David Yates Dec. 8, 2014, 3:15pm


Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the soon to be next Republican governor of Texas, on Monday announced the names of his fellow Texans who will bolster his incoming administration.

The announcement also outlined the Abbott’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, which include education, border security, economic expansion and tax reduction.

“On Election Night, I made a promise to the people of Texas to begin work immediately to keep Texas the beacon of opportunity and the best state in the nation,” said Abbott in a statement.

“A promise is worth little without the right plan and the right people to turn that plan into action. I have outlined a Blueprint for an even better Texas of tomorrow, and I am proud to have an experienced leadership team with the proven skills and the deep commitment needed to make my promises a reality. We are ready to get to work on Day One to ensure greater opportunity for all Texans.”

Pending Texas Senate confirmation, Judge Carlos Cascos will be the new secretary of state. Cascos, who was born in Matamoros, Mexico, is the current Cameron County judge, a position he was elected to in 2006.

For chief of staff, Abbott tapped his first assistant attorney general, Daniel Hodge, who was responsible for managing and leading the more than 4,000-employee office.

The title of general counsel will go to Jimmy Blacklock, who also works with Abbott in the Attorney General’s Office.

Other appointees and their positions include:

- Julia Rathgeber, deputy chief of staff;

- Robert Allen, deputy chief of staff;

- Kara Belew, budget director;

- Amelia Chassé, press secretary;

- Lauren Clay, senior advisor to the governor for the Office of First Lady;

- Reed Clay, senior advisor;

- Drew DeBerry, policy director;

- Jay Dyer, deputy legislative director;

- Randy Erben, legislative director;

- Matt Hirsch, communications director;

- Erin Hodges, special assistant to the governor;

- Chelsea Holden, senior advisor to the first lady;

- Tracye McDaniel, president of the Texas Economic Development Corp.;

- Stacey Napier, director of administration;

- Luis Saenz, appointments director;

- Kim Snyder, director of scheduling and advance; and

- Jerry Strickland, executive director of Office of State and Federal Relations.

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