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  • The Pearland Chamber of Commerce’s Candidate Boot Camp is an advanced course, featuring local elected officials and administration, that will be your guide as you prepare to run for office.

    From finance to marketing, this seminar will provide you with information to build your campaign and understand what it means to serve.

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  • 8 - 8:30 AM
    Registration & Networking 
    Continental Breakfast

    8:30 - 9 AM
    Opening Keynote Speaker

    9 - 10 AM
    Campaign Finance & Ethics 101
    This session will cover requirements from the Texas ethics commission regarding campaign finance while discussing campaign treasurer selection and personal finances.
    Andrew Cates

    10 - 10:15 AM

    10:15 - 11:15 AM
    Nuts & Bolts of Running a Campaign
    This session covers a campaign from start to finish. From filing for office to candidate forums, what a campaign look likes and how does it impact your life?
    Luke Marchant

    11:15 AM - 12:00 PM
    Marketing to Media of a Campaign
    Messaging is a vital part of a successful campaign. This session will focus on best practices in marketing (including signage) and working with local media.
    Former State Representative Larry Gonzalez

    12:00 - 1:00 PM
    Closing Panel & Lunch
    Conversations on the good, the bad, and the ugly of running for office.
    State Representative Ed Thompson, Pearland Mayor Kevin Cole, and ACC Board of Trustee 'Bel Sanchez

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  • Below is information and backgrounds on our guest speakers as well as which session they will be covering. Click each tab to learn more about them and how they serve!

  • Andrew Cates - Salient Strategies Law Andrew Cates - Salient Strategies Law

    Andrew Cates - Salient Strategies Law
    Campaign Finance & Ethics 101

    Andrew Cates is the Owner of Salient Strategies Law and the author of Texas Ethics Laws Annotated, the first and only complete legal annotation of campaign finance and lobby laws in Texas (7th edition out soon www.andrewcates.com). Cates is also a contributing author for the Texas Legislative Law Handbook (3rd  edition available at www.txlegelaw.com). 

    In his primary day job, Andrew is a Senior Partner/Co-Founder of Salient Strategies, a full service lobby/government affairs firm in Austin. Clients over the past year have included Texas Rural Funders, Nurse-Family Partnership, Guarding Against Pandemics, and Texans for Health Care Access. Over the last two years, Cates has helped secure over $40 million for in-home nursing care for first-time low-income mothers, and helped his clients pass the Governor’s Emergency Item on broadband expansion in the State of Texas. Prior to starting the firm with his partners, Andrew served as General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs for the membership association of the largest workforce in the state, the Texas Nurses Association. Cates was a Founding Member and Chair for the State Bar of Texas Legislative & Campaign Law Section, where he spearheaded the petition to create the nation’s first legal specialization in Legislative & Campaign Law. Andrew received his B.A. in International Politics from Trinity University and his J.D. from Texas Tech School of Law in 2007. He currently lives in South Austin with his wife Nicole and son Dylan.

    Luke Marchant - Bullpen Strategy Group Luke Marchant - Bullpen Strategy Group

    Luke Marchant - Bullpen Strategy Group
    Nuts & Bolts of Running a Campaign

    Luke Marchant has more than 20 years of political campaign, public relations, and government service experience. From supporting Fortune 5 companies to running local, state, and federal campaigns across the country, he has a diverse background that allows him to anticipate and help clients look around corners and navigate today’s unpredictable environment.

    Before becoming a consultant, he spent 12 years as a sought-after national operative moving from campaign to campaign, splitting his time between both political and government engagements growing a knowledge and understanding. Working for US Senators John Cornyn and Marco Rubio, US Congressman Pete Olson, Governor Greg Abbott and many more. Along the way, Marchant picked up several awards, from AAPC Pollies to MavPAC 40 under 40.

    He is a graduate of Southern Nazarene University, and lives in Dallas, TX, with his wife and two children.

    Larry Gonzalez - Former State Representative Larry Gonzalez - Former State Representative

    Larry Gonzalez - Former State Representative
    Marketing to Media of a Campaign

    First walking into the Texas State Capitol in 1991 as an intern, Larry Gonzales has since transformed into a leading political mind in the state, possessing a wealth of knowledge related to the state’s agencies, and budgeting and legislative processes.  After serving for more than twenty-five years in the Texas state government, both as a state representative and legislative staffer, Larry brings a distinguished political skillset and extensive expertise to the Husch Blackwell Strategies team. A lifelong Republican, Larry previously chaired the subcommittee with oversight matters funding agencies relating to natural resources, business and economic development, and regulatory matters. He twice served (2015 and 2017) on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, serving as Subcommittee Chairman for Articles VI, VIII, and VIII of the state budget, and was appointed both in 2015 and 2017 as one of five House members to the budget conference committee. After serving two years as a Member of the Sunset Advisory Commission, a legislative body charged with evaluating state agencies and making recommendations to improve agency functions, Larry was appointed to serve as Chairman. Larry’s term as Chairman coincided with reviews of the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Railroad Commission and numerous agencies that regulate health care professionals. In 2010, Larry was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. During the first four legislative sessions after he was elected, Representative Gonzales earned numerous awards and accolades for his legislative efforts. Seen as a rising star in the GOP, he was re-elected in 2012, 2014 and 2016 without Republican primary opposition and minimal opposition in the general election. During his time in public office, Rep. Gonzales was featured in a host of national publications, television programs and radio talk shows spotlighting his robust efforts while serving the great state of Texas.

    As a legislative staffer in Austin, Larry worked for then-State Representative Kevin Brady, now chair of the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Larry also worked for Lt. Governor Rick Perry, for then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn (currently U.S. Senator), and previously served as an Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Texas State University System.

    A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Government, Larry also holds a Master of Arts degree from the School of Public Administration at Texas State University.

    Larry and his wife of twenty-three years, Marie, have two children, Leah and Alexander. 

    Ed Thompson - State Representative Ed Thompson - State Representative

    Ed Thompson - State Representative
    Closing Panel


    Representative Ed Thompson proudly serves the 29th District in the Texas House of Representatives. District 29 encompasses the northern portion of Brazoria County that includes Pearland, Alvin, Manvel, Brookside Village, Hillcrest, Iowa Colony, Liverpool, and Rosharon. Representative Thompson has served the district since first being elected in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020.

    Since first taking his oath in 2013, Ed has been a vocal advocate for his district on many vital issues facing the state, such as securing funding for projects and infrastructure on Texas roads, adequately funding our public schools, improving safety and security at the Texas-Mexico border, increasing funding for water resources, and safeguarding Texans' individual Constitutional rights.

    Representative Thompson is the Vice Chairman for the House Transportation Committee and serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee on Appropriations and the House Resolutions Calendars Committee.

    When Ed moved to Pearland over thirty years ago, it was a small town on the outskirts of Houston. Although the area has grown by leaps and bounds, it is still a tight-knit community grounded in conservative values. Representative Thompson is proud to be one of the people working hard every day to make House District 29 even better for its residents.

    During his years of service, Representative Thompson has earned a number of awards, including "Citizen of the Year" by the Pearland Chamber of Commerce, the "Courageous Conservative Award" by the Texas Conservative Coalition, "Effective Conservative" from the Texas Conservative Roundtable, "Top Conservative" rating by the Eagle Forum, "100% Rating" from the Concerned Women of America, and. He has been named a "Fighter for Free Enterprise" by the Texas Association of Business, received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association and Texas State Rifle Association, and been endorsed by the Texas Alliance for Life as "100% Pro-Life." Representative Thompson has also earned the following awards: "100% pro-small business voting record" from the National Federation of Independent Business-Texas, "Award for Conservative Excellence" from the American Conservative Union Foundation, "2014 Golden Eagle Award" from the Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and was named "Leader of the Year" by the Alvin Manvel Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Representative Thompson has advocated for legislation on a number of topics, including increasing funding for K-12, community colleges, and universities; ensuring the transportation infrastructure of District 29 keeps up with the demands of the local population; banning sanctuary cities, border security funding; eliminating hailstorm claim abuse; fair dealings between Texas sports officials and the University Interscholastic League; county authority; and public health and safety protections regarding landfills.

    Although many know Ed as their local insurance agent, he has a long record of dedication to his community. Prior to serving as the State Representative for District 29, he was Mayor Pro-Tem of Pearland, where he fought for sensible policies to help local families and businesses thrive. He has helped implement a pro-job creation environment as Past Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Past President of the Economic Development Corporation. He also worked to ensure the best quality education while preparing for rapid population growth during his time on the Pearland ISD Board of Trustees. Representative Thompson has made it a priority to stay in close contact with local ISDs, superintendents, and retired teachers, as well as the surrounding community colleges and universities to guarantee that the area's education needs are met.

    Representative Thompson is a principled business and family man who knows that if we want to preserve our way of life, we need strong leaders who are not afraid to get in the game. He dedicated 40 years to being a high school football referee, so Ed knows a little something about the importance of reliable leaders.

    A graduate of the University of Houston with a BBA in Finance, Ed is a devoted husband to his wife Freddie, dedicated father to his two children, and loving grandfather to his four grandchildren. The Thompson family attends Sagemont Church in Houston.

    Kevin Cole - City of Pearland Mayor Kevin Cole - City of Pearland Mayor

    Kevin Cole - City of Pearland Mayor
    Closing Panel

    Coming Soon. 

    'Bel Sanchez - ACC Board of Trustee 'Bel Sanchez - ACC Board of Trustee

    'Bel Sanchez - ACC Board of Trustee
    Closing Panel

    Coming Soon.