CONTACT: For press inquiries, to set up interviews or to sign up for e-mail press releases, please e-mail TFN Communications Director Dan Quinn or call 512-322-0545.

Statement From Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller On Gov. Perry’s State-Of-The-State Address FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 26, 2005

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller responded to Gov. Perry’s call today for education reform in Texas:

Gov. Perry’s education reforms must not include measures that would actually undermine our neighborhood schools. Any effort to defund neighborhood schools this session, especially through vouchers, is bad for Texas kids. Vouchers drain money out of neighborhood public schools to pay for tuition at religious and private schools. If Gov. Perry really supports neighborhood schools, he can’t support vouchers. In fact, strong opposition from Texans across the state has led lawmakers to reject voucher schemes for the past five regular sessions.

Yet big donors to the governor’s political campaigns have repeatedly called for vouchers and other education changes that would hurt our neighborhood schools. The risks of those schemes are just too high for Texas. Our state’s leaders should reject efforts by special interests to use school finance as a smokescreen for pushing narrow, ideological agendas like private school vouchers and gutting quality education standards for neighborhood schools.… Read More

Texas Freedom Network Names Kathy Miller As New President Former TFN Deputy Director to Take Helm from Samantha Smoot in January FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 8, 2004AUSTIN Kathy Miller, a former deputy director for the Texas Freedom Network, will return as president of the organization in January.

Miller served as deputy director of the organization from 1996 to 2000. She replaces Samantha Smoot, who followed founder Cecile Richards as TFN’s second president in 1998.

“We are very happy to welcome back someone who did so much to help build the Texas Freedom Network in its early years and who has worked with its first two presidents,” said Terry Kenyon, chairman of TFN’s Board of Directors. “Kathy’s experience and her positive vision for the future will ensure that TFN remains an active and influential voice for mainstream Texas values.”

Since leaving the Texas Freedom Network in 2000, Kathy has served as communications director of the Texas Council on Family Violence and National Domestic Violence Hotline. She was public affairs director for Planned Parenthood Federation of Austin from 1994 to 1996. Kathy is also the mother of two daughters, Olivia and Caroline, who attend public schools in Austin.… Read More

State Board Approves Flawed Health Textbooks Textbooks Lack Age-Appropriate, Accurate Information on Family Planning and Disease Prevention FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 5, 2004

AUSTIN High school students in Texas will not have access to state-mandated information on family planning and disease prevention in high school health textbooks adopted by the State Board of Education (SBOE) today.

“This is a sad day for Texas teens,” said Samantha Smoot, president of the Texas Freedom Network. “Four million teenagers will rely on these textbooks for information that is accurate and up-to-date. Instead of doing the responsible thing and providing high school students with life-saving information about sex and health, the State Board of Education has left them to fend for themselves and get information from each other and sources like the Internet and MTV.”

The SBOE voted to approve for adoption by the state’s public schools four high school health textbooks. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards for health education require that students be able to analyze the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods as well as abstinence.… Read More

Thousands Of Texans Join Campaign For Responsible Health Textbooks State Board of Education to Decide Nov. 5 on Flawed New Textbooks That Include No Information on Family Planning and Prevention of STDs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 1, 2004

AUSTIN Activists on Monday delivered to the State Board of Education thousands of postcards from concerned Texans opposing the adoption of dangerously flawed health textbooks for the state’s high schools.

The State Board of Education will decide Nov. 5 whether to approve the new textbooks. The proposed books include no information on family planning and the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases except through abstinence. The lack of this information in the textbooks is irresponsible, said Melanie Cox, parent of 17-year-old high school student, on Monday.

“Families are faced with more challenges than ever in raising healthy, responsible children,” said Cox “They need common sense, practical information on sex and health that deals with the real-life situations we face every day.”… Read More

Samantha Smoot To Step Down As Texas Freedom Network President Six-Year Term Sees Growth, Victories on Vouchers, Textbooks, Hate Crimes FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 22, 2004

AUSTIN Samantha Smoot will step down as president of the Texas Freedom Network at the end of this year.

“The last six years have been remarkable, largely because of the spirit and dedication of TFN’s many supporters,” Smoot said. “It has been a privilege to work shoulder to shoulder with people so deeply committed to fundamental democratic principles.”

Smoot took over as head of the Texas Freedom Network in 1998. Cecile Richards founded the organization in 1995 and served as its executive director until that time.

Terry Kenyon, chairman of the Texas Freedom Network’s Board of Directors, said a committee has already begun a search to replace Smoot.

“The Texas Freedom Network has made great strides under Sam’s leadership,” Kenyon said. “We’re all proud of what she has accomplished and are obviously very sad to see her go.”

Among the accomplishments during Smoot’s tenure:… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

Amid all the fighting, most lawmakers have apparently overlooked a provision that would force counties to automatically reject some mail-in ballot applications.…