State Rep. Warren Chisum, a Republican from Pampa, Texas plans to seek a place on the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), either by gubernatorial appointment once Michael Williams resigns in April or by running for the seat expected to be vacated next year when Elizabeth Ames Jones declines to seek re-election because of her aspirations to the U.S. Senate.
The 72-year-old lawmaker has served in the House since 1989 and is an oil and natural gas producer and rancher who began his career on oil drilling rigs and in truck yards. A key lieutenant of former Speaker Thomas Russell “Tom” Craddick, Sr., and an active candidate in the ill-fated attempt to unseat Speaker Joe Straus at the beginning of the current session, Chisum has not had a committee chairmanship since Tom Craddick was toppled in 2009.
Recent recommendations from the Sunset Advisory Commission call for changing the name of the agency to the Texas Oil and Gas Commission and restructuring it to be governed by a single statewide elected official who would serve a four-year term concurrent with the governor and the other major statewides. Chisum disagrees with the move to change the RRC from a three member elected commission to a single elected commissioner.
If he does enter next year’s Railroad Commission primary, Chisum starts with a heavy “war chest.” His current report on file with the Texas Ethics Commission shows him with more than $632,000 cash on hand.