Texas Railroad Commissioner: Dale Henry
Voters have a rare opportunity to vote for a Railroad Commission candidate (i.e., energy-industry regulator) who has professional experience in the oil and gas industry and is well-versed in how the commission operates. Unlike most past and present commissioners, Henry doesn’t regard the post as a mere stepping stone to a higher political office. In fact, this is his third attempt (his second as a Democrat) to land a seat on the three-member panel, because he is passionate about the environment, the benefits of renewable energy, and the health and safety of Texans – matters that are too often ignored by a commission with a historically laissez-faire attitude toward the industry. Henry faces two primary opponents. His toughest rival, lawyer and investment banker Art Hall, is a former San Antonio City Council member backed by a number of well-known Democrats. Mark Thompson is a rights advocate for the disabled and a therapist for blind children and adults. Henry, who collected 1.7 million votes in his 2006 bid, is by far the most qualified candidate to face commission Chair Michael Williams in November.
They also endorsed Rick Noriega
The Austin Chronicle did a feature on the Railroad Commissioner race:
Three Dems Aim at Railroad Commission’s Williams
Hall’s most serious opponent is Dale Henry, who, despite being seriously underfunded, is the only candidate with hands-on industry experience and who has worked as a private contractor for the commission. This is Henry’s third run for a commission seat. In his 2006 campaign, he spent less than $50,000 – most of it from his own wallet – and drew more votes than Gov. Rick Perry, losing to a relatively new Perry appointee, who had the luxury of running as an “incumbent” on the Republican ticket – typically the way railroad commissioners get their political kick-start. Henry, a plainspoken man from Lampasas, says he’s eager to eliminate the practice of “back-alley politics” at the commission. “This time, the Democrats are getting their act together and filling all those empty precinct chairs we had,” he said of the state party’s lackluster enthusiasm in the 2006 election. Precinct chairs are essential get-out-the-vote catalysts in general elections.
Dale’s most serious opponent, Art Hall, admits he looked at other races before deciding to run for this statewide office. He has publicly made this admission before, in particular to the Tejano Democrats last fall when he told that group he literally compiled a list of all offices on the ballot in 2008, looked at “Railroad Commission” and thought, “That would be an easy one.”
Unlike Hall who is using Railroad Commissioner as a springboard for his political career, Dale Henry actually wants the job of Railroad Commissioner. He understands the importance of the position in protecting Texas water and air. It’s not an easy job and we don’t need a commissioner with a flippant attitude about it,