Talmadge Heflin: Not a Name To Forget

Texas GOP hires a new exec director with a storied history.

The Texas Republican Party has announced its new executive director, former state rep Talmadge Heflin. Unusual name, unusual guy: Like pretty much anyone in the public sphere, Heflin comes with some baggage. It's just that some of his is, well, pretty unusual.

The 11-term Harris County rep was chair of the House Appropriations committee, and there's a lot of reps who see his tenure in the big budget seat as bad news. Policy-driven politicians on both sides of the chamber look to the budget mess he left behind, while more pragmatic pol-watchers can see that some GOPers regret his electoral inheritance. After all, back in the GOP landslide glory days of 2004, somehow Heflin managed to lose his seat to Dem newb Hubert Vo.

But that's not the weird thing. Nor is the fact that, as a pundit for noted conservative pressure group (read "one-note free market fans and regular witnesses at any tax-related Lege committee meeting") the Texas Public Policy Foundation, he could play off his own reputation for slashing expenditures and still demand that lawmakers break the spending cap to cover the property tax refund.

No, Heflin's baggage is pretty unusual. In 2004, he was caught up in a bizarre adoption scandal. The story goes that Heflin and his wife tried to take custody of Fidel Odimara Jr. The only problem was that the boy's mother Mariam Katamba, an undocumented native-born Ugandan, was working in the Heflin's house illegally at the time. The Heflins and their lawyers tried to claim that Katamba had asked them to raise the child, but also that she was an unfit parent and posed a grave danger to the child. The matter ended up in court and the Heflin's motion was finally thrown out by the judge.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Politics
Fish or Gay Bait
Fish or Gay Bait
Response to D6 candidate Matt Stillwell's least-common-Dem politics

Kate X Messer, Nov. 3, 2014

Frito Pie Surprise!
Frito Pie Surprise!
What's a nice candidate for governor like you doing in a place like this?

Kate X Messer, Oct. 7, 2013

More Elections
The <i>Chronicle</i>'s 2018 Primary Election Coverage
The Chronicle's 2018 Primary Election Coverage
Tracking the returns for the county, courthouse, and state

the News Staff, March 6, 2018

Club Endorsements
Club Endorsements
Who's backing whom in the March primary?

Feb. 15, 2018

More by Richard Whittaker
Kathy Bates, Marc Maron, and More Confirmed for Texas Film Hall of Fame Ceremony
Kathy Bates, Marc Maron, and More Confirmed for Texas Film Hall of Fame Ceremony
We know the winners, now who'll be running the show?

Feb. 14, 2019

Getting Gleefully Inappropriate in <i>Call Me Brother</i>
Getting Gleefully Inappropriate in Call Me Brother
Christina Parrish stars in the locally produced, subversive rom-com

Feb. 15, 2019


Politics, Elections, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Talmadge Heflin, Hubert Vo

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle