RELEASE: Mask or no mask, parents, not school districts have power to choose

LEANDER, Texas — Mask or no mask: families decide, not local government entities such as school boards.

The Travis County Republican Party readily stands with Gov. Greg Abbott and Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton in defending the rights of families and taxpayers to choose whether to require their children to wear masks in public schools. Accordingly, TCRP opposes recent efforts by Leander ISD, Pflugerville ISD, and other local school districts and government entities in defying the Governor’s orders by requiring students to wear masks.

“Parental choice must be respected, period,” said Matt Mackowiak, Travis County Republican Chairman. “While we fully understand the uncertainty we all feel at this moment in time, we stand firm on our core Republican principles of strong families and our constitutional form of government. The Leander ISD and other local entities do not outrank the office of the governor or the state attorney general, nor should they pretend to take away power from those who pay the taxes which fund our public school districts. We look forward to the Texas Supreme Court’s conclusive ruling on this critically important matter. We urge our members to choose from a variety of the numerous other ways to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and do what works best for them. Any child whose parent wishes for them to wear masks in school can do so. Parents should be making decisions in this area.”

The Travis County Republican Party (TCRP or Travis GOP) elects Republicans at all levels of government and defends our conservative principles in the greater Austin metro area. For more information visit

Farewell, Brian

The Travis County Republican Party (TCRP) announced today that Brian Ruddle will depart as Executive Director after 26 months of stellar work to accept a national political role in Washington, DC. Rising star political operative Josh Goldman has been appointed Executive Director and Treasurer and has already begun the transition. Ruddle’s last day will be August 13.
“TCRP, our executive committee, all Republican elected officials and candidates, our donors, and our volunteers all owe Brian a tremendous debt of gratitude for his stellar work as our Executive Director these past two years,” said TCRP chairman Matt Mackowiak. “While we are sad that Brian is leaving, we are thrilled for this exciting opportunity and we know Brian will excel at whatever he does in the future.”
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have had these past three years to serve my fellow Republicans in Travis County,” said Ruddle. “Living in one of the most liberal areas in the country can be frustrating at times for conservatives, but the dedication shown by our precinct chairs and the executive leadership team made every moment worth it. As I move to DC in this next chapter of my career, I will always appreciate the lifelong friends I made along the way here in Travis County.”
Goldman has experience in the Texas Legislature and in local campaigns. During the 2020 election cycle, as a field director, Josh oversaw grassroots and canvassing initiatives for down-ballot Republican Candidates in Travis County. Most recently, he served as State Rep. Ed Thompson’s legislative director during the 87th Legislative Session. He graduated with a B.A. in political science from California State University of Northridge and is currently pursuing a M.A. in political psychology, online, at Arizona State University. 
“Josh Goldman has a very bright future and we are thrilled that he has accepted this opportunity to help run TCRP and elect more Republicans, grow the party and advance conservatism,” said TCRP chairman Mackowiak.
“I am extremely excited about joining TCRP, this is a resourceful and critical organization that is leading the charge for change in Austin,” said Goldman. “Politics and civic engagement have always been passions of mine, and TCRP is where the rubber meets the road. This is a great opportunity to help our community, I’m eager to get started.”

(Press release distributed July 28, 2021.)

Confronting Socialism in our own backyard: How to fight back

The Austin City Council approved without objection a resolution to lay the groundwork for a guaranteed income plan — essentially a “universal basic income” (or UBI) scheme already being implemented in other left-leaning cities.

It’s the first step toward monthly payments to Austin residents. Unlike stimulus payments, this plan would be permanent and would very likely add to inflation and accelerate the already skyrocketing cost of living. The City Council is expected to review the study on Aug. 1, and any action could take place then or at a following Council meeting. Here’s why guaranteed or basic income is a bad idea.

In response to this ill-advised concept, the Travis County Republican Party Executive Committee unanimously approved the below statement in firm opposition on June 15.

We recently recommended three ways you can help us fight socialism in our own backyard. As always, we invite you to Get Involved in our efforts to bring sanity back to the Austin area — now more than ever.

