Power Top Ten #7: County Judge’s Chief of Staff Jason Millsaps

Power Top Ten #7: County Judge’s Chief of Staff Jason Millsaps

Image: Jason Millsaps (left), Chief of Staff to the Montgomery County Judge, and his close political ally Kristin Christ (right).

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Montgomery County, December 7 – Jason Millsaps, Chief of Staff to the Montgomery County Judge is the Seventh Most Powerful of the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Montgomery County.

The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, continues the tradition of listing the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Montgomery County. The Power Top Ten doesn’t commemorate the ten best people in Montgomery County necessarily, but the most powerful people who are actually able to accomplish political or policy goals. In other words, she or he can get things done in Montgomery County. This year is the fourth that The Golden Hammer is publishing this list. In 2016, the former Publisher of this newspaper published the list on social media before this newspaper began.

So far, The Golden Hammer has named three (five counting ties) other people in the Power Top Ten:

#8 Conroe Mayor Jody Czajkoski, Conroe First Lady Nicole Czajkoski, and Quadvest President Simon Sequeira

#9, Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch.

#10, Conservative Republican activist Ginger Russell.

#7: Chief of Staff Jason Millsaps

Jason Millsaps, Chief of Staff to the Montgomery County Judge, is easily the Seventh Most Powerful of the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Montgomery County. Millsaps worked for the County Judge before Mark Keough came to that position after State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of Conroe, made it clear he’d run against Keough for Keough’s State Representative seat. Keough avoided such a conflict and switched to run for the county position instead.

Millsaps had been Keough’s Chief of Staff when Keough was a State Representative. In Austin, Keough developed a reputation in the Texas House of Representatives that he didn’t say or do anything without Millsaps telling him what to do or say. Even other staffers of Keough observed that relationship between Keough and his Chief and often asked “who is the boss?” When people wanted to get business accomplished, they want to Millsaps, not Keough, in Austin.

The relationship has continued and actually become more pronounced in the Montgomery County government. The County Judge actually has minimal authority under the Texas Constitution and Texas Local Government Code. He really does nothing other than to preside over the Commissioners Court and oversee the emergency management of the County government.

Millsaps became the official Director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Department in early 2020 just in time to take the lead on the County’s Chinese Coronavirus response. Millsaps urged Keough to sign orders shutting down local businesses and churches in March, 2020. Keough followed Millsaps’ direction, particularly on March 16 and March 27, when Keough ordered sweeping business and church closures which resulted in tens of thousands of job losses, dozens of suicides, and a spike in family violence cases.

Millsaps has also overseen the County’s expenditure $105 million of CARES Act federal stimulus funds, a position which has made him very popular with County government department directors as well as local government leaders throughout Montgomery County.

Even before the COVID-19 panic, Millsaps seemed to tell Keough what to do and what to say. Millsaps has a strong political mind, although there are limits to his understanding of legalities.

Since Keough’s arrest yesterday morning on DWI charges, after the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted a lengthy and thorough investigation, Millsaps’ political skills kicked into overtime mode, as the Chief of Staff assured Keough’s political supporters, County vendors, and County government department heads that the criminal charge is nothing about which anyone should worry. Millsaps, of course, conducts all of those political operations from his office on the fourth floor of the Sadler Administration Building.

Millsaps has a pleasant personality, many political contacts, and strong friendship with the political “establishment” of Montgomery County. At the same time, however, he’s done a great job playing to conservative groups. He always has an opinion and is skillful at sounding knowledgeable. Millsaps has developed strong contacts with the local media and regularly places stories he wants the newspapers and television stations to cover.

There is no question that Millsaps is the real “chief executive” of the Montgomery County government, as Keough’s powers of concentration have easily reached their limit and Millsaps’s presiding over the distribution of $105 million of “fun money” from the federal government has made him very popular.

Millsaps can get things done.

 

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