Around the Capitol
Speaker Joe Straus has appointed Rep Chris Paddie, Rep. Stan Lambert and Rep. Poncho Nevarez to the Sunset Commission.
Bob Garrett, long time Capitol reporter for the Dallas Morning News has been named interim Austin Bureau Chief.
Speaker Joe Straus was recently named by the Dallas Morning News as Texan of the Year for 2017.
Raul Lopez, legislative director for Rep. Armando Walle, has left Walle’s office and is now running the Legislative Study Group.
People on the Move
Annie’s List Executive Director Pasty Woods Martin is leaving the organization, effective March 31.
Kimberly Bufkin, formerly a legislative staffer for Rep. Jarvis Johnson, has taken a position with the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law.
Paul Theobald, most recently Chief of Staff to Rep. Dawnna Dukes, has left that position to pursue other opportunities.
Jennifer Saenz, most recently General Counsel to Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, has left his office and begun a new position in government affairs with Magellan Health.
Louri O’Leary has retired from the Texas Secretary of State’s office after 20 years and will join fundraiser Susan Lilly’s firm.
Selena Walsh has been named the new director of the Executive Master’s in Public Leadership (EMPL) program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT. Walsh served as ED of the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus in the early 2000s and most recently was at USAA.
Michael Lozano, most recently Rep. Brooks Landgraf’s Chief of Staff, is out on his own doing PAC consulting and some campaign work
Sean Griffin, former Chief of Staff to Sen. Judith Zaffirini, has set up his own lobby/consulting firm. He and his wife, Ashley Brooks, Deputy Director of the Senate State Affairs Committee, recently returned from a 3 month trip/honeymoon around the world.
Susan Patton has joined the Texas Water Coalition as its Executive Director.
Don Stevens, former regional director for government affairs for several pharmaceutical companies has started his own government affairs consulting firm.
Lauren Wied Fairbanks has been named Director of Government Affairs and Operations for the Texas Association of Manufacturers. Previously, she worked with lobbyist Shayne Woodard at Waterloo Lobby and Advocacy. She replaces Stephanie Simpson at TAM, who is leaving to work in the pharmaceutical industry.
Former Rep. and longtime business lobbyist Parker McCollough has opened his own lobbying and consulting firm, McCollough Public Affairs. (h/t Quorum Report)
Janis Carter, longtime lobbyist for Winstead, has opened her own lobbying/consulting firm, Carter Strategies.
Former Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale has assumed the position of President of the Associated General Contractors-Texas Building Branch. (h/t Quorum Report)
Corbin Casteel, longtime political operative and the first campaign staffer hired for the Trump Campaign in Texas in 2015, has added lobbying to his portfolio at Four One Three Communications.
The Texas Humane Legislation Network, an animal rights organization has announced that it will form a Political Action Committee to support legislative candidates who will work for its issues. To date it has raised over $60,000 for its efforts.
Ashley Morgan, most recently with Governor Greg Abbott’s office, has left to work as a lobbyist with Erben & Yarbrough.
State Agency News
Hunter Thompson, former House Appropriations Committee Director, has changed jobs at the Texas Education Agency from Government Affairs Specialist to Director of Government Affairs.
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Randy Erben to replace Chase Untermeyer on the Texas Ethics Commission. Erben is a longtime presence around the Capitol as a lobbyist and staffer. He left Governor Abbott’s office last year to teach at UT.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has appointed Joseph Slovacek of Houston to the Texas Ethics Commission.
Mary Elen Williams has been named Director of Intergovernmental and Community Relations for Land Commissioner George Bush.
Public Utilities Commission Executive Director Brian Lloyd has resigned from the agency effective March 1.
Libby Elliott has been appointed the Associate Commissioner for Agency Affairs and Government Relations Director for the Department of Insurance.
Jared Staples has moved from the Governor’s Office to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as the Director of External Affairs. (h/t Quorum Report)
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has named David Kinsey as its new Chief Financial Officer.
