Agudath Israel Meets with Governor Rick Perry of Texas

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governor-of-texas-with-agudah-smallLast week, Agudath Israel joined with religious leaders from across Texas to meet with Governor Rick Perry in the state capital of Austin. Rabbi Asher Block, Agudath Israel’s Texas Regional Director coordinated the meeting. Rabbi Yehiel Kalish, National Director of Government Affairs of Agudath Israel and Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum, Rav of Congregation Ohr HaTorah-Dallas, along with representatives of the Catholic and Lutheran faiths, also attended.

Governor Perry discussed with the attendees possible strategies to advance school choice legislation in the Texas statehouse. A focal point of the meeting was sharing with Governor Perry the benefits of the proposed Texas Education Tax Credit Scholarship Program. This initiative would enable Texas businesses to take dollar for dollar tax credits on charitable donations to qualifying scholarship granting organizations. The scholarship dollars will then be allocated to non-public schools.

L-R Rabbi Yehiel Kalish, National Director of Government Affairs, Agudath Israel, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum, Rav Ohr HaTorah (Dallas), Rabbi Asher Block Director, Agudath Israel of Texas (Houston).
L-R Rabbi Yehiel Kalish, National Director of Government Affairs, Agudath Israel, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum, Rav Ohr HaTorah (Dallas), Rabbi Asher Block Director, Agudath Israel of Texas (Houston).

A long-time vocal proponent of school choice, Governor Perry publicly praised the Jewish community’s active role in grassroots advocacy efforts on behalf of education reform. Governor Perry also stressed the importance of faith leaders continuing to engage their legislators on the issue and emphasize to them the tremendous benefits of the various school choice programs being considered. The attendees were appreciative of the time Governor Perry devoted to their meeting and his decision to act immediately to set up a special task force coordinated by the Governor’s staff and led by Mr. Robert Scott, Chair of the Texas Education Agency.

“Agudath Israel values Governor Perry’s commitment to identifying common-sense solutions to the tremendous financial burden of day school tuition that our growing communities in Texas face. With the Governor’s support, we are eager to make significant progress on the legislation proposed and implementing school choice programs in Texas,” said Rabbi Block. “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Governor Perry and his staff over the coming months and continuing to work with him to address the challenges facing Orthodox Jews in Texas.

{Elisha Ferber-Matzav.com Newscenter}

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