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Around the Capitol / On the Move / Campaign Season
Suzanne Bellsnyder has returned to the private sector after serving the City of Spearman for over six years as the City Manager and Director of the Spearman Chamber of Commerce. Bellsnyder has started High Plains Strategies, a political and fundraising consulting firm.
The House has three new members after the special elections this week: Gary Gates who will replace former Rep. John Zerwas, Lorraine Birabil who replaces former Rep. and now-Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Anna Eastman who will replace former Rep. Jessica Farrar.
Speaker Dennis Bonnen appointed Rep. Giovanni Capriglione as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, filling the vacancy left by the retirement of former Rep. John Zerwas.
Rep. Mayes Middleton has been elected as the new chairman of the Texas House Freedom Caucus. Other officers include Rep. Matt Schaefer as vice chair, and Rep. Matt Krause as secretary/treasurer.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had made four appointments to the Sunset Advisory Commission: Sens. Pat Fallon, Eddie Lucio, Angela Paxton, and a public member, Ralph Duggins.
Emily Ramshaw, former editor in chief, and Amanda Zamora, former chief audience officer, have departed The Texas Tribune. They have launched The 19th News, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting at the intersection of gender, politics and policy.
Joe Deshotel, son of Rep. Joe Deshotel, has left his job at Lime where he was the Government Affairs Director for Texas, to join the Michael Bloomberg Presidential Campaign.
Darcy Caballero has left MALC and is now the Voter Protection Hotline Director at the Texas Democratic Party.
Kenneth McIntyre, former Capitol staffer to Sen. Pat Fallon and Sen. Jane Nelson, is joining the Texas A&M University System state relations team. He will work for A&M’s Engineering Agencies: TEES, TEEX, and TTI.
Margot Garza, former Legislative Director for Chairman Poncho Nevarez took over last fall as the new Chief of Staff for Rep. Jessica González.
Rep. Donna Howard is the new Chair of the Women’s Health Caucus.
Pamela McPeters, former COS to former Rep. Dawnna Dukes, and most recently a public affairs consultant, has joined the lobby team at the Texas Classroom Teachers Association.
Jesse Ancira and Monty Wynn will lead Texas Municipal League’s lobby efforts after the departure of Shanna Igo. Ancira will serve as the Senior Legislative Advisor and Wynn will act as Director of Grassroots and Legislative Services.
Angie Cervantes is now the Government and Legislative Affairs Manager at the Insurance Council of Texas.
Sarah Kirkle has left Texas 2036 where she was the Director of Policy and Planning to become the Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs for the Texas Water Conservation Association.
Katharine Teleki has left Texas 2036 where she was the Director of Policy and Planning, and has launched a new consulting firm, Teleki Consulting. Both Teleki and Kirkle previously worked for the Sunset Advisory Commission.
The Texas Realtors Association has named Julia Parenteau its Director of Public Policy. She previously was Associate Director of Legislative Affairs for the realtors.
Justin Wood is now the General Counsel & Vice President of External Relations at Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas. Wood was previously the Committee Director for the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
Ashley Meyers, former Senate messenger and Executive Assistant at Joey Bennett Consulting, is now with Grace and McEwan Consulting, a government affairs firm based in Austin. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Meredith Armstrong is leaving the Capitol where she worked for former Rep. John Zerwas to become the Policy Director for the Texas Healthcare & Bioscience Institute.
Kyle Mauro has left the Capitol and joined HillCo Partners. Mauro had been Chief of Staff to Rep. Richard Raymond since 2017.
Sarah Rayburn has been named as the new executive director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of Texas. Rayburn will replace current executive director, Alicia Dover, who is retiring effective March 31. (h/t The Blast)
Jessica Magee is the new Executive Director of the Texas Psychological Association. She previously worked in the House for several members.
Daniel Gonzalez, who previously was the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Texas Association of Realtors, has started his own consulting firm, Gonzalez Public Affairs and Consulting.
Gerardo Interiano, who was head of External Affairs for Google, and worked for former Speaker Joe Straus is now head of government relations at Aurora.
State Agency/Commission News
Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller has announced the appointment of a new senior leadership team.
Senior leaders include three new deputy commissioners:
- Rey Rodriguez as Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff;
- Lori Fey as Deputy Commissioner for Data Analytics and Innovation; and
- Ray Martinez as Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Workforce Education.
Additional new appointments include:
- Melissa Henderson as Associate Commissioner for Development;
- Elizabeth Bolin as Deputy Chief of Staff;
- Leslie Hall as Senior Director, Project Management Office; and
- Amy Peterson as Senior Director, Strategic Finance Policy
Dr. Stacey Silverman has been permanently appointed to serve as Assistant Commissioner for Academic Quality and Workforce, after serving in an interim capacity since October. Dr. David Gardner will transition to a new role as Deputy Commissioner for Special Projects.
