Tag Archives: Jerry Patterson

Patterson ‘remembers the Alamo’

It turns out that former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has a particular motive for seeking to get back into his former job.

He is angry at the way the current commissioner, George P. Bush, has handled the Alamo. Bush has taken the Alamo restoration efforts away from the General Land Office and put it in the hands of private concerns.

Patterson doesn’t like that. So he’s aiming to do battle with Bush with the idea of returning to the GLO the idea of caring for the Alamo.

As R.G. Ratcliffe writes in the Burka Blog: During Patterson’s tenure, the famous Texas battleground was transferred from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to the land office, but Bush has been widely criticized for handing off restoration plans to private foundations.

Ratcliffe reports that legislators are critical of the move because the foundations are too secretive and aren’t being held accountable for what they’re doing to restore the Alamo. Patterson contends, according to Ratcliffe, that Bush set up the privatization arrangement so that he could take credit for cutting the size of a government agency.

Read Ratcliffe’s blog here.

Patterson says he doesn’t want a job. He said he decided to run because he couldn’t find another Republican to challenge Bush. He told Ratcliffe that Bush is too enamored with being a “small-government Republican” intent on cutting the budget. Patterson is angry that Bush has dismantled the GLO’s hurricane response that Patterson created; as a result, there have been delays in getting aid to Hurricane Harvey victims along the Texas coast.

Patterson is having none of it.

He wants to challenge Bush, whose campaign team is touting as the “most conservative land commissioner” in Texas history.

This might shape up to be a most fascinating Republican Party primary. I get the appeal that Bush is seeking to parlay as a budget cutter and a small-government kind of politician.

I happen to be more of a “good government” fellow, who hopes that Patterson — one of my favorite Texas politicians — can mount a serious challenge to the fellow who succeeded him.

‘The Gun Guy’ is getting back into the game

Well, I’ll be hornswoggled.

Jerry Patterson wants his old job back. What is that? He is the former Texas land commissioner who four years ago decided against seeking a third term.

His successor is George P. Bush, the grandson and nephew of two former presidents of the United States. Patterson doesn’t think Bush has done well at the Land Office. He considers him to be too much of a politician with his eyes seemingly on grander political prizes.

So the former Texas state senator who once was known primarily for authoring the state’s concealed handgun carry legislation in 1995 is wanting to get back into the political game.

I welcome Patterson back. The former “gun guy” is going to liven the Republican Party primary if he actually takes the plunge.

I remember meeting him years ago during his time as land commissioner. I found him to be self-deprecating yet smart at the same time. I recall him mentioning how he finished “in the top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M.” He was acutely aware that his primary legislative accomplishment — enactment of the concealed carry bill — would brand him with the “gun guy” moniker.

Those two matters endeared him immediately as someone who did not take himself as seriously as he takes his public service responsibility.

I’ve never met George P. Bush, although I do remember him speaking on behalf of “Poppy” Bush during the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston. The youngster stood at the Astrodome podium as a 16-year-old and declared “Viva Boosh!” in an appeal to Latino voters, given that his mother is an immigrant from Mexico. He brought the house down.

The next time I would see his name would be during the 2014 campaign for Texas land commissioner.

Patterson seems to be primed for a tough battle against the incumbent, according to the Texas Tribune: “Patterson has been a regular critic, recently sending an editorial contrasting the land office’s response to Hurricane Ike, when he was in charge, with his response to Harvey this year. “Harvey victims still living in tents along the coast are, at least in part, victims of a politician’s desire to look good for the next election by being a ‘small government Republican,'” Patterson wrote in what looks like a preview of his political campaign.

This could be a fascinating campaign to watch.

Go for it, Mr. Gun Guy!

Protecting the Texas coast? What a novel concept!

wozniak-whooping-cranes-texas-gulf-coast-c-jeff-wozniak_h10_6206

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.

Get back into the game, Jerry Patterson

RailRoadCommissioner_2_jpg_800x1000_q100

The Texas Railroad Commission is a misnamed panel that does important work for the state.

It no longer regulates railroads. It does regulate the Texas energy industry.

So it is with some anticipation that I read today that Railroad Commissioner David Porter won’t seek re-election next year to the three-member panel.

Patterson may run for RRC.

His decision is spurring some activity among Texas Republicans. One of them happens to be someone I happen to respect and admire very much.

He is Jerry “The Gun Guy” Patterson, the former Texas land commissioner and a one-time state senator from the Houston area.

Patterson is a proud Marine and Vietnam War veteran. He also has delightful self-deprecating sense of humor; he once told me he graduated in the “top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M.”

Patterson also was the author during the 1995 Texas Legislature of the state’s concealed-handgun-carry law. I opposed the law at the time, but my view on it has “evolved” over time. I am not an active supporter of the concealed-carry law; I just don’t oppose it.

Patterson did a great job running the General Land Office. He helped he GLO provide low-interest home loans for Texas military veterans.

