Around the Capitol / On the Move
Matt Cope is leaving Sen. Brian Birdwell’s office and will join the Governor’s Office policy division covering higher education policy. He’ll start in mid February.
Jonathan Conners will become the Director of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, replacing Jordan Dixon who is going to the Health and Human Services Commission (see below).
Amy Rister is moving up from Deputy COS to COS for Rep. Poncho Nevárez, replacing Obie Salinas.
Johanna Sheffield is moving from the Senate Higher Education Committee to become Sen. Kel Seliger’s new COS. She will replace Ginger Averitt who is leaving to pursue a business opportunity.
Correction: Annie’s List Executive Director Patsy Woods Martin’s name was misspelled in the last edition.
Rep. Leighton Schubert, who did not file for reelection, will resign early from office to take a position with Blinn College.
Daniel Collins, Deputy Legislative Director for Sen. Jose Rodriguez recently left Sen. Rodríguez’s office to move to New York City with his fiancé Raul, an attorney in Austin.
Courtney Hjaltman, Chief of Staff for Rep. Rick Miller, is leaving that position to pursue other opportunities.
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, has announced she is stepping down as President from the organization. Richards is the daughter of Former Gov. Ann Richards.
Sen. Kel Seliger’s COS Ginger Averitt is leaving the Capitol to pursue a business opportunity with her family — a combination retail cosmetics store and champagne bar called Elevé in South Austin that opens on March 4th.
Obie Salinas, COS to Rep. Poncho Nevárez, is leaving that position to join Gus Garcia to form Shepherd Public Affairs, a government and public affairs firm.
Mark McKinnon, longtime political consultant for some of Texas’ most notable politicians including Gov. Ann Richards and President George W. Bush, is leaving Austin for Colorado.
Gardner Pate, an attorney and lobbyist, has left Locke Lord and is now out on his own.
Freddy Warner has a new title at Memorial Hermann Health System, Chief Government Relations Officer. He previously was the Vice President for Government Affairs.
The Texas Craft Brewers Guild have created a PAC and will become involved in primary and general elections this campaign season. In announcing the formation of the PAC, Austin Beerworks co-founder Adam DeBower said …” Quite frankly, the beer laws in Texas are broken, and we need to fix them. The three-tier system itself is broken. We need to fix it. We don’t want to get rid of it; we want to upgrade it.”
Jacob Smith, who worked with the late Steve Mostyn, has joined the Blackridge lobby firm.
Tiffany Williams, Committee Clerk for the House County Affairs committee in the 85th session, is now the Developmental Disabilities Policy Fellow at the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.
Cathy Dewitt, formerly with the Texas Association of Business, has joined lobbyist Stan Schlueter’s firm.
Texans for Lawsuit Reform has a new President, Lilyanne McClean, as well as two new Board members, Marc Watts and Michael Weekley.
State Agency News
Julie Shields, formerly senior policy advisor for education for Gov. Greg Abbott has a new position as Director of Office Technology Services at the Texas Education Agency.
Jordan Dixon, the director of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, is leaving that position to become the Deputy Executive Commissioner of Transformation and Innovation at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She will begin on February 20th.
Camille Cain, formerly the Executive Director of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division, has been named to lead the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Maggie Irwin, who has worked in the Capitol for several House members, has joined Amanda Martin in the Government Relations Division at HHSC.
Former Rep. Tyron Lewis, has announced he is leaving the Transportation Commission half way through his six-year term to pursue a judgeship.
TXDOT Commissioner Victor Vandergriff plans to resign as a Commissioner soon. Vandergriff was appointed by former Gov. Rick Perry and his term was scheduled to end in 2019.
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
17 — Rep. Harold Dutton, Janiece Crenwelge
18 — Rep. Chris Paddie
19 — Eric Woomer
20 — Rep. Lynn Stucky, Fmr. Rep. Jerry Madden, Laura Colangelo
In Our Thoughts
Condolences to Louri O’Leary and her family and friends on the recent passing of her mother, Wanda O’Leary.
Former Rep. Tom Massey, who represented the San Angelo area in the legislature for eight years, passed away earlier this month.
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.
From the Texas Tribune:
YOU’RE THE FIRST TO KNOW: We’re announcing Thursday that the 2018 Texas Tribune Festival will take place Sept. 27-29 in downtown Austin. Each year, the Festival attracts thousands of decision-makers, industry leaders and community activists from across Texas and beyond to learn about the state’s – and the nation’s – biggest challenges and to engage in thoughtful discussion about solutions. Learn more about the Fest and some big changes we have in store for 2018 here.
From KUT Public Radio, Austin
The Surprising Role Of Land Commissioner, Launchpad Of Texas Politics
Upcoming Dates of Interest
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