On June 25, Texas Sen. Kirk Watson was awarded the 18th annual Bob Bullock Award for Outstanding Public Stewardship at the Texas Digital Government Summit in Austin, Texas.
Watson, who was elected to the Texas State Senate from District 14 in 2006, was recognized for his contributions to public data and technology programs that advance transparency and citizen engagement.
“My work to improve access to public data grew in large part out of my own frustration years ago trying to get information about the state budget — and I was in the Senate!” Watson wrote in an email to Government Technology. “We had an antiquated notion that public data should be controlled and managed.”
Issues Watson has advocated for include Austin's innovation district, a 10-year plan for health care and the economy, greater transparency in budgeting practices, education, widening Interstate 35, state water management, and women's health.
Watson is widely recognized as a champion of the people who transcends partisan politics, noted Todd Kimbriel, interim executive director at the Texas Department of Information Resources.
“Senator Watson has long been viewed as a man with a vision and the moxie to carry it out. He has a long record of successfully serving the citizens of Texas both locally, as mayor of Austin, and currently at the state level, where he was recognized as rookie of the year and has been on the 10 best legislators list.”