I cannot speak to any expertise he might have on oil and gas issues. I do, though, respect him greatly as a dedicated public servant — and I hope he decides to get back in the game.

 

I'll miss Patterson most of all

I’ve given some thought to the Texas statewide officeholders who are leaving public life at the end of the year.

Who will I miss the most?

It’s a close call. Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs can be an interesting and delightful interview subject. She’s full of one-liners and has put me in stitches on more than one occasion in the years I’ve known her, first when she was elected agriculture commissioner and then as comptroller.

Combs finishes second, though, to Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

Patterson burst onto the state’s public attention by being known as the “gun guy,” a state senator who authored the state’s concealed-carry bill in the mid-1990s. He wanted the state to make it legal for Texans to pack heat under their jacket, provided they pass a test that demonstrates they know how to handle a firearm.

He is proud of his Marine Corps service and the tour of duty he served in Vietnam. He campaigned actively on that service. Indeed, his job as land commissioner put him in charge of the state’s veterans home loan program, which he administered with great pride.

Patterson also has a tremendous self-deprecating streak. The first time I met him, he introduced himself to me as a guy who finished in the “top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M University,” where he said he “managed to cram four years of college into six years.”

Texas doesn’t have quite the colorful cast of characters inhabiting public offices that it used to have. Too many of them have taken themselves more seriously than they take their responsibilities. Gov. Rick Perry is Exhibit A. I won’t miss Perry in the least.

Jerry Patterson, though, reminds me a bit of the old-school Texas pol who is unafraid to poke a little fun at himself. We need more — not fewer — like him in public life.

 

'P' offers a pleasant surprise

Politicians occasionally surprise me — pleasantly so.

Sometimes I draw conclusions about politicians, only to have them suggest I might have been a bit too quick on the trigger.

George P. Bush has been, well, one of those pleasant surprises as he runs for Texas land commissioner.

It turns out that the tea party wing of the Republican Party with which he has aligned himself might be gnashing its teeth over P’s environmental policies. As land commissioner, environmental protection goes with the territory.

http://www.texastribune.org/2014/08/31/george-p-bush-interview/

P, the grandson of President George H.W. Bush, nephew of George W. Bush, son of Jeb Bush and a darling of the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, turns out to be keenly aware of some issues that interest those of us who tilt the other direction.

The young man acknowledges the Earth’s climate is change, that it’s getting warmer; he likes the idea of developing alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power; he stops short of calling for abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency; he’s concerned about protecting coastal wetlands; he wants the state to use less coal and use more natural gas to fire electrical power plants.

This guy just might be OK if he gets elected. In a state that leans so far toward the GOP, that event is a near-certainty.

The land commissioner has other responsibilities as well, such as administering the state’s veteran home loan program. On that score, I give the incumbent Commissioner Jerry Patterson and his immediate predecessor David Dewhurst loads of credit. P likely will need to study up on the impact the program has on prospective homebuyers.

I’ve long thought of the land commissioner, though, as one of the state’s chief environment stewards. The office’s very name suggests that protecting “the land” is its top priority.

On that score, George P. Bush is sounding more reasonable than his tea party affiliation would suggest.

I presume he’ll know that many Texans — including yours truly — will be watching him to ensure he stays true to his stated beliefs about our environment.

We’ve only got one planet, P. We need to take care of it.

 

 

Who will also-rans endorse for lt. gov.?

Jerry Patterson and Todd Staples are feeling a bit stung these days.

Patterson, the state land commissioner, and Staples, the Texas agriculture commissioner, finished out of the running in the four-man race for Texas lieutenant governor. But they both still might have something to say about who Texas Republicans should nominate in the May 27 runoff.

http://www.texastribune.org/2014/03/12/patterson-staples-talk-the-past-present-and-future/

They talked to the Texas Tribune about their campaigns and their futures.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is facing state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston in the runoff to see who will run this fall against Democratic nominee state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio.

It’s going to be a bitter fight all the way to runoff voting day.

How might Patterson and/or Staples affect the outcome? They could endorse one of the two runoff foes.

My guess is that Dewhurst would get the nod, given that Patrick managed to anger Patterson and Staples with some pretty mean-spirited campaign ads during the primary.

What’s more, both the land commissioner and the agriculture commissioner have worked with Dewhurst as statewide elected officials. It’s kind of a clubby atmosphere among statewide officeholders.

Patrick could be seen as the fiery outsider in this foursome.

I don’t know what Patterson and Staples will do. I don’t know either of them well enough to predict how or whether they’ll make endorsements in this contest.

They’ll wait a suitable length of time before making their decisions, either because they don’t yet know what they’ll do or because they want to generate maximum political impact on this important contest.

Stay tuned.

Dewhurst about to take a huge fall … maybe

If the Texas Monthly blogger and editor Paul Burka is right, Texas is about to witness one of the more stunning political collapses in recent memory.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is in a runoff for his job with state Sen. Dan Patrick. The two Republicans finished at the top of a four-man primary field earlier this month. The runoff is set for May 27.

