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The Brief: Jan. 19, 2015

With Rick Perry and David Dewhurst leaving town, the spotlight shines fully this week on incoming Gov. Greg Abbott.

Greg Abbott is shown visiting the Senate chamber on Jan. 13, 2015.

The Big Conversation

Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst cleared out of Texas over the weekend. Perry was in California to address the Republican National Committee while Dewhurst was in Israel, where he was described in local media as "one of America's preeminent conservative politicians."

Their departure empties the stage for their successors — Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick — who will be sworn in as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, on Tuesday at an inauguration ceremony set to feature four tons (!) of beef brisket.

Abbott is already working to position himself as a problem solver prior to taking office on Tuesday. Political advisor Dave Carney told The Dallas Morning News' Christy Hoppe that Abbott will "be a no-drama governor. He’ll be somebody focused and prioritized and will work with the Legislature."

Carney shows up again in a piece by the Austin American-Statesman's Jonathan Tilove on the potential impact of Abbott as just the third governor in U.S. history who requires a wheelchair. Carney said, “If a person in a wheelchair can be governor of Texas, a person in a wheelchair can be anything.”

The Day Ahead

•    Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is a federal holiday. State, federal and local offices are all closed.

•    The canvass for the special elections in Senate District 26, House District 17 and House District 123 will be held at 10:45 a.m. All three elections will require a runoff election, the date for which can be set after today's canvass.

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: The New Guys and an Election Four Years Away, by Ross Ramsey

Film Incentive Program Fears Guilt by Association, by Reeve Hamilton

State of Mind: A Look Back at the 83rd Session, by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn


USGS likely to upgrade North Texas’ quake risk level, The Dallas Morning News

Karnes still growing, but signs of oil-price slowdown starting to show, San Antonio Express-News

Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty, Washington Post

Addicted babies in Texas pose painful, costly problem, Austin American-Statesman

For Farenthold, a long journey from duck pajamas to a lawsuit, Houston Chronicle

Republicans Like Their 2016 Options, Assuming They Avoid Chaos, The New York Times

Cruz needles Romney in front of South Carolina activists, San Antonio Express-News

Sen. Ted Cruz Appearance Has Hollywood Group on Edge, The Hollywood Report

The Bushes, as Distinct and Alike as Brothers Can Be, The New York Times

Quote to Note

"Just because the rig count's falling down and everything, it's not going to be like the world's coming to an end. They're going to continue to be here and go to football games and go to church and support each other."

— Buddy Poynor, an oil field services operator in Big Lake, on the possibility of an impending bust due to falling oil prices.

Today in TribTalk

Making Texas' new space race sustainable, by C. Barton Bollfrass

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    Future Forum: The Future of Texas on Jan. 21 at the LBJ Library in Austin

•    A Conversation With House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock on Jan. 22 at The Austin Club

•    Higher Ed: The Next Five Years on Jan. 26 at the Texas Tech University Alumni Center in Lubbock

•    A Conversation With Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick on Jan. 27 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Adm. William McRaven, UT System Chancellor on Feb. 5 at The Austin Club

•    Houston & the Legislature: Previewing the 84th Session on Feb. 12 at the Wortham Center in Houston

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro on Feb. 19 at The Austin Club

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Explore related story topics

Energy Environment Politics Blake Farenthold Dan Patrick David Dewhurst Greg Abbott Rick Perry Ted Cruz