Political People and their Moves

Gov. Rick Perry has named Kathy Walt his chief of staff and Jonathan Taylor his director of economic development and tourism. Aaron Demerson is Perry’s senior adviser for economic development.

Walt, a longtime Perry adviser who previously worked as his deputy chief of staff and press secretary, most recently served as executive manager for governmental affairs at the Lower Colorado River Authority. Taylor was director of enterprise projects at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and previously directed the Texas Emerging Tech Fund. Demerson has been with Perry’s economic development team since 2003, and previously managed the Texas Tomorrow Fund in the comptroller’s office. 

State Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, has announced his candidacy for agriculture commissioner. Reliably, the state sovereignty fan said that Texas farmers and ranchers “have never before had to deal with the kind of overreaching federal government that we have in Washington today.” So far he has at least two Republican opponents: Eric Opiela, a former executive director of the state Republican party, and J Allen Carnes, the mayor of Uvalde.  

Ted Seago is considering a run for HD-16, Brandon Creighton’s current seat. Seago is an educator and the senior pastor of Grace Community Church at Fish Creek, and has been active in efforts to pass more restrictive anti-abortion legislation in Texas. 

Mike VanDeWalle, a Republican, is running for former Democratic Rep. Mark Strama’s Austin seat. VanDeWalle, a chiropractor with a Travis County practice, describes himself as a fiscal conservative “with strong concerns about the damage now being done to the American health care system.”

Dennis Golden, a Carthage optometrist on the medical staff at East Texas Medical Center, is considering a run for HD-9, the seat currently held by state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall. Golden is one of Gov. Rick Perry’s appointees to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Golden said he’ll make an announcement after Labor Day. 

Stuart Spitzer, a Kaufman surgeon, is running for the Republican nomination for HD-4, currently held by state Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Terrell.  

Sam Brown, a retired Army captain who was severely wounded in Afghanistan, will run as a Republican in North Texas' HD-102, which is an open seat since state Rep. Stefani Carter is running for the Railroad Commission.