The Mignon Memo

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Posted June 6, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

School safety in the forefront.

Shortly after Governor Abbott released his proposal to address school safety, Speaker Straus and Lt. Governor Patrick tasked the House and Senate with developing their own proposals. Speaker Straus issued new committee charges to several committees and Lt. Governor Patrick appointed the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security. Both the House and Senate have scheduled committee hearings to begin next week.  To read more…

Young temporary Executive Commissioner for HHSC.

Effective June 1, Cecile Young began as acting Executive Commissioner for the Health and Human Services Commission. She will lead the agency while a permanent successor for Charles Smith is sought. Young most recently served as Deputy Executive Commissioner for HHSC. To read more…

Kimmel v. Cruz

We’ve all heard about the Beto O’Rourke/Ted Cruz faceoff, but a more light-hearted competition between talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Senator Ted Cruz has been scheduled for Father’s Day weekend. Cruz and Kimmel will head to the basketball court and the loser will donate $5000 to the non-political charity of the winner’s choosing. The hoop challenge is the result of Kimmel’s comment about Cruz’s attire at a recent Rockets playoff game. To read more…

Only in Austin…

The Elephant Room on Congress is one of those unique venues that helps give Austin its claim to fame as “Live Music Capital of the World.” The unassuming basement environment may not be glamorous, but the jazz and blues musicians who play the Elephant Room are exceptional.  Come early for a seat close to the stage! To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Posted May 30, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

School safety in the wake of Santa Fe.

Today Governor Abbott will announce his proposals to address school safety after a mass shooting took place at Santa Fe High School. Work on some of the proposals can begin before the Legislature convenes in January. The others will need legislative approval. Several lawmakers have called on the Governor to call a special session to address this issue.  To read more…

The 8th Wonder makes history.

The Astrodome is now an officially recorded Texas historic landmark with a new marker to boot. What a difference a few years makes—from planned demolition to becoming an historic landmark awaiting a $105 million renovation plan to commence.  To read more…

The swearing begins.

Thursday Ben Leman will be sworn in to serve the remainder of Rep. Leighton Schubert’s term. Leman also won the primary runoff to become the Republican candidate for Texas House District 13 in November. Leman faces Democrat Cecil Webster in November, but this district is Republican-leaning. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Looking for a cool place to spend the summer hours AND get some of the city’s most raved about enchiladas? Look no further than Dart Bowl. Established in 1958, Dart Bowl has been operated as a family owned business for over 50 years. Who doesn’t love old school bowling and homemade enchiladas? To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, March 23, 2018

Posted May 23, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Primary results—the sequel. 

We’ve done the breakdown of last night’s primary runoff election. Some quick tidbits from last night:

·       2 incumbents lost their seat in the Texas House—Scott Cosper (R-Killeen), and Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville).

·       Moderate Republicans fared well over more ideologically driven Republicans, particularly in Texas House races. This will impact the race for Speaker to be decided in January.

·       Democrats had the only major statewide runoff on their ballots, but voter turnout was dismal. Less than 430,000 Democrats voted during the runoff, down from the 1 million Democrats who voted in the March primary.

For more detailed information, go to the Secretary of State’s website here.

Governor

In a race that was extremely close for most of the night, Lupe Valdez (D-Dallas) defeated Andrew White (D-Houston) with 53% of the vote and will face Governor Greg Abbott (R) in November.

U.S. Congress

Eight open seats in the Texas congressional delegation have made for an extremely competitive election cycle. Five of those seats either had a Democratic or Republican (or both) runoff last night.

CD-2 (SE Texas; north Houston suburbs/eastern Harris County/along Louisiana border): Republican Dan Crenshaw defeated Kevin Roberts with 69.87% of the vote and will face Democrat Todd Litton in November to succeed Ted Poe (R-Humble) who is retiring.

CD-3 (suburban area N and NE of Dallas, including McKinney, Plano, and Frisco): Democrat Lorie Burch defeated Sam Johnson (not the one retiring) with an overwhelming 75% of the vote, and will face Van Taylor (R-Plano) in November to succeed Sam Johnson (R-Plano)—the one who IS retiring.

CD-5 (SE portion of Dallas County, including surrounding counties south and east of Dallas): Outgoing State Representative Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) defeated Bunni Pounds with 53.13% of the vote and is poised to succeed Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas) who is retiring. He will face Democrat Dan Wood in November in this Republican-leaning district.

CD-6: (south of DFW area and the SE corner of Tarrant County): Republican Ron Wright defeated Jake Ellzey with 52.17% of the vote; Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez defeated Ruby Faye Wooldridge with 53.1% of the vote. Sanchez and Wright will face each other in November, and the winner will succeed Joe Baron (R-Ennis) who is retiring.

