Political People and their Moves

Texas House speakers generally stay out of general election races that involve the other party’s incumbents. Democratic speakers don’t go directly at Republicans; Republican speakers don’t go directly at Democratic members. They have to get elected by members, after all, and it doesn’t help if you intentionally and openly split the House during the elections. The knives are out, sometimes, but they’re concealed.

That’s not how the Senate operates, apparently. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is touting Republican challenger Mark Shelton, a state Rep. from Fort Worth, over Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, in the November election. He visited the district on Shelton’s behalf and tweeted this: “Dr. Mark Shelton is going to be one of the conservatives we need in the Texas Senate!” 

FreedomWorks — the Washington, D.C.-based grassroots organizers started by former U.S. Rep. Dick Armey — jumped into the race for Texas Speaker, sending emails to a list (they said) of 110,000 Texans telling them to bug their state representatives to vote against San Antonio Republican Joe Straus and for Mineola Republican Bryan Hughes. That group was banging the drum two years ago for Ken Paxton of McKinney, who was challenging Straus then and who is now Senate-bound.

Fort Worth political consultant and lobbyist Bryan Eppstein rearranged his Austin operations, with Keats Norfleet and David Marwitz leaving to consult on their own, and giving up his longtime offices at the Cotton Ginners building. He says he'll still have an Austin operation, but with personnel changes: Chris Keffer remains in Austin and will get help from the Fort Worth crew as needed, Eppstein says.

Ron Curry, a former state environmental regulator in New Mexico, is the new regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. He replaces Al Armendariz of Dallas as the head of the region that includes Texas; Armendariz left last spring after warring throughout his tenure with the companies he regulated and with Texas regulators, too. 

Jay Kimbrough, who left the Department of Public Safety in May to work at the troubled Texas Department of Juvenile Justice (formerly the Youth Commission), is going back to DPS. Mike Griffiths, the new head at TDJJ, has been on board for a month.

Jeff Jeter moves to the University of Texas-Arlington as director of legislative affairs; he had been on the staff of retiring state Sen. Chris Harris, R-Arlington.

Gov. Rick Perry has named Heather Page of Austin director of the Texas Film Commission. Page, a camerawoman, has worked on major feature films and television shows like Revenge, Friday Night Lights and The Green Mile.

Perry also has appointed Maria Teran of El Paso to the State Health Services Council for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2013. Teran is president and chief executive officer of Sierra Machinery Inc.

Deaths: Fred Meyer, a Dallas business executive and a key player in turning Dallas County and then the state to the Republican Party in the 1980s, raising money, recruiting candidates and creating a statewide organization. He was 84.