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Both Candidates For Land Commissioner Want to Use the Office to Implement Green Policies in the GLO

Blue team candidates want a greener land office

By Morgan O’Hanlon, February 25, 2022, News

As the CEO of the Texas General Land Office, the Texas land commissioner manages the 13 million acres owned by the state of Texas – and their mineral rights, and the education funding that flows from those assets. Also, the GLO now owns the Alamo and administers millions of dollars in disaster relief funds. Those last two things in particular have not been handled that well by departing dynast George P. Bush, now running for attorney general, in the esteem of members of both parties.

The two top Democrats competing for their party's nomination, conservationist Jay Kle­berg and activist Jinny Suh, primarily want to use GLO to push for policies to mitigate the effects of climate change. Both say they would restructure the GLO's revenue portfolio of oil and gas leases with renewable sources like wind and solar.

Kleberg, a sixth generation Texan, has family with deep roots in state politics (in both parties) and grew up on the King Ranch, where he got an early start on conservation work. He has served as the associate director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foun­da­tion, the nonprofit partner of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "Equipped with land management experience, a deep understanding of our state's environmental challenges, and an MBA from the University of Texas, I'm ready to get to work," his campaign website reads.

Suh is the founder and leader of Immun­ize Texas, a grassroots network dedicated to supporting pro-vaccine legislation. She is the only Asian American running statewide in Texas this year and, if elected, she would be the state's first woman land commissioner. But she's not the only woman running for the office.

"The most likely Republican nominee for land commissioner is not a man, it's actually a woman, State Sen. Dawn Buckingham [R-Lakeway], who is hard-right conservative," she told the Texas Democratic Women of the Brazos Valley earlier this month. "Who's the best to go against a hard right conservative woman like that? A strong progressive Democratic woman." (Also on the Democratic primary ballot are San Antonio counselor Sandragrace Martinez and Houston businessman Michael Lange.)

Buckingham, who's currently representing large swaths of the Hill Country in the Texas Senate, is the most high-profile candidate in a large pool of Republicans vying for the party's nomination. Her platform includes using state lands for a border wall, preventing updates or moving of the Alamo Ceno­taph (proposed in the controversial Alamo "renewal" plan pushed by Bush), and securing funding for statewide flood mitigation. However, she's far from securing the nomination; a recent poll from the University of Houston's Hobby School of Pub­lic Affairs revealed more than 80% of Republican primary voters have yet to make up their minds. Other contenders include North Texas attorney and former surgeon Jon Spiers and former special immigration agent Victor Avila.

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