Friday, December 17, 2010

"Everything we do involves coloring inside the lines of the laws that we're given."

TxDOT spokesman rejoins old PR firm


Robert T. Garrett
The Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2010

Courtesy of Chris Lippincott.JPG Chris Lippincott, a rare Democrat amongst Gov. Rick Perry's hard-charging team of Republicans at the Texas Department of Transportation, said today he's resigning as department spokesman to rejoin global public-relations giant Weber Shandwick.

The diehard Longhorns baseball fan will stay in Austin, one of the PR outfit's 24 -- count 'em -- North American offices.

Lippincott, a Plano product who worked for several Democrats in the 1990s, worked with first lady Anita Perry between 2003 and 2006 at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, a statewide coalition of rape crisis programs.

Turns out, he's the Cool Hand Luke of quipsters -- and needed to be, as he fronted for TxDOT during the last 18 months of the tenure of its toll-road-building, controversial chairman, the late Ric Williamson. Lippincott stayed on, as boulders of public anger kept crashing in the aftermath, under current Chairwoman Deidre Delisi, Perry's former chief of staff.
Last session, during debate of TxDOT's sunset bill, lawmakers vented their frustration at the agency through an assortment of gutting amendments. Lippincott, though, took all of the hits in stride.
"Everything we do involves coloring inside the lines of the laws that we're given," he said, if a bit puckishly, to my colleague Michael Lindenberger. "If those lines are widened or narrowed or changed direction, we will follow along as best we can."

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