Accounting for the 2012 Election: Adds, Drops, Turnover

Before the 2014 elections really, really get going (they’re starting, as you can tell from the headlines around George P. Bush and the political staffing being done by aspirants like Susan Combs and Jerry Patterson), here’s a look at some of the fallout from the elections last week.

The first two exhibits here list the members who won’t be back for the January session and the freshmen who’ll be replacing them. We mapped the shifts, by county, of net votes gathered by the parties. In places like Dallas and Harris, for instance, Barack Obama won but by smaller margins than in 2008. In a number of West Texas counties (and elsewhere), he did better against Mitt Romney than against John McCain four years earlier. It’s not a map of who won each county — it’s a map of whether the counties were redder or bluer than in 2008. Spoiler alert: More counties moved to the right than to the left.

You’ll notice more members coming in than leaving; John Raney, R-College Station, elected to replace Rep. Fred Brown, who resigned in June 2011, is in office but hasn’t served during a legislative session. It wasn’t an open seat, but we’ve included him in the freshman class. Robert “Bobby” Guerra was seated closer to the general election after he was the sole candidate who filed for a special election to replace Veronica Gonzales, who resigned this summer.

Finally, we’ve charted legislative turnover back to the start of the 1971 legislative session, and this year’s turnover is much bigger than normal. The House has had bigger numbers of freshmen only twice over that period. Six new members is a big year for the Senate, but it’s less unusual. The congressional numbers are skewed by the fact that the Texas delegation now numbers 36; in 1971, it numbered 24 and as the state grew, rose to 27 in 1980, 30 in 1990, and 32 in 2000. The delegation gets eight new members this year — four in new seats, two from retirements, and two because voters tossed the incumbents.

The charts follow; a .pdf version is attached.


Texas legislative and congressional departures, 2012.


Texas legislative and congressional arrivals, 2012.


Texas legislative and congressional turnover, 1971-2013.

Interactive Map: How Texas Drifted Right in 2012

The Future of the Women’s Health Program in Texas

The end is near for the Women’s Health Program. Federal funding will dry up Dec. 31 and that’s it for the program. State officials say the Texas Women’s Health Program, funded solely by the state, is ready to replace it, but don’t count that chicken just yet: A lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood might stand in the way.

Despite the hype, it's unlikely Planned Parenthood's lawsuit could really prevent the state from implementing the Texas WHP.

The Women’s Health Program provides cancer screenings, treatment and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and other health services — excluding abortions — for about 130,000 low-income Texas women who would qualify for Medicaid if they became pregnant. The goal of the program is to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions and save the state Medicaid money, and according to some studies, it has succeeded at that.

But the Women’s Health Program in Texas has been under siege. In the 2011 legislative session, state legislators passed a law requiring the Health and Human Services Commission to ban medical providers “affiliated” with abortion providers from participating in the Women’s Health Program. The federal government told Texas it would stop providing the federal matching funds — $9 in federal funds for every $1 in state funds — for the program if the state implemented the so-called Affiliate Ban Rule. In response, Gov. Rick Perry pledged to forgo the federal funding — roughly $30 million annually — and set up a state-funded version of the program called the Texas Women’s Health Program.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affiliate Ban Rule in federal court. They lost and a panel of three federal judges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to rehear the case. The stage was set for Texas to launch the Texas Women’s Health Program this month, but like Perry, Planned Parenthood didn’t back down. The organization filed another lawsuit in Travis County arguing state law renders inoperative any WHP rule, including the Affiliate Ban Rule, if it causes the state to lose federal funding. A state judge granted Planned Parenthood a temporary injunction to continue providing services through the Women’s Health Program until a full trial can be held in December.

“The latest Planned Parenthood case also challenges the state’s authority to use only state-funding for the program,” said Stephanie Goodman, spokeswoman for HHSC, confirming the state plans to launch the Texas WHP on Jan. 1, when federal funds are cut off. “Of course, that’s assuming that we don’t have a court order that would prevent us from continuing to deliver services through a state program,” she said in an email.

But Sarah Wheat, who runs Planned Parenthood’s operations in Central Texas , doesn't think the current lawsuit could impact the state’s ability to implement the Texas WHP because it is focused on federal funding. “There’s just too many questions to say for sure what we expect next,” she said. No matter what happens, she said, Planned Parenthood’s mission is unchanged: “Our doors will stay open.”

