Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich will join a list of world leaders as keynote speaker for Blowout 2009, the annual fund-raiser of the Texas Energy Museum in Beaumont.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. March 10 at the Beaumont Civic Center.

Gingrich will deliver his views on the challenges facing President Barack Obama -- including energy demands, instability in the Middle East, the future of Social Security and healthcare reform.

A political veteran, Gingrich will address the "big picture" issues of the 2008 presidential campaign and the strategies that drove the election.

The annual Blowout raises funds for the Texas Energy Museum's exhibitions and educational programs on the history and science of oil. The museum includes a recreation of the drilling platform -- complete with animatronic "roughnecks" at work -- of the 1901 Spindletop Gusher in Beaumont which heralded the beginnings of the oil industry.

Previous high-caliber keynote speakers that have addressed local audiences at the Blowout include former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and James Baker and former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet.

"The event has an excellent reputation," Ryan Smith, executive director of the Texas Energy Museum, said. "The speakers have a good experience here, and are able to report that to other potential speakers. That, and a good relationship with the agency we work with, helps us to get such well known people."

Gingrich is known as the architect of the "Contract With America" that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House for the first time in 40 years. Under his leadership, Congress passed welfare reform, a balanced budget and the first tax cut in 16 years.

As speaker, Gingrich helped create the Hart/Rudman Commission study to protect America from a terrorist attack – five years before the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

After leaving the speaker's office, he joined the commission and later proposed the establishment of a Homeland Security agency.

Seating is available by reservation only. Call the Texas Energy Museum at 409-833-5100 to reserve a table or seats, or visit for additional information.

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