Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman is running for the 2014 Republican nomination for Attorney General, he confirmed to the Tribune. Public announcements via social media are planned for Monday.
Smitherman told the Tribune he hopes to continue the “great work” of current Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has yet to declare his own political intentions but is widely believed to have his eye on the Governor’s Mansion.
“In particular,” Smitherman said, “I am focused and interested in continuing to prosecute the federal government, in particular the [Environmental Protection Agency].”
In his capacity as chair of the Railroad Commission, which oversees the state’s oil and gas industry, Smitherman has signed on to multiple lawsuits Abbott has filed against the EPA.
Asked about other priorities, the candidate-to-be highlighted second amendment rights, saying he would fight any federal attempts to ban assault rifles or extended ammo clips, and also immigration. “We have got to do everything within the power of the AG’s office to stop illegal immigration, and I think there are some things to be done there,” he said.
Smitherman grew up near Houston and spent the early part of his career as an investment banker. He later served briefly in the Harris County district attorney’s office before being appointed to the Public Utility Commission, which regulates the electric and telephone industries, in 2004 by Gov. Rick Perry. He was appointed to the Railroad Commission in 2011 and was elected to a full term in 2012.
My aunt worked in the OAG for a number of years before retiring in the late 90s. Do you know what the main function of the AG’s office was back then? Pursuing people who failed to pay child support, and enforcing child support agreements. Pretty quaint, no?
I presume Smitherman’s announcement is predicated on the belief that Greg Abbott is in fact running for Governor. Everyone still thinks that’s what he’s going to do, and while everyone concedes that nobody really knows what Rick Perry is up to or what the decision about his future that he’s supposedly going to make on July 1 will be, the assumption continues to be that the AG’s office will be open. With the announcement of Special Session 2 to begin on July 1, it is possible Perry’s announcement, and thus Abbott’s, may be delayed a bit. Still, barring anything unexpected at this time, we’ll just be trading one grandstanding empty suit for another, and that will be true whether Smitherman wins the GOP nomination or not. I wonder how the child support collections are going these days.