Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has a new title: president of the Texas Exes.The longtime Republican took office this month to lead the alumni association of the University of Texas at Austin.“Higher education matters to me and it matters to the future of our state and nation,” said Hutchison, a former UT cheerleader who served in the Senate from 1993 to 2013. “I am honored to take over as president of the Texas Exes at this moment of enormous change and opportunity for the University of Texas at Austin.”Working vacationState Rep. Lon Burnam is ready to start campaigning again.But not for himself, this time.Burnam, D-Fort Worth, is in Colorado campaigning in what has been described as a marquee race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.He will be getting out the word for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner.“I’ll be mainly working to recruit volunteers,” Burnam said. “He’s one of my favorite senators and this is one of the closest races.“I certainly wouldn’t be doing any volunteer work for many Texas senators.”Ready to workState Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said she’s ready to get to work on her new assignment — chairing the Senate Finance Committee.She is the first woman in Texas to lead a standing budget-writing committee.“This is a tremendous honor and responsibility,” she said. “I am absolutely up for the challenge and eager to get to work on a budget that will make Texas proud.”Nelson, whose district includes part of Tarrant County, replaces Tommy Williams, who resigned from the Texas Senate last year.Perry leads CruzIn the first sign of good presidential polling news for Gov. Rick Perry, he is in the top tier of best-known and best-liked Republican potential presidential candidates, far ahead of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.A Gallup Poll released Friday found that among Republicans surveyed, Perry was third with a favorability rating of 46 percent, behind Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, with 47 percent, and the most popular Republican, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, with 48 percent. Cruz was sixth among the 11 potential candidates with a 34 percent rating.The poll measured how familiar Republicans are with the potential candidates and how favorably they are viewed by them.Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the vice presidential standardbearer in 2012, was fourth with a score of 43 percent. The poll surveyed 1,013 people from July 7 to 10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.Lights outDon’t be surprised if you see the familiar face of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott the next time you head to the movie theater.Abbott, the Republican hoping to become Texas’ next governor, is running 30-second ads in two dozen theaters statewide.The ads prompt moviegoers to get involved with the campaign by texting “FREEDOM” to 25827.“From the ticket box to the ballot box, I’m proud to have their support,” Abbott said. “Together, we'll achieve the ultimate blockbuster in November.”Abbott faces state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, in the gubernatorial race.