If the organization succeeds with its legal challenges, Perry said last month, Planned Parenthood “will kill this program, and they will be responsible for denying these important health services to low income women today.” Catherine Frazier, his press secretary, explained there’s a severability clause in the Texas Women’s Health Program that would force the state to dissolve it entirely if Planned Parenthood successfully convinces a court to overturn the Affiliate Ban Rule in the state’s version of the program.

“We believe the program is important, but we also believe life is important. And Texas lawmakers have — speaking for the people of Texas — determined that we do not want to be funding abortion providers or their affiliates in Texas," said Frazier.

She said the governor would like to continue the federal program, but only if the state is allowed to ban providers it deems unfit because of their affiliations with abortion providers.

In combination with the cuts to family planning funds last legislative session — to $37 million from $111 million for the 2012-13 biennium — outside research experts expect the loss of Planned Parenthood as a provider in the WHP to have devastating consequences on access to care.

“Texas overall is underserved, rural and poorer parts of Texas are especially underserved,” said Joseph Potter, a researcher at the University of Texas conducting a three-year study on the impact of the state cuts to family planning grants. His initial research found 53 clinics have already closed as a result of the funding cuts. “So there isn’t this large base of providers with space in their practices that is there ready, willing and able to take on this client base,” he said. 

Regardless of how the state’s decision to ban certain providers affects access to care in the short term, if the Texas Legislature approves funding for only the state-funded version of the program, the money will probably be there to attract new providers to the program, as Perry and friends suggests it will.   

HHSC estimates the Texas WHP will have a positive net impact on the budget. For a cost of $43 million in fiscal year 2014, they expect to save $46 million.

Newsreel: Racing, With and Without Wheels

This week in the Texas Weekly Newsreel: George P. Bush announces he will run for something, Bryan Hughes steps up his run for House speaker, F1 is running residents out of Austin this weekend and three candidates are running for the late state Sen. Mario Gallegos' seat in Houston — so far.

Inside Intelligence: About Conservatives and Hispanics

Texas lawmakers return in January and the list of issues they might tackle includes several from the recent past that also could affect the GOP’s future chances with Hispanic voters. What’s going to happen?

Nearly all of our insiders think lawmakers will renew their efforts to require photo voter IDs at polling places. Two-thirds don’t believe those same lawmakers will repeal the state law giving in-state tuition to undocumented students. The insiders split when asked whether the Legislature will ban sanctuary cities by requiring local police to check the citizenship of people they stop. Will Texas officials get a significant role to play in federal immigration reform? Nope, according to 80 percent of the insiders.

Finally, we asked whether Republicans have a reasonable chance of winning a majority of the state’s Hispanic votes in the near future. The respondents are skeptical, with 84 percent saying no.

We’ve attached the full set of verbatim comments to this week’s insider survey. A sampling follows:


Will lawmakers renew efforts to require citizens to carry photo IDs in order to vote?

• "After a presidential loss like the one the Republicans just had...most certainly!"

• "Renew?  Yes. Get it right?  Doubtful."

• "Most people understand that an ID is required to do just about anything."

• "They passed the law last session.  After the lawsuits, they might try to do a few tweaks."

• "Nobody opposes Voter ID except the Democratic Caucus and the press -- that said, the GOP may be tired of this battle."

• "Voter ID is still on appeal in the courts.  It makes no sense, not even political posturing sense, to try to pass a new statute until the dust settles on the legal validity of the existing statute. Isn't there a long-standing tradition that the Lege doesn't intervene in pending litigation?"

• "The Texas Ds would do well to make this issue their own, with a good showing in the Congressional races, a reelection of Democrat President and a net increase in both the US House and US Senate, this action could prove to make inroads with moderates and independents."

• "And we will posture, fight, demagogue, and waste more time on this than necessary. But tea party friends think carefully - the Hispanic you alienate at the polls will send you packing eventually."

• "Right idea, wrong message."

• "Hopefully it will be done properly this time."


Will the Legislature eliminate in-state tuition for undocumented students?

• "They're damn sure going to try!"

• "Some will try and if it happens, Republicans will speed-up their demise. If the party has any clear thinking minds left, they would look at the vote totals of Latinos between 18-24 years of age. The sleeping giant is awake and they are pissed."

• "What a silly idea.  Texas gets its revenue from property and sales taxes, plus oil & gas severance taxes--none of which require citizenship.  Why not let qualified students, whether immigrants or not, take advantage of our state's programs that they're already paying for?"

