Around the Capitol / On the Move
Rep. Celia Israel has announced she is challenging Rep. Chris Turner for Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
Rep. Drew Darby, Rep. Travis Clardy and Rep. Four Price have recently filed as candidates for Speaker of the House. That brings the total number of candidates to 7 with 6 Republicans and 1 Democrat. In addition to the thee above, other candidates include Republicans Rep. Tan Parker, Rep. Phil King, Rep. John Zerwas, and Democrat Rep. Eric Johnson.
Former US and State Rep. Pete Gallego lost to Sen.-elect Pete Flores in the runoff to replace former Sen. Carlos Uresti in Senate District 19.
Pete Winckler, former Legislative Director for Sen. Estes, has been promoted to Chief of Staff to replace Noe Barrios who has taken a position with the Texas Association of Counties. Winckler previously worked as the Deputy Director for the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce.
Rep. Donna Howard has hired two new staffers. Cristina Masters is the new Director of Constituent Services and Renzo Soto is the new Legislative Director. Soto was formerly with Rep. Armando Walle.
Austin American-Statesman reporter and Editor at PolitiFact Texas, Gardner Selby, has accepted a voluntary buyout as the Statesman changes ownership.
David Marwitz has moved to Marfa where, according to his FB page, he is a writer and a poet.
Suzii Paynter, Director of the Christian Life Commission here in Texas for years before taking a position as the Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Decatur, GA, has announced she is retiring.
Noe Barrios has started a new position as the Senior Legislative Manager for the Texas Association of Counties. He previously served as Chief of Staff for Sen. Craig Estes.
Kelsey Bernstein, former Committee Director for the House County Affairs Committee, has started a new position as the Legislative Manager for the Texas Association of Counties.
Portia Bosse, former Government Relations Specialist for the Texas State Teachers Association, is now the Association’s Director of Public Affairs.
Jennifer Fagan is the new Vice President of Government Affairs at the Texas Construction Association. She previously worked in the Capitol as the Committee Director and General Counsel for the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Walt Baum has been named president of the Texas Cable Association (TCA). Baum took the helm at TCA on Sept. 17. He formerly was the executive director of the Texas Public Power Association.
Bill Wolters has announced he is stepping down as the President of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) at the end of next year. He has been with TADA for 36 years and became CEO in 2004.
Allison Billodeau is now a Principal at DTH Strategies. She previously served as Deputy Legislative Director and as a Budget and Policy Advisor to Gov. Greg Abbott. Prior to working for the Governor’s office, she was Rep. Cindy Burkett’s COS.
Two Austin-based public relations firms, Kristy Ozmun PR and TexHahn Media recently joined forces in a merger. Kristy Ozmun will join TexHahn Media as a senior strategist and member of senior management.
Aimee Arrambide was recently named Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. She comes to her new position from the Public Leadership Institute, a Washington D.C. based advocacy group. Texas Tribune’s The Blast
Mikael Garcia is the new Director of Public Affairs for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He previously worked as Chief of Staff to Rep. Shaheen and will take over the position previously held by David Guenther, who left for a job at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan.
Cornerstone Government Affairs announced the addition of Craig Holzheauser as a Vice President. Holzheauser worked for former Rep. Myra Crownover and as the Committee Director for the House Public Health Committee.
Amanda Gonzalez is the new Digital Communications Associate for the Center for Public Policy Priorities. She previously served as a Digital Communications Assistant in the House.
The Texas Fair Defense Project’s Board of Directors recently announced Amanda Woog as the new Executive Director. Woog is a nationally recognized criminal justice reformer.
Raman Sandhu has started a new position as Deputy Director of Development at American Pets Alive!. Sandhu previously worked at the Health and Human Services Commission as a Contracts Manager and as a Policy Analyst for Texas Council on Family Violence.
Becky Calahan recently accepted a new position with the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC). She previously worked as Rep. Gary VanDeaver’s Legislative Assistant.
Ken Levine, Director of the Sunset Commission for nine years, has started his own consulting firm, Ken Levine Consulting and Advisory Services as of September 1st.
Jennie Kennedy, former chief of staff for Rep. Celia Israel, has accepted a new position with the American Federation of Teachers as its Legislative and Policy Director.
Austin McCarty, Legislative Director for Rep. John Raney, has left that position to join the Texas Chemical Council as Director of Government Affairs. The Quorum Report
Justin Hudman is leaving the Texas Pharmacy Association to join Amgen Pharmaceuticals. The Quorum Report
Courtney Reid, most recently Committee Clerk for the House Insurance Committee has taken a position with lobbyist Mindy Ellmer. The Quorum Report
State Agency News
Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Bryan Shaw, retired from his position earlier this month. Shaw, was appointed to the commission by Gov. Rick Perry back in 2007 and became Chairman in 2009.
Jon Niermann has been appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott as Chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to replace Bryan Shaw. He previously worked as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Environmental Protection Division.
Toby Baker is the new Executive Director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He previously served as a TCEQ Commissioner for 6 years.
Jennifer Jones has been named Acting Director of the Texas Sunset Commission, replacing Ken Levine who retired.
Courtney Phillips has been appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott as the new Executive Commissioner for the Health and Human Services Commission. Phillips previously served as the CEO of Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services and will be replacing acting Executive Commissioner Cecile Young starting October 19.
