House Speaker Joe Straus will see a shakeup in his office next year with chief of staff Jesse Ancira stepping down in the spring and other shifts in his office's leadership, Straus’ office confirmed Monday. Patricia Shipton, currently a strategic legislative advisor in Straus’ office, will replace Ancira as chief of staff.
Straus' office also confirmed that former state Rep. Allan Ritter, a Nederland Republican who retired from the House in 2013, will serve as a senior adviser to Straus starting next year. And Andrew Blifford, currently Straus' budget director, will oversee Straus' entire policy team in the newly created position of director of budget and policy.
Ancira joined Straus’ staff in 2009 as general counsel after more than a decade in state government, including stints at the State Auditor and the Comptroller’s Office. In 2012, Straus promoted him to chief of staff. Ancira is also mayor of the city of Taylor.
"Jesse has done an outstanding job running my office, and I am grateful for his service and friendship," Straus said. "Members of the House respect him tremendously and have enjoyed working with him. I know he will be successful in his future endeavors, and I wish him the very best.”
Shipton served as legislative adviser to Gov. Rick Perry from 2001 to 2004. She worked as a lobbyist for several years before joining Straus’ staff in 2012.
“Fortunately, the transition to Patricia’s leadership will be smooth," Straus said. "She has a vast knowledge of the legislative process and she cares greatly about our state, and that’s why she’s such an asset to me and to the entire House.”