• "Now that Perry has stuck his neck out on this, he can't afford to let it be reversed.  Bet it passes the Senate, since Dewhurst needs to feed the Right, but somehow never gets to the House floor.  Perry will owe Straus one."

• "Somebody is bound to bring it up - will they do it? Doubtful. That would paint them as not 'having a heart.'  There should be a good discussion about 'documenting.'"

• "Alienate Hispanics further? Not a good idea."

• "Given the racial nature of this issue -- i.e., unlike voter ID, it's almost entirely aimed at Hispanic immigrants, albeit illegals -- the R's may back off of this one, since it is the Hispanic vote made the difference for Obama's re-election."

• "Of course they will.... but the R's will have a huge debate over this one. The future of the party will be determined on this one issue."

• "All indications so far are that the one area where Republicans are plenty willing to do an about face to save votes is immigration and related issues.  It doesn't hurt that business interests are generally okay with immigration reform, particularly if it includes expanded employment-based immigration."


Will lawmakers ban sanctuary cities by requiring local law enforcement to check the legal status of people they stop or arrest?

• "Requiring law enforcement to check legal status is not the same as banning sanctuary cities.  Banning sanctuary cities, to me, means that a city is not allowed to ban law enforcement from asking those questions or informing ICE of the status of arrestees."

• "Isn't that rumored to be on the Emergency Call?  Sometimes people just can't help themselves -even when they watch others lose for doing less divisive things."

• "If the right-wingers' brains were taxed, they would be in line for a rebate. As a Republican of Hispanic heritage, I am no longer surprised at how stupid the right-wingers are, but even more so, the people they elect. Go ahead and put Texas on the fast-track for a democratic take-over."

• "Local control is a bedrock principle of conservatism -- hopefully legislators will resist the urge to micro-manage big city police departments -- if Sanctuary Cities are put in place and people don't like it, they should rally round and get rid of their mayor."

• "I would think there would be greater interest in hospital districts delivering services voluntarily to the undocumented and than passing on the cost (through the state) to those folks who have no vote in the local hospital district elections."

• "They will try and push down this unfunded mandate onto cities."


Will state officials play any significant role in federal immigration reform efforts?

• "We have pretty much ensured ourselves we will be on a political island for the next 2-4 years."

• "No, they're to busy working to have welfare and unemployment recipients take drug tests before they are given public benefits."

• "Maybe Ag Commissioner Todd Staples, but I don't see the others even getting a seat at the table."

• "As a border state we should have input into straightening out our chaotic laws in this area"

• "This crowd is not invited to table."

• "After the President won, I don't see him looking to Texas Republicans for any help."

• "This is a perfect political pivot for Rick Perry -- he should start an 'I told you so...' tour and go around the country speaking about the importance of in-state tuition, guest worker programs and other reforms that embrace rather than exclude Hispanics.  It makes sense for Texas to take the lead on this -- recall that Texas took a much more prudent stance than the Californians of the 1980's who took a hard anti-immigration position and killed the Republican Party there."

• "State officials don't play a major role in base closings, proposed EPA rules, the national budget or any other federal issues, so why would they have any special role on immigration?"

• "They don't seem to want to play a significant role in any federal efforts on anything meaningful."

• "Instate opposition by core GOP base will prevent most Republicans from supporting reform, even if they want to."


Do Texas Republicans have a reasonable chance of winning a majority of Hispanic votes in (near) future elections?

• "LMFAO!"

• "Although George P Bush will be an interesting candidate to watch."

• "I'm optimistic. Look at how much the dialogue has changed just in the past two years. Republicans open to guest worker? That's great progress but much more work to be done."

• "Cruz did no better than Romney, meaning no Latino crossover. Keep dreaming, GOP. When it starts to happen in Spanish, you're on to something."

• "If we work for it and take a common sense position on immigration"

• "Not a majority. 40% is in reach, however, if Democrats take Latinos for granted."

• "The Hispanic ranks of Texas Republican elected officials continue to grow."

• "No, but the GOP doesn't need a majority, it only needs 35-40% to retain its stranglehold on statewide elections for the foreseeable future.  That is within the realm of possibility."

• "The Texas Republicans could lead the way for the national party when it comes to adjusting and pivoting to and on Hispanic issues.  That said they seem to be lost in the echo chamber of nativist sentiment that continues to plague the party as a whole.  As long as state leadership continues to follow this path, it is unlikely that Texas Republicans have a chance of winning a majority of Hispanic voters."