Whereas the Austin City Council approved a resolution in support of providing direct cash payments using taxpayer dollars to individuals on a monthly basis, also known as universal guaranteed income.

Be it Resolved, the Travis County Republican Party objects to the direct redistribution of wealth through socialist programs.

Be it Further Resolved, the Travis County Republican Party objects to programs that create further disincentives for unemployed, and underemployed Austin citizens to seek employment opportunities, particularly at a time where job vacancies and hourly wages are rising.

Be it Further Resolved, the Travis County Republican Party objects to the City of Austin resolution that calls for race/ethnicity, rather than need, to be a primary factor in determining acceptance into any guaranteed income program, because this action is inherently racist.

Be it Further Resolved, the Travis County Republican Party objects to any tax increases to pay for such a program, which will increase affordability issues for City of Austin Residents, particularly at a time when City of Austin Property values, and thus property tax burdens on Austinites, are increasing at a high rate. …

WANTED: Precinct Chairs

We’re looking to fill several precinct chairman vacancies: is your voting precinct on the list?

While precinct chair races do appear on the ballot, the Travis GOP has the authority to fill vacancies for the term via our Nominations Committee. Precinct chairmen make up the county’s Republican Executive Committee, which works with the county Chairman to lead the effort to elect more Republicans and support our conservative principles.

Learn more and see if your precinct is vacant!

End the One-Party Political Monopoly

As anyone who lives in the Austin area knows by now, not only are “progressive” ideas making Austin unaffordable and difficult to start a small business or young family in, but it has gotten to where our lives and safety are at greatly increased risk.

Radicals such as Mayor Steve Adler and Council member Greg Casar have put us in a dangerous place. From rescinding the homeless camping ban, to cutting 9-1-1 services, to gutting the Austin police budget, they’re putting radical ideology ahead of common sense.

The Travis GOP is reaching across the aisle to work with Austinites of all backgrounds to “stop the insanity” and bring back basic law and order to our beloved city.

Below is a running list of ways you can get involved in taking back Austin.

Donate — Every dollar you give helps us to staff our headquarters, which serves as a hub for a surprising amount of activities, from running conservative candidates for local office to supporting local initiatives to save Austin.

SAFE Austin Now — After the tremendous success of Proposition B, Save Austin Now turns is sights on re-funding and reforming the Austin Police Department. The petition aims to 1) guarantee adequate staffing for Austin police, 2) create an elected Director of Police Oversight position,
3) double mandatory police training, and 4) reform police incentives. Print out and share a petition at

Enforce Prop B — Although nearly 60% of Austin voters spoke up on May 1, 2021, and voted to reinstate the homeless camping ban, the battle has just begun, as the city is now stalling and litigating their way to ignoring the will of the people. Can you dedicate some time and resources to help enforce Proposition B and help Save Austin Now with their amazing work? Stay involved!

Updated 5:31 p.m. 6/8/21

May 2021 Election info

Everything you need to know to cast an informed ballot starting April 19!

Early voting begins Monday, April 19, and continues through Tuesday, April 27. Election Day is Saturday, May 1. From the Austin camping ban to critically important school board races, most places in Travis County will have a ballot.

To see if you’re registered, generate a sample ballot, and find voting locations, hours, etc., visit

For an analysis of each race, our friends with The Travis Tracker have put together a voters guide with select recommendations.

Join our mailing list

From Activist Alerts on important issues before the the Texas Legislature to our widely read conservative local events roundup Week at-a-Glance, you don’t want to miss out on our periodic email updates.

Be the first to hear about visits from nationally known Republican officials, and be in the know with the latest intel from our County Chairman on critical local matters. Plus, we’ll let you know whenever an election is coming up and what will appear on your ballot.

As always, we promise not to spam you or sell your information to anyone. Sign up today at

Join the Chairman’s Circle!

Be a part of Travis County’s most exclusive Republican donor club — ideal for industry leaders, elected officials, and the most dedicated activists who want the best networking opportunities and enjoy one-on-one time with those who advance Republican principles in Travis County and across Texas.

