Well-Connected Laine Tapped by Texas Cable Ops

The Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association has chosen a well-connected political operative as its president and COO.

Dale Laine Jr. served as deputy chief of staff to former Texas Gov. George W. Bush, and was a staffer for Republican U.S. Sens. Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

He succeeds Amanda Batson, who left in Nov. The association’s majority members, Cox Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable, both now offer telephone service in Texas, and the board wants the TCTA to spend more time and money on telephony rule-making.

The association last June made some operational changes. It axed its longtime convention, CableConnects in San Antonio, once a staple of cable’s February calendar. TCTA members will now gather in Austin for a single day of one-on-one lobbying.

Laine’s appointment serves the association’s new goal of expanding its focus in the legislative and public-affairs arenas.

“Effective representation within the executive, legislative and regulatory bodies is becoming increasingly important at the state level,” said TCTA board chairwoman Connie Wharton, the vice president and general manager of Cox West Texas.

Laine will also continue as president of Laine Strategy Group, an Austin-based public-affairs consulting firm.