, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and a professor in the Department of Political Science at Rice University.

Jones also serves as the faculty director of Rice’s Master of Global Affairs program. His research focuses on the effect of electoral laws and other political institutions on governance, representation and voting. He has received substantial financial support for this research, including grants from the National Science Foundation. His research has been published in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies and the Journal of Politics, as well as in edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Penn State University Press, among others. He is a frequent contributor to Texas media outlets, and his research on the Texas Legislature has been widely cited in the media as well as by numerous political campaigns.

Jones regularly advises U.S. government institutions on economic and political affairs in Argentina and has conducted research on public policy issues in Latin America and Texas for numerous international, national and local organizations, including the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Texas Department of Agriculture and the city of Houston. He is a frequent commentator in local, state, national and international media on government, politics and public policy. He is currently working on two principal research agendas, one that examines the impact of political institutions on politics and public policy in Latin America, and the other that analyzes the evolution of partisan politics in Texas over the past 50 years. Jones received his doctorate from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree from Tulane University.

Jones leads the Baker Institute's Argentina Program and helps direct the Presidential Elections Program

Michael Li

Michael Li
Twitter @mcpli

Michael Li serves as senior counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, where his work focuses on redistricting, voting rights, and elections. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Li practiced law at Baker Botts L.L.P. in Dallas for ten years. He was the author of a widely cited blog on redistricting and election law issues that the New York Times called “indispensable.” He is a regular writer and commentator on election law issues, appearing on PBS Newshour, MSNBC, and NPR, and in print in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Roll Call, Vox, National Journal, Texas Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and San Antonio Express-News, among others.

In addition to his election law work, Li previously served as executive director of Be One Texas, a donor alliance that oversaw strategic and targeted investments in nonprofit organizations working to increase voter participation and engagement in historically disadvantaged African American and Hispanic communities in Texas.

Li received his JD with honors from Tulane Law School and an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin.

Janai Nelson
TW: @jnelsonLDF @naacp_LDF

Janai S. Nelson is Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). As an organizational thought-leader at LDF, Nelson works with the President and Director-Counsel to determine and execute LDF’s strategic vision and oversee the operation of its programs, including having served as interim director of LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute. She is also a member of LDF’s litigation and policy teams and was one of the lead counsel in Veasey v. Abbott (2018), a federal challenge to Texas’s voter ID law. She has testified before Congress on voter suppression, algorithmic bias, and in support of the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Prior to joining LDF in June 2014, Nelson was Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship and Associate Director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John’s University School of Law where she was also a full professor of law. Nelson’s most recent scholarly publication, Counting Change: Ensuring an Inclusive Census for Communities of Color, 119 Colum. L. Rev. 1399 (2019), advances a theory of representational equality in which all U.S. residents “are to be counted — and served — as constituents” and that centers the Census and the accurate count of the country’s most vulnerable populations in the functioning of our democracy.

Moderator: Richard Murray

Richard Murray is a native of Louisiana with B.A. and M.A. degrees in Government from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. Professor Murray is retiring from the University of Houston in the spring of 2021, ending a 55 year teaching career in the Department of Political Science.

Murray is continuing as Senior Research Associate in the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, where he holds the Bob Lanier Chair in Urban Public Policy.

Professor Murray has written extensively on Texas politics and elections, and his current research interests focus on partisan political change in Texas.



Lenese Herbert
Twitter @HowNowHerbert @ConstCrimPro5

Lenese Herbert, Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law, currently teaches Evidence, Criminal Procedure I and II, Criminal Law, and Social Media and the Law. She co-authors CONSTITUTIONAL CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, a problem-based casebook adopted at a number of law schools across the country.  Her scholarly work is published in a number of law reviews and journals and has been widely cited.

Immediately prior to entering law teaching, Professor Herbert served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia in both the Criminal and Civil Divisions under former U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Eric Holder. She also served as in the Manipulation and Trade Practice Unit of the Division of Enforcement, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where she investigated and regulated futures trading practices of brokers and firms.

A graduate of UCLA School of Law, Professor Herbert has practiced before administrative law judges and Article III courts at the trial and appellate levels. She has also appeared as a legal analyst and expert source for media outlets such as C-SPAN, the Washington Post, BBC, SCOTUSblog, PBS NewsHour, Voice of America, Al-Jazeera English, NBC News Channel 4 (Washington, DC), WTTG Fox 5 (Washington, DC), News Channel 8 (Washington, DC), and The Washington Informer.