For more information or to enroll in the Chairman’s Circle, please contact TCRP Chairman Matt Mackowiak at (512)423-6116 or or Deputy Executive Director Lauren Day at

Click here to make a donation now!

Travis County Republican Party Chairman’s Circle Levels

The Chairman’s Strategizing Friends:

• Exclusive invitation to a 5th Chairman’s Circle event with members in this level only
• Reserved table for eight at Travis GOP’s 2020 Reagan Gala
• Reserved table for eight at Travis GOP’s 2020 Grassroots Bash
• Eight VIP tickets to all 2020 Travis GOP large events
• Eight VIP tickets to the 2020 Reagan Gala
• Invitation of two tickets to all four private Chairman’s Circle-only events for one full year
after joining the circle.

Travis County’s Recruiting Candidate Council:

• Reserved table for eight at Travis GOP’s 2020 Grassroots Bash
• Four VIP tickets to all 2020 Travis GOP large events
• Four VIP tickets to the 2020 Reagan Gala
• Invitation of two tickets to all four private Chairman’s Circle-only events for one full year
after joining the circle.

Poll Watching Captains:

• Two VIP tickets to all 2020 Travis GOP large events
• Four VIP tickets to the 2020 Reagan Gala
• Invitation of two tickets to three Chairman’s Circle-only events for one full year after
joining the circle.

Precinct Organizing Partners:

• Two VIP tickets to the 2020 Reagan Gala
• Invitation of two tickets to two Chairman’s Circle-only events for one full year after
joining the circle.

Neighborhood Doorknocking Leaders:

• Invitation of two tickets to one Chairman’s Circle-only event for one full year after
joining the circle.

2020 Chairman’s Circle members:Chairman’s Strategizing Friend:
Senox Corporation

Kent and Elise Grusendorf | Jerry Morgan | Tim and Pat Von Dohlen | John and Cornelia Foster Wood | A.B. and Elizabeth Walters | Mack Lindsey | Sharon Edwards | Bill and Susan Friedrich | Sharon Wilkes | Kristen Hawthorne | David Briner | Jim and Betty Skaggs | Joel and Stacy Hock | Shane and Jenn Stevens | Bob and Debbie Woods | Jess and Laurie Gillig | Aaron Rasty | John Kinzell | Rep. John Cyrier | George Hindman | Jeff and Sutton Hamlin | Bishop Allen and Sherry Crippen | Steven and Susan Zinn | Andy Schoonover | Steve and Paula Jarvis

*Inaugural Chairman’s Circle members: Bud Brigham, Eduardo Contreras, Bryan Hardeman, John and Cornelia Foster Wood, Mike and Rebecca Hart, Kent and Elise Grusendorf, Alan Sager, Penn Parrish, Jay Novik, Don and Melanie DeMayo-Lantz, Jim Skaggs, Patrick McGuinness, Ida Ellison,Jerry Morgan, Joel and Stacy Hock, A.B. and Elizabeth Walters, Bill Krumpack and Amelia Bullock, Andrew and Maryann Heller, Bernie Groveman, and Barbara Ancona

Click here for the Chairman’s Circle Membership Form

Chairman’s Circle Highlights from previous years

• In January 2018, Chairman’s Circle Members John and Cornelia Foster Wood opened up their lovely home for a private dinner with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to fellow Circle members.

• In March, we hosted four Senate District conventions for districts located inside Travis County for more than 700 elected delegates.

• In April 2018, all Chairman’s Circle members were offered complimentary VIP tickets to the annual Reagan Gala at The Driskill Hotel with Governor Greg Abbott with more than 280 people

• In July 2018, all were invited to a private, advance movie screening of Dinesh D’Souza’s “Death of a Nation” at Gateway Cinema with almost 200 people attending.

• In August 2018, Chairman’s Circle members were invited to a private reception with best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza at the Texas Disposal Systems’ Exotic Game Ranch and then received complimentary tickets afterward to the VIP reception and the Summer Bash dinner with 519 people.

• In September 2018, we invited Chairman’s Circle members to a private luncheon at The Headliner’s Club with former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

• In October 2018, all were invited to attend the private movie screening of “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” at Gateway Cinema and hear from one of the actors onsite.

