The following is a compilation of the unedited responses from Davey Edwards, candidate for Texas Land Commissioner, to the 2018 Amarillo Pioneer Voter Guide Questionnaire. Edwards is running in the March 6th Texas Republican primary against Rick Range, Jerry Patterson and incumbent George P. Bush. The winner of the Republican nomination will face the Democratic nominee in November.
Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
Professional Land Surveyor
Please list any of your political, civic or non-profit experience.
Chairman of the City of Decatur P&Z Commission,elected Wise County Surveyor 2012, past president of the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors, former public member of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners, licensed state land surveyor member of the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveyors
What is your educational background?
BS Biomedical Science TAMU, MS Geospatial Surveying Engineering TAMU, PhD Geoscience UTD
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
I am a professional land surveyor in Texas and Oklahoma. I am also a Texas licensed state land surveyor and a U.S. Federal certified land surveyor. My master’s and doctorate degrees specifically deal with land administration systems. An in-depth knowledge of the Texas General Land Office is required to perform the services I provide. I have worked with people within the various departments of the GLO to resolve some of the most complex reconstructions of the original land grants and our interstate boundaries that affected not only private property interest but also the State of Texas’ interest. To name one example, the last several years I volunteered my expertise to protect the State of Texas and private property rights against Federal claims along the Red River by consulting with the former Commissioner Patterson, Texas Governor Abbott, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry, and their respective administration in Austin, Wichita Falls, and Washington D.C. I was also able to give a presentation about proper land surveying methods along the Red River to the Washington D.C. division of cadastral surveyors of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Washington D.C. Through these efforts, the BLM admitted to using improper methods of delineating their boundaries and the law suit was settled in favor to the State of Texas and the Texas property owners. In addition to my graduate level studies, I have education in geology and have taught physical and historical geology at our local community college for three years. Lastly, I have served on the City of Decatur’s Planning and Zoning Commission for six years, four years as chairman. This applicable experience and education in land administration systems in Texas and the Public Land System states makes me uniquely qualified to be the next Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office as were the past commissioners who served in the first century of the agency.
What will be your top priority, if elected?
Unfortunately, the Alamo has become the most significant issue in this race. Albeit the Alamo is very important and does need to be protected from being abused politically, it is a small portion of the Commissioner’s responsibility to the State of Texas. Because of the plan to “reimagine” the Alamo by the current Commissioner, the Alamo has consumed the time of the Commissioner causing neglect to his primary duties which include being the steward to the sovereign lands of Texas and assisting with the needs of the victims of Hurricane Harvey to name a few.
At the beginning of the current Commissioner’s term, he initiated a program to “reboot” the agency to reduce the budget and size and eliminate what he called “internal threats.” In the process of eliminating staff to accomplish this program, he inadvertently created a void in the knowledge of the processes in the GLO. The program had also created tension and indecisiveness with the remaining staff impeding the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency’s primary duties.
The current Commissioner referred to the office as a “dog-catcher’s” position. I have always had a desire to run for Texas Land Commissioner but with this disregard for the position and abuse to only build his political portfolio encouraged me to enter the race and give my expertise and experience to preserve and protect the integrity of the agency. I am also a 6th generation Texan. I am as discouraged as many Texans with the political agenda being a part of the stewardship of the Alamo that the current Commissioner has planned.
My expertise and experience with the GLO combined with being a native Texan who truly wants to serve the citizens of Texas conservatively sets me apart from my opponents in this race.
The plan and many non-transparent boards to “reimagine” the Alamo needs to be eliminated. An audit of where the money that has been allocated by Texas legislation needs to be done. Reimplementing the statutes to preserve, maintain, and protect the Alamo needs to be the primary plan for the Alamo at this time. To avoid political abuse of the Alamo in the future, an option to remove it from the Commissioner and place it in a stand-alone commission needs to be considered. These efforts will unfortunately take time and considerable work. Bring knowledge and experience back into the agency to increase efficiency to the generation of revenue for the Permanent School Fund. Continue to work to preserve and maintain the coast, bring the Texas Veterans additional programs to assist them and their families, and create a more effective process to helping disaster victims get back on their feet.
What should the future be for the historic Alamo site?
Implement the 2011 statutes to preserve, protect, and maintain the Alamo and the Alamo complex, and to work towards getting the Daughters of the Republic of Texas back into the stewardship of the Alamo by removing that duty from the Commissioner from ever being abused for political gain again and legislatively creating a State Commission for the Alamo from Texans such as the DRT, Sons of the Republic of Texas, the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, and a public member who will be accountable to the State of Texas.
What are your plans for overseeing the administration of the Permanent School Fund?
At the beginning of the current Commissioner’s term, he initiated a program to “reboot” the agency to reduce the budget and size and eliminate what he called “internal threats.” In the process of eliminating staff to accomplish this program, he inadvertently created a void in the knowledge of the processes in the GLO. The program had also created tension and indecisiveness with the remaining staff impeding the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency’s primary duties. He replaced experienced staff with inexperience “friend appointments”, from what I understand. In order to continue to grow the PSF, I will bring knowledge and experience back into the agency to increase efficiency to the generation of revenue for the Permanent School Fund.
In regards to veterans programs at the GLO, do you have any plans to change or improve any of the current programs overseen by the office?
The Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office is the chair of the Texas Veterans Land Board. The VLB issues low interest rate loans to veterans to purchase homes and land throughout Texas. It also provides assisted living homes in various places throughout Texas for our veterans. With more veterans coming home to Texas, the GLO should continue to provide these services and work to keep it affordable and available to Texas veterans and their families. I would like to work to make sure that through the assisted living homes adequate care is available to all needs at every location.
Are you supported by any political action committees? If so, which ones?
Grassroots America - We the People, Texas Surveyors PAC
Do you have any aspirations for higher office?
Why should voters choose you in 2018?
I am the only candidate for this position that is qualified and passionate to serve as Commissioner. I'm not the establishment as the previous Commissioner who's served a lifetime in Texas politics. I'm not playing political games with the Alamo and covering up records from the Senate Finance Committee to protect the board members (investors) liability to get re-elected and put the GLO into shambles. I'm also not solely focusing my term on just the Alamo stewardship bringing another predetermined plan from an out-of-state planner to alter the architectural integrity of the Alamo and planning on changing the primary focus of future Commissioners to make the Alamo their primary responsibility.
I am the only candidate that has listened to the voters across the entire State of Texas over the last six months and have expressed their views in my campaign to leave the Alamo alone as a shrine to those who have fallen for Texas, to only implement the 2011 statutes to preserve, protect, and maintain the Alamo and the Alamo complex, and to work towards getting the Daughters of the Republic of Texas back into the stewardship of the Alamo.
Preserving and protecting the Shrine of Texas, being a 6th generation Texan and Son of the Republic of Texas, not being tainted by traditional politics, and being qualified to serve as Commissioner gives me leverage over all the other candidates, especially going into the primaries against the Democrat candidates.
Photo by Edwards Campaign