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Dewhurst Taps Williams to Chair Senate Finance Panel

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has appointed Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, to chair the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee. He'll replace Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, who isn't seeking another term.

State Sen. Tommy Williams on the Senate floor on May 16, 2011.

State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, has been appointed to chair the Senate Finance Committee by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Williams will replace Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, who didn’t seek re-election.

Dewhurst passed over Ogden’s vice chairman, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, tapping a Republican for the post in a GOP-controlled Senate.

"Senator Williams is a strong conservative who has ably served on Senate Finance and led on major issues facing Texas," Dewhurst said in a statement. "I'm confident in his ability to prioritize state spending and continue balancing a transparent state budget without raising taxes. I look forward to working closely with him this session to ensure that Texas government lives within its means."

Dewhurst reappointed Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, to chair the State Affairs Committee, and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, to chair the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

In a press release, Dewhurst said he “will complete the reorganization of the Senate committees in the near future.”

At least five of the current senators won’t be back when the new Senate is sworn into office in January. In addition to finance, the committees on education, economic development and jurisprudence will all get new chairs. Their leaders — Republicans Florence Shapiro of Plano, Mike Jackson of La Porte and Chris Harris of Arlington, respectively — each decided not to seek another term in this year's elections.

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