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Swearing In Texas

Texas Ag Commission

Since the start of the New Year, Texas has seen the pomp and ceremony of swearing in multiple statewide political offices--all of them Republicans. So far, these have been the warm-up acts leading to the swearing in of the Lt. Governor and Governor.  Governor-elect and Lieutenant Governor-elect Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick will be inaugurated into office on Jan. 19.

The new Land Commissioner George P. Bush kicked things off, taking his oath of office on Jan 2.

Last November, Bush easily beat former El Paso Mayor and Democrat John Cook to become the state’s 28th land commissioner. The office manages the state's vast land holdings and oversees coastline protection and veterans’ programs.

“So to provide a better education for our children, let's innovate the way the permanent school fund provides resources to our public schools. Let's continue to extend better services to our veterans by streamlining our programs and our benefits, so that they are delivered effectively and efficiently.”

In Bush’s remarks, he promised to improve returns on state mineral and land leases and to protect natural resources, do right by military veterans and be a good custodian of the Alamo.

“As Texans we all drink from a well that we didn’t dig with our own two hands. It was a well dug deep by the founders of the state, founders with names that are familiar to each and everyone of us, like Houston. But also names not as familiar, but just as important, like De Se Valla and Navarro.” 

Later that same day – the new comptroller Glenn Hegar said in his inaugural speech that he could assure Texans he would do everything in his power to keep the Texas economy on track.

“It is no wonder that nearly 500 more people move to Texas than have left on an average day in the past several years. Like I’ve said before – if you are headed to Texas and have a strong work ethic, the red carpet is rolled out. But if you want to change Texas, then you can turn around and go right back home. And I say that very clearly because your liberal, job-killing policies are not welcome for the Lone Star State. The fact is we are facing enough challenges to our economic dominance without adding a bunch of naysayers to the equation.  In fact, we have enough of them in Washington D.C. already. As we move forward in the months and years to come, we need to stay focused on the things that have formed the foundation of our economy. On a broad scale, we need to keep encouraging job creation and innovation, keep taxes low and limit government spending. We must be more committed than ever to look out for regulations and red tape that hurts small business and cut them out. When it comes to the office of the comptroller our role is to continue economic strength of our state.”

Agricultural matters were the theme of Sid Miller’s address, after he was sworn in as the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.

“Agriculture touches the lives of every man, woman and child in Texas more times a day than any other industry. It doesn’t matter whether you live on a farm in Hockley County or in the suburbs of Houston. Life doesn’t work without agriculture. It matters to every parent who wants to ensure their children have access to the best quality and safest food available. Agriculture matters to the one in seven Texans who work in an agriculture-related job. Texas has always been at the forefront of producing the food and fiber that sustains our nation and the world. Let’s face it: Agriculture is the driving force that makes our lives worth living.”

Miller also used to occasion to remind Washington D.C. about his view of the federal government.   

“You know, as I traveled around the state, people would ask me what is the biggest issue – the toughest issue facing our farmers and ranchers. And they know that water was my number one issue and that we’re going through a four-year drought. Farmers and ranchers are struggling. We have rice farmers who haven’t been able to plant a crop in the last three years. And I would say – you know it’s not the drought. Someday God is going to bless us with enough rain and that problem is going to be gone. But the number one threat to farmers and ranchers in our state is an overreaching federal government. Whether it be the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) trying to siege 90,000 acres on the Red River or the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) trying to lay claim to all the water in the United States and take our state’s rights away. Or be Fish and Game trying to impose another endangered species and put our oil and gas and agriculture business out of business. But I’m just going to tell you, me and my friend Ken Paxton, our new attorney general, Ken, I’m going to be calling you. I’ll say, Ken, saddle up. I’m going to head ‘em you going to heel ‘em and we’re going to drag the federal government out of Texas.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton was sworn in on January 5th. He promised to continue former Attorney General and Governor-Elect Greg Abbott’s practice of frequently suing the federal government.

“Texas has new statewide leaders across all areas of government and we’re going to be tested. And I believe we are up for the challenge. Reagan talked about being a shining city on a hill and I believe Texas is that shining city. And we are a beacon of hope we are also a target as well. And we’ve heard on this stage already about this assault by Washington. And the question is “Why?” I think the answer is simple, we’ve been successful our policies have worked. We’re not like Washington. We’re not like Illinois. We’re not like New York. Our policies actually work. And as a result the federal government is assaulting Texas.”  

Paxton is still facing legal problems of his own. He could face criminal charges for allegedly violating security law by failing to register as a financial agency while soliciting clients for firms and receiving payment for those services.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi