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Governor Abbott Announces Committee To Support The Military

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order establishing the Governor’s Committee to Support the Military. The Committee will actively look for ways to maintain and enhance military value at installations within the state, and will include no more than 22 members appointed by the Governor. Led by a chair and vice-chair, members of the committee will include Texas-resident veterans, community leaders, and business leaders.

“The State of Texas strongly supports the mission of the U.S. military and actively looks for ways to maintain and enhance our military installations,” said Governor Abbott. “Texas is home to many veterans with unique knowledge and experience that the Governor’s Committee to Support the Military can utilize. I look forward to the great work of this Committee, and I thank the members for their service.”

The Committee will make a written report of its findings, activities, and recommendations, including legislative recommendations, to the Governor and the Legislature. The first report is due by December 1, 2018, and will contain recommendations for legislative action during the 2019 legislative session.

Other essential duties of the Governor’s Committee to Support the Military include:

  • Study and make recommendations on how best to maintain and enhance military value at existing military installations in Texas.
  • Study and make recommendations on how best to make Texas a more attractive destination for additional military missions.
  • Collaborate with local governments and chambers of commerce to explore surrounding civilian infrastructure and identify competing and complementary needs between private development, the rights of private landowners, and military necessities.
  • Examine the 2005 criteria used by the  Base Realignment and Closure Commission and identify strategies to avoid future base closures.
  • Coordinate with the Texas Military Preparedness Commission and Texas Military Value Task Force. Since January 2018, the Texas Military Value Task Force has met with each Texas installation commander and staff along with the local communities to identify new missions or mission growth opportunities. Their work will serve as a building block to the new committee.

Michael McClung of Helotes is the director of business development for Ampex Data Systems. He served 24 years in the United States Air Force and retired as a Colonel in 2017. McClung received a Bachelor of Science in political science from the United States Air Force Academy, a Master of Science in management from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College.

Timothy “Tim” Woliver of Cibolo is professional development innovation lead for Booz Allen Hamilton. He served 24 years as an officer in the United States Air Force, retiring in 2017. Woliver received a Bachelor of Arts in geography from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Arts in strategic intel from American Military University.

Lori Stinson, of San Antonio, is vice president of military affairs and leadership for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. She leads the Chamber’s Military Affairs Initiatives and is an Honorary Commander for the 149th Fighter Wing Mission Support Group for the Texas Air National Guard. Stinson received a Bachelor of Arts in art and psychology from Auburn University. She will serve as vice chair of the committee.

Joe “Keith” Sledd of Gatesville is the executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Association. He served in the United States Army for 34 years until his retirement in 2017. Sledd received a Bachelor of Arts in history from East Central University, a Master of Science in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in strategic studies from the United States Army War College. He will serve as chair of the committee.

Todd Fox of Belton is executive vice president at Fort Hood National Bank. He served in the United States Army for 24 years, retiring as Chief of Staff III Corps in 2018. Fox received a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from United States Military Academy, West Point, a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College, a Masters of Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a Master of Arts in national security and strategy from the United States Army War College.

Sean Payton of Killeen is the pastor for Guided Truth Global Ministries. He serves as a chaplain for the Texas State Guard and is a member of the Killeen Planning and Zoning Commission and the Killeen Arts Commission. Payton is a graduate of the American Bible Institute and Seminary.

Webster “Dave” Powell of El Paso is a retired Lieutenant Colonel, who served in the United States Army for 23 years. Following his retirement from the Army, he taught JROTC until his full retirement in 2016. Powell received a Bachelor of Science in leadership from the United States Military Academy.

Cindy Ramos-Davidson of El Paso is CEO of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is an executive committee member of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce, a member at large for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Presidential Advisory Council, and a board member of the El Paso Federal Reserve Bank. Davidson received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from The University of Texas at El Paso.

Alan Wiernicki of El Paso is the chief quality officer for El Paso Independent School District. He served in the United States Army for 26 years, achieving the rank of Colonel. Wiernicki received a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from State University of New York College at Cortland, a Master of Arts in administration from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Science in national strategy from the National War College.

Boyd Sartin of Maud is chairman of the Board of Trustees for TexAmericas Center and vice-president of the Maud Economic Development Corporation. He is a member of the Military Affairs Committee for the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce. Sartin received an Associate of Business Administration from Texarkana Junior College and a Bachelor of Business Administration in industrial management from East Texas State University.

Kreston Cook of Corpus Christi is a retired deputy to the Commander at Corpus Christi Army Depot. He is a member of the South Texas Military Facilities Task Force, Engineering Advisory Committee at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and the Aviation Advisory Board at Del Mar College. He also serves on the U.S.S. Lexington Museum Board of Directors. Cook received a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from The University of Houston, a Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States War College.

Rodolfo “Rudy” Madrid of Kingsville is the County Judge for Kleberg County. He served in the United States Navy for 21 years, until his retirement in 2013. Madrid received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, a Master of Science in nursing from The University of Texas San Antonio, and a Master of Science in Healthcare Management from Touro University.

Maritta Sumner of Arlington is CEO and owner of Sumco, LP. She served in both the United States Air Force and the Texas Air National Guard for 32 years and was the first woman to achieve the rank of Colonel in the Texas Air National Guard. Sumner received a Nursing Degree for Registered Nurses from St. Mary’s University and a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in business from American University.

Stephen “Steve” Banta of Corpus Christi is the executive director of the U.S.S. Lexington Museum. He served in the United States Navy for 26 years, until his retirement in 2017. Banta received a Bachelor of Science in engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Science in security strategy from the National War College.

Ashley “Ash” Cannon of Burkburnett is a retired United States Air Force officer of 25 years. Cannon received a Bachelor of Science in aeronautics and a Master of Science in aeronautical science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Master of Science in strategic intelligence from National Intelligence University.

Michael Boyd of Christoval is a retired Brigadier General, who served in the Texas Army National Guard for 30 years. Boyd received a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from Texas A&M University and is a graduate of The Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, and of The Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Blanca Larson of Del Rio is executive director for the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce & Conventions & Visitors Bureau. She is a member of the Military Affairs Association Board of Directors, Workforce Solutions Middle Rio Grande Board, and a member of the Del Rio Board of Realtors. Larson received a Bachelor of Arts in speech-communications from the University of North Texas.

Robert “Bob” Samborski of Missouri City is a technical services representative for Northrop Grumman. He served in the United States Army for 33 years until his retirement in 2013. Samborski received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Roanoke College, a Master of Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, a Master of Science from Naval Postgraduate School, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

Sam Vinson of Abilene is president of Pine Street Capital. He is a board member for the Abilene Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee and Government Affairs Committee. Vinson received a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and a Masters of Accountancy from Abilene Christian University.

William “Len” Smith of Austin is a retired member of the Texas Army National Guard, serving 30 years until his retirement in 2016. He served as Deputy Adjutant General from 2013 until 2016. Smith received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Southwest Texas State University, a Master of Business Administration from Touro University, and a Master of strategic studies from the Army War College.

Rhonda Rogers of Paris is a retired United States Air Force Major, having served 27 years until her retirement in 1994. She is a member and former Ambassador Chair for the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce. Rogers received a Bachelor of Business Administration in management from The University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Public Affairs in public administration from Ball State University, and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Paul Paine of Fort Worth is a retired United States Navy Officer, having served 26 years until his retirement in 2004. He previously served as a commissioner for the Texas Military Preparedness Commission from 2006 until 2016. Paine received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Duquesne University and a Master of Arts in international relations from the Naval War College.