Well, ruffle my hair and call me Frankie!
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has made a commitment to a portion of the state that has been, well, seemingly kind of put on the back burner for too long.
Bush has pledged to make coastal protection a top priority of his during the 2017 Texas Legislature.
The last land commissioner to make such a pledge — and then follow through with it — was a Democrat. You might remember him. His name is Garry Mauro who, in 1998, had the misfortune of running for Texas governor against an incumbent named George W. Bush. Gov. Bush mauled Mauro by more than 30 percentage points while cruising to re-election.
It was a shame that Mauro didn’t do better against George P.’s Uncle W. He had held statewide office for well more than a decade and had done a creditable job as land commissioner.
I got to know him while working along that coast, in Beaumont. I was editorial page editor of the Beaumont Enterprise and witnessed a lot of Mauro’s commitment to protecting the coast.
He started coastal cleanup operations; he sought to protect wetlands from further erosion. He was a coastal region champion.
That emphasis went by the wayside at the General Land Office during the administrations of David Dewhurst and Jerry Patterson.
Now we have another Republican, a first-time officeholder at that, committing publicly to protecting the coastline.
Bush already has taken steps to make good on his pledge, according to the Texas Tribune. As the Trib reports: “The office has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a long-term plan to address problems in the Houston Ship Channel and the Corpus Christi area in order to ‘ensure that Texans receive fair treatment following tropical storms and hurricanes.”‘
My wife and I moved from the coast to the High Plains of Texas more than two decades ago, but my own interest in coastal matters has remained high … even though I haven’t written much about them on this blog.
I am heartened to hear the land commissioner make a public commitment to strengthening the coast, which faces hazards every year during our hurricane season.
The coast ought to matter to the entire state.
I’ll offer George P. Bush one suggestion: Get on the phone and call Garry Mauro and ask him for some advice on how to proceed with ensuring greater coastal protection.
Hey, you can do it private, P. No one has to know.