Aug 23rd 2018 | Posted in News by wpengine

Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week

Check this column each week for information and updates on speakers and agenda topics! The Biennial Legislative Communication Conference, scheduled for Oct. 17 in Austin, is designed to bring government executives, board and commission appointees, local and elected government officials, K-12 and higher education leaders, and senior staffers to discuss the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature.

k 1 Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week


Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week – October 1, 2018

Rep.Todd Hunter, Chair, Calendars 

Hunter Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the WeekHunter will be on a morning panel discussing the “Priorities of the 86th Legislature,” to be moderated by Patricia Shipton, chief of staff, Office of the Speaker of the House.

Hunter was born in Bartlesville, Okla. on Aug. 26, 1953. He attended the University of Kansas (1971-1975) and Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law (1975-1978). Hunter has practiced law since November 1978 and is currently a partner of The Law Office of Todd A. Hunter in Corpus Christi.

During his previous tenure in the Texas House of Representatives (1989-1997), Hunter served on the Civil Practices Committee as its chairman, the State Affairs Committee as vice chairman, and on the Appropriations Committee as the chairman of the Education Sub-Committee. He also served as a member of the Ways and Means, Elections, Calendars, Urban Affairs and Higher Education Committees.

In 2008, Hunter returned to the Texas House as the Representative for District 32, which included Aransas, San Patricio and Calhoun Counties, as well as part of Nueces County for his fifth term. In the 82nd Legislative Session (his sixth term), Hunter was named the chairman of the Calendars Committee and as chairman of the Select Committee on Election Contest. He also served on the General Investigating & Ethics, Human Services and Correction Committees.

In 2012, Hunter was elected for his seventh term to a district that encompasses the eastern half of Nueces County. For the 83rd Legislative Session, Hunter was once again named chairman of the Calendars Committee. He was also a member of the Redistricting, Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, County Affairs, General Investigating and Ethics and Transportation Funding Committees.

Hunter was elected for his eighth term in 2014. He was appointed the chairman of the Calendars Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Urban Affairs Committee for the 84th Legislative Session. He was also a member of the Criminal Jurisprudence, Redistricting and General Investigating and Ethics Committees. Rep. Hunter was re-elected in 2016 for his ninth term. He was once again appointed the chairman of the Calendars Committee, vice chairman of Criminal Jurisprudence and a member of the County Affairs Committee.

Hunter and his wife, Alexis Taylor Hunter, have three children: Todd Jr., Michael, and Christina.

Sarah Hicks, Budget Director, Office of the Governor  

Hicks will be on a morning panel discussing “Key Budget Issues,” to be moderated by Ursula Parks, director Legislative Budget Board. 

Sarah Hicks is the budget director for Gov. Greg Abbott. Her team supports  Abbott in his role as the state’s chief budget officer. She advises the governor on state fiscal matters, works with agencies on their budget issues and prepares the governor’s state biennial budget.

Previously, Hicks was the assistant vice chancellor & director for State Relations for The Texas A&M University System (2014-2017). In this role, she coordinated the efforts of State Relations representatives from the system’s eleven universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center as they communicated the needs and directives of the executive and legislative offices to the system, as well as the diverse activities, needs and successes of the system to the executive and legislative offices.

Prior to joining The A&M System, Hicks worked as the committee director for the Senate Finance Committee (2004-2014), where she served under Chairman Steve Ogden and Chairman Tommy Williams. As committee director, she shepherded five state budgets, a school finance bill and tax bills through the complexities of the legislative process, giving her invaluable insights into the budget and the behind-the-scenes decision making processes.

Hicks is twice an Aggie. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance and then a Master’s degree in Public Service Administration from the George Bush School of Public Service.

Hicks and her husband Matt live in the Austin area with their two sons (9 and 4).

Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week – September 28th, 2018

This week we are pleased to announce one of the morning panels titled, “2020-21 Budget” to be moderated by Sherri Greenberg, Clinical Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs. These two legislators, Senator Hinojosa and Representative Raney, have extensive knowledge in dealing with the state budget and balancing expenditures across state government. They will share their insights on state revenue forecasting for the next biennium and how their committees will deal with the many unexpected challenges created by Hurricane Harvey.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Vice-Chair, Finance

Hinojosa will be on a morning panel about the “2020-21 Budget”.

