This Week in Texas: December 2, 2009

Posted December 2, 2009 in The Mignon Memo

Lots of shifting sands in the political landscape here in Texas. The past 10 days has been full of announcements. The filing period for candidates begins tomorrow, December 3rd and continues through January 4, 2010. You should be on the lookout for several more twists and turns before the list of candidates is complete.

Democrat Tom Schieffer dropped out of the governor’s race last week and threw his support to Houston Mayor Bill White, despite the fact that Bill White has yet to declare himself a candidate in the governor’s race.

Rep. Dan Gattis (R-Georgetown) announced that he will not run for the Senate District 5 seat currently held by Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan). Ogden announced several months ago that he was retiring and would not run for reelection. At that time, Gattis announced his intention to run for the open seat. Gattis now says that Ogden has been convinced to run again in order to address the state’s fiscal challenges during the next legislative session. No word from Ogden yet on his current plan.

Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso) announced that she will run for reelection in House District 76 instead of making the race for the Senate District 29 seat currently held by retiring Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso).

Republican Jeff Cason announced that he will challenge Rep. Todd Smith (R-Bedford) in the Republican primary for House District 92.

Dr. Jesse Sheffield, a family physician from Gatesville, announced that he will run against Rep. Sid Miller (R-Stephenville) in the Republican primary election for House District 59.

Republican Stefani Carter, a former Collin County prosecutor announced that she will run for the House District 102 seat currently held by Rep. Carol Kent (D-Dallas).

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced the creation of a new Office of Water which will have oversight over the agency’s existing water planning, supply and quality divisions. L’Oreal Stepney, an agency employee since 1992, has been named as head of the new department.

Comptroller Susan Combs has certified the 2010-11 budget, saying that revenues were off $650 million from original projections due to the poor economy. The state has $77.7 billion in general revenue for the current fiscal biennium and she projects a balance of $83.5 million by the close of the biennium.

Chris Traylor, who has led the state’s Medicaid program for the past three years, will be the next commissioner of the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).