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Leach hires longtime Collin County resident as chief of staff
The 83rd Texas Legislature is still more than a month away, but freshman legislators across the state are working hard to build staffs that will help shepherd them during the session.
One of the legislative newcomers is District 67 Rep. Jeff Leach, a Plano native whose district encompasses portions of Plano, Allen and Richardson. Leach recently announced Mary McClure as his chief of staff, and while McClure is new to the position, she is not new to Collin County politics.
"The chief of staff position is a key member of my team, and I wanted someone that I could trust to do a good job for me and the district," Leach said. "I really wanted someone that knew the district, and Mary's name was the first one that came to mind -- I am excited and glad to have her."
McClure was born and raised in Collin County and graduated from McKinney High School in 2000. She got her degree from Baylor in 2004 and worked as an accountant for two years before entering politics.
"I got involved in 2006 when my father was running for a court-at-law judge position in Collin County," she said. "He was the incumbent, and when he drew an opponent, our whole family got involved. He won and we were very proud of the race we ran. I loved the campaigning and knew I wanted to be involved in politics."
After her father's race was over, McClure got a phone call from U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson's office asking her to interview for a position as his campaign manager. McClure got the job and held the position until this fall, when she took a job with the Leach campaign.
"It was bittersweet to leave Congressman Johnson because he is my personal hero," McClure said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to work for such a wonderful person, but I am excited about the road ahead for Jeff."
While he was sad to see her leave, Johnson said McClure is ready for her new position.
"Smart and savvy, Mary will make a fine leader and terrific chief of staff for Texas Rep. Jeff Leach," Johnson said.
McClure, who lives in Richardson with her husband, John, and her 2-year-old daughter, Lila, said she became familiar with the political side of working for a representative as a campaign manager and is now excited to be able to learn more about the legislative and policy side.
The immediate to-do list for McClure and Leach includes hiring two legislative aides and two legislative interns to work with Legislative Director Chris Kirby. The team must also find a location for a district office, which is where McClure will be based out of.
"Most representatives have their chiefs based in Austin, where they live and work fulltime," Leach said. "I wanted to do something different, something similar to what Rep. Jodie Laubenberg does. Mary will be in Austin at times during the session, but she will mainly work in the district where she will manage the day-to-day operations of our team and handle constituent services."
Working out of an office in District 67 rather than Austin should allow more face-to-face interaction with constituents, as well as a better understanding of their concerns, McClure said.
"I am looking forward to serving the people of Collin County," McClure said. "I am just thrilled and am excited about getting to know the people in the district and working on their behalf to make Texas a better place to live."