AUSTIN, TX – The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) announced the appointment of Kelsey Erickson Streufert to Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy. TRA represents the state’s $70 billion restaurant industry with more than 50,000 locations and 1.4 million jobs across the state. Streufert brings a stellar track record of meaningful public policy achievements spanning over a decade at the Texas Capitol with strong, demonstrated expertise in business regulation, alcohol, the budget, higher education, utilities, technology, free speech, and public safety, among other issues.
Prior to arriving to the TRA, Streufert served as general counsel for Texas State Senator Kirk Watson where she managed 48 bills that became law over three legislative sessions. During the most recent session, Streufert developed, negotiated, and successfully advocated for two high-profile government transparency bills that passed despite interest from over 100 diverse stakeholders. The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas awarded Streufert their James Madison Award in 2019 for this accomplishment—an award that was previously bestowed upon Greg Abbott, Bob Bullock, Evan Smith, and Barbara Jordan. In addition to passing legislation, Streufert has an accomplished record of using the procedural rules to slow, block, and amend legislation, often creating compromise that results in a better final product.
“The TRA continues to be the voice of restaurants across the state, and as we lead through the COVID-19 pandemic, effective public policy and advocacy work has never been more important. Kelsey brings a deep understanding of the inner workings of the Capitol, has strong relationships across the aisle, and thoroughly comprehends legislation and its potential impact on an industry sector. I am proud to welcome Kelsey to our team and know that she will make an immediate and important impact on behalf of our members,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President and CEO of the TRA.
“I’m thrilled to be able to bring the knowledge and relationships I’ve developed inside the Capitol to an industry and organization that is meaningful to every single Texan,” said Streufert. “Restaurants are a critical part of our community and our economy, and I’m proud to be their voice as we survive this crisis and build the industry’s future.”
Prior to joining Senator Watson’s team, Streufert worked two legislative sessions for former Senator John Carona out of Dallas. She also developed her legal skills with an internship with U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas and in the Washington, D.C. office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
A double Longhorn, Streufert graduated at the top of her class from UT Austin with her Bachelor of Arts in Government and, six years later, her law degree. While in law school, Streufert also represented clients directly in the Capital Punishment Clinic and in the Civil Rights Clinic. Streufert spent her last semester as an undergraduate student in Washington, D.C. as a Bill Archer Fellow where she interned for NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The Texas Restaurant Association has a long, successful history of passing and blocking legislation on behalf of restaurant business owners in the state. Streufert’s expertise will be a tremendous benefit to the TRA leadership team and its members as they continue to lead through the most difficult time in the restaurant industry’s history while simultaneously preparing for a successful 87th legislative session.