Around the Capitol / On the Move
Rep. Dennis Bonnen has announced he has 109 votes to become the next Speaker of the House, replacing retiring Speaker Joe Straus. Among the changes Bonnen announced last week:
Chairman of the Speaker’s transition team — former Rep. and current Chancellor of the Texas State University System Brian McCall
Chief of Staff — Gavin Massingill, lobbyist and former COS to Rep. Charlie Geren
Speaker’s Office Director — Shera Eichler, COS to Rep. Dennis Bonnen
Policy Director and General Counsel– Gardner Pate, lobbyist and former partner at Locke Lord
Bonnen has also created a ten member working group to help find the next House Parliamentarian. Members are Reps John Wray, Four Price, Geanie Morrison, Matt Krause, Dustin Burrows, Senfronia Thompson, Toni Rose, Joe Moody, Ina Minjarez, and Rafael Anchia.
Jason Embry has left Speaker Joe Straus‘ office and has teamed up with Steve Scheibal to form New West Communications, a strategic communications and public affairs firm.
Jim Cosgrove will be returning to Rep. Dwayne Bohac‘s office as his Legislative Director. He served in the same capacity last session.
Shelby Cole will begin a new role at Authentic Campaigns, a digital consulting campaign firm which has prospective presidential candidate and US Sen. Kamala Harris as one of its clients. Cole previously worked as US Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s digital strategist at Middle Seat. She also worked for Rep. Ina Minjarez as her communications director and for former Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s campaigns. (h/t Texas Tribune The Blast)
Tom Kleinworth is retiring as Vice President for Government Relations at Baylor College of Medicine. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Bobby Janecka will join Gov. Greg Abbott’s staff as a policy advisor. He previously worked at TCEQ as the Radioactive Material section manager. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Mattie Heith is leaving Sen. Kelly Hancock’s office to become the Legislative Director for Sen. Kel Seliger. She will be replacing Becky Walker who is leaving to become the Government Relations Director for the Texas Society of Architects.
Benjamin Williams is now the Chief of Staff for Rep. John Wray. He previously worked for Rep. Jim Murphy.
Arnold Public Affairs is seeking an administrative assistant for the upcoming legislative session. If you or anyone you know is interested please contact Ellen Arnold at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathon McClellan started as Director of External and Legislative Affairs for AT&T based in Houston. He previously worked for Austin based public affairs firm Public Blueprint and as a senior advisor to Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.
David Edmonson, former Capitol staffer, will be leaving his position as Executive Director of the Austin Tech Alliance (ATA) and taking over as CEO at TechNet for Texas and the Southwest. Sara Ortiz Shields, program manager at ATA, will serve as the acting Executive Director while ATA looks for a permanent replacement.
Caroline Joiner, who has been CEO of TechNet for Texas and the Southwest, has joined Ironclad Partners, an Austin Public Affairs firm. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Stephanie Chiarello has started a new position as Division Director of Public Affairs at the Texas Pharmacy Association. She was previously Senior Policy Analyst and District Director for Sen. Kirk Watson.
Cliff Johnson, Clay Pope and Matthew Bentley have announced the creation of Capitol Access Partners, a formalization of the partnership they have operated under for the last ten years.
Mark Corcoran is joining the Texas Freedom Network after stepping down as digital director at Progress Texas for the past 8 years. (h/t Texas Tribune The Blast)
Leslie Ward has been promoted to AT&T’s President for Texas. She previously was VP-Legislative Affairs, AT&T Services. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Progress Texas has added Samantha Robles as Advocacy Director. She was a former legislative assistant to Sen. Sylvia Garcia. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Jessica Boston has started as a Manager of Advocacy at the Texas Association of Business. She most recently was a policy analyst at the Texas Medical Association and is a former legislative staffer.
The Railroad Commission has appointed Dana Lewis as Director of Hearings. She has been interim director since September, 2018.
State Agency News
Michael Novak has been named the new Executive Director of the Texas Facilities Commission.(h/t Texas Tribune’s The Blast)
The Texas A&M University System Regents appointed Greg Hartman as Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives. Hartman will leave his position as President of External and Academic Affairs at Seaton Healthcare Family/ Ascension Texas to take the A&M System job. Hartman worked for A&M Chancellor John Sharp when Sharp was Comptroller.
Former Capitol staffer and lobbyist Stephen Raines joins the Texas Health Services Authority’s government relations efforts. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Congratulations to Stephen and Abby Raines on the birth of her new son, Zachary Waller Raines.
A little late but worth noting: Semi-retired railroad lobbyist and consultant Dennis Kearns is the President of Big Bend Conservancy as of January 2018.
November 21: Servando Esparza
November 22: Bogan Pollock
November 23: Rep. James Frank
November 24: Rep. Ed Thompson, Michelle Romero
November 25: Sen. Robert Nichols, Dick Lavine
November 26: Scott Braddock
November 28: Jay Brown
November 29: Jacob Limon
December 1: Rep. Lance Gooden, former Rep. Dan Gattis
December 2: Sen. Kelly Hancock, Austin McCarty, former Rep. Pete Gallego, Chas Semple
December 3: Rep. Joe Deshotel, Mia McCord, Mike Hailey
December 4: Louri O’Leary
December 5: Brian Yarbrough
December 6: Rep. Joe Pickett, former Rep. Rob Eissler
December 7: Seth Juergens
December 8: Rep. Jim Murphy, Rep. Gina Hinojosa
December 9: Rep. Briscoe Cain
December 10: former Rep. Carter Casteel
December 12: Polly Ross Hughes, Holly Mace Massengill, Jack Campbell
In Our Thoughts
Condolences to Eric Woomer and family and friends on the passing of his former wife, Sara Reed Arthur.
Condolences to Darren Whitehurst on the recent passing of his father, Daylon Whitehurst.
Condolences to the friends and family of Judy Brooks, who passed away last month. Brooks served on the staff of Sen. Mike Jackson for ten years.
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