Former State Senator and Texas Land Commissioner, Jerry Patterson, has filed to run for commissioner --once again-- in the upcoming Republican Primary election, announced Monday.
Patterson, who served from 2003 to 2015, says he's coming out of retirement because of the "failed leadership" under George P. Bush, the grandson of former President George H. Bush, and son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Patterson said one of the most important roles in office is to respond to disasters, not downsizing the agency. It's something he criticized Bush for doing during Hurricane Harvey. He said Bush didn't respond quick enough and people are still facing housing issues.
"What I would have done different, is I would have listened to the county commissioners, the county judges, and elected officials and say, 'We want PREPS. We want this program that can get people back in their house. We've got vacant structures that people could be living in. That's number one.' What would I do differently? I wouldn't have gotten rid of all the good help just to look good," Patterson said.
PREPS stands for Partial Repair Essential Power for Sheltering. Patterson said the program would have kept more Houston residents in the city, rather than being pushed out. He said it’s the same program used for Hurricane Sandy.
"It allows contractors to immediately restore damaged homes. You clean out the house. You take out the cabinets. You knock out the dry wall. You put in some temporary tables. They ensure the house has safe power, has safe plumbing, that's it's habitable, and that you're out of the elements,” Patterson added. “That is a tremendous program. You can spend up to $27,000 per home and you get people out of hotels. You get them out of tents. You get them back in town. You get them back in your community.”
Patterson also criticized Bush for not providing clear plans on renovating the Alamo or plans to build a new museum to house more Texas artifacts, obtained by Patterson from musician Phil Collins, who donated his collection.
Patterson formed the Alamo Endowment to raise private funds to upkeep the landmark. In a press release, it stated his “frustration by the Senate Finance Committee who grilled Bush over his confusing and evasive management of the Alamo.”
"The pressure that's going to be brought to bear from folks like you [news organizations] and folks like me, and the other two gentlemen in the race that's going to create some changes at the land office, possibly very rapid changes. But you know you shouldn't have to let the crap beat out of you for doing the right thing,” Patterson said.
The issues surrounding the Alamo is what the former commissioner plans to address during his campaign.
“Everywhere I go, people ask me what is going on with the Alamo and why can’t somebody fix it. Well, I’m here to fix it. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.” Patterson said in a statement.
The primary is expected to take place March 6.