• "But Democrats should not take this for granted.  The folks that helped George W. Bush get to almost parity among Hispanics are still around, and the Democrats haven't shown an ability in Texas to effectively organize Latinos statewide."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Cathie Adams, Jenny Aghamalian, Victor Alcorta, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, David Anthony, Jay Arnold, Louis Bacarisse, Charles Bailey, Tom Banning, Dave Beckwith, Amy Beneski, Rebecca Bernhardt, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Steve Bresnen, Chris Britton, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Thure Cannon, Snapper Carr, Janis Carter, Elizabeth Christian, Elna Christopher, Rick Cofer, Harold Cook, Beth Cubriel, Randy Cubriel, Denise Davis, Hector De Leon, Eva De Luna-Castro, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jeff Eller, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Jon Fisher, Wil Galloway, Neftali Garcia, Norman Garza, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Jim Grace, John Greytok, Anthony Haley, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Adam Haynes, John Heasley, Jim Henson, Ken Hodges, Billy Howe, Shanna Igo, Deborah Ingersoll, Cal Jillson, Jason Johnson, Mark Jones, Robert Jones, Lisa Kaufman, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Ramey Ko, Sandy Kress, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Donald Lee, Luke Legate, Myra Leo, Ruben Longoria, Homero Lucero, Vilma Luna, Luke Marchant, Matt Matthews, Dan McClung, Mike McKinney, Robert Miller, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Steve Murdock, Craig Murphy, Pat Nugent, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Jerry Philips, Wayne Pierce, Richard Pineda, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Bill Ratliff, Kim Ross, Jeff Rotkoff, Jason Sabo, Mark Sanders, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Robert Scott, Bradford Shields, Christopher Shields, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Todd Smith, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Bryan Sperry, Tom Spilman, Jason Stanford, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Charles Stuart, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sherry Sylvester, Jay Thompson, Russ Tidwell, Trent Townsend, Trey Trainor, Ware Wendell, Ken Whalen, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Alex Winslow, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.

The Calendar

Monday, Nov. 19:

  • Senate State Affairs Committee hearing (1 p.m.)
  • TribLive: Meet the New Guys, with Reps.-elect Giovanni CapriglioneMary González and Cecil Bell Jr.; Austin Club (7:30-9 a.m.)
  • Reception for Rep.-elect Giovanni Capriglione; 112 Keystone Dr., Southlake (7 p.m.)

Guest Column: The Case for Joe Straus

For conservatives throughout the country, Election Day was more than just a disappointment; it was a wakeup call for the Republican Party to determine why it failed to convince the electorate that conservative solutions are what this country needs. The Party’s poor performance across the nation can be partly attributed to problems within the organization.

Now, more than ever before, candidates and elected officials with an "R" behind their name find themselves competing against one another in a fight to be perceived as most conservative. The rhetoric and hyperbole are out of control and only seem to be getting worse. The bottom line is that we can’t let infighting and political posturing compromise what we have achieved in Texas.

While Americans in other states may not be convinced, Texans know that conservative policies achieve the greatest results. In stark contrast to what is taking place at the federal level, the Texas economy is booming, in large part due to the conservative policies championed by leaders like Texas Speaker Joe Straus.

Despite the resounding success Texas has experienced as a result of our conservative leadership, some can’t help but engage in infighting and posturing for their own political gain. Sadly, in politics, the truth is always the first casualty. This reality is something that Speaker Straus has experienced firsthand.

Truthfully, the State of Texas is more conservative than ever before. There is no better example of this fact than the 82nd legislative session, which resulted in some of the most conservative initiatives ever achieved in the state's history. Social and fiscal conservatives alike cannot dispute the successes achieved for both of their causes.

Under Straus’ leadership, the Texas House cut the biennial budget by $15 billion — the largest cut since World War II — which set the budgeting template for the nation and demonstrated to other states how to govern within their existing revenue streams. Compared with his predecessor, who presided over budget increases averaging 14 percent, Straus has averaged a 2.9-percent decrease in spending during his tenure as speaker.

In addition to restoring fiscal sanity to the state, the 82nd Legislature passed historic tort reform in the form of the "loser pays" legislation, strong eminent domain reform, the pro-life sonogram bill and voter ID legislation. Straus enabled all of these conservative policies through his leadership in the Texas House.

He also demonstrated his conservative nature by creating a select committee on state sovereignty, designed to protect Texas from federal mandates and job-killing directives from federal agencies like the EPA.

Due, in part, to Straus' help in growing the Republican majority from 76 to 102, the Texas House is more conservative than ever. He worked tirelessly during this last election cycle to preserve the conservative presence in the House and was able to help defend 95 Republican seats in the 150-member body.

Unfortunately, these facts are all too often ignored or distorted. Instead of coming together to continue to work to achieve our collective conservative goals, petty infighting remains rampant, as some House Republicans have challenged the speaker’s record, claiming they can do better. The last thing the Texas House needs is a trial lawyer or a quasi-conservative as our leader.

As Speaker Straus continues to face challenges from special-interest groups, I urge you to look at the conservative successes achieved during the 82nd legislative session and ask yourself, why change your quarterback when you're winning the game?

Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, represents District 122 in the Texas Legislature.

TribLive: Hughes on the Speaker's Race

At Thursday morning's TribLive conversation, state Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, a declared candidate for Speaker of the Texas House, talked about the challenges and opportunities in taking on the current occupant of the job, Joe Straus.


The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Observers got their first taste of what the 2013 legislative session might bring when lawmakers started pre-filing bills on Monday. More than 250 bills were submitted on the first day of pre-filing, with the majority focusing on education, civil and criminal law, and health and human services related matters. Only one bill related to immigration was filed, surprising session watchers, who’ve in the past seen legislators tripping over themselves to file multiple bills on the matter. Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, won the distinction of filing the most bills, with a total of 30.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents met to consider a new plan to build a $100 million office building in downtown Austin. The details were released as a proposal for the regents’ consideration, and would consolidate the system’s five existing buildings into one 16-story building that would house more than 700 employees. Officials defended the plan, reminding critics that their current buildings are aging and will incur maintenance costs over the years that would outpace spending on the proposed building. 

The road with the fastest speed limit in the nation saw its first fatality after being open less than a month. Texas 130, the new toll road connecting south Austin to Interstate 10 in Seguin, has a speed limit of 85 mph. Officials have not yet determined whether speed was a factor in the crash that killed the driver, who was from Lockhart. 

The Lance Armstrong Foundation filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office to officially change its name to the Livestrong Foundation, as it’s been known informally for years. Since the latest action against Armstrong resulted in the stripping of his Tour de France titles, the foundation has been working to distance itself from the doping charges that sparked the charges against Armstrong. Armstrong resigned as chairman in October but remained on the board. But this week, Livestrong chairman Jeff Garvey announced that Armstrong had resigned from the foundation.

Texas’ online petition to secede from the union failed to draw support from Gov. Rick Perry. When questioned about the new petition filed on the WeThePeople website and signed by more than 64,000 people, Perry only commented that people were free to do what they wanted to do. The Obama administration has promised to review all petitions on the website that gather more than 25,000 signatures. Of the 30 secession petitions filed recently, only Texas and Louisiana have met that threshold.

As the number of students with limited English proficiency has skyrocketed in Texas the last several years, state funding for English language programs has been slashed. In just one decade, the number of students needing additional help with English increased by 38.4 percent compared with an overall growth rate of 17.4 percent in the general population. The state is being sued for its funding of schools, and bilingual education programs have suffered cuts to funding just when the need for them is outpacing other programs. English-learning students have substandard results on standardized testing and a disproportionate level of dropouts. So far, the state has said in response that school districts are not spending their money wisely.

It seems that no one is happy with the bill passed last year regarding breeding of cats and dogs. One group has come forward to sue the state, claiming the law violates their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The Responsible Pet Breeders Association filed suit in Austin, claiming the law subjects them to unreasonable search and seizure and to violations of due process. The group claims unfairness in many aspects of the law, including the exemption passed for dogs bred for hunting and herding. Meanwhile, the Texas Humane Legislation Network claims the law didn’t go far enough, and should have included more protections for animals, including bigger and unstacked cages and flooring included in those cages. 

A bill passed last year regulating the breeding of cats and dogs has found few fans. One group has come forward to sue the state, claiming the law violates their Fifth and 14th Amendment rights. The Responsible Pet Breeders Association filed suit in Austin, claiming the law subjects people to unreasonable search and seizure and to violations of due process. The group claims unfairness in many aspects of the law, including the exemption passed for dogs bred for hunting and herding. Meanwhile, the Texas Humane Legislation Network claims the law didn’t go far enough, and should have included more protections for animals, including bigger and unstacked cages and flooring included in those cages. 