CD-7 (western Harris County): Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher defeated Laura Moser with 67.1% of the vote and will face incumbent John Culberson (R-Houston) in November.

CD 10 (stretches from NW Harris County to Austin): Democrat Mike Siegel defeated Tawana Walter-Cadien with 69.9% of the vote and will face incumbent Michael McCaul (R-Tomball) in November.

CD-21 (includes north of San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Austin, Kerrville, Fredericksburg): Republican Chip Roy defeated Matt McCall with 52.66% of the vote; Democrat Joseph Kopser defeated Mary Wilson with 57.95% of the vote. Roy and Kopser will face each other in November, and the winner will succeed Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) who is retiring.

CD-22 (majority of Fort Bend County, unincorporated Katy, northern Brazoria County, and small portion of SE Harris County): Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni defeated Letitia Plummer with 62.12% and will face incumbent Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) in November.

CD-23 (SW portion of Texas, stretching from Western San Antonio to just outside of El Paso): Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones defeated Rick Trevino with 67.9% of the vote and will face incumbent Will Hurd (R-Helotes) in November. This is a competitive/swing district.

CD-25 (includes 13 counties stretching from Austin to the DFW area): Democrat Julie Oliver defeated Chris Perri with 52.22% of the vote and will face incumbent Roger Williams (R-Austin) in November.

CD-27 (coastal bend; formerly represented by Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi): Republican Michael Cloud defeated Bech Bruun with 61% of the vote; Democrat Eric Holguin defeated Roy Barrera with 61.89% of the vote. Cloud and Holguin will face off in November. A special election is also being held June 30th to fill the remainder of Farenthold’s term.

CD-29 (eastern portion of Houston): Republican Phillip Aronoff defeated Carmen Maria Montiel with 51.87% of the vote and will face Democrat Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) in November. The winner will succeed Gene Green (D-Houston) who is retiring. This is a Democratic stronghold.

CD-31 (central Texas strip from north Austin to Temple): Democrat M.J. Hegar defeated Christine Eady Mann with 62.21% of the vote and will face incumbent John Carter (R-Round Rock) in November.

CD-32 (NE suburban Dallas): Democrat Colin Allred defeated Lillian Salerno with 69.49% of the vote and will face incumbent Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) in November. This is a Republican leaning district, but Democrats hope Allred is a candidate that could pull off a long shot win.

Texas Senate

·        SD 17 (includes Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, and Jefferson counties): Democrat Rita Lucido defeated Fran Watson with 57.76% of the vote and will face incumbent Joan Huffman (R-Houston) in November.

Texas House

·        HD 4 (Kaufman and Henderson Counties): Republican Keith Bell defeated Stuart Spitzer with 58.89% of the vote and will succeed Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) who stepped down to run for Congress.

·        HD 8 (Anderson, Freestone, Hill and Navarro Counties): Republican Cody Harris defeated Thomas McNutt with 56.96% of the vote and will succeed Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) who is retiring.

·        HD 13 (covers a 7-county region between Austin and Houston, stretching outside of Bryan down toward Victoria): Republican Ben Leman defeated Jill Wolfskill with 57.3% of the vote and will succeed Leighton Schubert (R-Caldwell) who stepped down to accept a position at Blinn College.

·        HD 37 (large portion of Cameron County, includes South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Brownsville): incumbent Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) was defeated by challenger Alex Dominguez who received 56.7% of the vote.

·        HD 45 (Blanco and Hays Counties): Democrat Erin Zwiener defeated Rebecca Bell-Metereau with 51.42% of the vote and will face Republican Ken Strange in November. The winner will succeed Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) who resigned to run for Congress.

·        HD 46 (east Austin, Manor, portion of Pflugerville): Democrat Sheryl Cole defeated Chito Vela with 50.88% of the vote and will face Republican Gabriel Nila in November. The winner will succeed Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) who lost in the March primary. This is a heavily Democratic district.

·        HD 47 (western Travis County, portions of southern Travis County): Democrat Vikki Goodwin defeated Elaina Fowler with 58% of the vote and will face incumbent Paul Workman (R-Austin) in November.

·        HD 54 (western portion of Bell County and Lampasas County): incumbent Scott Cosper (R-Killeen) was defeated by challenger Brad Buckley who garnered 58.25% of the vote. Buckley will face Democrat Kathy Richerson in November. This district is Republican-leaning.

·        HD 62 (Delta, Fannin, and Grayson Counties): Republican Reggie Smith handily defeated Brent Lawson with 71.19% of the vote and will face Democrat Valerie Hefner in November. The winner will succeed Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) who retired to become a district judge. This district is Republican-leaning.

