MCALLEN, Texas – Both of the candidates running for Land Commissioner say there is a clear choice for Texas voters this campaign season.

The candidates are Jay Kleberg for the Democrats and Dawn Buckingham for the Republicans. The seat is open because the current land commissioner, George P. Bush, chose not to run for re-election.

Here is the latest from both candidates. Buckingham has sent the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service a guest column (see below). Kleberg, meanwhile, was in the Rio Grande Valley recently to meet with reporters. In the attached podcast, Kleberg talks about his South Texas roots, what the Land Commission does, and why he is the best candidate to run the commission. 


Buckingham: On energy security and prosperity, Texas voters have a real choice for Land Commissioner

By Dr. Dawn Buckingham

For more than a century, the oil and gas industry has helped Texas build one of the strongest economies in the world and create a culture of prosperity and opportunity that is uniquely Texan. But whether the people of Texas choose to remain on this path is a question that rests with the voters this November.  

In the race for Texas Land Commissioner, the differences between myself and my opponent Jay Kleberg are numerous and substantial. But nowhere are those differences more pronounced than when it comes to the future of our state’s energy economy.

The remarkable growth and prosperity experienced by Texas in recent decades would simply not be possible without an abundant supply of inexpensive and dependable energy. And there is nothing cheaper, more dependable, and better for powering our society than oil and natural gas. Together, these amazing natural resources have made the middle class accessible for countless Texas families, lowering the cost of everything from transportation, to groceries, to electricity.

Since September 2020, the Texas oil and natural gas industry has added more than 45,000 new high-paying jobs in upstream extraction alone. More than 200,000 Texans now make a living in just this segment of the oil and gas industry—an unparalleled source of employment that has lifted countless families out of poverty and transformed communities from the Panhandle to the Eagle Ford.

And it is not just through direct employment that oil and natural gas has made the middle class a reality for so many Texans, but also through education. The Permanent School Fund, which is the largest public education endowment in the country, is almost exclusively funded by royalties from this industry. What began as a modest $2 million fund in 1854 now stands at over $58 billion—all for the provision of public education to the children of Texas, an education that is the cornerstone for ending generational poverty.

And its not just public education that has benefited, but higher education as well. The University of Texas at Austin will soon pass Harvard to become the richest university in the country, all thanks to the $6 million per day in oil and natural gas revenues pouring into its endowment. 

Yet Democrat Jay Kleberg has already made his agenda for Texas energy painfully clear. By hijacking the General Land Office, Kleberg believes he can cripple our oil and natural gas industry through a strict regime of new taxes and regulations, remaking Texas in the image of California with the same empty “green energy” promises the left has claimed will solve everything from healthcare, to climate change, to racial injustice.

Democrats love nothing more than to bemoan evil businesses that “don’t pay their fair share.” But last year alone, the Texas oil and gas industry paid nearly $16 billion in taxes and royalties to help fund Texas schools, teachers’ salaries, roads, infrastructure, and countless other essential services.

And despite the fact that Kleberg and his family have become obscenely wealthy selling their own oil and gas rights, he wants to risk our children’s future to play eco-venture capitalist by divesting the Permanent School Fund away from the natural resources that have produced a 29,000% return over its 168-year lifespan?

Let us, for a moment, imagine Jay Kleberg’s fantasy world where Texas has turned its back on oil and gas in favor of more solar panels, wind turbines, and who knows what else. Will our energy demand decline? Of course not. Ultimately, we’ll be forced to turn to other countries, including hostile regimes like Russia and China, to import in what we already have in abundance right here at home.

Western Europe finds itself in this very predicament as we speak. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rages on, Russian natural gas has all but ceased flowing to countries like Germany and Italy. Thankfully, American energy producers, including those in Texas, have stepped in to keep Europe from falling into the darkest, coldest winter since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. This is a haunting cautionary tale of a world in which liberal idealists like Kleberg are allowed to destroy our ability to power our own society. 

The choice ahead is clear. While my opponent may believe that rocks and rivers are more important than Texas families, I’m here to say you do not have to choose one or the other. We can keep our state lands pristine while unleashing the economic blessings of our natural resources, and as your Texas Land Commissioner, I’ll do exactly that.

Editor’s Note: The Jay Kleberg for Land Commissioner campaign can be reached by email via: [email protected]. The Dawn Buckingham for Land Commissioner campaign can be reached by email via: [email protected].

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