• In November 2018, all were invited to the Election Night Watch Party with almost 400 attending and then Chairman’s Circle members were invited to a private reception with U.S. Senator Ben
Sasse at the Austin Club later in the month.

• In December 2018, Chairman’s Circle members were invited to the annual Travis GOP Christmas Party at the lovely home of Elise and Kent Grusendorf, also Circle members.

With your generous funds, the party is able to grow its presence in liberal Travis County, select and elect conservatives to office, and advocate for lower taxes and more liberty in our daily lives.

Join the movement. Complete the membership form and email or mail it back to us. We look forward to partnering with you to make Travis County more prosperous!


Matt Mackowiak, Chairman 
Brian Ruddle, Executive Director 
Lauren Day, Deputy Executive Director 
Andy Hogue, Communications Director 
Ed Check, Elections Administrator (Updated 8/14/20)

2019 Resolutions

Resolution in Support of Full Funding for the Children with Special Health Care Needs Program

Whereas, the 2018 Platform of the Republican Party of Texas asserts that all innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from fertilization to natural death, therefore, the unborn, the aged, and the physically or mentally challenged have a fundamental individual right to life; and

Whereas, all life is endowed with intrinsic value by our Creator and children with disabilities, while requiring extra medical care and provision, add tremendous value to our society and community,and children with disabilities should be protected and medically provided for; and

Whereas, healthcare costs for all families regardless of income (affluent, middle-class or indigent) make caring for these children cost prohibitive as these are NOT typical Medicaid issues,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Republican Party of Travis County recommends the Texas Legislature fully fund the Children with Special Health Care Needs Program.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to every Travis County State Representative and State Senator as well as the Governor. Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Texas House. Approved 1/22/19

Cap Metro referendum resolution

Be it Resolved; the TCRP supports changes to the Texas Transportation Code (TTC), in Sections 451.407, 451.409, and 451.4125, providing for CapMetro area voters to Petition for a ballot issue referendum; if approved by voters, the referendum would reallocate 50% of CapMetro’s tax revenue to a TxDOT fund dedicated to road congestion relief in the CapMetro service areas;

Be it further Resolved; the TCRP requests state Senators Donna Campbell and Dawn Buckingham to file such draft legislation in the 2019 session. Approved 1/22/19

2.5% rollback trigger bill resolution

WHEREAS property taxes in Travis County are unsustainable, and Travis County voters deserve more tools to protect themselves from the runaway taxes and spending of local government; and

WHEREAS Plank 162 of the Republican Party of Texas Platform endorses the concept of a 2.5 percent rollback trigger, requiring voter approval for property tax increases above that amount, and those concepts are contained in House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 2

BE IT RESOLVED that the Travis County Republican Party endorses and supports in full House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 2 currently pending before the Texas Legislature; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Travis County Republican Party encourages all legislators to support a 2.5 percent rollback trigger and resist efforts to raise that trigger or otherwise make it easier to raise property taxes. Approved 3/19/19

Resolution Supporting Proposition 3 of the Proposed Amendments to the Texas Constitution

Whereas Proposition 3 is “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster,” and,
Whereas Texas local government may presently reappraise properties damaged in disasters, but may not exempt the owners from all or part of their total tax burden,

Resolved: The Travis County Republican Executive Committee supports the passage of proposition 3 of the proposed Amendments submitted on the November 5, 2019 ballot and directs the TCRP to issue press releases regarding that support. Approved 10/15/19

Resolution to Support Proposition 4 of the Proposed Amendments to the Texas Constitution.

Whereas Proposition 4 is “The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an income tax including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated
association income,” and,

Whereas Proposition 4 requires a legislative vote by a super-majority instead of a simple majority and would additionally require voter approval to amend the constitution to impose an
income tax on the people of Texas,

Resolved: The Travis County Republican Executive Committee supports the passage of proposition 4 of the proposed Amendments submitted on the November 5, 2019 ballot and directs the TCRP to issue press releases regarding that support. Approved 10/15/19