Former Abbott deputy David Mattax takes over Texas Department of Insurance

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AUSTIN, Texas — A former top deputy of Republican Gov.-elect Greg Abbott is taking over the Texas Department of Insurance.

David Mattax was named commissioner Monday. He is currently a deputy attorney general who took the lead defending Republican-drawn Texas voting maps in federal court.

State insurance regulators have been thrust into the spotlight in recent years. Federal health officials two years ago blasted former Insurance Commissioner Julia Rathberger for ordering additional training for navigators who helped people get coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The agency also oversees the state fire marshal's office, which investigated the 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West that killed 15 people.

Rathberger stepped down to become Abbott's deputy chief of staff in the governor's office.

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