Governor Abbott Announces Staff Hires And Changes

March 4, 2020 | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced several staff changes within the Office of the Governor.

“I am incredibly proud of what this Office has accomplished over the past several years to keep Texas the greatest state in the nation,” said Governor Abbott. “With these staff changes, we have assembled a dynamic team that brings tremendous expertise from inside and outside the Capitol that will help us address the opportunities and challenges that matter most to Texans. I am confident that this team is well-positioned to build on our accomplishments and will work tirelessly to put Texas on a path toward an even brighter future.”

Gardner Pate has been hired as Deputy Chief of Staff. Pate was previously Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen's Director of Policy and General Counsel. Prior to joining Speaker Bonnen, Pate was a partner at Locke Lord LLP before starting his own practice. Pate brings significant Capitol experience to the Office of the Governor, is a proud native of Corpus Christi, and graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

John Wittman has been promoted to Communications Director. Wittman has worked for Governor Abbott since 2014 and was most recently Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor within the Office of the Governor. Prior to joining the Governor, Wittman worked on Capitol Hill at the House Republican Conference and was a war room analyst on the 2012 Romney for President Campaign. He is a native of Cincinnati and is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Brady Franks has been named Deputy Budget and Policy Director. He previously served in the Office of the Governor as a Budget and Policy Advisor focusing on higher education and public finance. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, he was a Director of Government Relations for the University of Texas at Austin. He also served in various roles in the Texas Legislature for eight years including as Senior Budget and Policy Advisor in the Office of the Speaker of the House. A native of Spring, Texas, Franks attended the University of Texas at Austin and received a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning, and a Master of Public Affairs. 

Sallie Armstrong Bentley joins Governor Abbott’s office as a Budget Advisor. Bentley was most recently Assistant Director of Finance in the Office of the Speaker. She also served in various roles within the Legislature and campaign world including Legislative Director for Representative Morgan Meyer and Finance Coordinator for Texans for Greg Abbott. She is a native of Houston, Texas and is a graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Charlie Leal has re-joined the Governor’s Office as Budget and Policy Advisor for transportation issues. Leal was previously the Director of Commission Support at the Texas Department of Transportation. Leal first served in the Budget and Policy Office in the Office of the Governor from 2016 to 2018. Prior to joining the Office of the Governor in 2016, he served as a legislative liaison in the Government Affairs Division of TxDOT. Leal has over 13 years of policy, legislative, and government relations experience, including experience as staff for members of both the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate. He is a native of Los Fresnos, Texas and is a graduate of Texas A&M University.

Stephanie Greger has been hired as an attorney for criminal justice issues in the Office of the General Counsel. Greger brings nearly decade of prosecutorial experience to the Office of the Governor and most recently served in the Williamson County Attorney’s Office as its Criminal Division Chief. Prior to her time in Williamson County, she was the Assistant District Attorney in Nueces County. Greger is a Taylor, Texas native and received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and her law school degree from Baylor University.

The Governor also announced the departure of Deputy Policy Director John Hryhorchuck, who is leaving the Office of the Governor after four years to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.