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Texas railroad commissioner to run for state AG

By Marilyn Tennissen | Jun 27, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- The state's recently elected railroad commissioner is on track to make a run for the office of Attorney General.

Barry Smitherman, Texas Railroad Commission chairman, announced this week that he plans to run for AG in 2014.

Texas' current Attorney General, Greg Abbott, has yet to announce his plans for reelection, and many believe he will seek the governor's office in 2014.

Smitherman said he would not run against Abbott, a fellow Republican, if Abbott chooses to run for AG again.

As chair of the Railroad Commission, Smitherman oversees the state's oil and gas industry.

He has been supportive of Abbott's battles with the Environmental Protection Agency, and Smitherman has signed on to seven lawsuits Abbott has filed against the EPA, according to his campaign website.

"I am focused and interested in continuing to prosecute the federal government, in particular the [Environmental Protection Agency]," said Smitherman, according to the Texas Tribune.

The Houston-area native has a degree from Texas A&M University and received a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

He worked for 17 years as an investment banker and then served a prosecutor in the Harris County district attorney's office. In 2004, Gov. Rick Perry appointed Smitherman to the Public Utility Commission.

Perry then appointed Smitherman to the Railroad Commission in 2011. Smitherman won a full term in the November 2012 elections with 74 percent of the votes.

As chairman, Smitherman instituted a review of the "over burdensome oil and gas regulations," according to his website.

The site claims his administration has issued record levels of drilling permits and cut unnecessary red tape.

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