The Austin Chronicle

Greg Abbott’s New Wrecking Crew

The governor’s got a whole new office staff

By Richard Whittaker, September 22, 2017, News

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.

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