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Around the Capitol / On the Move
Sen. Angela Paxton, R-Plano, announced her staff (h/t The Blast):
Chief of staff: Randy Samuelson
General counsel/policy director: Emily Landon
Press secretary/policy analyst: Matt Murdoch
District director: Michelle Smith
Scheduler: Della Bryant
Legislative coordinator/policy analyst: Laura Stowe
Policy analyst/constituent liaison: Alex Sprague
Former Rep. Mike Schofield is now serving as Sen. Pat Fallon’s general counsel.
Rep. Chris Turner was recently re-elected as chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus. Other members in leadership positions include the following:
Rep. Celia Israel, first Vice Chair
Rep. Toni Rose, second Vice Chair
Rep. Oscar Longoria, Treasurer
Kirk Brown is Rep. John Frullo‘s new Communications Director. He previously worked on US Rep. Dan Crenshaw‘s campaign. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Brian Mitchell is the new Legislative Director for Rep. Dennis Paul. He previously had the same job with former Rep. Paul Workman.
Cait Meisenheimer, formerly VP for Texas Government Relations for McGuireWoods and deputy press secretary for Gov. Greg Abbott is the new press secretary for Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
Kiefer Odell is the new COS for Rep. Gina Calanni. He previously served as the spokesman for 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Lupe Valdez.
Rep. Mary Gonzalez has been elected to the board of directors for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
Rep. Armando Walle is the new Treasurer of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, replacing former Rep. Justin Rodriguez, who left to become a Bexar County Commissioner.
Taylor Borer is Senior Policy Analyst for Sen. Kelly Hancock. She previously worked as a policy analyst for Sen. Charles Schwertner.
The new clerk for the Calendars Committee is Tom Holloway, a partner at the Cross Oak Group and former COS for Sen. Charles Schwertner (h/t The Quorum Report)
Rep. Eric Johnson has entered the race for Dallas Mayor. The election is May 4th and to date the number of candidates has reached double digits.
Former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is now at Rice University, as a Senior Fellow and Professor and will also work at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research as a Senior Fellow.
Jim Tramuto has joined Strategic Public Affairs as a Senior Counselor. Strategic Public Affairs a Houston-based government relations firm. He previously served as the VP of governmental and regulatory strategies for Southwestern Energy.
Lauren Rose has started a new position as Director Of Public Policy at Texas Network of Youth Services. She previously served as Director of Youth Justice Policy at Texas Care for Children.
Former Rep. Marsha Farney, is working with the Texas Association of Community Schools this session as a governmental relations representative for about 600 or so school districts. (h/t The Quorum Report)
The Sierra Club in Texas has new spokespeople this session. They are Cyrus Reed for Energy, clean air, rad waste, oil and gas, protecting local democracy, Harvey recovery, Ken Kramer for Water, and Evelyn Merz for Parks, wildlife, public lands. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Longtime Capitol staffer Pete Winckler has joined Laura Matz at Matz and Company, LLC. Winkler was a former COS to former Sen. Craig Estes and worked for Senators Kevin Eltife, Glenn Hegar, and Jon Lindsay.
Dan Decker has been named president and CEO of the Texas Travel Industry Association as well as ED of the Texas Commercial Airports Association. He formerly was the TTIA’s chief operating officer. (h/t The Blast)
State Agency News
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee appointed Penny Schwinn to be the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education. Schwinn previously served as the deputy commissioner of academics at the Texas Education Agency. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Kevin Cooper is the Assistant Chief of Governmental Relations at the Texas Department of Public Safety. He previously was a partner at Ratliff Company.
Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of Higher Education, will step down in August.
Nick Voinis, chief of staff at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, is retiring Jan. 31. Voinis worked for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Lt. Govs Bill Ratliff and David Dewhurst, and the University of Texas Athletic Department.
Congratulations to Erin and Leo Aguirre on the birth of their son, Lionel “Leo” Jonathan.
Congratulations to Austin McCarty and Hannah Chinnakam on their recent marriage!
Jan 29: former Rep. Larry Gonzalez, Rene Lara, Michael Steward
Jan 30: Michelle Sneed, ML Calcote
Jan 31: Rep. Ben Leman
Feb 1: David Edmonson, Tina Tran, Kaitlyn Murphy, Donna Davidson, Smitty Smith
Feb 3: Rep. Toni Rose
Feb 4: Rep. Yvonne Davis
In Our Thoughts
Mike Lehr, former Executive Director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, passed away recently. Lehr was 89 years old and lived in San Angelo.
Gov. Abbott has set the date of the special election to replace Sen. Carol Alvarado and former Rep. Joe Pickett for January 29th. The special election to replace former Rep. Justin Rodriguez will be February 12.
Deborah Ingersoll of Legislative Solutions has officially launched a new Online Lobby Guide.
Tanner Long, legislative affairs specialist for the Texas Association of Realtors, has launched a new podcast about the legislature called “Under the Pink Dome.” You can find it on your favorite podcast source. (h/t The Blast)
House members office and phone list
Senate members office and phone list
House Chief of Staff List
Senate Chief of Staff List
Dates of Interest:
Friday March 8 — last day for unrestricted filing of bills
Monday May 27 — last day of regular session
June 16 — last day for governor to act on bills
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.