FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2003
Press Office at
Attorney General Abbott Names New Executive Staff
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today appointed new members to his executive team that "bring strong leadership, unparalleled standards of excellence and distinguished legal expertise to the people of Texas."
New staff members announced by Attorney General Abbott include Don Willett, an assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, appointed Deputy Attorney General for General Counsel; Ted Cruz, current policy director with the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, appointed Solicitor General; and Angela Hale, a veteran Texas newswoman, appointed to the newly created post of Communications Director.
"These three professionals bring a wealth of talent and experience to the agency. Don's legal background in domestic policy and in both civil and criminal issues will be of great value to the agency," Attorney General Abbott said.
As General Counsel, Willet, who will begin work in early February, will serve as a key legal advisor to the Attorney General on a wide variety of constitutional and statutory issues. The General Counsel also enforces open government and open meetings laws, and advises the Attorney General on formal legal opinions on questions of law requested by state officials.
Prior to his appointment by Attorney General Abbott, Willett served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice. There, Willett helped develop, implement and oversee an array of civil and criminal justice initiatives, including assisting with President George W. Bush's judicial nominations and confirmations.
From 1996 to 2000, Willett served as Research/Special Projects Director for then-Governor Bush in Texas, advising him on a mix of legal and domestic policy issues. Willett earned his BBA in 1988 from Baylor University, and in 1992 received his law degree with honors and an AM in Political Science from Duke University.
Cruz, who will begin work in early February, will head the agency's Office of the Solicitor General, which is responsible for appeals before state and federal appellate courts including the U.S. Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Texas, and the coordination of the agency's amicus or "friend of the court" briefs.
"Ted's legal experience and scholarship will serve all Texans well as he advocates for the public before our nation's and state's highest courts," Attorney General Abbott said.
The State's new solicitor general began his legal career clerking for distinguished justices on appeals courts, including the Honorable William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. A cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, Cruz was also an associate deputy attorney general at the U. S. Department of Justice and a domestic policy advisor to the 2000 presidential campaign of President George W. Bush.
In the newly created position of communications director, which she began Monday, Hale will have overall strategic responsibility for the communications operation of the agency, and will serve as the Attorney General's lead spokesperson.
"Angela's experience in the Texas news business will be of great value to the agency as we strive to keep Texans informed about their rights and their government," Attorney General Abbott said.
Hale, a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, has a 15-year career in the television news business, the last eight of which have been in the top-ranked Dallas-Fort Worth market at CBS network affiliate KTVT.
During her tenure there, Hale covered politics and government, including the 2002 U.S. Senate and 1998 and 2002 gubernatorial, and the 2000 Presidential elections, during which she spent the better part of two years traveling to cover then-candidate George W. Bush. She has also worked for stations in San Antonio, Laredo and in Florida.
Attorney General Abbott also announced today the reappointment of several senior staff members. Jeff Boyd will continue to serve as Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation; Cynthia Bryant will continue to serve as Deputy Attorney General for Child Support; Elizabeth Rogers will continue to serve as Attorney Ombudsman and Chief Ethics Advisor to the Attorney General; Don Clemmer will serve as Special Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Justice; and Edna Butts will continue to serve as Special Assistant Attorney General for healthcare and border issues.
Nancy Fuller will become chief of the Legal Opinions Committee, where she will oversee the team of attorneys who research and draft formal legal opinions in response to questions of law posed by state and local officials.
FOR OTHER ITEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ACCESS OAG NEWS RELEASES ONLINE AT WWW.TEXASATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV.