Land Commissioner: feds suffering from 'reptile dysfunction'
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has a term for what over-zealous federal regulators are trying to do to the Texas economy.
“We call it ‘reptile dysfunction,’” Patterson quipped during Thursday’s Gonzales County Republican Party president’s Day Dinner.
The state’s top land-management official told county GOP faithful that Texas will sue if the Environmental Protection Agency moves ahead with plans to place several previously-unheard-of species — including a salamander —on the Endangered Species List, thereby limiting development of vast tracts of West Texas land for oil, gas and heavy-metals exploitation and production.
“Their efforts are not based on science, it’s based on litigation from radical environmental groups,” Patterson said, calling those groups ‘environmental Nazis.’ “The Obama Administration is trying to kill jobs in Texas.”
The Texas General Land Office manages some 13 million acres and annually generates in excess of $300 million in revenues for the state.
Prior to taking the Land Commissioner post, Patterson had served as a state senator from eastern Harris County, and is known as the author of the state’s Concealed Handgun law. The former Marine aviator and Vietnam vet said he’s used to hearing gloom and doom from the news media over Republican proposals.
“If you recall, just about every major daily newspaper in Texas, when we pushed through the concealed-carry law, they were predicting shootouts at four-way stops, gun battles in the streets,” he said. “They were saying, ‘Oh no, you have a gun, you might defend yourself!
“Funny, that hasn’t happened. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that we have the ability to have a little faith in our citizens, that they will do the right thing.”
Patterson noted the biggest challenge for Texas Republicans in the current election cycle — aside from the fracas over redistricting — is re-connecting with Hispanic voters.
“We have some very old books at the Land Office, some of them dating back hundreds of years,” Patterson said, noting among those books is an accounting from 1845 deeding land to military veterans and their survivors. “In that book, hand-written, is Robert Crockett, Davy Crockett’s son. On the very next line is Juan Seguin.
“Among those lists is a list of who was an immigrant and who was a native. All the Tejanos were native, it was the Anglos who were the immigrants then,” he said. “We have to stand firm on illegal immigration, but we cannot forget the contributions to our history made by Tejanos.”
While not involved in the current election cycle, Patterson does have plans. He announced Thursday he will be seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor in 2014.
Also among those attending the event Thursday were a number of elected officials from the county and local level, as well as State Sen. Glenn Hegar, Congressional candidate Trey Roberts, 25th Judicial District Judge candidates Steve Finch, Bill Old and Kevin Kolb, and 25th District District Attorney candidate Patricia Finch.