Kate Hendrix recently left her role as a Health and Human Services Budget and Policy Advisor for Gov. Greg Abbott to become a Policy Analyst at the Texas Hospital Association
Tela Mange recently became the Public Information Officer at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. She previously in similar roles at the Special Olympics Texas and the Texas Department of Public Safety
Charlie Leal started a new position as a Transportation Program Analyst at the Texas Department of Transportation. He previously served as a Transportation Policy Advisor for Gov. Greg Abbott.
Deputy Comptroller Mike Reissig announced his retirement effective September 30th. Lisa Craven, Chief of Staff for Comptroller Glenn Hegar, will serve as acting Deputy Comptroller. Texas Tribune’s The Blast
Karina Erickson was recently appointed as Press Secretary at the Texas General Land Office. She previously was the Communications Director in DC for US Rep. Ted Poe.
Stephanie Whallon is the new Executive Director of the Texas Film Commission and
Lindsey Ashley is the Deputy Director. The Quorum Report
Tedd Mitchell, MD & President of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has been named by the Texas Tech Board of Regents as Interim Chancellor, following former Sen. Robert Duncan’s retirement.
Matthew Cope will be the new Director of Government Relations at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. He previously served as a higher education Policy Advisor to Gov. Greg Abbott.
After more than 15 years, Brian Jammer has retired from the Office of Government Relations at the University of Texas. Before working at UT, Jammer had worked in both the House and Senate.
Barry McBee, who has served as Vice Chancellor and Chief Governmental Relations Officer at UT, will become the Chief of Staff to the new Chancellor, James Milliken.
Congratulations to Grover Campbell on the birth of his grandson, Hunter Lee Campbell, a 7th generation Texan.
Congratulations to Alex Hammond and his wife Bethany on the birth of their second son, Maxwell Lincoln Hammond earlier this month.
Congratulations to Crystal Ford and Jeremy L. Brown on their wedding earlier this month in Houston.
Congratulations to Morgan Craven for winning the 2018 Future of Texas Award from the Center for Public Policy Priorities. Craven leads the School to Prison Pipeline Project at Texas Appleseed.
Congratulations to Ann Beeson, CEO of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, for being named a finalist for the Mission Capital Nonprofit Leadership Award. The award is presented to a current nonprofit CEO whose notable achievements have resulted in lasting community impact.
24th- Will Newton
25th- Jason Smith, Lisa Lucero, Rep. Gary Van Deaver, former Rep. Debra Danburg
26th- Rep. Rafael Anchia, Sen. Royce West
27th- Jacob Cottingham, Rep. Jarvis Johnson
29th- Rep. Mike Lang, Former Rep. Terral Smith
30th- Rep. Mark Keough, Gerardo Interiano, Michael Kelley, Glenn Smith
1st- Amanda Martin, Mitzi Stoute Faniola, Kevin Cruser, Jim Marston
2nd- Rep. Oscar Longoria
3rd- Chuck Mains, Kara Crawford, Rep. Craig Goldman, Rep. Scott Sanford
4th- David Marwitz, Jimmie Don Aycock
5th-Sen. Jane Nelson
6th- Denise Davis, Rep. Geanie Morrison
8th- Rep. Four Price, Julia Rathgeber
9th- Rep. Trent Ashby
10th- Rep. Eric Johnson, Rep. Chris Turner
11th- Judd Messer, Tim Graves
In Our Thoughts
Former House staffer, Betty Hardin, passed away August 28, 2018. She worked in the legislature for over 30 years for various Representatives from Galveston County
Condolences to Denise Davis and her family on the passing of her brother Glen.
Former Transportation Commission Chairman, Raymon (Ray) Charles Stoker, Jr., passed away August 31, 2018 in Odessa, Texas, at the age of 79.
Condolences to Rep. Donna Howard and her family on the passing of her mother-in-law, Betty Howard, on August 15th.
Condolences to Lindsey Howe Parham and her family on the passing of her sister, Brooke Howe Laws, 47, on August 17.
Correction: in the last newsletter I reported Allison Castle had been named the Senior Director for Communications at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. She, in fact, has her own firm, Castle Communications, and has the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute as one of her clients.
The Texas Tribune Festival is this weekend in Austin.
Stephanie Chiarello, full time Senior Policy Analyst for Sen. Kirk Watson and part time comedian has created a political comedy satire show called “Over the Lege” based on the antics of the Texas Legislature. The third installment, Over the Lege Part 3: Return of the Legi (slature) to the Long Center will be in October.
Andy Cates‘ Lobby Days software is now up and running and available to assist lobbyists and associations with their advocacy days at the Capitol. Demonstrations will be available this weekend at the Texas Tribune Festival.
The 4th edition of Texas Ethics Laws Annotated is now for sale on -www.texasethicslaws.com/shop. This edition includes all rules, laws, ethics opinions, OAG opinions, and case law up through the Summer of 2018, and now also includes a subject-matter index at the back for quick researching.
The LBJ School of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnerships are having a Biennial Legislative Communications Conference on October 17. The conference is designed to bring government executives, appointees, senior staffers and elected officials together to discuss the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature.