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More Statewides Are Staffing Up

Greg Abbott is not the only newly elected statewide official to release a long list of staffing hires this week.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush speaking at the GOP election night party at the Moody Theater in Austin on Nov. 4, 2014.

This week’s flurry of staff announcements for the newly elected statewides was highlighted by the release of a staff roster by Gov.-elect Greg Abbott. But he by no means was the only one disclosing high-profile hires.

Incoming Land Commissioner George P. Bush, for instance, released a series of announcements this week on his staff hires.

•    Topping the list is his choice of Trey Newton, Bush’s former campaign manger and former director of Hispanic Republicans of Texas, to be his chief of staff at the General Land Office. Newton’s GOP DNA is firmly imprinted. His father, Norman, ran the Associated Republicans of Texas, one of the groups most directly responsible for the rise of the modern Texas Republican Party, for more than 30 years.

•    Bush has also tapped former state Rep. Aaron Peña to serve as director of litigation for the GLO’s general counsel. Peña was a longtime Valley Democrat who switched parties after being re-elected in 2010. He served a single term as a Republican.

•    Bush opted for experience when he brought Joey Longley on board to serve as GLO’s director of program management. He directed the Texas Sunset Commission for 14 years before stepping down in 2009. He’s been in the lobby since, most recently working as a director at Grant Thornton LLP in the firm’s state and local practice division.

•    Bush also retained Larry Laine as GLO’s chief clerk, a position he has held since 2003.

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Incoming Attorney General Ken Paxton has brought on board a few more Ted Cruz hands to fill out his staff.

Bernard L. McNamee II will serve as Paxton’s chief of staff after having held the title of policy advisor to Cruz. Scott Keller, who was chief counsel for Cruz, will be Paxton’s solicitor general.

Finally, Brantley Starr, who most recently was staff attorney to Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman but worked under Cruz when he was Texas solicitor general, will take the position of deputy attorney general for legal counsel.

Paxton had previously hired Cruz’s senior political advisor, Chip Roy, to be his first assistant attorney general.

And in other Paxton hiring news, Allison Castle, a veteran of the Perry press shop, has been hired as director of communications. She was most recently deputy commissioner of public affairs at the insurance department.

For a full list of Paxton’s staff hires, click here.

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