Burka thinks Dewhurst is toast.

http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/lost-causes

If it comes to pass and Patrick wins the runoff, Dewhurst’s fall from the pinnacle will be felt and heard all across the state.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

Dewhurst burst onto the state political scene when he was elected land commissioner in 1998. He parlayed that victory into a successful campaign for lieutenant governor in 2002. He then was going to bide his time while awaiting the retirement of one of our state’s U.S. senators. That opportunity came in 2012 when Kay Bailey Hutchison stepped aside.

Dewhurst then had his head handed to him by a young upstart named Ted Cruz, who took him to a runoff in the 2012 Republican primary and then defeated Dewhurst in the runoff. Cruz managed to outflank Dewhurst on the right and won the hearts and minds of the conservative wing of the GOP, which was enough to carry him to victory in the 2012 fall election.

Now, Dewhurst is in trouble again.

He has governed as a moderate. I guess, though, he took a vow never to be “Cruzed” again, so he’s staked out some tough positions on immigration, on public education funding, on the Affordable Care Act — and has looked totally uncomfortable trying to sell himself as a new incarnation.

The Dewhurst I’ve known and covered for years has been extremely detail-oriented and has managed to outwork just about everyone in state government. That was his big selling point.

Patrick then came along, finishing first in the primary and apparently is poised to win the GOP nomination.

I’m not sure how Dewhurst is going to pull this runoff out. The other two GOP primary candidates, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, haven’t endorsed anyone yet. Maybe their endorsement of Dewhurst could pull a few thousand votes into the incumbent’s column. Neither Patterson or Staples seem all that enamored of Patrick, who’s the fiery one of the bunch.

The mighty do fall hard in Texas. It’s looking as though the next big hitter just might be about to hit the deck.

Creationism vs. Evolution: Where’s the conflict?

Three of the four Republicans running for lieutenant governor are tripping over each other in the rush to pander to the extreme right wing of their party.

The issue this time is creationism. Should it be taught in our state’s public schools? Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and state Sen. Dan Patrick say “yes.” Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson stopped short of that declaration.

http://www.texastribune.org/2013/12/12/texas-lt-gov-hopefuls-voice-support-creationism/

They traveled to Waco the other day to debate among themselves. By golly, three-fourths of them are creationists. They believe in the biblical version of Earth’s creation and they want it taught in public schools.

Me? I think creationism should be taught in Sunday school, in church where people worship their faith — where I worship my faith.

Even though Patterson didn’t jump on the creationism bandwagon directly in Waco, he said this: “Show me where that’s in the Constitution, because it’s not in the Constitution. I see nothing wrong with standing up at least for a moment of silence, let those who wish to pray pray in their own faith. I see nothing wrong with having a prayer before a high school football game.”

Well, I believe the First Amendment is pretty clear that Congress shall make no laws establishing a state religion. I do agree with him, however, that prayer before a high school football game doesn’t violate the Constitution, if someone other than a public school administration calls for it.

Creationism is a tenet of one’s faith. Evolution is science, backed up by mountains of empirical evidence. One should be taught in church, the other should be taught in publicly funded school classrooms.

Here’s where it gets sticky, in my view. I do not see any contradiction in the two notions.

Creationism, according to my reading of the Bible, does not stipulate that God created the Universe in six calendar days.

Therefore, I do not see the contradiction between what Scripture tells us and what scientists have uncovered relating to the evolution of the universe.

Am I less of a believer in God than my friends who interpret Scripture differently? I think not.

Amen.

Second Amendment becomes state issue

I don’t know Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson well, although I have interviewed him. I like what I’ve seen so far in person. He is an earnest and amiable fellow with a nice touch of self-deprecation. He once “boasted” of how he finished in the “top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M.”

He’s now running for the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor and has just released a minute-plus-long TV ad that touts his support for the Second Amendment, the provision that allows Americans to “keep and bear arms.”

http://www.texastribune.org/2013/11/19/patterson-protects-right-to-bear-arms-in-new-ad/

Patterson is known as “The Gun Guy.” In 1995, as a state senator from Pasadena, Patterson authored and sponsored the state’s concealed handgun carry law. That is the crux of his TV ad.

I get that he is proud of the concealed carry law. I was one of those skeptics he talks about in the ad. I feared the kind of bloodbath he says opponents feared. They didn’t happen. I was wrong about the concealed carry law. Do I possess a permit? No. Thus, I don’t carry a gun.

I cannot help but wonder whether support for the Second Amendment is critical to the lieutenant governor’s race. Is this the kind of issue that will surface when the 2015 Legislature convenes? I doubt it. The Texas Senate is heavily Republican — just like Patterson — and won’t entertain seriously any effort to repeal the gun law of which the land commissioner is so proud.

So, what’s the point of the ad?