Erika Lee
Twitter @prof_ErikaLee

Professor Erika Lee is an award-winning historian and author, Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies, and Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, Lee was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and testified before Congress in its historic hearings on anti-Asian discrimination and violence. She is the author of four award-winning books including, most recently, The Making of Asian America: A History (Simon & Schuster) and America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in America (Basic Books,)which won the American Book Award and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, as well as other honors. Named to many best books lists and identified as an essential book illuminating the Trump era and the 2020 elections, it will be published with a new epilogue on xenophobia and racism during the COVID-19 pandemic in June, 2021. The Making of Asian America has also been republished with a new postscript about the latest campaigns against Asian Americans. Lee has been featured in PBS’s film series “Asian Americans,” appeared on CNN, PBS Newshour, National Public Radio, and quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, BBC, and many other news outlets. She is President-Elect of the Organization of American Historians and directs three major digital humanities projects: Immigrant Stories, #ImmigrationSyllabus, and Immigrants in COVID America.

Thomas Saenz
Facebook: @MALDEF
Instagram: @maldefian         
Youtube: @maldef
Twitter: @MALDEF

Thomas Saenz is President and General Counsel of MALDEF; he leads the organization in pursuing litigation, policy advocacy, and community education to promote the civil rights of all Latinos living in the United States in the areas of education, employment, immigrants’ rights, and voting rights. Saenz rejoined MALDEF in August 2009, after four years on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's executive team.  He previously spent 12 years at MALDEF practicing civil rights law, including four years as litigation director.  He has served as lead counsel for MALDEF in numerous cases, including challenges to California Proposition 187, California Proposition 227, and California congressional redistricting. In 2016, Saenz argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Texas, representing intervenors defending Obama Administration deferred action initiatives.  Saenz graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School; he clerked for two federal judges before initially joining MALDEF in 1993.

Cheryl Wade

Cheryl L. Wade is the "Dean Harold F. McNiece" Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law. She teaches Issues of Race, Gender and Law, Business Organizations, Corporate Governance and Accountability, and Race and Business.  Her book, "Predatory Lending and The Destruction of the African American Dream” was published by Cambridge University Press in July 2020 and was coauthored with Dr. Janis Sarra, Professor of Law, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia. Professor Wade is a member of the American Law Institute, a national organization of prominent judges, lawyers and academics who work to clarify, modernize and reform the law. 

Professor Wade has written book chapters and law review articles on securities, education law and the intersection of race and business.  She has been invited to present at and write for many symposia including articles published by Boston University Law Review, Tulane Law Review, The Maryland Law Review, The Washington & Lee Law Review, and The Iowa Journal of Gender, Race & Justice. Professor Wade is a frequent speaker and panelist at conferences organized by leading professional organizations and universities. 

Professor Wade has received several teaching and scholarship awards from St. John’s University School of Law’s Deans. Prior to joining the faculty at St. John's Law School, Professor Wade served on the faculty at Hofstra Law School. Before joining the Hofstra faculty, Professor Wade was an associate in the corporate department of the New York City law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.  

Moderator: Michael Olivas

Michael A. Olivas is the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law (Emeritus) at the University of Houston Law Center and Director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at UH. From 1983-1987, he also chaired the UH graduate program in Higher Education. From 1990-95, he served as Associate Dean of the Law Center; he once again served in 2001-2004. In 1989-90, he was a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin, and Special Counsel to then-Chancellor Donna Shalala. In 1997, he held the Mason Ladd Distinguished Visiting Chair at the University of Iowa College of Law. He holds a B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) from the Pontifical College Josephinum, an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He is the author or co-author of sixteen books, including The Dilemma of Access (Howard University Press, 1979), Latino College Students (Teachers College Press, 1986), Prepaid College Tuition Programs (College Board, 1993) and The Law and Higher Education (4th ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2015). Colored Men and Hombres Aqui was published by Arte Publico Press in 2006, while Education Law Stories was published by Foundation Press in 2007. In 2012, NYU Press published No Undocumented Child Left Behind. In 2013, he edited a scholarly volume on early 20th Century Tejano lawyer, Alonso S. Perales (“In Defense of My People”: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals, Arte Publico Press). Suing Alma Mater was published by Johns Hopkins University Press, on the subject of higher education and the U.S. Supreme Court. It was chosen as the 2014 winner of the Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law, given annually by the Education Law Association “in recognition of an outstanding article, book, book chapter, or other form of scholarly legal writing in the field of education law.” In 2020, NYU Press published Perchance to DREAM, A Legal and Political History of the DREAM Act. In 2017, Carolina Academic Press published a festschfrift dedicated to his original scholarship, Law Professor and Accidental Historian: The Scholarship of Michael A. Olivas, edited by Ediberto Román, and including chapters by twenty scholars.

