You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Mackowiak: Perry’s public service record will benefit Energy Department


Let’s consider what former Texas Gov. Rick Perry brings to the table as a member of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet and as the president’s designee as Secretary of Energy:

• He was the longest-serving governor in the history of the nation’s second-largest state

• He has 24 years of executive experience, having served as agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor.

• Our nation’s energy industry is headquartered in Houston.

From a political standpoint, Perry is a credible choice — he is confirmable, motivated and mission-driven.

Energy issues are not unimportant to him.

I happened to attend a speech that then-presidential candidate Rick Perry gave outside Pittsburgh in August 2011. That energy plan was comprehensive, an “all-of-the-above” proposal and thorough.

Perry has been animated for many years about the potential for an American energy renaissance to dramatically reduce the cost of manufacturing, allowing those offshore jobs to return home by making the U.S. competitive again. It’s a subject he has talked about many times in speeches and interviews.

Perhaps now would be a good time to review what the U.S. Department of Energy does.

According to the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request that the Energy Department submitted to Congress with a $30 billion asking price, the department supports that national laboratory system of 17 sites. Fully one-third of their budget request goes to security for nuclear plants. A large amount of their budget goes to research and development in energy — especially in renewables. The Energy Department supports President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and energy efficiency and reliability among other things.

There are some worthy programs here, but is the Energy Department worth $30 billion a year when they produce exactly zero energy?

Perhaps this explains why Perry was the choice.

I highly suspect that Energy Secretary Perry will take a chisel to the department, both from a cost-cutting standpoint and especially from a regulatory standpoint.

A little-known fact over the past eight years is that the lion’s share of the oil and gas development in the U.S. has been exclusively on state and private lands. Federal land has been locked up by the Obama administration, even when states like Alaska wish to have safe energy exploration occur in their state.

The Trump administration will remove many of the irrational barriers to safe energy exploration on federal lands nationwide, which will make America a net-energy exporter and help grow our economy, particularly as the price of oil continues to rebound.

It is a fact that the famous “third Cabinet agency that he forgot” that he wanted to eliminate was the Energy Department. Perry will be asked about this and about his proposed elimination plan at his confirmation hearing in late January. Demonstrating humanity should not be a disqualifier for public service.

After Perry left the governorship in 2014, he joined a few corporate boards, gave speeches and began working in the private sector while he and his wife, Anita, watched their daughter get married and spent time with their grandchildren. They’ve been spending a lot of time in their new dream home halfway between Austin and Houston, not far from College Station and Aggieland.

It is easy to forget the sacrifice that serving in the Cabinet requires.

Federal law will require Perry to stop his private sector endeavors, move to expensive Washington, D.C., and devote 18-hour workdays for two to four years to be effective. This is a job he has signed up for — and it is one that he is well-equipped to do.

Elitist snobs have noted that Perry does not have the educational credentials of his two predecessors, but education comes in many forms. Perhaps serving as governor for 14 years of our nation’s premier energy state is an education all by itself.

In this role, I expect that Perry will thrive. It is good for Texas and for the country that he and his wife are willing to sacrifice at this time in their lives for another round of public service.

Mackowiak is syndicated columnist, an Austin-based Republican consultant and a former Capitol Hill and Bush administration aide.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Have time to read? Check out the best-sellers
Have time to read? Check out the best-sellers

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Dangerous Games,’ Danielle Steel 2. ‘Silence Fallen,’ Patricia Briggs 3. ‘Norse Mythology,’ Neil Gaiman 4. ‘Lincoln in the Bardo,’ George Saunders 5. ‘Exit West,’ Moshin Hamid 6. ‘A Gentleman in Moscow,’ Amor Towles 7. ‘Hearbreak Hotel...
Katey Sagal, John Oates write memoirs, on way to Austin for signings
Katey Sagal, John Oates write memoirs, on way to Austin for signings

Golden Globe–winning actress Katey Sagal tells the story of her life as a singer/songwriter who unexpectedly became a TV star in “Grace Notes: My Recollections.” Sagal grew up with two parents who had artistic aspirations. Her mother had been a TV screenwriter, and her quick-tempered, workaholic father had dropped out of Harvard Law...
Letters to the editor: March 26, 2017

The nature and language of our health care debate is incorrectly focused on access to insurance instead of access to health care. We must decide whether or not the health care of our citizens is a right or a privilege. As long as corporate and lobbying money controls the debate and the voting direction, the requirement that for-profit insurance companies...
Trump’s chickens finally come home to roost

On Monday, accountability finally arrived for Donald Trump. After 70 years spent largely skating free of consequences for his puerile misbehaviors and diarrheal mouth, he likely found it something of a shock. Seven decades is a long time, after all, and if the so-called president has learned nothing else in those years, he has learned this: Accountability...
Phillips: Abbott’s Texas stomps local governments
Phillips: Abbott’s Texas stomps local governments

Welcome to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Texas, where the state bullies local governments to bend to its will and strangles efforts of local people to govern themselves. That sounds surreal — but it is not a stretch if Abbott gets his way. The Texas Tribune reported last week that Abbott is proposing a “rifle-shot” law to pre-empt regulations...
More Stories