AUSTIN — Jerry Patterson took his third oath of office today as Commissioner of the General Land Office in a ceremony marked by both humor and humility.
"It has been my greatest honor to lead the General Land Office," Patterson said. "Texans have allowed me to provide the continuity of leadership this office needed to position it for the 21st century and I look forward to continuing my work growing new sources of revenue for the state's Permanent School Fund, expanding services to Texas veterans and protecting the Texas coast."
Texas voters picked Patterson to lead the General Land Office in November, with more than 3 million voters casting their ballots for the former state senator and retired U.S. Marine aviator.
Supporters filled the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol to witness the event, which was punctuated by Aggie whoops and the hollers of former U.S. Marines in attendance. Patterson's 6-year-old twins, Samantha and Cole, led the pledges to the Texas and U.S. flags.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Wallace B. Jefferson administered the oath of office on a bible used by previous Land Commissioners. Following that, Patterson administered the oath of office to Larry Laine, his long-time chief clerk and former senate chief of staff.
Since taking office in 2003, Patterson has overseen the biggest expansion of veterans benefits since World War II. He has also diversified the income stream of the Permanent School Fund with low-risk real estate investments, as well as signed the nation's first and biggest offshore leases for the development of offshore wind power in the Gulf of Mexico. Patterson led the General Land Office's response to Hurricane Ike, the most financially and environmentally damaging hurricane in Texas history. And during his second term, the General Land Office unveiled a new website - www.glo.texas.gov - with a sleek, corporate feel that reflects the professional evolution of the agency.
A graduate of Texas A&M, a Vietnam veteran and Marine aviator, Patterson retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1991. Patterson served six years as a state senator and authored major legislation such as the Texas Concealed Handgun Law, the Texas Coastal Management Plan and the law creating the Texas State Veterans Homes.