By: Heidi Powell
At the luncheon on Business Opportunities in Egypt held at the International Trade Center, iF Magazine’s Heidi Powell had the opportunity to speak with Texas State Representative Shawn Thierry. Ms. Thierry represents Texas House District 146 which encompasses areas of Southwest and Southeast Houston, including landmarks such as NRG stadium and parts of the renowned Texas Medical Center. Rep. Thierry just completed her second term in office, and from the looks of things, she is well on her way to becoming one of the most influential leaders in Texas.
Heidi PP: First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time today to talk with us. Would you walk us through some of your background? Did you always have dreams of becoming an elected official?
Rep. Thierry: Actually, I did not! Although I had been told throughout my childhood that I should become a lawyer, I went to college with the goal of working in media, so I earned my B.A in Broadcast Management from Howard University in Washington D.C. After I graduated, I realized that my passion was truly for the law and for helping others seek justice. I returned back to Texas and attended Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University where I graduated with a doctor of jurisprudence.
Heidi PP: Are you currently practicing law?
Rep. Thierry: Yes, I have been a practicing attorney for 23 years. I have practiced in the areas of commercial litigation, civil trial law, and family law. I have managed my own law firm for over a decade. Currently, I am a Principal at the Hardwick Law Firm in downtown Houston, where I specialize in public finance and real estate development.
Heidi PP: Since taking office, you have quickly become known as a fearless advocate for those whose voices often go unheard. What pieces of legislation are you most proud of?
Rep. Thierry: I have authored hundreds of bills, so it’s difficult to choose! However, I would say that my priority pieces of legislation have tackled issues such as health care. Specifically, I filed numerous pieces of legislation to address maternal mortality and morbidity crisis in Texas. I have also worked to pass legal protections for the elderly. This past session, I filed bills to require that mental health should be included as part of the health curriculum in our public schools, and I worked to increase school safety due to the frequency of these tragic mass shootings. I also became known for my work to prevent children from being arrested and criminalized when they are actually victims of the sex trafficking industry.
Heidi PP: As a freshman, and now a sophomore representative, you really hit the ground running as they say. What would you say motivates you to tackle so many complex, and sometimes controversial, political issues?
Rep. Thierry: I am motivated by my desire to make a positive difference for my constituents. I can tell you first hand that the constituents of Texas House District 146 are hardworking people who care about their communities and care about Texas. They deserve to be able to send their children to excellent public schools, to have access to quality and equitable health care, and to be able to live free from racism, discrimination, and bigotry of any kind. I am also motivated because I am the mother of a six year old daughter. I see the need for improved policies in the areas such as passing gun reform laws, increasing funding for public education, passing environmental protections, so that my daughter’s generation can live peaceful, healthy, productive, prosperous lives.
Heidi PP: You have been a very busy woman, and we congratulate you on a job well done. I look forward to travelling with you on the upcoming HITDC trade mission you are leading in October to Istanbul and Cairo. Would you share with our readers what you hope to accomplish on this mission?
Rep. Thierry: My goal is to build economic opportunities for small business enterprises interested in placing their products and services in the global marketplace. As a Texas State Representative, I also wish to promote international goodwill as we travel throughout Turkey and Egypt. Both of these countries have incredible, rich histories. I believe this trade mission is an opportunity for my fellow Texans to increase their awareness and cultural appreciation for these dynamic countries. I personally believe that we should be building bridges, not walls, to increase diplomacy with the world, so I am very honored and excited to lead this delegation. I thank HITDC for the opportunity!
If you would like to contact Ms. Shawn Thierry, you may email her at Thierryfortexas@gmail.com
You may also call or fax her at the following numbers: