Legislative director appointed to be deputy of government relations

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Jay Dyer, legislative director to Gov. Greg Abbott, will soon be the University’s direct liaison to the state legislature.

Beginning Oct. 16, Dyer will serve as deputy to UT President Gregory Fenves for government relations and manage all University contact with the legislature and other state agencies for funding, research and student support issues. 

During Dyer’s first legislative session in the governor’s legislative office, Abbott signed the Governor’s University Research Initiative into law. The initiative is a grant-matching program to help higher education institutions recruit notable researchers. Dyer is also an alumnus of the College of Liberal Arts, where he majored in government, and is a graduate of the School of Law.

Fenves said Dyer will be an asset in accomplishing the University’s legislative goals, such as maintaining affordable education. 

“As the state’s flagship university, our future depends on having the trust of the Texas Legislature and state leadership, being accessible and affordable for students and their families, and providing value to the entire state,” Fenves said in a press release Tuesday.

Gary Susswein, University chief communications officer, said Dyer stood out because of his background with UT and the legislature. 

“What made Dyer stand out was a combination of his experience in state government and his deep, deep ties to UT,” Susswein said. “He loves the University, and he is solidly committed to it.”

During legislative sessions, Dyer will work directly with lawmakers to advocate for the University’s priorities, while simultaneously advising the University president on pending legislation that could affect higher education. 

“Obviously he does know the legislature, and he does know state office holders, and he does know state government,” Susswein said. “This is the first time he will be solely focused on higher education, and we’re lucky that he’s doing it for UT.”

After Abbott was elected governor in 2014, Dyer worked as deputy legislative director until 2015, when he was promoted to legislative director. He completed two regular sessions and one special session. 

“It was an honor and privilege to serve the state of Texas as a part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration,” Dyer said in the press release. “I very much appreciate the opportunity to return to the University of Texas, and I look forward to helping UT build upon its well-established commitment to excellence.” 

Dyer could not be reached prior to publication.