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Texas Governor Greg Abbott. One Man. One Agenda.

Texas Lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year requiring the agency to be more transparent, but Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed the measure, insisting that the commission could choose to be more transparent if it wanted to be.

Former Secretary of State David Whitley back at Gov. Greg Abbott’s office

Whitley had resigned as secretary of state just before he would have been kicked out of office without a confirmation vote.
Originally Published; May 31, 2019 | Republished Jan 20, 2020

Former Secretary of State David Whitley — who lost his job after presiding over a botched review of the citizenship of Texans on the voter rolls — is back to working at the governor’s office.

Whitley resigned from the post Monday just before he would have been kicked out of office without a state Senate confirmation vote, but he went straight back to Gov. Greg Abbott’s office where he was rehired on an $205,000 annual salary, according to the state comptroller’s office.

Whitley’s return to the governor’s office was first reported by The Dallas Morning News.

The governor’s office did not respond to a request for confirmation on Friday, but a spokesman for the comptroller’s office, which oversees state employees, said Whitley was hired by the governor’s office under the title of “deputy director II.” The Texas Tribune had filed a records request for personnel documents on Thursday.

A longtime aide to the governor, Whitley left that office in mid-December when Abbott appointed him to serve as secretary of state. But his tenure was cut short after Democratic senators blocked his confirmation over a bungled effort to review the voter rolls for noncitizens that instead jeopardized the voting rights of tens of thousands of naturalized citizens.

A federal judge halted that review in late February over concerns that “perfectly legal naturalized Americans” were targeted in ways those born in the country were not.

Whitley’s office eventually agreed to scrap the review to end the three federal lawsuits that were filed against the state. But the debacle left taxpayers on the hook for $450,000 in costs and attorney fees for the lawyers of the naturalized citizens and civil rights groups that alleged the review was unconstitutional and violated federal protections for voters of color.

The settlement did little to assuage Democratic senators who came out against his confirmation as early as February, echoed by dozens of civil rights and advocacy groups and the Texas Democratic Party. The Democrats held their block despite intense efforts by the governor to secure enough votes before time ran out on Whitley’s appointment.

“Let’s get this straight: David Whitley used taxpayer dollars to attack Texans’ right to vote,” Texas Democratic Party executive director Manny Garcia said in a statement Friday.  “Texans and the Texas Legislature said he had no business sitting in the Secretary of State office. He definitely has no business continuing to draw a six-figure salary on the taxpayer dime in the governor’s office.”

GOVERNOR ABBOTT ANNOUNCES SENIOR STAFF DEPARTURE

October 21, 2019 | Austin, Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the departure of his Special Advisor, David Whitley, from the Office of the Governor after nearly 15 years of state service.

As part of his most recent duties, Whitley helped oversee the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism, the Texas Enterprise Fund, Events Trust Fund, Governor’s University Research Initiative, Travel Texas, Texas Music Office, Texas Film Commission, Texas Workforce Investment Council, Texas Military Preparedness Commission and the State of Texas Mexico Office. He has also served as a key liaison for state agencies.

“David has been by my side as a trusted advisor for a decade and a half, and his collaborative leadership style and commitment to accountability are second-to-none,” Governor Abbott said. “Over that time, David has been an invaluable resource within my office, helping guide and direct many successful initiatives during my time as Attorney General and now as Governor. His dedication to public service and to helping advance Texas is unwavering, and I am confident that David will prove to be instrumental wherever he’s involved.”

Before serving as Special Advisor, David Whitley was appointed and served as the 112th Texas Secretary of State—the State’s Chief Election Officer, Chief International Protocol Officer, and the Governor’s chief advisor and liaison to Mexico and the border region.

While Secretary of State, he was appointed to serve as Texas’ Border Commerce Coordinator and Chair of the Border Trade Advisory Committee, which advises the Texas Department of Transportation to advance infrastructure projects that facilitate cross-border trade between Texas and Mexico.

He previously served Governor Abbott as Deputy Chief of Staff and as Appointments Director, helping place talented Texans to serve on the governing boards of state agencies, and as Assistant Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General. He also previously served as a policy advisor in the Texas Senate and worked for a software startup.

Whitley is a member of the State Bar of Texas, earned his finance and law degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, serves in the UT Law Mentorship Program, and is a native of Alice, Texas.

HOW DAVID WHITLEY REWORDED ABBOTT’S STATEMENT ON HIS WEBSITE GREGORYSTRATEGIES.COM

“David has been an invaluable member of my administration for over a decade, both in my time as Attorney General and during the entirety of my first term as governor…He has a keen understanding of the election process, and has served as a top advisor for international relations within the Office of the Governor.”

— TEXAS GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT

ABOUT GREGORY STRATEGIES
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS & CONSULTING

PRINCIPAL, G. DAVID WHITLEY | A CAREER PUBLIC SERVANT AND 5TH GENERATION TEXAN

David Whitley is an attorney and former secretary of state, Border Commerce Coordinator, Border Trade Advisory Committee Chairman, deputy chief of staff and later special advisor to Governor Greg Abbott, and appointments director for the governor. He is a 15-year public servant who is passionate about working collaboratively with stakeholders throughout the State of Texas to resolve complex challenges.

In 2018, Whitley was appointed and served as Texas’ 112th Texas Secretary of State, which is the State’s Chief Election Officer, Chief International Protocol Officer, and the Governor’s chief advisor and liaison to Mexico and the border region. While Secretary of State, he was appointed to serve as Texas’ Border Commerce Coordinator and Chair of the Border Trade Advisory Committee (BTAC), which advises the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to advance infrastructure projects that facilitate cross-border trade between Texas and Mexico. In that role, he convened a meeting of BTAC that included over 30 stakeholders and worked to advance the Texas-Mexico Border Transportation Master Plan to completion. He also visited eight international bridges on the Texas-Mexico border.

Most recently serving as Special Advisor to the Governor in Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office, he oversaw the Office of Economic Development and Tourism, which includes the Texas Enterprise Fund, Events Trust Fund, Governor’s University Research Initiative, Travel Texas, Texas Music Office, Texas Film Commission, Texas Workforce Investment Council, Texas Military Preparedness Commission and the State of Texas Mexico Office. He also served as a key governor’s office liaison for state agencies such as TxDOT, institutions of higher education, the Office of the Attorney General, the Texas Military Department, the Public Utility Commission, the Department of Insurance, the Department of Information Resources, the Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Facilities Commission, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, among others.

He began working for then-Attorney General Abbott in 2004, serving in various roles including Assistant Deputy Attorney General. He later served Governor Abbott as Appointments Director, helping place talented Texans to serve as judicial appointees and on the governing boards of state agencies. Later, as Deputy Chief of Staff, he managed 13 divisions in the office and traveled with Governor Abbott on his international trade mission to India, coordinating with CEOs and staffing the Governor in his meeting with Prime Minister Modi. During law school, he worked in the Texas Senate and for a U.S. bankruptcy judge.

Whitley is a member of the State Bar of Texas, earned his finance and law degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, serves in the UT Law Mentorship Program, and is a native of Alice, Texas.

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  1. Pingback: How Gov. Greg Abbott Stole Citizens Homes and the "Texas Dream". He's Responsible for the Homelessness Crisis in the State of Texas | Laws In Texas

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