The race for Land Commissioner is important for two reasons. One is, that most of you probably don’t know what the Land Commissioner does.
And the other is…these guys don’t hate each other.
In these hyper-partisan days, how in the world can an Anglo Republican from Houston and an Hispanic Democrat from the Valley, actually get along? Much less, run against each other?
Well, Commissioner Jerry Patterson and former State Senator Hector Uribe do because they were in the legislature together, and there is a mutual respect, though, not much agreement.
“Hector’s a decent guy,” Patterson told us. “He’s a former State Senator. He’s the same age as I am. We were both in the Alamo movie. In fact, when he filed against me, my press release was titled, ‘I Should have Shot Him When I had the Chance.’ Because in the movie, I was in the Texas army and he was in the Mexican army.”
The Land Office is the oldest department in the state, being founded when Texas was in 1836.
The land commissioner manages the 13 million acres of public land in the state, and the minerals and proceeds from it. That money goes primarily to the permanent school fund, established in 1876.
“Our revenues ultimately go to the PSF,” Patterson says, “and the interest on that goes to public education on a per capita basis.”
“They didn’t waste resources then. And we shouldn’t be wasting them now,” Uribe cautions.
He also manages the Veterans Land Board, to make land available to those who have served. Alternative energy, particularly wind, is a special concern of both candidates.
“They are just beginning to talk about our unlimited clean, renewable energy resources, wind and solar,” Uribe said.
“Texas is the number one state in the United States for installed wind power. It’s about 10,000 megawatts,” Patterson countered.
Both men have resolved to stay on the high road in the campaign.
Patterson says, “I think it’s positive and folks are…it’s refreshing for Texans”