This Week in Texas: March 8, 2012

Posted March 8, 2012 in The Mignon Memo

The Texas primary is set for May 29th with a runoff election scheduled for July 31st. The filing period was reopened through Friday, March 9 to allow candidates to file in the correct districts as some changed from the previous maps.

Rep. J.M. Lozano (D-Kingsville) will announce this week that he is switching his affiliation to the Republican Party.  Lozano will be the third Democrat to switch parties in recent years, following Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland) and Rep. Aaron Peña (R-Edinburg) switch in late 2010.  He will face a challenge in the general election for House District 43. Former state representative Yvonne Gonzales Toureilles will run as a Democrat in that district.

Rep. Todd Smith (R-Bedford) announced that he will run for Senate District 9, currently represented by retiring Sen. Chris Harris (R-Ft. Worth).  Smith joins a crowded field that includes fellow Texas House members Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Plano) and Rep. Kelly Hancock (R-Ft. Worth).

Rep. Ken Legler (R-Pasadena) announced that he will not seek reelection to the House District 144 seat he currently holds. Legler has served in the Texas House for two terms.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality named Zak Covar as its new executive director.  Covar, a former advisor to Governor Rick Perry, will step into his new role on May 1st, following the retirement of current executive director Mark Vickery.

The Texas Railroad Commission will also be looking for a new executive director.  John Tintera, who joined the commission in 1990 and became executive director in 2009, is retiring.

Gov. Rick Perry has named Ben Raimer of Galveston chair and appointed 13 members to the Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency Board of Directors. The institute, created by Senate Bill 7 passed during the 82nd Legislative Session, will improve health care quality, accountability, education and cost to the state by encouraging health care provider collaboration, effective health care delivery models and coordination of health care services.