Lone Star Award Recipients August 2021

Mike McCloskey – Victory! Three bills protecting religious freedom were signed by Governor Abbott on July 9, 2021. This effort first originated with a small group at the Williamson County Cowboy Church who looked to Mike McCloskey for guidance to make it happen. They brought their concerns to the State Convention where they became a legislative priority of Republicans. Together, the three bills ensure that religious services in our state are not interrupted by State and Local governments. Mike was invited to attend the signing ceremony for these bills protecting religious freedoms. Mike formerly served six years as Senate Republican Executive Committeeman (SREC) for Senate District 5. He is very active in Williamson County, across Texas, and Nationally working to promote Republican candidates and ideals. McCloskey says of the religious freedom bills, “This demonstrates that through cordiality and cooperation much can be accomplished.” He also believes the signing of these bills is a “Great Day for the people of Texas!”

Julia Patterson – Julia Patterson is one of the youngest persons, 18 years old, to lobby the Texas legislature! What is her story? One morning she woke up a perfectly normal, happy kindergartener, but by that night she had been life-flighted to Houston, admitted to the hospital, and on a ventilator. This began her 10 year battle with epilepsy. She averaged 200 seizures a day. Medications, implants, brain surgery, special diets all failed to help her. She then joined the Compassionate Care Program and tried medical marijuana. On the tiniest dose, her seizures stopped, she resumed a normal life, became valedictorian of her graduating class, and has now been accepted into the Honors Program at Texas A&M. In an effort to help others she took her story to the Texas Capitol in 2019 and 2021. This past session her advocacy helped carry a bill regarding expansion of the Compassionate Use Program to passage and Governor Abbott recently signed it into Law. She delights that her story could help make a difference for hundreds of others. She is a political science major and a strong Republican; we will be hearing more from this sweet and beautiful young lady in the near future!

A.J. Ares – AJ Ares is a Llano ISD high school student who tired of the liberal ideologies and opinions he was hearing in the classroom and decided to counteract those messages. He was denied his request to organize a high school Republican club, but he did not take no for an answer. AJ worked with local Republican groups, surveyed his high school peers and utilized legal advice to fight the system. With 20% of students supporting him in writing and help from Turning Point USA, AJ conquered multiple hurdles and endured a long process to organize the Llano High School TPUSA Chapter. AJ is a leader among his peers, attends various conservative leadership camps and summits and shares his experiences to help other people better organize in difficult circumstances. This young man fought a system of adults to follow conservative principles and values. He is an example is his community and across the state.

For more info:

Lone Star Award Recipients May 2021

Cat Parks Texas Lone Star Award

Stan and Michelle Brannon are just a Dad and Mom dedicated to making something good come out of something bad. In 2017, Will Brannon and two of his friends were electrocuted in a power line accident. The mast of their sailboat contacted a poorly maintained 12 Kv power transmission line that was 12 feet below standards established by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the National Electric Safety Code. 
In 2019, the families of the deceased boys worked together with legislators, state officials and industry stakeholders to pass Texas HB 4150, later named the William Thomas Heath Power Line Safety Act. This Act created regulations that require electric utilities to regularly inspect certain power lines, train their employees on NESC Standards and hazard recognition and report to the PUC on other power line safety issues. They could have stopped after they got the first bill passed in the name of their son William but they continue to work to protect others. 

Edgar Pacheco is a member of the Texas Young Republicans, and with no arms and no legs, he navigates the halls of the Texas legislature better than any seasoned lobbyist. He took his bill, HB1252, to every office. He advocated for his bill with a smile and exceptional confidence, and now over 500,000 Special Education students around Texas will benefit.

Even though the bill had died three sessions in a row, even though he was up against well-funded superintendents fighting against him, even though the process was slow, he never gave up or turned sour on the process. With the grace and joy of Christ, he fought through it and won friends along the way. Congratulations, Edgar Pacheco Jr., on your success, and thank you for inspiring us that the system still works and one person can make a difference.

Marian Stanko exceeds beyond the call of duty because of her unwavering passion for our party. She is a valuable leader. There is almost no position she has not held, nor work that she has not done.  She is former Executive Director for the Bexar County Republican Party.  She is currently the committeewoman for Senatorial District 26 and a precinct chair.  She is currently a member of multiple Republican organizations. Marian also has authored manuals and videos and made presentations for statewide and district leadership, candidates and grassroots volunteers.  She has had extensive involvement with voter registration and working on campaigns for an array of candidates for offices at all levels.  She has attended and been a delegate and alternate delegate at national and state conventions. She has gained expertise in Party Rules and by-laws, she freely trains others to use walk lists & call lists, and attends as many management and club meetings as she can humanly handle. Marian has just about done it all. We just wonder if she ever sleeps!

Lone Star Award Recipients March 2021

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the heart of our Republican VOLUNTEERS!

I wish to recognize a few of these outstanding volunteers with the Lone Star Award. This Award is presented to those who have demonstrated meaningful work toward growing the Republican Party in Texas; who have worked ardently for the Party; or have demonstrated meaningful work in the advancement of conservative legislation.

I am pleased to bring three such outstanding volunteers to your attention:

Tom Nobis (nominated by a fellow SREC member) has been selected for his meaningful work in advancing conservative legislation. He has really stepped up to the plate as a first term SREC member. He is the “go to” person on information on Bills filed and approved by the subcommittees. He has made numerous trips to Austin and sent out reports twice a week to all of the SREC keeping all informed. Tom is not a self-promoter, but works to further the party and its legislative priorities. He has amazing abilities to keep up with all of the subcommittees and all of the bills. He has really shined during this legislative session.

Nita Davidson (nominated by her County Chair) has been selected for her ardent work for the Party. Nita has been a vital part of the Williamson County Republican Party for over 20 years. She served as Vice-Chairman under two different County Chairman. Nita served for 6 years on the SREC and traveled to all 10 counties in her district repeatedly helping to build Republican Clubs and helping organize the Republican Parties. In this last election, she handled the staffing 6 days a week at the Williamson County Republican HQ utilizing over 40 volunteers. She also assisted in identifying new volunteers and directing them to the campaign teams around the County. Her handling of the HQ directly resulted in raising over $60,000 to assist with the campaign efforts in 2020. Before all of this, Nita started a Homeschool organization in Georgetown and helped educate homeschool moms on how to work to advance Homeschool friendly legislation and city and county ordinances.

Freddy Arellano (nominated by his County Chair) has been selected for his meaningful work in growing our Party. Freddy single-handedly built this party in Maverick County. The county has grown from 21% Republican in 2016 to 28% in 2018 to 40% in 2020. He poured his own time and energy to educate folks about this Republican Party in 2020. An estimated 2300 individuals walked away from the Democrat party while Republican voters increased by an estimated 1500 new voters. Freddy helped this party gain a voice and life – even while he was attacked by the local Democrat party and lied about. He handled this election with integrity and professionalism. At the end of the day, local Democrats lost votes and Republicans gained votes.

I think you agree that these recipients are each worthy of our recognition, gratitude, and admiration. Thank you to each of you who submitted nominees for this award. Any nominees who were not selected at this time will remain on our list. Please keep your nominees coming. We will continue to recognize outstanding Texas Republicans, who inspire us.