The Houston Chronicle reports that Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has appointed a new Democrat to the Texas Ethics Commission. As I noted back in December, Dewhurst had previously been considering former Congressman Craig Washington for the post. However, on Friday, it was determined that former State Representative Wilhemina Delco would be appointed to the position.
Delco was first nominated by State Senator Kirk Watson (D-Travis County), the de facto Senate Minority Leader. Likewise, Delco served in office from the capital area and continues to reside there to this day. Delco, 84, has a long and illustrious career in public service. She was first elected to public office in 1968, to the AISD School Board, being the first African-American person (much less, a woman) elected to office in Austin. In 1976, she was elected to the Texas House, where she served for ten terms.
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The Houston Chronicle reports that Craig Washington, a former Congressman and State Legislator, is being discussed for an appointment to the State Ethics Commission. The commission, which by law must include a certain number of Democrats (including the position currently being discussed), has recently received an opening after former Commissioner Paul Mendoza was appointed to the University of Houston Board of Regents.
This specific appointment is the responsibility of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, and the Chronicle notes that other candidates such as soon-to-be-former State Representative Craig Eiland and former Congressman Charlie Gonzalez will be considered. The Texas Ethics Commission is a bipartisan body comprised of appointees of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House. It is charged with such tasks as determining the salaries of State officeholders and maintaining the general sense of transparency and openness from public servants. The Texas State Historical Association sums it up somewhat well:
“The commission may recommend salary increases for members of the legislature, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker, but the increase must be approved by the voters. It also sets per diem for state officials, requires financial disclosure from public officials, and publishes recommendations and rules for public officials. It assumed the secretary of state’s duties on advisory opinions, lobbyist registration and expenditures, and review of campaign spending and contributions…The commission was given power to investigate and penalize ethics violations. Conduct in the race for speaker of the House is also overseen by the Ethics Commission.”
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