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Around the Capitol / On the Move
Rep. Joe Pickett recently announced he was resigning from the Texas House to deal with health issues.
Rep. and Sen.-elect Carol Alvarado will be sworn in today as the next Senator from District 6, to replace Sen. Sylvia Garcia, who is headed to DC as the next Congresswoman from the 29th Congressional District, replacing retiring US Rep. Gene Green.
Jon Schnautz, most recently with outgoing Speaker Joe Straus as his general counsel and senior policy advisor, will become COS to Rep. John Smithee.
Ana Ramon, most recently Texas Grassroots Manager for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, is now the Executive Director of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
Former Congressional candidate, Water Development Board member and Perry staffer, Bech Bruun, is now at UBS as Executive Director for Public Finance for the Central and Southwest region.
Jennifer Deegan’s last day as Budget Director for outgoing Speaker Joe Straus, was earlier this week.
Rep. Dennis Bonnen has announced a number of additional policy staff hires, set to begin once he is selected as House Speaker on January 8th:
Lana Abduldaem – Policy Office Coordinator
Kyler Arnold – Policy Advisor to the House for Health and Human Services
Oscar Garza – Policy Advisor to the House for Transportation and General Government
Amanda Lopez – Assistant General Counsel & Policy Advisor to the House for Tax and Financial Institutions
Will McAdams – Policy Advisor to the House for Business and Regulated Industries
Shakira Pumphrey – Policy Advisor to the House for Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Veterans’ Affairs
Jennifer Saenz – Assistant General Counsel & Policy Advisor to the House for Natural Resources, Water, and Agriculture
Andrea Sheridan – Policy Advisor to the House for Education
Jesse Sifuentez – Assistant General Counsel & Policy Advisor to the House for Insurance and Civil Law
Bonnen has also announced former Rep. Robby Cook will serve as special advisor to the House.
Ben Wright, current COS to Rep. Ryan Guillen will become Sen.-elect Beverly Powell’s new legislative director. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Michael Blair has taken a position as the Council Liaison for the City of Dallas. Previously he had his own public affairs firm and also served as COS to outgoing Rep. Kevin Roberts.
Robert McVey, who in the past has served as COS to Rep. Ryan Guillen, is leaving Guillen’s office to pursue other opportunities.
Vic Mendoza, who was with outgoing Speaker Joe Straus’ office as his deputy general counsel and senior advisor, has left that position and will be joining the lobby firm, Blackridge. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Brad Tegeler, Deputy COS and general counsel to Sen. Paul Bettencourt is leaving that position to become COS to Rep. Geanie Morrison. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Don Barber, COS to outgoing Rep. Paul Workman, will be Sen. Paul Bettencourt’s new legislative director. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Rep. Ramon Romero has a new legislative director, Garrett Auzenne. He’s been finishing up his law degree at UT and has worked as an intern with AECT and the Bingham Group.
Jeff Carlson, legislative director for Rep. Travis Clardy, has taken a new position as COS to Rep.-elect Cody Harris.
Michael Jenkins has started a new position as legislative assistant for Rep. Mayes Middleton. He worked in Middleton’s campaign previous to his new position.
The Mexican American Legislative Caucus has re-elected its current officers to serve during the next legislative session. They are: Rep. Rafael Anchia, Chair; Mary Gonzalez, Vice Chair; Armando Martinez, Secretary; Justin Rodriguez, Treasurer; and Ana Hernandez, Legal Counsel
Sara Schmidt has left the Texas Medical Association as a program manager to become legislative director for Rep. Dustin Burrows.
Jacob Smith, most recently with the lobby firm Blackridge, has gone out on his own. He is the founding Principal of Longleaf Consulting.
Taylor Aycock, a recent Texas A&M graduate and granddaughter of former Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock has joined Arnold Public Affairs for the session.
Reed Clay, who served as Gov. Greg Abbott’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff has started his own consulting firm, Crestline Solutions.
Joey Longley, partner and owner of Gateway Partners Government Affairs, has taken a position with MAXIMUS, an outsourcing company that provides business process services to government health and human services agencies. He will be the VP for business development in Texas.
Outgoing Rep. Jason Isaac, who recently left the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute has landed at the Texas Public Policy Foundation working on energy issues.
Kathy Green, former Capitol staffer and currently Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for the Central Texas Food Bank, has announced she will be leaving that position in January.