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Sylvia Hernandez Kauffman as the Inspector General for Health and Human Services. She previously served as the Deputy Inspector General.
Governor Gregg Abbott has appointed his former legislative liaison, Jay Dyer, to the board of the Department of Information Resources.
Rep. Armando Walle recently passed the bar exam and is now officially an attorney.
Congratulations to Speaker staffer Shelton Green and his wife, Heather, on the birth of Sutton Handley, born last week.
Congratulations to Rep. Kevin Robert’s COS, Ben Melson, and has wife on the birth of their son, Rhett, late last month.
Congratulations to former Capitol staffer and former Texas Association of Builders lobbyist Andrew Erben on his recent marriage. Andrew is now a realtor in Port Aransas.
22 — Fmr. Rep. Diana Maldonado
23 — Araminta Sellers, Bill Peacock, Fmr. Rep. Mike Millsap
26 — Harvey Kronberg
28 — Brittany Eck
29 — Rep. Larry Gonzales, Rene Lara, Michael Stewart
30 — ML Calcote, Michelle Sneed
1 — David Edmonson, Smitty Smith, Tina Tran
3 — Rep. Toni Rose, Donna Garcia Davidson
4 — Rep. Yvonne Davis
5 — Rep. Phil Stephenson, Elizabeth Christian, Heather Harward
6 — Jordan Dixon
8 — Don Forse, Chris Duke
9 — Rep. Angie Chen Button, Trey Blocker
11 — Rep. Matt Schaefer, Meredyth Fowler
12 — Jordan Michalik
13 — Sen. Judith Zaffirini, RG Ratcliffe
14 — Charlie Schnabel
15 — Brad Shields, Fmr. Rep. Stefani Carter
In Our Thoughts
Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of former First Lady Rita Clements who passed away earlier this month. Mrs. Clements was 86.
Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of former Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon who passed away last month. Rep. McClendon, D-San Antonio, served in the Texas House for 20 years and before that was a San Antonio City Councilwoman.
Shelly Dalhlberg, associate deputy Attorney General for civil litigation, passed away earlier this month.
Jack Dlliard, a longtime presence around the Austin lobby, who represented Altria for many years, passed away last month.
Our thoughts are with Texas Star Alliance lobbyist Chad Cantella and his family on the passing of Chad’s father “Dick” Carroll Cantella.
Condolences to the family of Danielle Delgadillo on the passing of her stepfather, Bob Massey.
Condolences to Eileen Smith and her family on the passing of her sister, Maria, earlier this month.
Our thoughts are with Sandy Hentges Guzman on the passing of her grandmother, Ann Roberta Cook, earlier this month.
Condolences to the family and colleagues of Catherine Taylor, director of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, who passed away earlier this month.
Condolences to the family and colleagues of Michelle Furmanski who passed away last month. Michelle worked around the Capitol as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission and the Office of Public Utility Counsel.
The March primaries are just around the corner and the Texas Tribune has compiled a comprehensive list of every race on the primary and general election ballots next year..
Lobbyist Dana Chiodo has a service, Texas Candidates, you can access (some parts for free, others require a subscription) that provides in-depth information about the candidates and each of the races on the ballot.
The Texas Tribune has hired several new staff including a new higher education reporter, Shannon Najmabadi.
Communications Consultant Monte Williams, former advisor to Governor Ann Richards, is now the host for Texas Monthly’s “National Podcast of Texas”. Here’s the link.
The Second Edition of the Texas Legislative Law Handbook is ready. Included in the new edition are two new chapters, Legislative Process and Campaign & Ethics.
Upcoming Dates of Interest
Last day to register to vote in the primary: Feb 5, 2018
First day of early voting: Feb 20, 2018
Last day of early voting: March 2, 2018
March primary: March 6, 2017
Runoff election: May 22, 2017
Below are links to several podcasts on Texas politics and what’s happening at the Capitol: