Her tenure as Chief of Staff was marked by the successful, bipartisan effort to reform the Texas tax system and conform the state’s school finance system to Constitutional requirements. According to one observer, “The reform of school finance in 2006… was one of the great achievements of the Republican era in Texas politics. It was a responsible resolution of a crisis.”
In May of 2008, Governor Rick Perry appointed Deirdre to serve as Chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission. She served in that capacity for over three years. Her work provided her with unmatched insight into TxDOT and the transportation challenges facing Texas, as well as an unparalleled understanding of the technical and administrative realities of the agency.
As Chair, Deirdre championed some of Texas’ most significant and complex transportation projects, including the expansion and reconstruction of I-35 through central Texas, the Grand Parkway in Houston, the U.S. 281/Loop 1604 Interchange in San Antonio, the Chisholm Trail/Highway 121 project in
North Texas, the development of U.S. 77 and U.S. 281 at I-69 in South Texas, and major comprehensive development agreements in Dallas/Fort Worth. In recognition of her work, she received the Texas Roadhand Award in 2013, TxDOT’s highest tribute to the citizens who support the department’s efforts to make transportation in Texas the best in the nation.
Deirdre graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 1994 with a BA, with honors, in Political Science and Comparative Area Studies, and she received her MA in International Policy Studies from Stanford University in 1995.
In 2005 and 2006, Capitol Inside honored Deirdre as one of the most powerful political and government advisors in Texas, noting “While Delisi can play rough if needed, she would rather out-think the competition.” She and her husband, Ted, were named by Texas Monthly in 2005 as two of the most powerful Texans. They are the proud parents of twin sons, Will and David, and daughter, Cate.