Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The two progressive candidates running for Texas Railroad Commission

The commission that oversees oil and gas regulation in Texas has an old-fashioned name and a huge responsibility.  Because it's just far enough down the ballot that casual, non-straight-ticket voters often don't get to it, it has -- in the two-decades-or-so history of Republican domination in the Lone Star State -- turned into a training ground for the worst and most extreme of the GOP to get their feet wet in politics and then try to springboard into higher office.

We should count ourselves lucky that Michael Williams and Barry Smitherman both fell flat on their faces when they jumped.  So that cleared the field, so to speak, for Tom Craddick's daughter to get her start, and for yet another conservative lickspittle -- about whom the best can be said is that he is not Wayne Christian -- to join her in Austin.

In elections past, liberals and progressives have found some of the very best candidates on their ballots for this office.  Unfortunately, qualifications do not register with the majority party, so they elect conservative accountants who lie awake at night scared that terrorists are coming across the southern border to blow up oil and gas facilities.

The Russians are coming, indeed.  Just more embarrassment for us all to endure.

The pattern holds for 2014: Steve Brown, Democrat, and Martina Salinas, Green, stand out as two of the finest options for voters' choosing to be represented on the TXRR.  Last week Houston's League of Women Voters hosted both potential RR commissioners in their hour-long Conversations with the Candidates, which included Libertarian Mark Miller (but apparently not Republican Ryan Sitton).

That video will appear shortly on the LWVH Vimeo channel (link above).  For now, note that Brown has been actively discussing his suggestions for regulating the frackers, as has Salinas, in this appearance in Denton before the city council there voted to ban the gas drilling procedure in their community (they passed it on to the residents to approve or deny as a November ballot initiative).

After the interviews, Salinas also showed up to bridge-blog with the Harris County Greens.

Unlike my Congressional District choices, I like both of these candidates so much that I can encourage a vote for either one without reservation.  No, I don't know which one I'm voting for yet, but I can also recommend that moderate conservatives give a vote to Miller, the Lib, as a backdoor way to get some mitigating influence on the Railroad Commission.

No. straight. ticket. voting.  Please.

A 39-year-old wealthy O&G executive is just more of the same, lame "governance by cronyism" that Texas has had too much of for too long.  There are at least two, and maybe three, better choices.  Pick one.

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