There’s no doubt that Rick Perry has kept a busy schedule in recent weeks, hitting New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa, along with a side trip to Dallas to address a major gathering of conservatives organized by Americans for Prosperity.
If you thought that was a heavy travel schedule, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Christy Hoppe of The Dallas Morning News reports that Perry now has Asia in his sights. She writes that he travels to Japan and China next week along with a European trip set for later this fall.
In other words, he does not seem to have let last month’s indictments for abuse of office to slow him down as he begins laying the groundwork for a national campaign next year.
“While he’s hired a stable of high-priced lawyers to tend to that business, the court has allowed him to keep his passport and he’s still free to move around the country — and the world,” Hoppe writes.
The other Texan mentioned in the presidential sweepstakes, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, isn’t sitting around the house either. The News’ Todd Gillman reports that the Tea Party favorite visits New Hampshire this weekend.
Much like Perry’s recent out-of-state visits, Cruz is making stops on behalf of the New Hampshire GOP and for a local congressional candidate. The goal is the same as well — collecting chits with local leaders of an early primary state that could be cashed in for support when needed.
A new report from the State Auditor’s Office is questioning why the salaries of the heads of some of the state’s largest agencies are lagging behind other executive directors and managers.
Four executive directors and “10 other management positions” earn more than the heads of both the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The auditor’s report notes that these two agency heads oversee the state’s biggest bureaucracies. The five agencies that report to the HHSC have a $36 billion combined budget and have 57,866 full-time equivalent employees. The TDCJ alone counts 40,295 full-time equivalent employees.
Also highlighted in the report was the head of the Department of Public Safety, whose salary was 66th on the list of management base salaries. This was the case “even though that position administers an agency providing services for public safety” and the agency is “one of the largest state agencies in terms of budget and employees.”
The state auditor recommends a series of salary ranges for agency heads. The biggest salaries would go to those with oversight over the state’s largest agencies.
A Texas prosecutor could be about to become the first Latina to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, reports Trish Choate of Scripps News.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Sarah Saldaña would take over at a controversial time for the nation’s immigration policy, thanks to the flood of unaccompanied minors flowing across the Texas-Mexico border.
“The position has remained unfilled for over a year since the previous head of ICE, John Morton, stepped down,” Choate wrote. “Last year, ICE removed over 235,000 border crossers, a slight increase from 2012.”
Choate reported that U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, did not immediately offer support for Saldaña’s nomination, saying instead he was looking “forward to a thoughtful, candid discussion with her.”
Choate also noted that Saldaña is no stranger to being a pioneer. She was named U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas in 2011, becoming the first Latina to hold that post.