Greg Abbott’s New Wrecking Crew

The governor’s got a whole new office staff

Greg Abbott
Greg Abbott (Photo by Jana Birchum)

There's a new rogue's gallery in Gov. Greg Abbott's office, with at least one jaw-dropping addition. Out goes Abbott's old consigliere and chief of staff Daniel Hodge, to be replaced by his former appointments director, Luis Saenz. A veteran of the hard-right conservative "think tank" the Heritage Foundation, Saenz bounces back into Abbott's orbit after a year as a lobbyist, running the Austin office for McGuireWoods Consulting. Taking Saenz's old post is none other than conservative demagogue Peggy Venable, best known as the policy director for the Koch-backed Texas Public Policy Foundation, where she's currently a visiting fellow. Abbott has also picked former Senate Finance Committee chair and arch-budget slasher Tommy Williams as his senior adviser for fiscal affairs, a bad sign for schools, state employees, and infrastructure. But the biggest thumb in the eye may be the governor's hiring of John Colyandro as senior adviser and policy director. If that name rings a bell, it's because Colyandro pleaded guilty to his role in the infamous TRMPAC money laundering scandal that took down Tom DeLay.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 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 Greg Abbott
Abbott Flirts With Endorsing School Vouchers
Abbott Flirts With Endorsing School Vouchers
Primary challengers pressure the governor from the right

Kimberly Reeves, Jan. 28, 2022

Quote of the Week: Greg Abbott
Quote of the Week: Greg Abbott
Our governor is basically an online troll

July 28, 2017

More by Richard Whittaker
SXSW Film Review: <i>You Can Call Me Bill</i>
Film Review: You Can Call Me Bill
A meditation on death from the liveliest man you'll see

March 19, 2023

SXSW Film Review: <i>Air</i>
Film Review: Air
The good guys win in this charming origin story for the Air Jordan

March 19, 2023


Greg Abbott, Daniel Hodge, Luis Saenz, Peggy Venable, Tommy Williams

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

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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