As goes Texas, so goes the nation, so they say.

People who know me well know I choose my words carefully. I’m not prone to hyperbole. So it pains me to say that, right now, I firmly believe Texas is headed down a dark, authoritarian path, where Texas Republicans have tacitly authorized bounties on women, a gun culture void of training and prone to intimidation, a faulty electric grid powered by political donations, and a voter suppression scheme that will make it even harder to hold elected officials like Governor Greg Abbott accountable.

The Texas Statehouse, flag half-mast.

These new laws — 666 of them

On homelessness: We don’t need a ban, we need a plan

Over the last few months, now that the weather is warmer and the days are longer, I’ve started meeting friends at parks around Austin to sit at least six feet apart, drink a beer, and catch up.

A few weeks back I met a friend of mine at a park near my house and we got to catching up about all the things you’d expect one might: work, what our experiences were living through the pandemic and political unrest of the last year, family life.

At one point in our conversation, the subject turned to Prop B—a ballot measure in…

On Election Day in November, 2020, I found myself behind a plexiglass shield checking in Travis County voters. Six or seven other people had been assigned to work the polls at St. Lukes On The Lake Episcopal Church in northwest Austin, Texas, which meant this was the largest group of strangers I’d been around in at least six months.

As a textbook extrovert, I was elated.

Before COVID-19 descended on the world and forced us into quarantine, I would regularly stop in at two or three events around Austin per weeknight to support old friends, make new friends, and learn…

The case for hope, even and especially now.

On Friday, September 18, I was driving to the store to get some beer after my last meeting of the day.

It had been a particularly weird week — my birthday was the day before. It was a pandemic birthday, so we stayed in and ordered Tex-Mex from one of my favorite local spots in South Austin, El Borrego De Oro.

Volunteers at Central Texas Food Bank. You can sign up for a shift here.

My ultimate comfort food is a plate of cheese enchiladas covered in chili con carne. But when I ordered online, I accidentally selected “chili con queso” for my enchilada sauce instead of “chili con carne.”

Amanda, Tim (my business…

If you would like to contact Austin City Council about APD funding, please feel free to use any of this in your email


6/7/20 — #JusticeForThemAll march with Austin Justice Coalition and Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas; Photo by Amanda Ryan

To City Manager Cronk, Mayor Adler, and members of Austin City Council:

My name is Nathan Ryan. I am writing to you in my personal capacity as a resident of Austin, Texas, District 2.

Whether it is homelessness, incarceration, housing, income level, home ownership, likelihood of dying from COVID-19, maternal mortality or police brutality, Black Americans are disproportionately on the least-forgiving end of those spectrums, their communities most greatly affected since slavery reached the North American continent over 400 years ago in 1619. These outcomes are systemic.

As the U.S. continues to reopen without a well-defined national strategy, personal responsibility is more important than ever. But how should you think about COVID-19 if you, like me, are not an epidemiologist?

On the last Friday of every month, I usually host a large, no-agenda happy hour with some friends called Cocktails and Conversations. There’s nothing to it: just friends at a bar on a Friday, talking about their week over drinks and french fries. Somehow, this casual ritual grew from about ten friends when my friend Michael Henderson and I started it in 2017 to well over one hundred people attending regularly in early 2020.

Logotype designed by Callie Kerbo and Honeycomb Creative.

At our Cocktails and Conversation on Friday, February 22, as people were coming in and out of the South Congress Hotel Bar, I found myself talking…

In this moment, the most American thing we could possibly do is to reject fear and make this our mantra: we are not afraid.

This week, flooding in Michigan caused two dams to breach. In the city of Midland, 41,000 people could soon be “under approximately 9 feet of water,” according to the state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer.

As of May 10, 2019, California had seen 675 wildfires. As of May 10, 2020, the state had seen 1,130 — a 60% increase.

My home state of Texas is, as always this time of year, bracing for hurricane season. Modeling out of Penn State University’s Earth System Science Center say that 2020 could be the busiest hurricane season in decades.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

These national disasters represent very real…

If you’re just looking for links to resources and information about developments here in Austin, please scroll to the bottom (you won’t offend me). But first, a story.

As I walked into the office on campus at the The Walt Disney Company’s publishing division in Burbank, California, on Monday, September 8, 2008, I could already feel the weight of the conversations we were going to have that day.

The day before, on Sunday, September 7, the financial markets were down 20% from October and the United States government had announced it was taking over Fannie May and Freddie Mac after they had sustained major losses due to their ill-advised lending of subprime mortgages.

I wasn’t a student of politics or policy at the time, so I wasn’t entirely…

Somebody is out there, they’re worth all the time and wet socks in the world; they deserve to be counted and cared for.

My friend Steve-O, displaying his award for a play he wrote and starred in about what it’s like to experience homelessness here in Austin, Texas

It was about 3:10am on January 25, 2020, and a team of two others and myself—a friend and a new friend—were trudging down a hill in East Austin, behind a church, near a bar, walking towards a fire lit off in the distance. We were all wishing we had worn better shoes because our socks were already frozen, and we had just started. It had just rained, so the slope we were walking down was muddy, we all slipped at least once, bracing and calling out to make sure the other person was alright.

The three on my team were…

Ok, here’s the truth: I had a little bit too much bourbon on New Years Eve, and spent most of January 1, 2020, on the couch recovering (if you’re reading this, I am truly sorry, mom). I only had a little bit too much, though, because I was having such a good time with so many good friends.

That sentiment adequately describes how I felt about 2019, too: I did a little bit too much, but I only did too much because I was having such a good time with so many good friends.

In 2019, Blue Sky Partners doubled…

Nathan Ryan

People person, husband, friend 🤟 CEO, @blueskyprtnrs ; co-founder, @ourgoodpolitics ; board, #LBJFutureForum; commissioner, ATX; hot takes, my own

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