Gov. Perry appoints new secretary of state, chief of staff

Joshua Fechter

Texas Gov. Rick Perry filled two positions Tuesday by appointing a longtime campaign donor as secretary of state and UT alumna as the governor’s chief
of staff.

Perry appointed Ann Bishop, executive director of the Employees Retirement System of Texas, chief of staff. She has also served as Deputy Comptroller of Public Accounts and was the first executive director of the Department of Information Resources.

Bishop, who earned an undergraduate degree in business at UT, is replacing Jeff Boyd, who was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court on Monday to fill the position vacated by Dale Wainwright when he resigned in September. Bishop also has a law degree from Texas Tech University.

Perry appointed John Steen, a San Antonio attorney, secretary of state, filling the position vacated by Hope Andrade earlier this month.

Andrade resigned amid controversy related to an initiative supervised by her office which sought to remove dead voters from registered voter lists. As a result, many registered voters received letters informing them the state would remove them from the voter registration list if they failed to respond within 30 days.

From 2001 to 2012, Steen donated $46,479.19 to Texans For Rick Perry, the governor’s campaign organization, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. This includes in-kind contributions, such as paying expenses for the organization’s events and contributions Steen made jointly with his wife.

Perry also appointed Steen to the Texas Public Safety Commission in 2008. Steen earned a law degree from UT and serves on the UT System Chancellor’s Council
Executive Committee.

As secretary, Steen will officiate state elections, oversee the publication of government rules and regulation, serve as senior adviser and liaison to the governor for border and Mexican affairs and serve as chief international protocol officer for Texas.

In a statement, Perry said Steen’s role as secretary will be integral to expanding the state’s economy and international standing.

“John’s strong business background and dedication to public service throughout the years make him uniquely qualified to serve in this important role,” Perry said.