Roving Reporter | "Candidate for Texas Land Commissioner Miguel Suazo Addresses Locals" by Jeanette Larson

Miguel Suazo is running for the office of Texas Land Commissioner.  Suazo was the guest speaker at the July 26, 2018 meeting of the Aransas County Democratic Club. He spoke with club members about the duties and responsibilities of the Texas Land Office (TLO) and reviewed his qualifications for the office. He is a 7th generation cattle rancher and has worked for various levels of government, mainly in the areas of energy, gas and oil, and land management. The TLO is one of the major agencies responsible for disaster recovery and he would like to see the State tap into the "rainy day fund" to help Rockport and other coastal areas. "Harvey was four rainy days, not one," he said, referring to the multiple disaster areas that need help.

Suazo mentioned that most of us don't really know what the Texas Land Office does and what oversight responsibilities the Commission has. Work overseen by the TLO includes cleaning beaches and restoring coastlines.  The TLO is the oldest state agency in Texas and was established in 1836 by the Republic of Texas even before Texas had a governor.  According to its mission statement: "The Texas General Land Office primarily serves the schoolchildren, veterans, and the environment of Texas. The agency does so by preserving our history, maximizing state revenue through innovative administration, and through the prudent stewardship of state lands and natural resources."

Miguel Suazo
A major part of the GLO's mission is focused on maximizing and diversifying revenue sources for the Permanent School Fund. Suazo noted that this is an important function as his wife is a teacher and he comes from a family of teachers. One issue Suazo is very concerned about is the need "to generate revenue to support our schools so that we all have a better future" and take better care of our teachers. The final area of concern he discussed is the oversight and operations of the Alamo. In 2011 responsibility for the Alamo was moved from the Daughters of the Alamo to the GLO. Noting that he wants to "Remember the Alamo" and have transparency without "hiding behind non-profits," rather than re-imagining the Alamo as the current Commissioner would like, Suazo said he'd like to return management to the Daughters.

Suazo ended the program by responding to questions from the members about Harvey relief. Several questions dealt with the role of the GLO in Rockport and Aransas County's cleanup efforts including debris still in the water.  Coincidentally, Aransas Long Term Recovery had just released a statement announcing that, following discussions with the GLO, FEMA will pay for the removal of hazardous debris from waters in Aransas County deposited by Hurricane Harvey. This assistance is projected to start in early August and cost approximately $22 million. This includes waters that may be considered privately-owned and submerged lands. Any privately-owned facilities along the coast which require demolition are the responsibility of the owner. The entire statement, which includes the role of the GLO in the cleanup, is available by clicking here.

The WWN does not endorse candidates or political parties. This roving reporter post was submitted by an unpaid local resident. Submit an article and photos here for possible inclusion.

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