Jarred Shaffer, former Senior Policy Analyst for Sen. Brian Birdwell is now a legislative liaison at the Texas Department of Transportation.
Previously the Deputy Executive Director at the Texas Racing Commission, Joel Speight has joined the Texas Facilities Commission as chief operating officer.
Glenn Garvey has left his position as Chief Information Officer at the Texas Facilities Commission and is now the Deputy Associate Commissioner of Business Operations in the Procurement and Contracting Services Division at HHSC.
Sallie Bentley, is leaving Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s office where she was Assistant Finance Director to join Gov. Greg Abbott’s policy and budget team.
Cecile Erwin Young is leaving HHSC to join the private sector. Young served in many positions during her time at HHSC and served in the administrations of Governors Bill Clements, George Bush, and Rick Perry. (h/t The Quorum Report)
Wendy Reilly is back at TXDOT as a Management Analyst for the Texas Department of Transportation. Reilly was the Director of Government Relations at Jacobs covering Texas & Oklahoma before starting her new position.
Morgan Johnson has been hired as Special Counsel to TCEQ Commissioner Emily Lindley. Morgan worked for McGinnis Lochridge and for both the Governor and Attorney Generals Offices previously.
Congratulations to Sen. Chuy Hinojosa and his family on the recent wedding of daughter, Ileana.
Congrats to Sen. Kirk Watson and policy director Kate Alexander who have co-authored a new book, “Austin Unlimited.” (h/t Austin-American Statesman)
Congratulations to John Buxie on his recent engagement to fiancé, Mallory Clarke. Buxie is Chief of Staff to Rep. Chris Paddie.
Congratulations to Sarah Floerke Gouak and her husband Steve who will welcome a new baby in June.
Stacey Pogue, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, has been recognized as Families USA’s Health Care Value Advocate of the Year. (h/t The Blast)
Jan 30 — Michelle Sneed, ML Calcote
Feb 1 — Don Ward, Kaitlyn Murphy, Tina Tran, Dave Edmonson, Donna Garcia Davidson, Smitty Smith
Feb 3 — Rep. Toni Rose
Feb 5 — Heather Harward
Feb 6 –Jordan Dixon, Brad Tegeler
Feb 7 –Stephanie Chiarello
Feb 8 –Don Forse, Chris Duke
Feb 9 –Trey Blocker, Katharine Ligon
Feb 11– Meredyth Fowler, Michael Grimes
Feb 12 — Jordan Michalik
Feb 13– RG Ratcliffe, Sen. Judith Zaffirini
Feb 14 — Charlie Schnabel
Feb 15 — Fmr. Rep Stefani Carter, Brad Shields
Feb 16 — Jon Fisher
Feb 17 — Janiece Crenwelge
Feb 18 — Lee Loya
In Our Thoughts
Condolences to former colleagues, friends and family of former Rep. Tuffy Hamilton on his recent passing. Hamilton served in the Texas House from the Orange area from 2003 to 2013.
Condolences to former colleagues, friends and family of former Rep. Ray Allen who passed away in November. Allen served in the Texas House from 1993 to 2006.
Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Al Erwin after his recent passing. Erwin was one fo the first appointees to the Public Utility Commission.
Former Rep. Hilary Doran, who represented the Del Rio area from 1967 to 1975, passed away recently. He also served as COS to former Gov. Bill Clements.
Our condolences to Steven Polunsky and his family on the passing of his daughter Emma Polunksy.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Sally Ratliff, wife of former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff and mother of former Rep. Bennett Ratliff and former SBOE member Thomas Ratliff, who passed away in December.
Our deepest condolences to Rep. Richard Raymond, wife Michelle, and family on the passing of their son, Aren.
Condolences to the family and friends of longtime lobbyist Kraege Polan, who passed away recently.
Condolences to Rep. Sarah Davis and her family on the recent passing of her mother.
Condolences to James LeBas and his family on the recent passing of his mother, Wylla LeBas.
Condolences to the family and friends of former Rep. Roberto Gutierrez on his recent passing. Gutierrez represented the McAllen area in the House from 1991 to 2005.
Condolences to the family and friends of Dorothy Browne, who served as COS to former Rep. Elliot Naishtat, on her recent passing.
Jim Lynaugh, who worked for the Comptroller’s office and served as the CFO for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for many years, passed away in November. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Get to Know Your Colleagues
Legislative Director, Rep. Dan Huberty
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Austin, TX. I moved to Stillwater, OK, for college followed by a few years in Midland, TX, before moving back home permanently to Austin and working at the Capitol.
How long have you been around the Capitol?
I first came to the building at the start of the 85th Session to work in the Public Education Committee and have been on Team Huberty for both the 85th and 86th Sessions.
Outside of the Capitol I am constantly working on projects ranging from tying fishing flies to metal and wood working. Currently, the biggest project is updating and restoring a banana yellow 1976 Jeep Cherokee, lovingly named “Chiquita.”
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