Careers in Politics


Careers in Politics

The premier political, public service, and government job-centric conference.

Looking to explore opportunities in public service and politics?

Join us at Careers in Politics, a day conference on April 13th, where you'll have the exclusive opportunity to learn from and connect with the biggest names in Texas politics. This event is tailored for both undergraduate and graduate students, featuring keynote speeches, engaging panel discussions, and a dedicated networking session. Immerse yourself in valuable insights into various career paths within policy, politics, and public service. Connect with like-minded, motivated students who share your passion for making a meaningful impact.  

Our mission is clear: to provide a platform for networking opportunities, offer insights into diverse political career paths, and empower students to directly engage with seasoned political professionals. Don't miss this chance to gain knowledge, make connections, and take the next step in your political journey! 


Early-Bird Tickets Available 

Secure your spot for only $5 until April 5, 2024. 

After April 5: $10 

April 13, 2024 Program Schedule

9:15 AM  Registration and Packet Pick-Up

9:45 AM  Welcome and Opening Remarks

10:00 AM  Firechat with Rep. Andrew Murr and Mark Strama

10:45 AM  Pathways in Politics and Public Service

Explore diverse career pathways in politics and public service, guided by insightful discussions from influential figures. Learn to navigate political landscapes and discover opportunities for impactful civic engagement. 

12:00 PM  Campaigning in the Political Arena 

Discover effective strategies and best practices for navigating political campaigns, led by experienced professionals in the field. 

1:00 PM  Lunch provided

1:45 PM  Navigating the Policy Landscape

Gain valuable insights into legislative roles and responsibilities, exploring opportunities to make a meaningful impact on policymaking. 

3:00 PM  Networking Session: Forge Connections, Explore Opportunities

Dive deeper into various avenues for civic and political work during our interactive networking session, featuring additional opportunities for engagement and exploration. 

2024 Speakers

Representative Andrew Murr: Representative Andrew Murr was first elected in 2014 to represent District 53 in the Texas House of Representatives. The district includes Bandera, Crane, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, McCulloch, Pecos, Real, Schleicher, Sutton and Upton Counties. An eighth generation Texan, he was raised on a ranch in Kimble County, and attended school in Junction. Representative Murr attended Texas A&M University, receiving a bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, in Agricultural Development with an emphasis on economics and policy. Following graduation, he worked toward his master's degree at A&M and earned his teaching certification, completing his student teaching in Mason. He subsequently graduated with the highest honors from Texas Tech University School of Law. In 2008, Representative Murr was elected Kimble County Attorney and then later appointed to the position of County Judge. As County Judge, Representative Murr presided over hundreds of criminal, civil, and probate cases and was never overturned on appeal. In his term of office, he slashed county spending by 31% by cutting waste and inefficiency. Under his leadership, Kimble County today retained one of the lowest tax rates in the state, maintaining zero debt and incurring no future pension obligations. Representative Murr continued to serve as Kimble County Judge until late 2013, when he announced his candidacy for state office. Representative Murr currently serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on General Investigating in the Texas House. During his tenure in the House, he has served on the Corrections Committee (Chair), Redistricting Committee, Transportation Committee, Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee, Rules and Resolutions Committee, Ways and Means Committee, Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, State Federal Power and Responsibility Committee (Vice Chair), Local and Consent Calendars Committee, Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee (Vice Chair), Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, Select Committee on Mental Health, the Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse, and the House Interim Study Committee on Aggregate Production Operations. Representative Murr lives on the family ranch in Junction with his children, Coke, Jackson, Caroline, Finn, and wife, Amanda. Murr raises cattle, maintains a general law practice and is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Junction. 

Jamie McWright: Jamie has been serving as President of the Associated Republicans of Texas (ART) since April 2014. ART traces its roots back to 1974 when one hundred dedicated Republicans, under the leadership of U.S. Senator John Tower, began laying the groundwork for a remarkable comeback and a string of Republican victories. For the past five decades, ART has been a pillar of support for Republicans in Texas. Between 2009 and 2022, ART raised $33.3 million and supported over 242 Republican candidates for the state legislature. The recent success of ART is due in large part to ART’s distinguished Board Members and Jamie’s leadership at the PAC. Prior to joining ART, Jamie spent nearly 11 years on the Washington, DC, staff of U.S. Senator John Cornyn. Jamie supported the Senator in a variety of positions over the decade including policy, political and administrative. In 2009, when Senator Cornyn became Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Jamie divided her time serving both in the Senate office and at the NRSC. In her final two years in Washington, Jamie was appointed Whip Liaison to support Senator Cornyn in his position as Republican Whip. Jamie grew up in west Texas and currently resides in Austin. She has a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Houston.

Matt House: Matt is a public affairs consultant with extensive experience on Capitol Hill and political campaigns. He began has career in the office of Congressman Paul Hodes before spending the majority of his career with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, serving as communications
director for five years. He's a veteran of multiple House and Senate campaigns in New Hampshire, New York, and Massachusetts and now advises clients in highly regulated industries as well as pro-democracy and government reform organizations. 

