Meet Pete

Pete McRae has been involved in Texas politics and government since the 1980s. Originally as a legislative liaison for small farmers, and editor of their monthly newspaper, then as an aide to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, and later as a Texas Senate staff member.  Pete began his local government relations business in the year 2000, and maintains that through today.

Representing a wide variety of clients at the local government level, Pete and our staff monitor local government across the state. Rising Lonestars® is the result of that work.


The Team


Simon Nichols– Executive Editor

Emily O’Toole– Researcher

A 2021 graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in government and human dimensions of organizations as well as a minor in educational psychology and a certificate in business Spanish. Emily has interned for the Texas Democratic Party and the Equal Justice Center. She serves as a Research and Public Policy Associate.

Rifaa Patel– Researcher

A student at the University of Texas at Austin studying Government and Sociology. She has interned at the Texas House of Representatives with a special interest in local government and plans to go to Law School after graduation.

Arshia Malik– Researcher

A senior at the University of Texas studying International Relations and Global Studies. She has interned with the Borgen Project and worked closely with Texas senators. She has a special interest in policy and serves as a Public Policy and Research Associate.

Dianna Starr– Researcher

A recent 2021 graduate from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science Cum Laude.  She has interned for the U.S Ukraine Foundation in Washington D.C and worked closely with the Annette Strauss Institute as a Texas Civic Ambassador to establish the Southwestern University Interfaith Worship Center. She has a passion for politics with plans to apply to graduate school in the near future.

Tayler Kennedy– Researcher

 A 2021 graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in History Honors and Government with a Business Spanish Certificate. Tayler worked for the Texas House of Representatives and Calendars Chair Dustin Burrows during the 87th Legislative Session as an intern and policy analyst. She has a passion for learning about politics and is planning to attend law school.

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