Four Price - Texas State Representative, Republican, District 87 | Editorial: Area Avoids Banishment

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Editorial: Area Avoids Banishment

Feb. 12, 2011
Amarillo Globe-News

Conventional wisdom had it that the Panhandle might get the shaft during this legislative session.

One of our Texas House members, Warren Chisum, mounted an open challenge against House Speaker Joe Straus; a senior legislator, David Swinford, stepped down and was replaced by freshman Four Price.

We lost seniority and quite possibly some important committee assignments, right? And Straus would take it out on Chisum for mounting the speaker challenge, correct?

Not exactly.

Straus has announced House committee assignments and has placed all three Republican House members in position to help the Panhandle. Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo - the dean of the delegation - returns as Insurance Committee chairman; Chisum, R-Pampa, gets a seat on the Appropriations Committee; and Price, R-Amarillo, lands on the Natural Resources Committee.

Smithee's role as chairman retains considerable clout on insurance issues, which often come to the fore during hurricane and tornado season in Texas. Chisum's appointment to Appropriations is critical, given that this is the committee that doles out the money for various state programs, many of which are in trouble as the state looks for places to cut spending while balancing a budget that is significantly out of whack.

Chisum is known as an expert on financial matters and his seniority could help him persuade his colleagues in both parties to protect Panhandle programs. Price's appointment to Natural Resources holds tremendous potential for our region's water concerns.

"I am glad that I have a major seat at the table to help advocate that all Texans, including water rich and predominantly rural areas, are treated fairly when it comes to our precious water resources," Price said in a statement.

Water rich and predominantly rural areas? Sounds like the Panhandle, yes? The House appointments round out the placement of our legislative delegation. Sens. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and Bob Duncan, R-Lubbock, sit on the Finance Committee, another panel with its hands on the money. Seliger also chairs the Senate Redistricting panel, which will lead the effort to redraw legislative boundaries.