Marc A. Rodriguez: His current clients include Apple, Atos, Bexar County, Brooks Development Authority, City of Eagle Pass, City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, Entergy, LaMantia Family, Las Vegas Sands, Maverick County, Needmore Ranch, North Highland, North Texas Commission, Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association, Populus, SAS, San AntonioWater System, Texas Central, and VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority. Previously, Mr. Rodriguez worked as a government relations consultant with Lloyd, Gosselink, Blevins, Baldwin & Townsend, P.C. as the firm expert on the legislative process and served as a lobbyist for various clients. He also worked as a planner and intergovernmental relations manager for the City of San Antonio and was Vice President for Governmental Affairs for the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Rodriguez has served on numerous nonprofit boards of directors including the Texas Association of Business, Austin Area Research Organization (AARO), the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, United Way of Central Texas, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and presently Vice-Chairman of Southwest Human Services Corporation. In his work as a government relations consultant, he uses his personal experience as an entrepreneur to identify with and understand his clients' industry challenges. Clients also benefit from his expertise as a political advisor, analyst, strategist and tactician. Mr. Rodriguez has worked on state legislative issues for the last 13 consecutive Texas state legislative sessions and has a professional history of representing entities with elected and appointed boards. Additionally, he has coordinated efforts with volunteers, private consultants, and representatives of governmental agencies. As a professional advocate, Mr. Rodriguez has specific expertise to address public policy issues including utility regulation, infrastructure, urban affairs and natural resources. He is presently the owner of a government relations consulting firm, Principal – Texas Lobby Partners, President of TOPE Development, a real estate company and a partner with Paradeis Largadere – Austin Airport. He holds a B.A. in Urban Affairs and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas. Mr. Rodriguez is married to Jennifer Rodriguez and has four daughters - Alyssa (22), Bella (17), Carmen (16), and Danielle (14).

Lyndsey Blagrave Patterson: Lyndsey is the Texas State Director for Axiom Strategies. She has a reputation for delivering victories for underdog candidates who buck the status quo and challenge the establishment. Lyndsey is a master at crafting narratives that permeate through the noise and leveraging data to move the needle with the right audience. Lyndsey has been the creative strategist and operational force behind big-spend races across Texas and beyond. In New Mexico, she successfully flipped and held onto major state house seats. Her work for County Judge Tim O’Hare secured the Republican stronghold in blue-trending Tarrant County, and she locked down a victory for Nate Schatzline in a hard-fought Texas House primary and runoff.
Over the past few months, Lyndsey developed messaging strategies and campaign plans that resulted in wins in major legislative primaries including Brent Money, Wes Virdell, and Don McLaughlin, and she unseated a 22-year incumbent on the State Board of Education. Originally from Midland, TX, Lyndsey graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She met her husband Matt on a Texas Senate campaign, and they now reside in Austin.

Ross Hunt: In 2009, Ross Hunt with Matt Brownfield, created our first in-house proprietary mobile canvassing application. Backed by years of data and analytics experience, Ross has proven to be the industry’s leading targeting specialist–from local school boards to the U.S. Senate. Ross’ expert analysis of strategic and tactical situations a campaign faces blends perfectly into his unmatched ability to deliver individual-level targeting for mail, phones, digital, texts, and canvassing that is efficient, molded by message efficacy, and returns the greatest votes per record. Ross is the head of branding and our national strategic operations, bringing his unique insights to all 50 states. Ross’ proximity to targeting as well as campaign strategy make him an asset to all of our partners and allows MNA to provide significantly more efficient campaign strategies than our competition. Ross with our CTO Blake Reynolds maintains MNA’s internal polling firm that provides scientific opinion research to our clients, our partner consultants, PACs, and corporate interests nationwide. Ross lives in Dallas with his family and is an avid runner, having won the Fort Worth Marathon. Ross is a voracious reader and occasionally can be found writing about the Classics. Ross is a graduate of St. John’s College and received his Ph.D. from the University of Dallas in 2016. 

Eli Melendrez: Eli is a lobbyist and researcher for the Texas American Federation of Teachers (Texas AFT). Eli’s policy areas of focus are school funding, retirement security, and higher education, representing the union’s interest in policy conversations and negotiations at the Texas Capitol. Reports authored by Eli have been cited by numerous elected officials, candidates, and news publications. Eli spearheaded Texas AFT's efforts to pass a $5 billion pension increase for retired educators through the Texas Legislature last Spring, as well as the accompanying voter-approved constitutional amendment at the ballot box last Fall. Texas AFT represents over 66,000 K-12 and Higher Education employees across the state of Texas and is affiliated with the 1.7 million member National AFT and the 12.5 million member AFL-CIO.

Katya Ehresman: Katya is the Voting Rights Program Manager at Common Cause Texas, where she manages the statewide voting rights legislative coalition prioritizing defeating voter suppression bills in the state capitol. She has experience in nonprofits across the sector of voting rights and civic engagement, as well as chief strategists and campaign management experience in multiple local, statewide, and federal campaigns.

Alec Puente: Alec currently works as the Texas Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association, working with policymakers, stakeholders, and volunteers to improve the health of Texans and reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and stroke through strong public policy. Alec earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s, and J.D. at the University of Texas and lives in Austin, TX.