This morning, I had an exclusive interview with Senator Jim DeMint and Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams. Williams will run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat as the Texas Senator tries to win a governor’s race in 2010. DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund will back Williams in his election effort. DeMint wants to put the spotlight on Williams. He has already endorsed Pat Toomey in PA, Marco Rubio in Florida, and Chuck DeVore in California in a similar manner. Those efforts have paid off handsomely for Rubio at the least. Williams says he’s “enormously thankful” for DeMint’s endorsement, especially considering his track record of defending conservative principles. He wants to stop the “slouch towards socialism,” and wants to “inspire those individuals” who can make a difference to do just that.
Senator DeMint says people are looking for “new Republicans,” and the conservative DeMint has found one in Williams, although the Texan has already built a solid record of conservative activism and principled leadership at the Railroad Commission. The Railroad Commission is a very big deal. It regulates all energy industry aspects in Texas. Williams has traveled the nation supporting conservative principles and activism; I first saw him speak in 2008, at Americans for Prosperity’s answer to Netroots Nation, where he impressed the entire crowd with his engaging, dynamic speaking and his dedication to small government and personal liberty.
Williams says Texas is leading the nation on clean coal technology, and will push for its advancement on a national basis. One company will build a new facility in West Texas for carbon capture process. Texas also has a large wind-power footprint, but while building on these initiatives, Williams cut the bureaucracy of the Railroad Commission by over 20%. We should pursue oil “wherever it is,” including off of both coasts and ANWR.
Americans “want to be in control of their health care themselves,” Williams told me. He has had some health issues in the past, and says the problem is that there are too many people between the patient and the doctor already. We need reform that puts patients in charge of the system, not more “insurance clerks” or bureaucrats.
Hutchison will resign mid-term after the gubernatorial primaries, which will mean that Rick Perry will appoint her successor. Williams says he feels he has a good chance of winning that appointment, which will give him the advantage of incumbency in the special election later that year. That will be important, since the schedule won’t allow for a primary. The incumbent will have a lot more heft in a crowded field.
Texans are frustrated with this administration, this Congress, and the direction of the nation. They want a principled conservative who won’t get seduced by the Beltway. I suggested to Williams that DeMint could describe that seduction process, having had a ringside seat to it over the past few years, and DeMint laughed and said, “I need reinforcements.” Given Williams’ track record and DeMint’s backing, Texas may be in position to send some.