Republican Gov. Rick Perry is expected to promote a top aide to succeed Roger Williams as Texas secretary of state. Phil Wilson, Perry's deputy chief of staff, would bring a background in economic development to the job traditionally focused on overseeing state elections.
Perry's office declined to confirm the appointment, which could be announced today. Wilson didn't respond to a request for an interview.
But state Sen. Kirk Watson aired no objections. Watson, D-Austin, reviewed the choice at Perry's request because Wilson lives in Watson's Travis County district.
Watson said he worked closely with Wilson when Watson chaired the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
The senator called Wilson "extremely competent. He works hard; he knows his business; he's a real straight shooter. As far as I am concerned, the governor can go forward."
Watson said Wilson assured him Wednesday that as secretary, he won't take a position on the Republican-favored idea of asking voters to present photo identification or other proof of identity before voting; Wilson believes that it would not be his role as secretary to take a position on identification proposals.
Wilson watches over the $200 million Emerging Technology Fund and the $185 million Texas Enterprise Fund to recruit business to the state. On his watch, the governor's office says, Texas has leveraged $10 billion in capital investment and 45,000 jobs.
Early this year, he was Perry's point man on a failed legislative proposal to sell the state lottery and invest the proceeds in endowments for public schools, health care and cancer research.
Wilson worked previously as state director for former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and as director of communications for Charles Matthews, then a member of the Texas Railroad Commission.