Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, appointed to his new post exactly one week ago, received the Conservative Republicans of Texas’ (CRT) first endorsement of the 2012 political season on Friday.
Formerly the chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), Smitherman was appointed last Friday to the Railroad Commission by Gov. Rick Perry to fill the vacancy left by Michael Williams, who is running for U.S. Congress.
Smitherman spent his last seven years at the PUC, is a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney and also worked in public finance for Bank One, JP Morgan and Lazard Freres.
The CRT praised Smitherman, among other things, as a “pro-life” candidate, even though the Railroad Commission regulates the Texas energy industry and has no public policy duties regarding reproductive health, including elective abortions. They went on to tout him as a champion of the free market and a pro-family, pro-business conservative.
If this is indeed how it plays out, then it is business as usual at the Railroad Commission and fracking operations will flourish in Texas, regardless of the harm it does to adjacent communities.