FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2009
Texas government can be described as a tapestry of people, ideas and needs. To include and address all three, the Texas Constitution endows the Governor with the power to appoint individuals to numerous state boards, commissions and councils.
The famous writer John Gardner believed that only the citizen could bring political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest.
I think Mr. Gardner would agree that by appointing men and women from throughout the state to agencies, boards and commissions, they help keep government accountable and responsive to the rest of the citizenry. During a four-year term, a Texas Governor can make close to 3,000 appointments.
When the Governor first selects a nominee from an impressive list of talented and dedicated Texans, approval is sought from the individual's State Senator, who may also interview the prospective person.
Giving my legislative seal of approval to a potential appointee always reminds me of the talent of South Texans and their willingness to serve. This past legislative session, 26 nominees from my Senatorial District 27 were confirmed by the full Senate.
Our nominees represent both their local communities that include the five counties in my Senatorial District--Cameron, Hidalgo, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy--and the state as a whole. While working to meet statewide goals, they also help promote and protect South Texas' interests by contributing a regional perspective.
I am proud to note that South Texans sit on the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority, the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority and the Coastal Coordination Council. We have appointees to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Board and the Texas Board of Nursing.
Still others are serving on the Veterans Land Board, the Texas Medical Board, the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, the State Health Services Council and the Governing Board of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
This is a small sampling of the numerous state appointments needed for 300 entities that are filled as nominees' terms expire or when someone resigns for varying reasons.
This past regular session, we voted in the full Senate on the appointment of State Board of Education Chairman, Dr. Don McLeroy. Out of respect for my friend and Chair of the Finance Committee, Sen. Steve Ogden, since the nominee lives in his district, I voted Present Not Voting. This is the first time in my 18 years in the Senate voting for gubernatorial appointees that I cast a PNV as a vote of no confidence for someone whose actions and leadership abilities seemed questionable. Incidentally, the Senate voted against confirming him.
Since most appointments occur during the interim, the Senate Nominations Committee doesn't meet to vet the nominees nor can the Senate vote for them until the Legislature convenes.
To be considered for any appointment, a person must be 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen, a resident of Texas and a registered voter. Also, the individual must not have been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court nor been convicted of a felony (fulfillment of sentence and pardon exceptions available).
People appointed by the Governor to these positions play an integral role in running government day-to-day. I would personally like to see more representation in gubernatorial appointments from South Texas, so I encourage anyone interested in serving to call my Brownsville office at 956-548-0227. Information can also be obtained at 512-463-1828 or http://governor.state.tx.us/files/appointments/appointapp.pdf.
As always, if you have any input or questions regarding these or other matters, please do not hesitate to contact Doris Sanchez, my Communications Director, 512-463-0385.