Most universities opposed the Legislature’s attempt during the last session to require them to allow holders of concealed handgun licenses to carry guns on campus. But Texas A&M has been debating the issue, and its student government has endorsed the idea, voting on a resolution after debating it for an extended period. President John Claybrook has five days to sign or veto the resolution, but announced he is still undecided. The Aggie student population is not entirely on board with the idea; in a poll conducted in the spring, 57 percent of students and faculty were against the idea. The idea failed to result in a passage of a law in the last session, but is widely expected to be introduced again.

Political People and their Moves

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was elected minority whip in the Senate, making him the GOP caucus’ number two officer behind Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And they also elevated Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas, naming him the vice chairman of grassroots for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party’s political arm in that chamber.

State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, announced she’ll run for an open Senate seat that had belonged to fellow Democrat Mario Gallegos, and that she’s getting in with the support of his family. That race will split the city’s Democratic delegation in Austin. Alvarado has Rodney Ellis, Borris Miles, Harold Dutton and Senfronia Thompson in her camp. Former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia claims Ana Hernandez Luna, Jessica Farrar, Garnet Coleman, and Armando Walle. No election date has been set; the governor will call that after this month’s votes have been officially canvassed. 

Craig Chick and Adam Goldman have started a new lobby practice. Chick had been an advisor to House Speaker Joe Straus; Goldman was most recently a consultant with Austin-based Public Strategies. 

Back in the saddle: Gov. Rick Perry is holding a fundraiser at a sushi bar in Mission later this month, but the invite doesn’t say he’s running for anything. It’s a “reception honoring” the state’s chief executive, with suggested contributions ranging from “friend” at $1,000, to “Patron” at $10,000. 

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is off to the UK this weekend — after the F1 races in Austin are over — for an economic development trip with a number of local companies. The trip was announced by the Brits, who invited him and the companies to talk about energy and trade. He’ll be back before the turkey is carved.

Senior district judge John J. Specia Jr., a founding member and jurist in residence for the Supreme Court Children’s Commission, has been named commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Kenneth Shine, the University of Texas System’s executive vice chancellor for health affairs, announced his plans to retire from his post in early 2013.

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Wesley Ward of Houston as judge of the 234th Judicial District Court in Harris County. Ward is an attorney and certified public accountant.

Chris Elam, the former deputy executive director of the Texas Republican Party, will serve as campaign manager for Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson's 2104 bid for lite guv.

Kwame Walker has joined McGuireWoods Consulting as a vice president for state government relations. Walker has spent the past 13 years working as a legislative consultant representing clients like the city of Dallas before the state Legislature.

Sen.-elect Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, named Bonnie Bruce as her chief of staff. Bruce previously worked for Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton; he didn't seek reelection this year.

Republican consultant John Colyandro pleaded guilty to charges of accepting illegal campaign contributions during the 2002 elections, bringing to an end his part of the Tom DeLay money-laundering criminal prosecution. Colyandro and others were accused of illegally moving corporate money into use for political spending where that kind of money isn’t allowed. He was sentenced to a year of deferred adjudication and fined $8,000.

Quotes of the Week

I just don’t want the party to be toast.

Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, on the need to court Hispanic voters, in the Austin American-Statesman

We’ve got to give our political organization a very serious proctology exam. We need to look everywhere.

Haley Barbour, quoted in The New York Times on what the GOP needs after last week's election

We had Republican candidates who got very high profile and said some very stupid things; I think that really tainted the party.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, on CNN

How can we convey what I believe is the true image, that Republicans actually do care about people of all races, ethnicities and classes in America?

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn to Politico

I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out the plain truth of things. The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul during his farewell speech on the House floor on Wednesday

Keep me from going over my own fiscal cliff.

Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, closing a recent fundraising letter

Louie, I love you, too.

U.S. Rep. John Boehner during his acceptance speech Wednesday after being re-elected as House speaker, during which U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, nominated Newt Gingrich

It’s kind of like paying your vet after your dog dies. You still have to pay the vet bill. But, you know, your dog is dead.

Cynthia Wiedemann of Fundraising Solutions, telling D Magazine that former U.S. Senate candidate Craig James still owes money to vendors like her