After more than 38 years on the UHLC faculty, Professor Olivas retired to his Santa Fe, New Mexico hometown in 2019, where he has continued his writing and lecturing schedule. The Law Center has chosen to honor him and his wife (UH Professor Emerita Augustina H. Reyes) by naming the Olivas/Reyes Reading Room in the new O’Quinn Law Bldg.



Toby Baker

Toby Baker was appointed executive director of the TCEQ on August 20, 2018. The executive director, who is hired by the commissioners, is responsible for managing the agency’s day-to-day operations. 

Prior to Baker’s recent move to executive director, he served as commissioner for TCEQ for 6 years. He along with his two fellow full-time commissioners established overall agency direction and policy and made final determinations on contested permitting and enforcement matters. 

Baker also serves as Governor Abbott's appointee to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, represents Texas as the chair on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Management Team, and serves on the Coastal Land Advisory Board. 

Baker was a policy and budget advisor on energy, natural resources and agriculture issues for the Governor’s Office, where he was also the liaison between the office and members of the Legislature, constituents, the Railroad Commission of Texas, the TCEQ, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Texas Animal Health Commission. He is a past natural resource policy advisor to Sen. Craig Estes, and the former director and clerk of the Texas Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Coastal Resources. 

Baker received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, and a Master of Public Service and Administration from the Texas A&M George Bush School of Government and Public Service. He is also a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and the Governor’s Executive Development Program at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs. 

Marcilynn Burke

Dean Marcilynn A. Burke studies leadership, property, environmental and natural resources law. At Oregon Law, she serves as the Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law. Her scholarly works have included features in the Notre Dame Law Review, the Land Use and Environmental Law Review, the University of Cincinnati Law Review, and the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum.  

From 2009-2013, Dean Burke served in the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Initially she served as Deputy Director for Programs and Policy in the BLM, and then as the Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior over the BLM following a 2011 appointment by President Barack Obama. In that role, she helped develop the land use, resource management, and regulatory oversight policies that are administered by the BLM, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, with a geographic scope that encompassed the continental U.S. and Alaska. Following her term at the BLM, she resumed her role as associate dean and associate professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center, where she had served as a member of the faculty since 2002. 

Dean Burke earned her bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, having been named to Phi Beta Kappa. She then earned her law degree from Yale Law School, where she was an editor for both the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism and the Yale Journal of International Law. She clerked for the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson of the Eastern District of Virginia, and later joined the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton where her practice focused on environmental law, antitrust, and civil and criminal litigation. Dean Burke had also served as a visiting professor of law at Rutgers School of Law in Camden, NJ in 2001. 

Lizzie Fletcher

Lizzie Fletcher represents Texas’ Seventh Congressional District, in the greater Houston area.  Located entirely within Harris County, the district includes residents of Houston, Bellaire, Bunker Hill Village, Hedwig Village, Hilshire Village, Hunters Creek Village, Jersey Village, Piney Point Village, Southside Place, Spring Valley Village, West University Place, and unincorporated Harris County west to Katy.

A resident of Houston and Congressional District 7 nearly all of her life, Congresswoman Fletcher was elected to represent the district in 2018.  Prior to her election, she represented Houstonians in the courtroom as a lawyer on a wide range of matters, first at an international law firm headquartered in Houston and later at a boutique litigation firm, where she became its first woman partner.

Congresswoman Fletcher graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio in 1997, where she earned highest honors in History and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After college, she worked in the business and non-profit sectors for six years before attending William & Mary Law School in Virginia.  At William & Mary, she was the editor-in-chief of the William & Mary Law Review and received the Gambrell Professionalism Award when she graduated in 2006.

In the 117th Congress, Congresswoman Fletcher serves on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce and on the House Science, Space & Technology Committee.

Ramanan Krishnamoorti

Moderator: Ramanan Krishnamoorti
Twitter @Krishnamoorti @UHEnergy

Ramanan Krishnamoorti is the Chief Energy Officer at the University of Houston. Prior to this, Krishnamoorti served as interim vice president and vice chancellor for research and technology transfer for UH and the UH System, respectively. During his tenure at the university, he has served in multiple academic leadership roles in the Cullen College of Engineering. He currently is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering with affiliated appointments as professor of petroleum engineering and professor of chemistry. Dr. Krishnamoorti also serves as the Principal Investigator for the Subsea Systems Institute and the Center for Carbon Management in Energy at UH.  Dr. Krishnamoorti obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and doctoral degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1994.