Chuck Smith, CEO for Equality Texas, a political advocacy organization focusing on LGBTQ issues, is stepping down after 15 years with the organization. Samantha Smoot has been named interim director.
Raise Your Hand Texas has announced it has hired outgoing San Antonio councilman Rey Saldana. Saldana says he will work part-time for Raise Your Hand Texas while finishing out his council term.
John Grey, who has done government relations work for the Texas State Teachers Association, is leaving that position and will start working with Moak, Casey and Associates in January. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Gray Mayes, longtime lobbyist for Texas Instruments, is retiring after 24 years. She will be replaced by Virginia Schaefer, who is with the Dallas Regional Chamber. (h/t The Quorum Report)
State Agency News
Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed his deputy Chief of Staff, David Whitley, as the new Secretary of State. Whitley is replacing Rolando Pablos, who has held the position for two years.
Barry McBee, who was the Vice Chancellor for Government Relations for the UT System until earlier this fall and is now the special assistant to UT Chancellor James Milliken, has announced he is stepping down at the end of the year.
Sean Griffin has been appointed as Associate Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations & Health Affairs for The University of Texas System. He most recently served as founding principal of SG Governmental Relations, and also worked for Sen. Judith Zaffirini.
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents recently promoted Jenny Jones to Vice Chancellor of Governmental Relations for The Texas A&M University System. She had been serving as the Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations for the System.
Eleanor D’Ambrosio has been named Assistant Public Counsel at the Office of Public Utility Counsel. She previously had been an attorney with the Public Utility Commission.
Better late than never: Malika Te, who was a staffer for the House Appropriations Committee, left that position in September to become the Governmental Affairs Director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Congratulations to Oscar Garza, current staffer to Sen. Larry Taylor and soon to be staffer to Rep. Dennis Bonnen on his recent wedding.
Congratulations to Meredith Cooke, staffer for Rep. John Zerwas, and Robert Armstrong, Public Affairs Director at DIR, on their recent wedding in Colorado.
Congratulations to Mary Bell, who is senior strategist at the Mach 1 Group and Jarod Love with Delisi Communications, who were married December 8th.
The American Institute for Full Employment has recognized Texas Workforce Commission ED Larry Temple with its first ever Lifetime Achievement Hand Up Award for his efforts in servicing the various TWC constituencies with a focus on excellent customer service.
Congratulations to Jason Briggs, COS to Rep. Jim Murphy, on this graduation from St. Mary’s University Law School recently.
Dec 21: Rep. Stan Lambert, Dave Nelson, Kandice Karla, Lawrence Collins
Dec 22: Jacob Smith
Dec 24: Clayton Stewart, Joe Pojman
Dec 25: Rep. Roberto Alonzo, Rep. Jason Isaac
Dec 27: Greg Davidson
Dec 28: Rep. Ken King, David Dunn, Andrew Erben
Dec 29: Rep. Victoria Neave, Matt Lamon
Dec 30: Frank Battle, Yuniedth Midence Steen
Dec 31: Jenn Saenz, Machree Garrett Gibson
Jan 1: Rep. Terry Canales, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Abby Wells Raines, former Rep. Jim Pitts, John Pitts, Sr., Milton Rister, Rob Johnson
Jan 2: Patricia Shipton, Amy Rister Salinas
Jan 3: US Rep. and former Rep. Marc Veasey, Kelly McBeth, Dan Shelley
Jan 6: Rep. Armando Martinez, Nora Del Bosque, Ashely Juergens, Jeff Bonham, Pamela Mayo Clark
In Our Thoughts
Condolences to the friends and family of Nadine Eckhardt, who worked at the Fort Worth Star Telegram with Molly Ivins and was an author married to a Congressman Robert Eckhardt, and the author, Billy Lee Brammer.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation and its impact on national policy, including the criminal justice reform legislation slated to be signed by President Trump, was highlighted recently in a McClatchy article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
The Texas Tribune has done a profile piece on Rep. Dennis Bonnen, who is expected to be voted in as Speaker when the House convenes on January 8th.
Legislative Solutions has announced it will launching an online Texas Lobby Guide with full search capability in the near future.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or text us at 512-431-5385 to let us know of other moves, birthdays, lobby sign ups, birth announcements, events, and happenings that you and your Capitol colleagues would like to read about.