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During recent meetings, the Board of Directors of the Greater Houston Partnership tapped Jason Few, President of Reliant Energy, and Brian Frank, President of BP Energy Company, to fill vacant seats. Other additions included:

· Vijay Goradia, Founder & Chair, Vinmar International;
· David Dickson, President, Technip USA, Inc.;
· Robert L. Parker, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Parker Drilling Company;
· David Hawes, Executive Director, United Management Districts;
· Greg Ebel, President and CEO, Spectra Energy; and
· Tony Speller, Senior Vice President, Houston Region, Comcast Cable Communications.

Few, Frank, Goradia, Hawes, Ebel and Speller fill terms expiring December 2011, while Dickson and Parker’s seats expire in December 2010.

Additionally, the Board ratified the organization’s key principles on federal health care reform; passed a resolution in supported of the United States Department of Commerce’s efforts to open a commercial service office in Houston; and approved support for the development of the Houston Botanic Garden in Cullinan Park.

Resolution of the Board of Directors in Support of Key Principles to be Incorporated into the Federal Health Care Reform Proposal
Health care reform continues to take many forms as it is considered in the various senate and congressional committees. The Greater Houston Partnership (Partnership) agrees on the overall premise that reform is needed. As the primary business advocate of the 10-county Houston region, the Greater Houston Partnership recognizes the current state of national health care adversely affects the business community and requires immediate reform. The Partnership has also identified guiding principles which it believes should be embraced in any health care reform vehicle. As the health care reform process evolves, these principles will provide guidance on the positions the Partnership will assume on specific health care reform measures.

The Greater Houston Partnership supports legislation that includes the following eight key principles in the federal health care reform proposal.

· Reduce the rate of health care inflation
· Require shared accountability among all health care consumers and payers to end cost-shifting unto businesses
· Encourage fair share health care
· Preserve Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) provisions related to health benefits plans
· Reform the existing health insurance market
· Institute tax parity for purchasing health insurance coverage
· Promote innovative approaches for small businesses to access affordable health insurance
· Encourage provider transparency

The Greater Houston Partnership urges lawmakers to oppose legislation that will result in restricted access to quality, affordable health insurance.

Resolution in Support of the U. S. Department of Commerce Commercial Service Office in Houston
The Greater Houston Partnership supports the U.S. Department of Commerce Commercial Service Office in Houston, Texas, and strongly urges the congressional representatives of Texas to advocate for the full funding and support of the U.S. Commercial Service office in Houston and maintain a minimum of 2008 funding level so that the agency can complete its mission – to grow jobs through exports.

Resolution of the Board of Directors in Support of the Houston Botanic Garden’s Project to Develop and Build a World Class Botanic Garden on a Site in Houston’s Cullinan Park at Oyster Creek, Located Adjacent to the City of Sugar Land in Fort Bend County
The Greater Houston Partnership supports Houston Botanic Garden’s project to develop and build a world class botanic garden on a site in Houston’s Cullinan Park at Oyster Creek, located adjacent to the City of Sugar Land in Fort Bend County.

· Subject to Houston City Council approval, the Houston Parks & Recreation Department will make Tract 3 (177 acres) of Cullinan Park at Oyster Creek available to the Houston Botanic Garden as the site for this botanic garden project.

· The Houston Botanic Garden, a Texas nonprofit corporation, will raise $50 to $90 million over the duration of this project for the purpose of designing, planning and constructing a world class botanic garden of the scale and quality as exist in most of the great cities of the world – the Chicago Botanic Garden being a prime example.

· The Sugar Land area of Fort Bend County has one of the fastest growing populations in the country and is near the center of the greater Houston region. The Chicago Botanic Garden draws in excess of 700,000 visitors annually and is one of the main tourist destinations in the Chicago region. It is expected that a Houston Botanic Garden would create a similar draw of visitors and economic benefit for the greater Houston region, as well as for the City of Sugar Land and Fort Bend County.

The Greater Houston Partnership is the primary advocate of Houston’s business community and is dedicated to building regional economic prosperity. It represents 10 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Waller. With more than 2,100 Member organizations, the Partnership represents approximately one-fifth of the region’s work force. Visit the Greater Houston Partnership at

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