Many of Gov. Abbott’s Appointees Look The Same: Old, White Guys

An analysis of the 460 appointments Gov. Greg Abbott has made since becoming governor in 2015 shows some demographic similarities that don’t reflect the state’s diversity – and many of them are Abbott’s campaign donors.

By Rhonda FanningApril 19, 2016 11:44 am

We’re more than a year into the administration of Gov. Greg Abbott. In the course of his four-year term, he will make about 3,000 appointments. So far, he’s named about 460 people to various jobs, including state boards to chair positions in places where they already serve. But what do those appointments tell us about Abbott and the role of politics in the appointment game?

There’s some similarities among the officials Abbott’s appointing – namely, older white men who supported his campaign. His predecessors in the gubernatorial seat – Republicans Rick Perry and George W. Bush – had the same issue.

Peggy Fikac, Austin bureau chief for the San Antonio Express-News, says about a quarter of the people he has appointed were donors to his campaign. Fikac looked back to Ann Richards’s records as well.

“Ann Richards actually did a bit better, even though she served so long ago,” she says. “She still had 67 percent of her appointees were white and 59 percent were men.”

Governors tend to appoint people who support them and their points of view. “A lot of those people tend to be donors, some of them very big-dollar donors,” she says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– What Abbott’s former appointments director said about the diversity of appointees

– Which boards have requirements that could narrow the pool of candidates

– Who the governor’s offices looks for when filling an open seat

Post by Hannah McBride.