Letter To The Editors Of The Houston Chronicle Regarding Inaccurate Report

Contact: Bryan Preston
EDITORIAL — September 13, 2015

The Texas General Land Office submitted the following to the editor of the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, September 13, 2015:

Dear Editor--

Brian Rosenthal is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.

In his September 12th story on Commissioner Bush, he incorrectly alleges that "records show" that the Commissioner was "out of state or otherwise off of work" nearly half the time since his father entered the presidential race.

What the records really show is the exact opposite: out of 63 working days (Mondays through Friday and excluding holidays) this past summer, Commissioner Bush was either in the GLO office or doing GLO business around the state 50 of those days.

Sixty-three minus 50 is 13. Thirteen is not half of 63.

For example, in the month of June, Commissioner Bush was out 3 out of 21 working days.

In the month of July, Commissioner Bush was out 6.5 out of 22 working days, and those
6.5 days were a family vacation to Maine.

And in the month of August, Commissioner Bush was out 3 out of 20 working days.

He was not out of the office anywhere near “half the time.” Not even close. The numbers simply do not support Rosenthal's opinion.

Rosenthal asserts that Commissioner Bush was absent for the announcement of the agency's “reboot.” Actually, Commissioner Bush conceived of the reboot and reorganizing the GLO into a “team of teams.” He announced the reboot himself on the morning of July 30. Rosenthal should take a look at the report that the Texas Tribune wrote about the reboot. That writer includes video of Commissioner Bush announcing the reboot to the GLO staff. He continues to work with his team to implement the reboot to better serve Texans.

We shared this fact with Mr. Rosenthal. He ignored it because it did not mesh with the narrative he set out to create.

Part of creating that narrative includes using left-wing Common Cause, which will take any opportunity to criticize a conservative Republican just to make themselves appear relevant.

Rosenthal also asserts that the current GLO staff are less experienced than the former commissioner's staff. That is his opinion, not a fact. The fact is, most of the GLO staff have stayed from the previous administration. It is not unusual for an elected official to bring his own senior staff to implement his vision for the agency he leads. The current GLO senior staff draws from former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's staff, from other state agencies' senior staffs, from Gov. Abbott's campaign, from major criminal prosecution, from the military and from NASA. Commissioner Bush will continue to be focused on attracting talent from outside the GLO to address the challenges of tomorrow.

Additionally, Rosenthal may be confused by the nature of the GLO which includes facilities all over the state and therefore requires Commissioner Bush to travel frequently. In fact, Commissioner Bush is making it a priority to visit all GLO facilities – our Oil Spill and Prevention offices on the coast, our Veterans homes and Cemeteries, our other field offices – before his first year in office is up. That means going to places as far apart as the Veterans homes in Amarillo, Bonham, Tyler, Big Spring, Floresville, El Paso, Temple and McAllen; our Veterans cemeteries in Abilene, Corpus Christi, Killeen, and Mission; and our field offices along the coast and all over our great state. It means numerous trips to the Alamo to build relationships with local and regional leaders, work that is paying off in the $31.5 million that the legislature and Gov. Abbott committed to the Shrine of Texas Liberty's restoration and preservation during the 84th Legislature. That work is also paying off in the master plan that the GLO and the City of San Antonio are crafting, together, to make the Alamo the destination that it should always have been.

The fact is, Commissioner Bush has been in the office working more than 90% of the
time since he was sworn into office on January 2, 2015. This is despite the fact that Commissioner Bush's wife gave birth to their second son this past spring. Rosenthal fails to mention this fact. Commissioner Bush took less than a week of family leave before
returning to work at the GLO. Rosenthal also fails to mention this fact.

These are the facts and they are not in dispute. Our office shared these facts with Mr. Rosenthal but he apparently was uninterested in them. He had a preconceived narrative, and he is sticking to it.

The indisputable fact is that Commissioner Bush has been working tirelessly on GLO business since day one. The indisputable fact is that Commissioner Bush is humbled by the support that the people of Texas gave him on Election Day and continue to give him today. He is proud to serve as Texas Land Commissioner, and serving the people of Texas has been and will continue to be his #1 priority.

More Editorials