·        HD 64 (includes Denton, Corinth, Hickory Creek, Lake Dallas, and Shady Shores): Democrat Andrew Morris defeated Mat Pruneda with 54% of the vote and will face incumbent Lynn Stucky (R-Denton) in November. This is a Republican-leaning district.

·        HD 107 (includes parts of Dallas, Mesquite, Garland): Republican Deanna Metzger defeated Joe Ruzicka with 56.1% of the vote and will face incumbent Victoria Neave (D-Dallas) in November. This is a competitive/swing district.

·        HD 109 (wraps around Dallas to the south):  Democrat Carl Sherman defeated Deshaundra Jones with 64.23% of the vote and will succeed Helen Giddings (D-DeSoto) who is retiring. No Republican is running for this seat.

·        HD 121 (Bexar County communities of Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, and NE San Antonio): Republican Steve Allison defeated Matt Beebe with 57.46% of the vote and will face Democrat Celina Montoya in November. The winner will succeed Speaker Joe Straus (R-Alamo Heights) who is not seeking re-election.

·        HD 133 (West Houston, includes Bunker Hill, Piney Point, Hunters Creek Village): Democrat Marty Schexnayder defeated Sandra Moore with 56.36% of the vote and will face incumbent Jim Murphy (R-Houston) in November.

Judicial Races

Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals, Place 6: Republican Mike Toth defeated Donna Davidson with 52.83% of the vote.

Justice, 5th Court of Appeals, Place 12: Republican Jim Pikl defeated Randy Johnson with 57.74% of the vote.

 

 

 

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Posted May 23, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Early voting underway.

Early voting for primary runoffs began Monday and ends Friday. Actual runoff election day is May 22nd. If you didn’t vote in the March primary, you are still able to vote in the runoff. Check here to find all the runoffs by county. Local elections are important too! https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/candidate-filing/cf-report.aspx   To read more…

Groceries in the age of technology.

HEB has named its first chief digital officer, Jag Bath, CEO of Favor Delivery. Bath will remain CEO of Favor, a company HEB purchased in February, as well as oversee HEB’s digital products and services. To read more…

Texas sues over opioid epidemic.

Yesterday, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Texas and five other states are suing Purdue Pharma for deceptive trade practices that helped exacerbate the nation’s opioid epidemic. The AG’s office is still investigating other pharmaceutical companies and distributors. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Unplugged at the Grove is one of Austin’s longest running free concert series. On Thursday evenings, you can enjoy some of the best music Austin has to offer at Shady Grove on Barton Springs Road. Check out the “don’t want to miss” lineup. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Posted May 23, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Democratic gubernatorial debate.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates Lupe Valdez (D-Dallas) and Andrew White (D-Houston) will have their one and only debate of the primary on Friday, May 11th, 7pm at St. James Episcopal Church in Austin. The format: opening statements, Dallas Morning News Reporter Gromer Jeffers will ask questions for 30 minutes, Valdez and White will take 3 questions from the audience (possibly a 4th in Spanish), and closing statements to wrap it all up.  To read more…

UberAIR.

It’s a thing. Or could be soon. Uber is currently designing an air-taxi service, hoping to start flight demonstrations in 2020. Their goal is to be operational in Dallas and Los Angeles by 2023. NASA is partnering with Uber in the research and development phase. To read more…

Change to HHSC leadership.

Thursday, Charles Smith, Executive Commissioner for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced that he will retire at the end of May. Former State Senator Tommy Williams will act as interim commissioner starting June 1st while a permanent replacement is sought. HHSC has again been under scrutiny for its contracting practices. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Or about 30 miles southeast in Bastrop. Why give mom a bouquet when you can give her a whole field of flowers? Barton Hill Farms is celebrating Mother’s Day with a Backyard Bash on Saturday, May 12th. Stroll through the flower fields and pick mom her favorite, enjoy live music, local food and drinks, backyard games, views of the Colorado River, and much more! To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Posted May 3, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Federal funds for post-Harvey recovery of schools.

Texas schools impacted by Hurricane Harvey have $89.4 million in assistance coming from the United States Department of Education (DOE) for post-hurricane recovery. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will disperse funds to public, charter, and private schools. To put the amount of damage suffered by Texas schools in perspective, a small, but hard-hit school district like Aransas County ISD estimated $55 million in damages. To read more…

Shadow special election set.

Monday, the early resignation of Rep. Larry Philips (R-Sherman) became effective and Governor Abbott called a special election for November 6th. The special election is being held concurrently with the General Election, shadowing it, instead of being a separate election for House District 62. HD 62 borders Oklahoma and includes Grayson, Fannin, and Delta counties. To read more…

Texas in top 10 of most fun states.

