Serve your state by serving on a board
Published 11:59 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016
By Robert Nichols
As a member of city council, a small business owner and a mayor, I realized that state government and in turn its agencies touch almost every aspect of our lives. This includes transportation, higher education, river authorities, regulating industries such as public utilities and the Lottery Commission, regulating professions such as accountants and physical examiners, and preserving the history of our state through the Historical Commission.
Each of these agencies is charged with a specific purpose to serve the state and its residents. This is carried out by making policies and implementing the charges and laws the Legislature lays out for them during a legislative session. While the Legislature only meets every odd year, these entities meet monthly or quarterly all year long. They are dependent on their board members to ensure they remain successful and continue to serve the needs of the people of Texas.
In Texas, there are approximately 200 boards, commissions and councils which oversee these state agencies. In a four-year term, the Governor makes approximately 3,000 appointments, which are on average six years long, to the various boards and commissions in the state.
Many things are taken into consideration when a position is being filled. This includes professional and personal experience, the composition of the current board and the location of residence within the state to ensure that every part of the state is represented on each board. These positions are non-paid positions, though most travel costs are covered by the entity. Most appointees are required to be a “qualified voter”, which is defined as someone who:
- Is 18 years of age or older
- Is a United States Citizen
- Has not been adjudged mentally incompentent by a court
- Has not been convicted of a felony (fulfillment of sentence and pardon exceptions available)
- Is a resident of Texas
- Is a registered voter
For a list of appointment positions, more information on the appointment process as well as the appointments application and what is required, you can visit http://gov.texas.gov/appointments or call the Governors Appointments office at 512-463-1828.
The best way for our state government to stay efficient and accountable is to have good men and women serving on the boards and commissions which keep our state moving. We are fortunate in South East Texas to have individuals whose expertise and background can not only benefit their local communities but also our entire state. By participating you can help to shape and influence public policy as well as to serve your state. I would encourage those in Senate District 3 to get involved and apply.
Robert Nichols is the Republican Senator for the 3rd District in the Texas Senate.