State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the people of District 20. Born in McAllen, Texas, in Hidalgo County, Hinojosa is the eldest of eight children. He attended Mission ISD schools as a child and worked as a farm worker during his teen years. He led the Mission Eagles football team as their quarterback, and after graduating, Hinojosa volunteered to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.

In Vietnam, Hinojosa served his country with distinction from 1966 to 1968 before returning home to continue his education. Hinojosa graduated with honors from the University of Texas-Pan American with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He completed his legal studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

After returning to South Texas, Hinojosa served as staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Nueces County and later as an Assistant Attorney General for the Texas Attorney General. In 1980, Hinojosa began his own private practice in McAllen, where he continues to represent clients in both civil and criminal matters.

Hinojosa was first elected into office in 1981, serving in the Texas House until 1990 and again from 1997 to 2002. During his tenure in the Texas House, Hinojosa passed landmark legislation, such as the establishment of the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) which promotes physician training on the Texas/Mexico Border. As the Chairman of Criminal Jurisprudence, Senator Hinojosa sponsored the Texas Fair Defense Act, reforming procedures for providing court-appointed defense counsel to indigent defendants and carried DNA legislation that has resulted in freeing many wrongly convicted citizens.

Since his election to the Texas Senate in 2002, Hinojosa has secured more than $100 million for new construction at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and at the University of Texas-Pan American. Senator Hinojosa’s efforts have brought millions in funding to support the economic growth of Senate District 20, composed of Brooks, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, and Nueces Counties.

During the 2011 Legislative Session, Hinojosa authored SB 975, the Statewide Dropout Recovery Bill, offering a better future to our younger generations in Texas. He has been a leader in making state government more efficient by serving as the only South Texas member of the Sunset Advisory Commission from 2008-2011. He carried sunset legislation for high profile agencies such as TxDOT, DPS, and the Texas Water Development Board. Hinojosa has championed legislation to rein in rising university tuition costs, has worked with a bipartisan group of legislators to allocate more than $120 million for border security, and to honor our Veterans, he passed legislation to create a monument to Vietnam Veterans on the State Capitol grounds.

During the 2013 Legislative Session, Hinojosa authored SB 24, historic legislation that will merge UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville and create a free-standing medical school in South Texas. The expansion of educational opportunities will create greater access to healthcare and will be a great boost to the South Texas economy. The educational and healthcare opportunities are endless and will serve the unique and critical needs of South Texas as well as for all Texans for decades to come. Senator Hinojosa also secured critical funding for the Corpus Christi Bay Harbor Bridge Replacement project and passed legislation to allow South Texas communities and hospitals to draw down millions of federal matching funds to expand and invest in their healthcare infrastructure and to reimburse hospitals for indigent care through a federal 1115 Healthcare Transformation Waiver.

Senator Hinojosa was named “Top Ten Best Legislators” for 2013 by Texas Monthly magazine, making it his third time to receive the prestigious honor. He was named “Top Ten Legislator for 2013” by Capitol Inside for the third time as well.

Hinojosa has received a number of awards for his public service during his more than 20 years as an elected representative of South Texas. In 2012 Senator Hinojosa was honored to receive the CHRISTUS Health Eagle Award for his outstanding legislative leadership and strong commitment to healthcare issues and the 2012 “Border Texan of the Year” for his great contributions to the lives and well-being of residents along the border and his tireless dedication to bringing economic and educational benefits to the Coastal Bend area and South Texas. In 2011 he received the “Big Voices for Little Texans Award” from CASA, was recognized with the National Award/State Alliance Champion Award by the Boys & Girls Club, and the National Organization of Women has named him their “Legislator of the Year.” In 2005, he received the John Henry Faulk Award from the American Civil Liberties Union and has also been a co-recipient of the James Madison Award given by the Freedom of Information Foundation.

Representative John Raney, Vice-Chair, Higher Education, Appropriations

Raney will be on a morning panel about the “2020-21 Budget”.

A sixth-generation Texan, State Representative John Raney was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in December 2011 and serves Texas House District 14 which is comprised of Bryan and College Station.

John was born April 4, 1947 in Huntsville and was raised on land farmed by his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father for over 125 years in Madison County. John moved back to Huntsville in 1950, and then to Bryan in 1960. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in 1965 and is a member of the Texas A&M Class of 1969, graduating with a BBA in Marketing. While in college, John founded Texas Aggieland Bookstore, which has now been in operation for forty-six years. John served in the Texas Army National Guard as 1st Lieutenant from 1969 to 1975. He was an honor graduate of the USAR Basic Course and is Airborne qualified.

