The chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission has announced he is running for attorney general in 2014.
Barry Smitherman said he hopes to continue the work of current Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, in particular his fights against the Environmental Protection Agency.
Smitherman has signed on to multiple lawsuits Abbott has filed against the EPA in his role as chair of the Railroad Commission, which oversees the state’s oil and gas industry.
Abbott recently announced his bid for governor of Texas, after Rick Perry confirmed he would not seek reelection in 2014.
The Houston-area native said second amendment rights are another priority, and that he would fight any federal attempt to ban assault rifles.
He also believes there is more that could be done to stop illegal immigration.
“We’ve got to do everything within the power of the AG’s office to stop illegal immigration, and I think there are some things to be done here,” Smitherman said.
Smitherman won statewide election to the Railroad Commission of Texas in November 2012 with 74 percent of the vote. He was previously appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Commission in July 2011.
According to his campaign website, Smitherman worked his way through college and law school and earned degrees from Texas A&M University and the University of Texas School of Law.
As chairman of the Railroad Commission, he instituted a complete review of over burdensome oil and gas regulations resulting in a dramatic increase in Texas jobs, according to the website. His administration issued record levels of drilling permits and cut unnecessary red-tape, while respecting Texans’ private property rights, the site claims.
During the brief two-week fundraising period, which began June 17, Smitherman raised $698,770 from donors across Texas, according to the Texas Ethics Commission. As of June 30, Smitherman’s campaign reached its initial goal of cash on hand totaling $1,004,160.
“I was humbled to receive financial support from Texans across our state,” he said. “I will continue to fight for conservative values, stand up to the federal government, and defend the Constitution and laws of the Great State of Texas.”