In the next state election, Texas has important choices to make. One of the most significant races in terms of state impact, is also one of the most unknown and unnoticed according to The Texas Tribune.
The state’s oldest regulatory agency, and possibly misnamed, is The Texas Railroad Commission. The Commission no longer focuses on railroads, but is responsible for permits, inspections, enforcement and creation of rules for oil, gas, mining, natural gas, and pipelines.
That means The Texas Railroad Commission regulates a state that leads the nation in domestic energy production, and produces one-third of all U.S. production, which is more than twice the amount of oil it did three years ago. This group has quite an influence.
“This is probably the most important agency in the state,” said Christi Craddick, who joined the three-member commission in 2012. “We’re kind of the industry standard.”
The number of candidates throwing their hat in the ring is growing. Here’s the current list:
- Ray Keller, former state representative
- Stefani Carter, state representative, R-Dallas
- Becky Berger, a geologist and member of the State Republican Executive Committee
- Malachi Boyuls, an oil and gas investor and former regulatory attorney
- Wayne Christian, former state representative, R-Center
- Ryan Sitton, an oil and gas engineer who lost a Texas House bid in 2012
- Joe Pool Jr., son of the late U.S. Rep. Joe R. Pool, who served from 1963 to 1968
The new commissioner will replace Barry Smitherman, who is running for Texas attorney general.