The following is a compilation of the unedited responses from Roman McAllen, candidate for Railroad Commissioner, to the 2018 Amarillo Pioneer Voter Guide Questionnaire. McAllen is running in the March 6th Texas Democratic primary against Chris Spellmon. The winner of the Democratic nomination will face the Republican nominee in November.
Historic Preservation Officer
Please list any of your political, civic or non-profit experience.
I believe my work, as a historic preservation officer, is a public service. Historic preservation is not only an important way for everyone to reference the past but as a way to survive in the future. It is integral to sustainability. I have also been involved in activities that have direct favorable impacts; such as Build a Better Blocks (where urban environments are transformed temporarily and quickly to gain interest in and show the possibilities of our urban environments) and Cyclovias (which are events that shut down streets for a few hours so that family's can bicycle, walk and play in them; this is especially impactful where there is a dearth of park space). These are urban planning tools that find innovative ways to quickly improve the lives of people.
What is your educational background?
University of Houston Downtown, Bachelor of Business Administration
University of Texas Austin, Master of Architecture
Why did you decide to run for Railroad Commissioner?
I am running for this office because I believe that it is not good to have an industry regulating itself, especially one that has such great potential to do tremendous harm to our land and to Texans. It is as senseless as it would be to allow our banks to control the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
I am trained as an urban planner, architect and historic preservationist; at first glance regulating the oil and gas industry in Texas does not seem like a good fit. The fact is that 88% of Texans live in cities. Oil & gas directly impacts urban life. Population growth will be significant and we cannot survive if we do not have water and clean air.
What will be your top priority, if elected?
My top priority will be scrutinizing all that we know about how fracking and the oil industry is impacting our water and advocating for protecting it.
Do you support renaming the Railroad Commission? Please explain.
Yes, I do. Renaming the commission is the obvious place to start when it comes to earning the public trust.
Should any duties of the Railroad Commission be reformed?
I tend to agree with Dr. Mark Miller, the libertarian candidate last election cycle, who recommended that pipeline regulation be transferred to the Texas Department of Transportation. TxDot is already deeply engaged in regulating rights-of-way for roadways. It is about efficiency of service in this case. Then the Railroad Commission can more intensely and efficiently focus on regulating subsurface oil and gas activities.
Are you supported by any political action committees? If so, which ones?
No I am not. I would consider accepting the support of environmental organizations this cycle. If we pass intelligent campaign finance reform laws that level the playing field between corporations and regular Texans and forbidding PAC influence, I would be really pleased.
Do you have any aspirations for higher office?
Why should voters choose you in 2018?
Money has a corrosive effect on our democracy. It has been, and is continuing to eat away at it. The intent of democracy, representation by, of, and for, the people, is diminished by this corrosive effect. Something should be done. The Oil Industry should no more own the railroad commission than Merrill Lynch, should own the Securities and Exchange Commission. The regulatory role is one of watchdog. It is that clear. If Texans really understood what is going on; they would be appalled. I am not beholden to the industry, I believe in science and that climate change is real and is being caused by humans and you should too. I support and believe in and support a free and unimpeded press.
Photo by McAllen Campaign