The Railroad Commission holds remarkable power over our State, being the czar of all thing pertaining to the ever-growing energy sector. As we have mentioned in our previous article, this responsibility has grown substantially in recent years as the Shale boom has once more brought Texas to the forefront of the oil & gas market. Accordingly, choosing one of the three top regulators every biennium to a six year term is no easy task. What is an easy task, however, is choosing between the two Democrats vying for the post. In that contest, we choose the former Chairman of the Fort Bend County Democratic Party, Stephen Brown. His opponent is none other than Dale Henry, a petroleum engineer who has carried the Democratic banner into the general election for this position three times.
However, in this race, Henry has no website, no Facebook page and no way of engaging voters. Unlike his opponent, he has not been traveling around the State meeting with his prospective constituents. Indeed, this board has not seen campaigning of any kind from Henry; we do not know why he wants the office for which he is running. Call us old fashioned, but we think that is one of the most important qualities of a candidate for public office. Of course, Brown is far more than a candidate with a website. He has crossed the entire State, far and wide, and has met with countless of his fellow Texans. He even showed up at a meeting of the Railroad Commission to announce his opposition to the unchecked excesses of fracking, standing in solidarity with residents of town traumatized by “flammable water” and mild earthquakes.
Brown also has political and electoral experience. His stewardship of the Fort Bend Democrats was no small task. The county is one of the largest in the State, boasting a population of nearly 2/3rds of a million. Additionally, the county –recently called the most diverse in the nation– is absolutely essential to eventual Democratic success at a statewide level. Brown is instrumental to the type of geographic diversity and expertise that Democrats so desperately crave at this moment.
Voters will have quite the choice in this upcoming primary. Dale Henry, a time-and-time-again perennial nominee, represents the same tepid past for Texas Democrats. He is, in many respects, the safe bet, given his employment background in oil and gas. Brown, without such a background, represents the chance candidate. This board believes it is a chance well worth taking.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, Sophia Arena of Houston, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans. Editorials represent a majority opinion of the board.