July 16, 2008
Still more elected offices

And here we have another push to make a currently-appointed statewide office an elected office instead. It's almost as if legislators want to send a message to Governor Rick "39%" Perry or something.

Lawmakers should look at allowing voters rather than the governor choose the overseer of the Texas Department of Transportation, a member of a legislative body studying the controversy-stirring agency said today.

"I think that we ought to have everything on the table," said Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, a member of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, at a hearing on possible changes at TxDOT. "We ought to look at leaving it like it is. We also ought to seriously look at an elected commissioner."

McClendon asked Sunset staff -- who earlier issued a report urging other major changes at the agency, citing an atmosphere of frustration and distrust -- to study the pros and cons of an elected commissioner.

Critics of TxDOT and the commission that oversees it applauded the idea, and one man said, "Amen!"

The idea was seconded by Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, who said the proposal would make a "bold statement" that the agency must rebuild trust and address the state's transportation needs. She said 76 percent of people who have commented during the review process want an elected commissioner.

"I think that if we did not look at that, we would be as guilty as TxDOT is of not listening to the public," Harper-Brown said.

The idea met with resistance from Gov. Rick Perry's office. His spokeswoman, Allison Castle, said that TxDOT "is part of the executive branch of government, and the governor believes that's where it should stay."

We're familiar with the argument. I think the fact that a GOP foot soldier such as Linda Harper-Brown is on board with this idea is something that should have the Governor worried. It'd be one thing if this were only being pushed by Democrats. Having it be bipartisan, as with the Insurance Commissioner, means it's something that could get real traction. I'm assuming this would require a Constitutional amendment, which may limit Perry's veto options, especially if it gets passed early enough before sine die. I'm still not sure what I think in the abstract of this plan - obviously, I like seeing Perry's wings clipped, but we will someday have a different Governor - but I'd welcome the debate next spring. Hey, Burka, what do you think about this?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 16, 2008 to Show Business for Ugly People

** I'm still not sure what I think in the abstract of this plan **

Well, there's plenty of time to decide! It will be good to know what you think, eventually, if this ever comes to pass.

Posted by: Kevin Whited on July 16, 2008 8:46 PM

Must be nice to always know the answers without having to think about it. Care to share your answer, or is this just another drive-by?

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 17, 2008 7:21 AM
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