This Week in Texas: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Posted November 13, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

2019 Texas Capitol Ornament

This year’s Texas Capitol Ornament was inspired by the famed Lone Star Locomotive and features historic details typical of steam trains from the late 19th century such as a smokestack, steam whistle and cattle guard. The train is ready for the holidays with its Texas Capitol wreath, flags and bunting, and Sunset Red granite fills the Austin-bound railcar to become part of the Texas Capitol.  This is the 24th ornament in the series, and proceeds from its sales support ongoing preservation of the Texas Capitol, which welcomes over one million visitors annually.  Mark your calendars – the annual Texas Capitol Gift Shop sale runs from December 2-6 and everything in the store will be 20% off.

Texas Legislators Make Endorsements in Democratic Presidential Primary

Senator Beverly Powell (D-Burleson/Ft. Worth) has joined Sen. Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas) and Representative Victoria Neave (D-Dallas) in endorsing Joe Biden in the Democratic Presidential Primary.  In additional Biden campaign news, Jane Hamilton, a Democratic strategist who served as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Ft. Worth), was named Texas state director.

Texan Julián Castro’s list of endorsements by Texas state legislators lengthened after fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke exited the race on November 1st.  Castro now counts among his supporters:  Sen. José Rodríguez (D-El Paso, retiring), Rep. César Blanco (D-El Paso, now running for Senate District 29), Rep. Art Fierro (D-El Paso), Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown), Rep. Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso, the House Speaker Pro Tempore), Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass, now retiring), Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Richardson), Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) and former Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston, retired at the end of September).  The Castro campaign is looking to hire a state director.

Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Dripping Springs) is the first Texas elected official to endorse Elizabeth Warren, who named a Texas state director in October.

Texas State Representative Poncho Nevárez Will Not Seek Reelection

On Friday, Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass) announced he will not run for reelection.  Rep. Nevárez has been a member of the Texas House since 2013, representing a district that encompasses a large portion of the state’s border with Mexico.  He chaired the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety during the latest legislative session and was named vice chair of the House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety when it was created this summer after the mass shootings in Odessa and El Paso.

Only in Austin…

Jimmy Fallon brought the Tonight Show to UT Austin last week, filming an episode on campus at Bass Concert Hall for about 3,000 lucky student lottery winners.  The show opened with an epic video Fallon recorded over a couple of days in Austin featuring 6th Street, scooters, OU jokes, the Longhorn Band and the Texas Pom Squad, all to the tune of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”  His guests included UT Professor and Minister of Culture Matthew McConaughey (of course!), Chip and Joanna Gaines and a performance by musical guest Gucci Mane that really got the crowd going.