Sunday, April 12, 2009

Elizabeth Ames Jones - Texas Railroad Commissioner

Elizabeth Ames Jones - Texas Railroad Commissioner
When you think of Republican women holding a political office, "Railroad Commissioner" is probably not the first position that comes to mind, but you haven't met Elizabeth Ames Jones, yet. Ames Jones was appointed to be the Railroad Commissioner of Texas in 2005 by Governor Rick Perry, and in 2006, she was elected to serve a six year term in office. She is only the second woman to serve the Commission in its 118 year history. This comes after being elected three times to the Texas House of Representatives.

While serving the Texas Legislature, Ames Jones served as one of three Texas appointees to the Southern States Energy Board and Chairman of the Budget and Oversight for the Energy Resources Committee. She also served on several other committees such as the Appropriations, Local and Consent Calendars, and Select School Finance. She led the way to establish the Texas Cord Blood Bank in San Antonio which stores and provides umbilical cord stem cells to treat various diseases. In December, Ames Jones spoke at Valley Baptist Medical Center, which has collected over 3,000 cord blood donations, about the importance of cord blood,

"This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart," Jones said. "I've had family and friends experience medical tragedies in their lives with life-threatening cancers. Some did not survive. In honor of those, I've worked very hard...It is the ultimate recycling project - one that saves lives."

The other cause that is important to the Commissioner is becoming less dependent on foreign energy sources. On her the Texas Railroad Commission website, she promises to protect Texas' natural resources and foster the growth of domestic energy sources. In August, 2008, Ames Jones wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal entitled "How Texas Struck it Rich Beneath Suburbia." In it she talks about how politicians are blocking the way for the United States to become energy independent,

"If there is an energy crisis in this country, it is because too many states and too many lawmakers in Washington are too timid about allowing entrepreneurs to bring to the surface what is buried right below us. In Texas, we’re not timid. Thanks to longstanding public policy encouraging responsible production, 18% of all the oil and 30% of all the natural gas produced onshore in the U.S. is produced in this state. That makes us the No. 1 energy-producing state in America."

Ames Jones considers herself a "rock-solid" conservative. As a member of the Texas House, she worked to ensure a budget that cut state spending for the first time since World War II and overcome a ten billion dollar revenue shortfall. All of this was done without raising taxes. She has been a champion for homeowners' rights, and played an important role in creating property appraisal reform legislation and lowering homeowners' insurance premiums. She has won several awards for her work ethic, been called a "Fighter for Free Enterprise," and has been recognized for her contributions to Texas law enforcement.

Elizabeth Ames Jones is a sixth generation Texan from San Antonio and a graduate of the University 0f Texas, Austin. She and her husband, Will, have two children. You can read more about Commissioner Ames Jones (including her Wall Street Journal Op-Ed) at her official website: EAJ: Home.

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