Lt. Governor Patrick Announces New Senate Appointments


AUSTIN – Due to the retirement of Senator Troy Fraser and Senator Kevin Eltife, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announces the following appointments:
Sen. Craig Estes – Chairman, Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development
Sen. Kelly Hancock – Chairman, Senate Business and Commerce

“The Texas Senate is losing a significant amount of institutional knowledge with the loss of Senators Fraser and Eltife,” said Patrick. “Replacing them is difficult but necessary in order to allow the Texas Senate to prepare for the coming session.

“Sen. Estes has served as vice chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee for the last eight years. He has the ability to lead this important committee by protecting our most important natural resources while preserving the free market principles that make Texas great.

“Sen. Hancock has served as a strong conservative leader in both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. I am certain he will continue his track record of reducing regulatory burdens on Texas businesses while ensuring businesses continue to grow and create jobs. Sen. Hancock will remain chairman of the Senate Administration Committee until comprehensive committee assignments are announced for the 85th legislative session.”

With these appointments, Lt. Governor Patrick has agreed with both chairmen to return the issues related to the Public Utility Commission and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) back to the Business and Commerce Committee.

Lt. Governor Patrick also announces the following Texas Sunset Commission members:

Senator Van Taylor, Vice Chairman
Senator Robert Nichols (fulfilling the unexpired term of Senator Jane Nelson)
Senator Kirk Watson
Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa
Senator Charles Schwertner
Public Member: Lt. Colonel Allen B. West (ret.), Pres. & CEO, The National Center for Policy Analysis

“The Sunset Commission has a challenging assignment ahead of them this session,” added Patrick. “These appointees will first decide if the functions of state agencies under review are needed, and secondly, whether they are operating in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

“I am very excited to announce that Lt. Col. Allen West will serve as the Sunset Commission public member for the Texas Senate,” said Patrick. “Lt. Col. West is a dedicated public servant who has served our country in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Congress. Now the State of Texas will benefit from his conservative leadership.”

Lt. Governor Patrick also announces that Senator Brian Birdwell will replace Senator Kevin Eltife as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

“Sen. Eltife has served diligently in the Texas Senate as a member of Finance,” said Patrick. “As Sen. Eltife concludes his service in the Senate, he has agreed to vacate his seat early on the Finance Committee to allow a new member time to prepare for the upcoming session.”

With the retirement of Sen. Eltife and the new chairmanship of Sen. Estes, changes are required on the Legislative Budget Board. As a result, Lt. Governor Patrick announces the following members of the Legislative Budget Board:

Senator Jane Nelson
Senator Larry Taylor
Senator Carlos Uresti
Senator Joan Huffman

All of these appointments will take effect January 1, 2016.