Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Robert Black as Chief of Staff, effective July 22, 2024. This announcement follows the departure of the Governor’s current Chief of Staff, Gardner Pate, effective July 26, 2024. Abbott also announced several changes to senior staff leadership, detailed below:

Robert Black will serve as Chief of Staff within the Office of the Governor. Black recently served as Vice President of Public Affairs for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and previously served as Vice President of External Affairs for American Electric Power Texas. He is also the founder of Robert Black & Associates, serving numerous Fortune 500 companies with communications, governmental affairs, and consulting services.

Tabatha Vasquez has been promoted to Senior Advisor for Budget and Policy. Vasquez previously served as the Governor’s Policy Director and Deputy Budget and Policy Director. She has held various positions within the Texas Legislature, including Chief of Staff in the House, Legislative Director, and Sunset Committee Director for Senator Brian Birdwell.

Robert Howden will serve as Senior Advisor and Director of Legislative Affairs beginning on September 9, 2024. Prior to forming his consulting business, Howden served Governor Rick Perry as Communications Director and Senior Advisor and oversaw the Governor’s Task Force on Economic Development Growth. Additionally, Howden led the National Federation of Independent Business Texas and, prior to this role, served on Governor Bill Clements’ staff and the Texas Department of Commerce.

Brady Franks will serve as State Budget Director beginning on August 1, 2024. Franks is the co-founder of MF Advisors. Franks previously served as a Budget and Policy Advisor to Governor Abbott and was later promoted to Deputy Budget and Policy Director. Before joining the Office of the Governor, he was the Director for Government Relations at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin.

Michael Hull will serve as Policy Director beginning on August 1, 2024. Hull currently serves as the Chief Research Officer and Senior Advisor for the Vice Chancellor of Disaster and Emergency Services at the Texas Division of Emergency Management. He previously served as a Policy Advisor to Governor Abbott focusing on public safety and emergency management issues and was later promoted to Deputy Budget and Policy Director.