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Endorsement watch: RRC

The Chron endorses former State Rep. Lon Burnam in the Democratic primary for Railroad Commissioner.

Lon Burnam

Our recommendation for the Democratic primary is former state Rep. Lon Burnam.

Burnam, who served in the House for 18 years, including time spent on the Energy Resources Committee, is knowledgeable about the issues and well-qualified for his party’s nomination.

Burnam wants to rebrand the commission the Texas Energy Commission so that the public knows – its name notwithstanding – that the Railroad Commission is responsible for regulating the state’s oil and gas industry, as well as mining and pipelines.

Burnam says that if nominated and elected, he would push the commission to develop a comprehensive energy plan. Safety would be his top priority, and he would make sure that if tragedy strikes, the commission is out front, investigating what has occurred.

As a life-long environmentalist, Burnam would promote enhanced collaboration between state agencies and greater oversight of land restoration following drilling and of injection wells.

Burnam has racked up a few endorsements, including all the ones I’ve tracked here in Harris County, the editorial boards of the Morning News and Star-Telegram, and various environmental groups. This is the only statewide non-judicial office up for election, and the question as has been the case in recent years is whether a good background, a smattering of name recognition, and a bunch of establishment support can overcome a lack of money to get enough votes to win or at least make the runoff in a low-profile race., especially given the turnout that will be driven by a contested Presidential primary. The list of similar races that wound up generating random results is long enough to be a major concern. At least Cody Garrett offers an acceptable alternative, so in the event of a runoff there will be a candidate worth voting for no matter what. But this issue remains one that Democrats are going to have to figure out how to solve.

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