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Van de Putte Endorses Brown for Railroad Commissioner

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a candidate for lieutenant governor, has endorsed Steve Brown, a fellow Democrat, to fill the Texas Railroad Commission seat that Barry Smitherman will vacate.

Steve Brown, a Democratic candidate for the Railroad Commission of Texas.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a candidate for lieutenant governor, on Tuesday endorsed Steve Brown, a fellow Democrat, to fill the Texas Railroad Commission seat that Barry Smitherman will vacate.

"I have known Steve for 15 years. He has always impressed me with his character and knowledge of how to work for the good in Texas government," Van de Putte said in a statement. “Leaders like Steve will work with transparency and efficiency every single day."

Brown, the former chairman of the Fort Bend County Democrats, says he wants to modernize a powerful agency that has overseen an unprecedented oil and gas boom and to manage the environmental impact of oil and gas production. 

Last month, Brown proposed shutting down oil and gas waste disposal wells in areas of North Texas shaken by mild earthquakes. The Railroad Commission, which plans to hire a seismologist, has refused to link disposal wells and earthquakes, despite decades of research that does. 

In his primary, Brown faces Dale Henry, who has a background in research and development for the oil and gas industry. The Railroad Commission has not housed a Democrat in two decades. 

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