The anachronistically named Texas Railroad Commission is pretty high up there in the power-to-prominence ratio. This year's race for Railroad Commissioner is pretty typical, modulo the unusual three-way Democratic primary that left the little-known contender Mark Thompson standing. The Chron has a brief overview of the RR Commish race, in which Thompson takes on incumbent Michael Williams.
Thompson said Williams is too dependent on contributions from the companies he regulates to effectively regulate them.
"He's not looking after the people," said Thompson, 49, a therapist for the blind and a safety advocate who lives in Garland.
Williams raised $1.3 million from January 2007 through June 2008, of which 44 percent came from the energy companies he is sworn to regulate, according to an analysis by Texans for Public Justice, a group that tracks the influence of money in political campaigns.
Williams said he was not ashamed to accept money from energy interests and asserted it did not taint his decisions.
"I am proud that the people who know energy have enough confidence in my record and my vision to give freely to my campaign," he said.