Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks At Commissioner Soward's Oath Of Office Ceremony

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, July 28, 2003  •  Speech

Good morning.  It is my honor to welcome all of you to this historic chamber where so many great Texans have served this state and made a lasting difference.  And it is good to be with the presiding officer of the Senate who is living up to the legacy of this great body, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.  Those of us who gather here today, including my fellow elected officials and our distinguished guests, including the members of the Soward Family, do so to celebrate the continuing service of a good and decent man on behalf of the State of Texas.

I know Larry Soward is the right person to serve as a Commissioner at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality because I have worked side by side with him for many years.  For six years I had the honor of serving with Larry Soward at the Texas Department of Agriculture.  He was my special counsel and deputy associate commissioner before agreeing to serve as Deputy Commissioner.  Before Larry agreed to join my agency in 1992, he had already rendered this state more than a decade of service at the Texas Water Commission and the Public Utility Commission.  By virtue of more than 25 years of public service in high-level positions, and his background in environmental and water law, Larry Soward is imminently qualified to serve as the newest TCEQ Commissioner.

You could say this just by looking at his resume, but I know it because I have gotten to know the tremendous person that Larry is.  Larry is a humble, hardworking Texan who believes in providing great customer service to the citizens of this state, and who has a deep and abiding love for the natural resources we must protect: the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and the land that we live upon.  That is a vitally important mission to me, and the people of this state.

In the last three years, we have taken numerous actions to protect the environment.  We sent a message to old industrial plants to either clean up or shut down.  We passed an emissions reduction bill that encourages the use of cleaner technologies, and this year we added $750 million in new funding over the next five years to improve our clean air plans.  We are also making new strides to conserve water, and develop new sources such as desalinated gulf water.  And Texas is taking the national lead in the development of wind power and other renewable sources.  This is a good record, but it is also one we must continue to build upon.  And that’s what I have asked Larry to do.

Chairman White and Commissioner Marquez will be joined by another fine Texan who will be a real advocate for protecting and preserving our quality of life.  I know Larry will be a jealous guardian of the natural resources we have been blessed with as a people, and a fair arbiter of disputes involving our air and water quality.  Texas can have continued economic growth AND cleaner air and water.  It’s not a choice between the two, but a commitment to both, that we must make.

The members of the Soward Family here today, his mother and father, Joella and James, and his brother Jim, have great reason to be proud.  Larry is a good man and a devoted public servant.  Texas is blessed to have him.  Congratulations Larry.  Though you will be a few miles up I-35, I look forward to working with you as closely as ever to build a better Texas.

Thank you, and God bless you.

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