At the Conservative Leaders Gala on Saturday we honored more than a dozen activists from around the state who are leading the fight for a stronger Texas. These men and women were nominated by their fellow citizens, the people who had seen them in action.

  • Jim Barnes of McAllen. Active in the Rio Grande Valley for many years, he sends out the “Valley Conservative Newsletter” about important dates, events, and calls to action. He’s president of the McAllen Tea Party and other watchdog organizations, with a special emphasis on local activism.
  • Melanie Graft of Hood County. A homeschool mom of three, she has been fearless in fighting cronies in local government. She never passes up an opportunity to volunteer her time to conservative causes and candidates.
  • Laura Hester of Parker County. A trailblazer in the statewide movement to stop forced annexation. She began when the city of Weatherford attempted to involuntarily annex her community of Zion Hill in 2017. She and her neighbors’ organizing efforts halted the city’s annexation attempt.
  • Dana McKelvain of Stephens County. At a stage of life when most people are slowing down, she is speeding up her activism – wearing out shoes block walking for conservative candidates. She started the Stephens County Conservatives and restarted the county’s Republican Party.
  • Brian Newman of McKinney. Active for many years in the McKinney Tea Party, he recently co-founded Collin Strong to support conservative causes and candidates.
  • Mark Reid of Plano. A longtime activist, he founded Plano Citizens Coalition, which has a focus on local city and school engagement. He recently led the Plano Citizen Budget Committee, which discovered cost savings and efficiencies missed by city officials.
  • Vince & Mona Puente of Tarrant County. They have given selflessly of themselves to promote conservative candidates and causes. Without regard to the risks for their business, they stood with parents and taxpayers in Fort Worth ISD when the administration sought to implement harmful policies.
  • Byron Schirmbeck of Baytown. He led the fight against a wasteful bond package, and has helped train activists in Montgomery and Harris counties. He has also been one of the leaders in the fight to ban red light cameras.
  • Marshall Sprigg of Round Rock. After discovering the local “swamp” and leading a citizen campaign to defeat a bad school bond last year, he started a citizen PAC and website to continue keeping his school district accountable to the public. Recently, he and his members uncovered information that led to a trustee’s resignation two days after being appointed to office.
  • Nelson Thibodeaux of Colleyville. Having started an online newspaper in Colleyville covering local issues, he has been influential in helping put new conservatives into office by exposing bad actors in city government.
  • Colleen & Alan Vera of Houston. As an activist power-couple, Colleen has tirelessly worked to expose the mismanagement and corruption of Harris County Department of Education, while Alan has worked to ensure election integrity across Texas as the chair of Harris County Republican Party’s ballot integrity committee.
  • Kathaleen Wall of Houston. Ballot security has been her passion for years, and she now leads the election integrity committee for the State Republican Executive Committee.
Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”

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