The following is a compilation of the unedited responses from Christi Craddick, Railroad Commissioner, to the 2018 Amarillo Pioneer Voter Guide Questionnaire. Craddick is running for re-election in the March 6th Texas Republican primary against Weston Martinez. The winner of the Democratic nomination will face the Republican nominee in November.
Please list any of your political, civic or non-profit experience.
Austin Republican Women, Austin Young Lawyers Association, Commission of 125 at the University of Texas at Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Hill Country Science Mill, Junior League of Austin, National Petroleum Council, Republican National Convention Chief Page (1992), Republican State Convention Delegate (1992, 1994, 2000, 2004), Southern States Energy Board, St. John Neumann Catholic Church, State Bar of Texas, Texas Ex-Student’s Association, Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, Texas Women’s Alliance, The Texas Lyceum, Travis County Bar Association, University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee, University of Texas Liberal Arts Alumni Advisory Council
What is your educational background?
The University of Texas, Bachelor of Arts in Plan II – Liberal Arts Honors Program; The University of Texas Law School, Doctor of Jurisprudence
Why did you decide to run for Railroad Commissioner?
I am running for a second term because I want to keep Texas the top state in the country for energy regulation and production, driving us toward greater economic prosperity and American energy security.
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
I have served as Railroad Commissioner for the past 5 years, and I know how to do the job well on day one. The number one state for energy production in the country, the Texas energy industry represents almost 300,000 good-paying jobs and contributes tens of billions of dollars to state and local governments in Texas every year. The continued successful regulation of the energy industry plays a big role in our state’s energy success and the strength of our overall economy. During this time of incredible energy growth, we must have consistent, thoughtful leadership at the Railroad Commission to oversee such a foundational segment of our state’s economy and keep our communities and resources safe. That means ensuring the agency’s regulations are balanced, consistent and up-to-date with changes in industry technology; regularly reviewing agency processes for efficiencies, keeping staff response timely; and, maintaining strong efforts to attract and keep bright, hardworking staff to carry out our mission. I have made these my priorities during my time at the Commission. I have also helped to secure funding to address major budget needs and re-authorize the Railroad Commission through the Sunset review process. I want to continue building on the great success we have already achieved.
What will be your top priority, if elected?
If elected to a second term, I will continue to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the Railroad Commission and defend our state’s regulatory authority over energy development. I will work to increase transparency at the agency, bringing more of our data online and making it available to the public. I will support streamlined permitting for industry infrastructure and the safe transport of our energy resources. I will advocate for educational paths for a highly-trained, technically-skilled workforce. I will help to educate Texans about the energy industry and the importance of energy production to our state.
Do you support renaming the Texas Railroad Commission? Please explain.
Personally, I like the historical name. It is a name agency staff are proud of, and it is recognized across the world by those working in and around the energy industry. I also have concerns about the cost. It is estimated that the Commission's name change would cost the state about $500,000. I would prefer the Commission spend resources on hiring more inspectors, buying equipment staff need to carry out their job, and improving our IT infrastructure and data available to the public online.
Should any duties of the Railroad Commission be reformed?
Strong, effective leadership at the Railroad Commission should constantly work to improve productivity, reduce waste, and increase efficiency. As a proven conservative leader, I am constantly working on these items, assessing our rules and processes for time and cost savings for the state and industry and employing information technology upgrades as funds for these projects are available.
With the deployment of my Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative, an effort to assist struggling energy companies during the downturn and reduce costs for the agency whose funding is directly tied to industry activity, I launched the first phase of a constant effort to implement efficiencies at the Railroad Commission. We are working on phase two of the initiative now.
With our recent, successful completion of our Sunset review, which is essentially a legislative audit, we have made a lot of good changes to the Commission’s structure and programs over the last few years. Today, I believe we are doing a great job on behalf of the state and look forward to finding ways next year to build on this progress.
Are you supported by any political action committees? If so, which ones?
Grassroots America, We the People PAC; Texans for Fiscal Responsibility PAC; Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND; Texas Home School Coalition PAC; Texas Oil and Gas Association PAC; Young Conservatives of Texas.
For a complete list of endorsements, visit www.christicraddick.com.
Do you have any aspirations for higher office?
Why should voters choose you in 2018?
Having grown up in the heart of the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas with my family working in and around the oil and gas industry my entire life, I am well-versed in how the industry functions, regulatory needs at the Railroad Commission, and the industry’s importance to our state. I have put that knowledge to work at the agency throughout my first five years as your Railroad Commissioner.
When I was thinking about running for Railroad Commissioner in 2011, one of the main reasons I ultimately decided to run was that I wanted to be a part of the team that would help bring the agency into the 21st century. Like any aging regulatory agency, the Commission’s need for technology and process upgrades had become critical so as not to hinder the growth of Texas energy production. Starting on day one at the Commission, I made this a top priority.
Throughout my term, that has meant bringing more of our data online, addressing dire needs related to information technology infrastructure and finding efficiencies in our rules and processes. These accomplishments have allowed us to do our job better, saving time and money for the state and those doing business at the agency.
In 2011, the state restructured how it funds the Railroad Commission and cuts to the agency’s budget left important areas underfunded and unable to fully carry out their mission. I campaigned on, and succeeded in securing funding to address these issues and support a major IT overhaul at the agency. We have used those funds to increase transparency by making agency data more accessible to the public and accelerate inspections and permitting times.
In our recent modernization of the agency, I have continued to stand for common sense regulatory oversight of a robust energy sector while carefully balancing our state’s economic and environmental concerns. Today, with science-based, pro-growth regulation, we have proven we can have cleaner air and water, as well as economic growth and expanded energy development in Texas.
This past year, during the 85th Regular Session, I was proud to successfully lead the effort to re-authorize the Railroad Commission through the Sunset review process, which is essentially a legislative audit of the agency. We are implementing the legislature’s recommended changes and are thankful to continue the important work we do for Texas for another 12 years.
In addition to these critical accomplishments, I have continued to push back on Washington overreach, protecting states’ rights in the management of safe energy production within their own borders.
When it comes to transport facilities such as pipelines and ports, I have advocated for timely federal permitting and necessary funding for the development of our state’s important infrastructure. Our state’s energy industry cannot continue to grow without it.
To conserve freshwater, I have stood for appropriate regulation that allows the industry to maximize recycling in oil and gas operations and expanded use of reclaimed water throughout the energy production process.
I have been a champion for creating new opportunities for Texas energy companies through the privatization of the Mexican energy sector while assisting Mexican officials with information on Texas’ leading energy regulatory policies. If our southern neighbor is successful in energy regulation and production, Texans will also benefit from that success.
With a strong knowledge of the Texas energy industry and a long list of accomplishments over the past five years at the Railroad Commission, I am asking the voters of Texas to elect me to a second term so we can continue the good work we are doing to safely grow this important industry and secure our state’s long-term energy success.
Photo by Craddick Campaign