Sit-Rep #1 - Opening Day

Welcome to Sit Rep, a series of articles brought to you as part of my promise to always stay in touch with the people of HD20 during the 85th Texas Legislative Session and beyond. For the next four months, as the legislature meets to tackle the issues facing our state, I want to make sure you have a chance to hear from your representative on a regular basis.

It’s your job to hold me and your other representatives accountable; so, every so often I will come before you in this paper with an update from the session, and with the reasoning behind the decisions I have made on your behalf. Please do not hesitate to let me and my staff know your thoughts, we depend on them to better represent you once bills begin hitting the floor.

You can reach my office at (512)463-0309, or email me at As for social media, well, when you’ve had a security clearance for a few decades it can be hard to adjust to being able to speak your mind freely on the internet at any moment, so please bear with me as I learn to use these new tools for the first time, I do have a Facebook page at, and we will be posting there as regularly as possible as well.    

Before we get into the ins and outs of the session, let’s start with what went on between the election in March and the swearing in in January.

March’s Republican Primary, like many across the state, created the potential for deep and lasting divides within HD20. A changing of the guard comes with uncertainty. Will those who worked hard to push for needed legislation find all their work was in vain? Will people who supported the incumbent face retribution?

It became apparent right away that we would need to address these concerns in the most direct way possible, by bringing together a panel of people from across the district; from Williamson, Milam, and Burnet counties, party leaders, community leaders, those who had supported me and those who supported the incumbent, to help choose the staff that would help me navigate the legislative session.

Starting a legislative office from scratch takes a whole team, and how a legislator selects their staff can have more impact on how they will help govern than almost any other. With over 4,000 bills filed in the house alone last session, we have no choice but to rely on staff to help read, analyze, and recommend a vote on each bill that comes before the house. By bringing together people from across the district, and people who supported different candidates, we helped ensure that the staff that would help advise and analyze would properly represent the needs of the entire district, not simply one group.

We started with a deep bench of candidates from a variety of backgrounds. Former chiefs of staff for retired legislators, legislative directors who had helped write and pass conservative legislation in the past, and many others. In the end, though, the panel of voices from across the district all chose the same candidate as their first choice. Despite different needs, different counties, and different preferences towards candidates, we found a place to come together and start building something new together.

As we approached the day of my swearing in, I once again relied on the strengths of people across the district to help get us on the right path. Volunteers from Williamson, Burnet, and Milam counties showed up in force to help get our office decorated for the inauguration, with only a 72 hour window to work with. They did an amazing job, and I’d love to have you come see the work they contributed to give our capitol office the best face possible.

Opening day itself surpassed my wildest expectations. So many of you showed up that other legislators joked they couldn’t get past the crowd to their offices. But they weren’t just there to see me, the real star of the show was my grandfather, a World War II Navy Veteran with endless stories to share who turned 90 years old on the same day his grandson took the oath of office to become a state representative. The Speaker’s staff graciously went out of their way to make sure my grandfather could be with me on the floor for the swearing in, and Speaker Straus himself even spent time listening to his stories. 

Words can’t properly express the gratitude I have for the people of HD20 for granting me this great privilege. I make this solemn promise to you, I am here to represent ALL of HD20, I am available to hear what you have to say, and I will always listen and respond. Thank You