Around the Capitol / On the Move
Sen. Konni Burton’s COS Elliot Griffin will be leaving the Senate office to work on her campaign. Additionally, Griffin has been named chief operating officer of Public Blueprint, a government affairs firm in Austin.
Chris Paxton has been named Acting Chief of Staff for Sen. Konni Burton, replacing Elliott Griffin.
Rep. Oscar Longoria has been appointed by Speaker Joe Straus to the Legislative Budget Board.
Sen. Jose Menendez has been named chair of the Senate Hispanic Caucus, replacing Sen. Sylvia Garcia, who is running for the Congressional seat vacated by US Rep. Gene Green.
Nikki Cobb, Senior Business and Regulatory Affairs Advisor in Speaker Joe Straus’ office will become the Director of Legislative Affairs at the Comptroller’s Office, effective May 1st.
Erin Hornaday will be leaving Sen. Joan Huffman’s office at the end of April to become the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives of the Texas Tech University System. She will join her former boss, former Sen. Robert Duncan and current Chancellor of Texas Tech University.
Kara Belew, Deputy Commissioner of Finance at the Texas Education Agency, is leaving that position and heading to the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Jay Propes has moved from the Graydon Group to Mercury Public Affairs, a public strategy firm with offices around the world. He will be a Managing Director based in the Austin office.
Taylor Ward, previously a policy analyst with Sen. Kel Seliger’s office has joined JHL Company, an Austin based public affairs firm.
Bruce Gibson, who joined the Texas Association of Business (TAB) as its Sr. VP for Advocacy and General Counsel earlier this year has departed TAB, citing a change in personal circumstances.
Gardere Wynne Sewell and Foley & Lardner agreed to merge, effective April 1, creating a firm of approximately 1,100 lawyers in 24 offices in the United States, Mexico, Asia and Europe. The combined firm will be known as Foley Gardere in Austin, Dallas, Denver and Houston, and Foley Gardere Arena in Mexico City.
Mark Vane is joining Husch Blackwell Strategies, a government affairs firm, as it expands into Texas. He was most recently with Gardere Wynne Sewell, which recently merged with Foley and Lardner.
Lobbyist Craig Chick who has had his own lobbying firm, Capitol Partners Consulting, has joined Foley Gardere’s government affairs practice.
Rep. Jason Isaac has been named the new president of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute. Additionally, Mia McCord, former COS to Sen. Kelly Hancock, has joined TCCRI as Vice President.
Logan Spence, former COS to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, has joined Hance Scarborough, an Austin and DC based legal/legislative affairs firm.
The Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy has hired Molly Clayton as its new Executive Director. She previously headed the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time.
Ilissa Nolan has left her position in Government Relations at the Texas Department of Agriculture and is now doing government affairs at Booth, Ahern’s & Werkenthin, P.C. (h/t Quorum Report).
David Marwitz has left his position as director of physician advocacy and external relations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.
Texas Aspires’ board of directors has hired William Fullerton to assume the organization’s top staff position, effective April 9, 2018. Fullerton’s predecessor, Courtney Boswell MacDonald, stepped down earlier this year.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association announced today Jason Skaggs will succeed Eldon White when he steps down later this year as the TSCRA’s executive vice president and CEO. Skaggs is currently the association’s executive director of government and public affairs (h/t Texas Tribune’s The Blast).
State Agency News
Fmr. Senator Tommy Williams, currently serving as Gov. Greg Abbott’s Sr. Advisor for Fiscal Affairs, has been dispatched to the Health and Human Services Commission after recent reports concerning procurement and contracting problems.
Seth Christensen, who’s been working in the policy shop of Gov. Greg Abbott, has departed to become Director of Stakeholder Relations at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (h/t Quorum Report).
The Texas Medical Board named Stephen Brint Carlton as executive director of the agency effective April 23 (h/t Quorum Report).
The Texas Railroad Commission voted unanimously to appoint Wei Wang as Executive Director, effective immediately. He had been serving as the interim director before his appointment as ED.
Texas Workers Compensation Commissioner Ryan Brannan has announced he will step down from that position effective May 1. Brannan was initially appointed to the position by former Gov. Rick Perry.
Health and Human Services Commission Chief Operating Officer Heather Griffith Peterson has resigned from her position effective immediately (h/t Quorum Report).
Congratulation to Elizabeth Hadley on her recent elevation as a shareholder in her law firm, Greenberg Traurig.
19 — Craig Holzheauser
20 — Randy Lee, Annie Spillman, Don Green, Ronnie Volkening, Richie Jackson
21 — Richard Box, Rep. Helen Giddings
22 — Alex Hammond, Chad Wilbanks
23 — Rep. Andrew Murr, Rep. César Blanco
24 — Jonathan Connors
25 — Michael Garcia
26 — Richard Evans, Sen. Don Huffines
27 — Matt Russell
29 — Kyler Arnold, Brady Franks, Rep. Rodney Anderson
30 — Shannon Rusing, Rep. Kyle Biedermann
2 — Fmr. Sen. Florence Shapiro
3 — Molly Quirk, Robert Miller
4 — Rep. John Cyrier, Cissy Woomer, Jeff Jeter
6 — Grover Campbell, Sabrina Midkiff, Rich Parsons
7 — Sandy Hentges Guzman
8 — Bech Bruun
9 — David Courreges, Jennifer Sims
10 — Corbin Castell, Cristy Cates
11 — Rep. John Keumpel
12 — Eileen Smith, Lucy Nashed, Carrie Rogers Prysock
13 — Malika Te, Eric Opiela
15 — Rep. Mary Ann Perez
16 — Fmr. Sen. Wendy Davis
17 — Rep. Cecil Bell, Hunter Hughes, Jeff Norwood
18 — Rep. Sarah Davis, Worth Farabee, Gavin Massingill
In Our Thoughts
Condolences to Deborah Newman Ingersoll and her family on the death of her father, Robert Newman, earlier this month.
Former US and State Rep. Pete Gallego has announced he will be running for Sen. Carlos Uresti’s Senate seat. Sen. Uresti’s seat is up in 2020.
The Texas Tribune has a comprehensive list of every race on the primary run-off ballot and general election ballot.
Texas Impact is tracking the endorsements of statewide organizations for House, Senate, and Statewide offices. They’ll be adding to it as they come across groups’ announcements, and statewide organizations can send Texas Impact their endorsements at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tired of trying to match up addresses with House and Senate members who represent those addresses? A new website, Districtmatcher.com, has a program that will match addresses with state House and Senate districts for you. The website claims “at least 99%” accuracy.
Andy Cates has introduced new software called Lobby Days to assist local governments/chambers of commerce, nonprofits, and associations in automating a lot of the process of setting up a lobby day at the capitol. Interested parties can contact Andy at email@example.com or visit the website at www.lobbydays.io.
Dates of Interest:
Runoff election: May 22, 2018
General election: November 6, 2018
First Day to file bills for the 86th Legislature: November 12, 2018
First Day of the 86th Legislative Session: January 8, 2019.
Below are links to several podcasts on Texas politics and what’s happening at the Capitol: