This week marked the deadline for candidates in Texas wishing to be elected as the Railroad Commissioner to file their paperwork. There are seven candidates who announced their intentions to become the commissioner of the department, which serves as the oil and gas industry regulator.
The position was previously occupied by David Porter, a Republican who was elected in 2010 and announced just a week ago that he would not seek re-election. “A lot of things had crescendoed up,” said Porter in an interview. “I’m not a fundraiser. I’m not a politician. It became obvious to me that I’d have to raise a million or two dollars in the next few months.”
The candidates seeking the office are:
- Lon Burnam (D) – From Fort Worth, Burnam is a former state representative who served nearly 20 years in the Texas House. He lost reelection in 2014. “I think it’s really important that we have a progressive voice in this Railroad Commission race, and I think it’s very important we end one party rule in this state,” Burnam commented.
- Wayne Christian (R) – Christian is from East Texas and also a former state representative who ran for a seat on the Railroad Rommission in 2014. He lost in a runoff election. “After prayer with my family and encouragement from industry and conservative grassroots, I’ve decided I’m running.”
- Cody Garrett (D) – Garrett is a former reporter for the local CBS station in Austin and is also a precinct chair in for the Democrats in Texas.
- Gary Gates (R) – Gates is the owner of Gatesco, a real estate investment company located in Richmond, TX.
- John Greytok (R) – Greytok is a lawyer and lobbyist from Austin affiliated with the Tea Party. Greytok wonders, “why is the EPA working so hard to avoid having its chief tell the truth about the impact of its coal regulations?”
- Ron Hale (R) – Hale is an engineer and the CEO for Duboise Industries in Cypress.
- Grady Yarbrough (D) – In his late 70’s, Yarbrough is a former educator from San Antonio who lost in a runoff in the Texas Democratic primary for the a U.S. Senate seat in 2012 to Paul Sadler. “They equate my familiar name to someone who was a senator 30-40 years ago. That’s the mainstream media trying to sabotage my campaign,” he said.
Notably absent from the ballot is current Republican State Representative Jim Keffer and former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson who cited Donald Trump among one of his reasons for not entering the race.
The election will be held in March of 2016 and promises to offer some interesting debates, facts, and of course a change of leadership.
Lilia Fabry is the owner of MPP Freelance, a writing and web design firm in Houston, TX.