AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick announced the first-of-its-kind Lieutenant Governor Advisory Boards — from the private sector. Patrick stressed the importance of having private businesses advising public policy, he also says the unique boards will consist of 55 private citizens.
“Why would you want a legislative body to disconnect themselves with the private sector? That’s what Washington has done and why the United States has major issues,” said Patrick.
The boards will have some of the most successful business and community leaders. He believes this will strengthen the ties between private business and public policy.
“During my 15-month campaign for lieutenant governor, I met with literally hundreds of successful businessmen and women from every kind of business one can imagine,” he said. “It quickly occurred to me that these entrepreneurs could be a valuable asset to the Texas Senate in helping craft policy initiatives. I began asking many of these business leaders that if I was fortunate enough to win this election, would they consider volunteering their time and expertise to address the major issues of today and tomorrow, that face Texas.”
Patrick announced boards for the following six policy areas:
- Economic and Workforce Development
- Economic Forecasting
- Energy/Oil and Gas
- Tax Policy
- Roy Bailey: Lieutenant Governor Advisory Board Chairman
- Gene Powell: Economic and Workforce Development Chair
- Kent Hance: Economic Forecasting Chair
- T. Boone Pickens: Energy/Oil and Gas Chair
- Brint Ryan: Tax Policy Chair
- Ned Holmes: Transportation Chair
- Jack Wood: Water Chair
“I also look forward to announcing even more historic changes, such as the Lieutenant Governor Grassroots Advisory Boards in the coming days,” said Patrick. “Stay tuned.”
The new members of the boards are some of Texas’s most successful business people and community leaders. They also have political ties. The Texas Ethics Commissions lists nearly all of them as major donors to political causes. Some are Democrats, but most are Republican.
Thirty-seven of them are listed as donating to the Dan Patrick campaign. Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, and future head of the Energy Advisory Board, donated more than $30,000 in the last two years.
Joining him on that board is Tim Dunn, the money behind the conservative group Empower Texans. He’s donated more than $50,000 to Patrick’s campaign.
One of the largest, Fertitta Tilman, has donated more than $100,000 through Landry’s Restaurants. He’s on the economic forecast advisory board.
Patrick believes their expertise and experience will help the senate make decisions. On Patrick’s election website, six of the new board members are listed as part of committees in his campaign.
When asked about what role the donors will play, Dan Patrick’s office says he “has picked successful citizens, in their areas of expertise, to advise him on issues Texans are concerned about. At the end of the day, the will of the senate will prevail.”
In 2010, The Supreme Court ruled that campaign spending is a form of free speech. Since then, a tremendous amount of money has moved into politics; it’s how lawmakers get elected.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, outside groups contributed nearly half a billion dollars to Senate races in 2014. That number has doubled since 2010, the year of the Supreme Court decision.
And when you look at the 10 toss-up Senate races last November, the Brennan Center found outside groups spent even more than the candidates, 47 to 41 percent.