The Dallas Morning News is almost always the first out of the chute with most election endorsements. This year is no exception, as they’ve already issued recommendations for most statewide offices. They’ve gone mostly Republican – Keith Hampton for CCA notwithstanding – but broke with that by giving a resounding thumbs up to Jeff Weems, the Democratic candidate for Railroad Commissioner.
Seldom do we run into a first-time candidate for any office and wonder why that person hasn’t already been elected to the job. But that’s how impressed this newspaper is with Democrat Jeff Weems, who is seeking election to the Texas Railroad Commission.
The 52-year-old Houston attorney would be ready on Day One to make a significant contribution, which is why we strongly recommend him for the three-member panel.
Weems wants the commission to be more aggressive in lobbying the Legislature about its goals. We particularly like his idea of limiting fundraising for this quasi-judicial post to selected times during a commissioner’s six-year term. He would curtail fundraising shortly after a commissioner’s election until essentially the member’s next election cycle.
These are just some of the many examples of Weems’ smart and thoughtful views. His opponent, Republican David Porter of Midland, filled out our questionnaire, but the 54-year-old CPA neither showed up for an interview alongside Weems nor returned a call seeking a phone interview. Roger Gary is running as a Libertarian, and Art Browning is running as a Green Party candidate.
Weems and Porter are competing for an open seat, so voters would be well-served to take the time to distinguish between these candidates and dig deeper than sound bites. Weems clearly has the qualifications – and then some – to bring common-sense leadership to this influential commission.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Weems – the interview will run after next week – and I can attest to all the things they say. He’s very much the kind of person you want in this position, at least if what you want is someone who knows what he’s doing and would excel at it. The contrast in his election couldn’t be clearer.