Political People and their Moves

Gov. Greg Abbott has reappointed Mike Arismendez of Shallowater and appointed Helen Callier of Kingwood and Rick Figueroa of Brenham to the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation for terms to expire Feb. 1, 2021. The governor’s office also noted that Arismendez will continue serving as the panel’s chairman.

Abbott appointed John Best of San Angelo as district attorney for the 119th Judicial District in Runnels, Concho and Tom Green counties. The appointment, effective June 1, 2016, runs until the fall general election. Best will be on the November ballot after having won the Republican nomination in March.

Abbott appointed Albert Cheng of Houston and Cathy Norwood of Midland and reappointed Lamberto “Bobby” Ballí of San Antonio to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) for terms to expire Sept. 26, 2021.

Abbott named Anthony Giuliani of El Paso to the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners for a term to expire Jan. 31, 2019.

A couple of Texans have earned presidential nominations to represent the U.S. overseas as ambassadors. Rena Bitter was nominated to become ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Douglas Alan Silliman was nominated to become ambassador to the Republic of Iraq. Both are career members of the Foreign Service. Their nominations have been submitted to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.

State Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, endorsed Wayne Christian for Railroad Commission in a message sent to her supporters on Thursday.

The public education advocacy group Texas Parent PAC announced its endorsement of David Simpson for the East Texas-based SD-1 seat. He’s facing off against Bryan Hughes, a state representative from Mineola, for their party’s nod to succeed outgoing state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler.

GOP SD-24 runoff candidate Susan King received on Monday the endorsement of the Texas Travel Industry Association.

GOP SD-24 runoff candidate Dawn Buckingham announced endorsements over the past week from the political arm of the Texas Thoroughbred Breeder’s Association, SBOE District 5 representative Ken Mercer and a a trio of NRA board members — Leroy SiscoSusan Howard and Ted Nugent.

Former Gov. Rick Perry on Monday took a break from retirement to weigh in on another race involving the Texas Legislature. This time, he is throwing his support behind state Rep. Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, who has found himself in a tough runoff with 31-year-old attorney Briscoe Cain. Smith later in the week received the endorsement of Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has endorsed Jarvis Johnson in the Democratic runoff election for HD-139, the seat that Turner held before becoming mayor in January. Johnson faces off against Kimberly Willis next week to determine who will be the Democratic nominee in the fall general election.

The Health and Human Services Commission announced on Tuesday that it is bringing on board Heather Griffith Peterson as the organization’s new chief operating officer and Kara Crawford as its new chief of staff. Both begin work at HHSC on June 1.

The Texas Water Development Board on Thursday named Jeff Walker as its new executive administrator. He is currently serves as the deputy executive administrator of Water Supply and Infrastructure. 

The George W. Bush Presidential Center has selected Ken Hersh to take over as its president and CEO at the end of May. The George W. Bush Foundation also announced that Holly Kuzmich, who had served as the center’s interim president, will take over as executive director of the George W. Bush Institute.

John Moritz last week joined the statewide media relations team at the Texas Department of Transportation, leaving the communications shop at Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.

Stacy E. Wilson has been named the new president of the Children’s Hospital Association of Texas. She comes to CHAT from the Texas Hospital Association, where she was vice president and associate general counsel.

The Texas Civil Justice League announced Monday that former Senate parliamentarian Walter Fisher is joining the organization’s board of directors. He most recently had the title of senior advisor to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Disclosure: The Texas Travel Industry Association, the Children’s Hospital Association of Texas, the George W. Bush Institute, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and the Texas Civil Justice League have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.