Former Texas Representative Takes Helm of Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Former Texas state Rep. Mark Strama is joining The University of Texas at Austin as the director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. The institute, which is housed in the Moody College of Communication, prepares the next generation of civic leaders through education, research and professional development. Strama began his new role April 1.
Strama served for five terms in the Texas House of Representatives and later led Google Fiber’s deployment in Austin. Prior to serving in the Legislature, he worked at Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan, nationwide effort to register young voters, and he founded the first company to enable Americans to fill out a voter registration form on the internet.
“There’s never been a more important time to work on restoring the civic trust that binds us together as Americans,” Strama said. “I learned a long time ago that a lot of the solutions to society’s most difficult problems are best found by working with the next generation of civic leaders being developed at UT Austin.”
Strama hopes to expand the institute’s focus to local government issues, where he said the immediacy of political issues mitigates against ideology and polarization. He will also capitalize on his relationships in government to create opportunities for lawmakers to reach across the aisle, and on his experience in the technology industry to examine ways social media might help repair political divisions.