John began his involvement in politics in the early 70s when he served as Chairman of the Republican Party of Brazos County. During his tenure as Chairman, John also served as Civic Division Vice President of the Bryan College Station Chamber of Commerce, chaired Senatorial District 5 Caucus and began his almost four-decade membership in the National Federation of Independent Business, including serving as a board member. John is a long-time member of the Texas Retailers Association, serving for many years on its Board of Directors and taking an active role on its Tax and Legislative Committee and Executive Committee. In 2010, John Raney was named the Outstanding Member of the Texas Retailers Association. Through these roles, John participated and testified in numerous committee hearings in the Texas Legislature.

While attending the Republican State Convention in 1972, John met his future wife, Elizabeth. They were married in 1974. John and Elizabeth have two daughters and sons-in-law, Beth and Grant Hawkins and Laura and Alex Scogin, and seven grandchildren. For over fifty years, the Raneys have been active members and served in many leadership roles at First United Methodist Church in Bryan and for over forty-five years, John has been an active participant in various Masonic bodies within the Brazos Valley. John is actively involved in Aggie sports and many community organizations.

Representative Raney serves on the Committee on House Appropriations where he also serves on the Sub-Committee on Education, the Committee on Higher Education, and the Committee on House Administration. He is the acting Secretary of the House Republican Caucus and is a member of the Aggie Delegation, Eagle Ford Shale, Education, Farm-to-Table, General Aviation, Military Communities, Republican, Sportsman’s, TEX-21, Texas Manufacturers, Texas Veterans, and Legislative Tourism Caucuses.


Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week – September 23rd, 2018

This week we are pleased to announce one of the afternoon panels titled, “Success in Contracting and Procurement Engagements” to be moderated by Mary Scott Nabers. Two of the leading procurement experts in Texas government will discuss how procurement and contracting have changed with new laws from the past few legislative sessions. These experts will share trends and outcomes that have emerged as well as insight for successful outcomes in contracting.

Hershel Becker, Chief Procurement Officer, Texas Department of Information Resources 

Becker will be on an afternoon panel about “Success in Contracting & Procurement Engagements.”

Becker joined the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) in July 2016 and serves as the chief procurement officer. He is responsible for overseeing and directing procurement and contracting functions for DIR’s Enterprise and Cooperative Contracts.

Becker brings nearly 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. Prior to assuming his current role, Becker served as the deputy director for Contract Operations at the Texas Office of the Attorney General where he directed all major outsourcing initiatives for the Child Support Division. He was also responsible for operations of the outsourced services. While there, he represented the Office of the Attorney General on the state’s Contract Advisory Team for eight years.

Prior to his state service, Becker worked for management consulting, technology services and outsourcing companies, where he spent the majority of his career providing technology-related services to the state of Texas.

Becker holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Sam Houston State University.

Robert Wood, Associate Deputy Comptroller for Operations and Support, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts 

Wood will be on an afternoon panel about “Success in Contracting & Procurement Engagements.” 

Wood currently serves as associate deputy comptroller for Operations and Support for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, in Austin, Texas. In his current role, he has responsibility for eight divisions of the agency and over 500 employees. From 2007 through 2014, he served as director of economic development and analysis, and oversaw the agency’s economic development initiatives, as well as the State Energy Conservation Office. He has also directed the state’s prepaid tuition programs and the Property Tax Division while at the comptroller. He is actively involved in the agency’s legislative functions, and regularly works with legislators, staff and the public in performing agency duties.

Prior to joining the comptroller in 2007, he worked for the Texas Department of Agriculture for 8 years, where, from 2001 to 2007, he served as assistant commissioner of Rural Economic Development. In that position, he oversaw a number of programs that assist rural communities. In his capacity at the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), he traveled extensively throughout rural Texas, and was a presenter at a United Nations funded conference on rural technology in China.

Before joining TDA, Wood spent 12 years in the commercial banking industry serving agricultural and commercial customers, and during that time worked in the cities of Brownwood, Bryan and San Antonio. He also spent two years in Okeechobee, Fla. working for a diversified farm and ranch operation. He is a 1985 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Agricultural Economics.


Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week – September 16th, 2018

This week we are pleased to announce one of the afternoon panels titled, “The Enemy is Out There: Cybersecurity Issues in State Government.” Cybersecurity is one of the hottest topics in all forms of government and Texas state government is no exception. Each year this issue becomes more of a concern to legislators, agency leaders and employees and the public. This panel will discuss potential legislative cyber initiatives next session and current efforts to protect Texas state agencies.

Representative Giovanni Capriglione, Appropriations

Capriglione will be on an afternoon panel about “Cybersecurity Issues in State Government.”

Capriglione, after receiving his BS in Physics, pursued his MBA in Finance from Santa Clara University. After school, Capriglione went on to work for a DFW based venture capital/private equity firm.

Capriglione is now the owner and president of his own small business, Texas Adventure Capital LLC, which provides business services to various investment fund managers and business owners. His focus is investing in Texas-based small businesses.

Capriglione was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012 and is serving his third term representing District 98 which encompasses all or part of Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Keller, Westlake, North Fort Worth and Haslet.

He currently serves on the following committees: Appropriations, of which he is the chair of the subcommittee for Budget Transparency & Reform, General Investigating and Ethics, vice chair of Government Transparency & Operation, and the Local & Consent Calendars Committee. He is a member of the House Innovation & Technology Caucus, House Veterans Caucus, House Travel & Tourism Caucus, and the interim Public School Finance work group, where he has become a champion for public education, focusing on equitable funding for “Robin Hood” districts. And most recently, was named chair of the House select committee on Cybersecurity.

Capriglione has been married to his wife Elisa for 17 years and has three children attending Carroll ISD schools.

Todd Kimbriel, Deputy Executive Director, Texas Department of Information Resources 

Kimbriel will be on an afternoon panel about “Cybersecurity Issues in State Government.”

Todd Kimbriel, deputy executive director of the Texas Department of Information Resources and the state of Texas chief information officer (CIO), came to public service in 2008 after serving over 25 years in the private sector. He is a lifelong information technology professional, having spent time in all aspects of technology including planning, design, operations and management. His industry experience outside of public service includes telecommunications, aviation, retail and import/export.

As the State CIO, Kimbriel represents Texas nationally and collaborates with other states in advancing the role of technology in the public sector.

Kimbriel graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.


Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week – September 10th, 2018

This week we are pleased to announce one of the afternoon panels titled, “Working with the State Leadership Offices – Expectations, Preparation and Delivery.” This panel explores how state agencies should approach working with the state legislature. Topics include the best timing for conversations, how to approach certain subjects, who to reach out to for meetings and what to bring to meetings. Experts on this panel will share tips and best practices for working with political officials.

Walter Fisher, Legislative Director, Office of the Governor

Fisher will be on the afternoon panel discussing “Working with the State Leadership Offices – Expectations, Preparation and Delivery.”

Mr. Fisher has over 30 years of experience in the areas of parliamentary and legislative law as well as legislative procedural experience. Mr. Fisher served as assistant parliamentarian for the Texas House of Representatives for six years. In addition, he served from 1995 until 2004, as senate parliamentarian under Lieutenant Governors Bullock, Perry, Ratliff and Dewhurst. Mr. Fisher advised the Texas Senate during some of its most historic times over groundbreaking constitutional issues such as the election of lieutenant governor by secret ballot and congressional redistricting. Mr. Fisher served as senior advisor to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during the 84th Legislative Session.

Mr. Fisher is currently serving as legislative director for Gov. Greg Abbott. Mr. Fisher held appointed office from seven different presiding officers in the Senate and the House and from both political parties.

Darrell Davila, Chief of Staff, Office of the Lt. Governor

Davila will be on the afternoon panel discussing “Working with the State Leadership Offices – Expectations, Preparation and Delivery.” 

Darrell Davila serves as chief of staff for Texas Lt. Gov. and President of the Texas Senate Dan Patrick. He has been a member of the lieutenant governor’s leadership team since his first day in office. Mr. Davila first served as general counsel where, in addition to his role as chief legal counsel and ethics advisor, he advised the lieutenant governor on state affairs policy and economic development. Mr. Davila previously served as director of governmental appointments and counsel for legal and judicial appointments for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

As an attorney, Mr. Davila has been both a civil litigator and prosecutor and tried over 100 jury trials to verdict. Mr. Davila received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas A&M University and a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law.


Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week – September 3rd, 2018

Sen. Kirk Watson, Finance Committee

Sen. Watson will be the afternoon keynoter, speaking about “Hometown Perspective.”

