Vol 31, Issue 5 Print Issue

Susan Lilly, President of Lilly and Company.
Susan Lilly, President of Lilly and Company.

The TW Q&A: Susan Lilly

Welcome to the first of what we hope will be a regular feature in Texas Weekly — Q&A sessions with the personalities who make the machinery of Texas politics run.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis surprised fellow Democrats by telling The Associated Press she is for embracing reforms that would allow Texans to openly carry handguns — even into the state Capitol. The Texas Democratic Party quickly signaled it disagreed with Davis, telling the AP, "There is little or no public safety justification for open carry."

Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, proposed a dramatic increase in state spending on border security and other crime-fighting initiatives. But he hasn't identified the funding to pay for the programs, which would send 500 more troopers to the border and would cost $345 million.

Fundraising reports for the month of January showed Greg Abbott re-establishing a fundraising edge on Wendy Davis. He raised $3.1 million while she raised $913,000 among three committees. Abbott largely outraised Davis with the help of several six-figure contributions, while Davis relied on smaller donations.

Democrats circulated a secret recording of Greg Abbott's comments at a fundraiser that they said demonstrate the likely GOP nominee for governor is pushing attacks on his Democratic rival, Wendy Davis, while publicly maintaining he's above the fray.

After about a year and a half of development, Texas A&M University-Commerce and South Texas College in late January unveiled a new, innovative response to Gov. Rick Perry's $10,000-college-degree challenge.

More than three years after San Antonio Water System asked the private sector to develop plans for a new water supply for the growing region, the utility has decided not to use any of them.

Political People and their Moves

Peter Clark is taking over as communications director for Texans Care for Children after working for state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, for seven years.

The campaign of Republican HD-16 candidate Ted Seago announced that Jason Millsaps is withdrawing from the party primary and is supporting Seago's candidacy. Millsaps' name will remain on the ballot.

The Texas Oil and Gas Association PAC endorsed Greg Abbott for governor, David Dewhurst for lieutenant governor, Barry Smitherman for attorney general, Harvey Hilderbran for comptroller and George P. Bush for land commissioner.

The political arm of the Texas Association of Business (BACPAC) released its final set of primary endorsements, giving the nod to David Dewhurst for lieutenant governor, Dan Branch for attorney general and Harvey Hilderbran for comptroller.

Texas Parent PAC endorsed Mike Novak in the SD-25 GOP primary. Novak, along with Elisa Chan, is challenging the incumbent Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels. The Parent PAC also endorsed Austin Keith for the Odessa-based HD-81 and DeWayne Burns in the Johnson and Bosque County-anchored HD-58.

From the Dept. of Endorsements by Current and Former Officeholders:

•    Former Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo endorsed Glenn Hegar for comptroller.

•    Former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt endorsed Barry Smitherman for attorney general.

•    State Sen. and lite guv candidate Leticia Van de Putte endorsed Steve Brown for railroad commissioner.