Texas ranks #7 in a recently released list of Most Fun States in America. All 50 states were compared across 26 fun indicators ranging from movie costs to accessibility of state parks. Texas did particularly well in the areas of movie theaters and restaurants. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Since 1981, Texas French Bread Bakery and Bistro has been an Austin favorite for freshly-baked breads, pastries, deserts, and the perfect lunchtime sandwich. In recent years, dinner service has been added. New executive chef Max Mackinnon plans to take Texas French Bread to the next level in European bistro and tradition French dining. Bon Appetite! To read more…

 

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Posted April 26, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Early voting in special election has begun.

Early voting began Monday for the May 5th special election to fill Texas House District 13, formerly held by Rep. Leighton Schubert (R-Caldwell). This election is for the remainder of his term, ending January 2019. Early voting ends May 1st. To read more…

Speedy special in the works.

Governor Abbott has called an emergency special election for June 30th to replace U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi). Texas law allows the governor to suspend certain statutes if they interfere with disaster recovery, and Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion giving the go ahead to do so. Abbott has said he wants the constituents of Congressional District 27 to have new representation as quickly as possible as they continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey. Candidate filing deadline is Friday. To read more…

Texas maps before the Supremes.

Oral arguments in the Texas redistricting case began before the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. At the core of the ongoing lawsuit is whether certain congressional and house districts were drawn with intent to discriminate against voters of color. SCOTUS will issue its ruling sometime this summer. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Looking for an event that truly keeps Austin weird? Look no further than Eeyore’s 55th birthday party in Pease Park. This annual event hosted by the Friends of the Forest Foundation raises funds for several local non-profit organizations including: Emancipet, Hospice Austin, Keep Austin Fed, and Mother’s Milk Bank. Come meet Eeyore himself! To read more…

 

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Posted April 18, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Menendez new Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus Chair.

Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) has been appointed Chair of the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus. Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) resigned as she continues her campaign for Congress.  To read more…

Williams to HHSC.

Former Sen. Tommy Williams, currently Senior Advisor for Fiscal Affairs to Governor Abbott, is going over to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) after a Texas State Auditor’s report was critical of contracting practices. This is not the first time the agency has been under scrutiny in recent months. To read more…

TxDOT Tracker.

Planning a trip, or just want to get to work on time? The Texas Department of Transportation has updated and improved its Project Tracker with information on more than 11,000 projects across Texas. Information includes: project funding, schedule/length of project, and TxDOT contact information for specific projects. To read more…

Only in Austin…

This Saturday, April 21st, Texas Football makes its spring appearance inside the Darrel K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for the annual Orange-White Game. Kickoff is at 6:30pm. To read more…

 

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Posted April 11, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Ryan not seeking re-election.

U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) will not seek re-election. Speaker Ryan just wrapped up a fundraising stop in Texas raising $4 million.  This announcement could lead members of the Texas congressional delegation to seek positions in House leadership.  To read more…

Longoria appointed to LBB.

Rep. Oscar Longoria (D-Mission) has been appointed to the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) by Speaker Joe Straus. The 10-member LBB recommends legislative appropriations for all agencies of state government, creating a starting point for the state budget. To read more…

Special election needed for Coastal Bend Congressional District.

Friday, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) resigned, although he originally said he would serve the remainder of his term. Because it is too late to hold an election for Congressional District 27 on the next uniform election date (May 5th), Governor Abbott will need to call a separate special election to fill the seat for the rest of this term. A runoff for the Republican primary for this district is May 22nd. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Athena, the Wildflower Center’s resident horned owl, returned in February to nest near the entrance once again. In the last couple of weeks, two owlets have been spotted. These owlets will remain in the nest for 6-7 weeks before setting out as fledglings. It’s not too late to visit Athena and her owlets, but you’ll want to do it soon. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Posted April 11, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Combs to U.S. Department of the Interior

Former Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has been named acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks. This appointment comes along as she awaits confirmation for another post at the Department of the Interior—assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget.  To read more…

San Antonio Senate campaigns heat up.

Since the indictment of Senator Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio), Senatorial aspirations have been growing, although Sen. Uresti currently holds his seat. Some have called for his resignation, which would trigger a special election. Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) has already declared his candidacy and former state representative and congressman Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) will formally announce his candidacy tomorrow.  To read more…

Online Voter Registration?

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia (San Antonio). In his ruling, he agreed with civil rights groups that Texas violated the federal National Voter Registration Act by failing to register residents to vote when they updated drivers’ license information online. One possible “fix” could be using online voter registration. To read more…

Only in Austin…

East Austin Succulents is a cactus and succulent nursery on the Eastside of Austin. Looking for cacti, succulents, or rare plant species—this is the place! You can find already made arrangements or make your own. With hotter and dryer weather headed our way, a water wise plant may be the answer to having a green thumb. To read more…