Kirk Watson is the former mayor of Austin and was elected to the Texas Senate in 2006. He represents most of Travis County and all of Bastrop County in the Texas Senate. He served as chairman of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus beginning in 2011 and continued in that position through the 2015 legislative session.

His priorities center on education, health care, transportation, budget transparency, and state employees. He serves as vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Nominations; and also sits on the committees overseeing Finance, Health and Human Services, and Higher Education as well as the Joint Oversight Committee on Government Facilities and the Sunset Advisory Commission. Among other recognitions, Texas Monthly magazine named him one of the state’s “10 Best Legislators” in 2009.

From 1991 to 1993, Watson served as chair of the Texas Air Control Board. He was vice-chair of the committee that oversaw the consolidation of the Texas Air Control Board with the Texas Water Commission creating the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He also has served as chair of both the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Advisory Board of Environmental Defense, and he has been a member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Texas. He also has chaired the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the primary transportation planning agency for Central Texas.

In 2011, Sen. Watson laid out 10 goals in 10 years to transform the health and economy of Austin and Travis counties. Substantial progress has been made on each of the goals, including the creation of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas (UT) and a new, modern teaching and safety-net hospital, Dell Seton Medical Center at UT.

Sen. Watson graduated from Baylor University and was first in his law school class at Baylor Law School. He received the school’s Pro Texana Medal of Service in 2010 and several other recognitions. He is currently of counsel at the law firm Husch Blackwell LLP. Sen. Watson has been married to his wife, Liz, for 37 years. They have two sons, Preston and Cooper.


Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week- August 27th, 2018

John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System 

Chancellor Sharp will be addressing Hurricane Harvey’s Impact on the State Budget and the Texas Economy. 

John Sharp was appointed Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System by the Board of Regents on Sept. 6, 2011. In September 2017, Governor Greg Abbott named him the commissioner of the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas, which is dedicated to rebuilding critical public infrastructure along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

As Chancellor, Sharp leads one of the nation’s largest systems with an annual budget of $4.7 billion. Enrollment at the A&M System’s 11 universities has grown to more than 152,000, and externally funded research expenditures are in excess of $972 million. The System’s flagship, Texas A&M University, stands among the nation’s top 20 research universities for total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M University in 1972, where he was student body president and a member of the Corps staff of the Corps of Cadets. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves. In 1976, while working full-time with the Legislative Budget Board in Austin, Sharp received a master’s degree in public administration from Southwest Texas State University.

In 1978, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and was named “Outstanding Freshman” by Texas Monthly. He won a seat in the Texas Senate in 1982, where he served on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in 1986. He was elected state comptroller in 1990 and re-elected in 1994.

Chancellor Sharp has been married to Charlotte Han of Austin since 1978. They have a son, Spencer; a daughter-in-law, Brigitte; a granddaughter, Simone; and a daughter, Victoria.


Legislative Communication Conference Highlight of the Week- August 20th, 2018

Glenn Hegar, Comptroller of Public Accounts 

Comptroller Hegar will be the opening keynoter, speaking about Texas’ Economic Outlook & Budget Prognosis 

Glenn Hegar was elected as the 36th Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in November 2014. Hegar is Texas’ chief financial officer – the state’s treasurer, check writer, tax collector, procurement officer and revenue estimator.

As CFO for the world’s 10th-largest economy, Hegar monitors Texas’ financial health to ensure it maintains strong fund balances. He employs sound fiscal management, invests resources wisely and approaches budgeting with a consistently conservative point of view.

Prior to becoming Texas Comptroller, Hegar served in the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate, where he worked on a wide range of common-sense solutions to problems affecting Texans in areas such as public education, transportation, tax reform, government transparency, Second Amendment rights, water issues and tort reform. As chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission, Hegar eliminated inefficiencies in state agencies and abolished six, saving Texas taxpayers more than $160 million. In his last session as a state senator, Hegar oversaw state and local revenue matters and helped cut $1 billion worth of taxes.

Hegar is a 1993 graduate of Texas A&M University and a graduate of St. Mary’s University, where he earned a Master of Arts and his law degree. At the University of Arkansas, he earned his Master of Laws. Hegar is a sixth-generation Texan who grew up farming land that has been in his family since the mid-1800s. He and his wife Dara have three young children, Claire, Julia and Jonah. Hegar’s most important title throughout his years of service is the one closest to home: Dad!

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