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The 2018 midterm elections are here! And while most Texans are focused on the race for the U.S. Senate seat, many other positions are up for grabs, especially in the state government. Here’s a look at the duties of some these positions. 

GOVERNOR

The Governor of Texas serves as the “chief executive of the state” and is responsible for signing or vetoing bills passed by the Legislature, serving as commander-in-chief of the state’s military forces and appointing Texans to state offices that carry out the laws and direct the policies of state government, among other things.

Incumbent: R-Greg Abbott

Challengers: D-Lupe Valdez, L-Mark Tippetts

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

The Lt. Governor presides over the Texas Senate. He or she appoints the committees of the Senate and casts the deciding vote in case of a tie.

The Lt. Governor chairs the Texas Legislative Budget Board and the Texas Legislative Council, which gives him or her a strong voice in public policy.

As the chair of the Legislative Budget Board, the Lt. Gov. oversees the development of legislative appropriations for agencies of the state government.

Overseeing the Legislative Council, the Lt. Gov., “assists legislators in drafting and analyzing proposed legislation and in obtaining information on specific legislative problems and on matters affecting the general welfare of the state,” according to the Texas Legislative Council. 

Incumbent: R-Dan Patrick

Challengers: D-Mike Collier, L-Kerry McKennon

ATTORNEY GENERAL

The Texas Attorney General serves as the state’s chief legal officer. He defends the State of Texas and its duly enacted laws, secures justice for Texans by investigating and prosecuting criminal activities and safeguards the freedoms of Texans as guaranteed by the U.S. and Texas constitutions.

Incumbent: R-Ken Paxton

Challengers: D-Justin Nelson, L-Michael Ray Harris

COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

The major duties of the office are keeping accounts of state funds, acting as tax administrator and collector for the state, and furnishing research and statistics for estimating revenue. The comptroller submits financial reports to the governor and the legislature with statements on the previous fiscal year, outstanding appropriations, and estimates of anticipated revenue.

Incumbent: R-Glenn Hegar

Challengers: D-Joi Chevalier, L-Ben Sanders

COMMISSIONER OF GENERAL LAND OFFICE

The Land Commissioner’s primary responsibility is to raise money for public schools by selling and preserving land in Texas that is not being used or hasn’t been allocated for use.

Incumbent: R-George P. Bush

Challengers: D-Miguel Suazo, L-Matt Pina

COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE

The Commissioner of Agriculture oversees four main areas: consumer protection, production agriculture, healthy living and economic development.

Consumer protection involves the regulation of things like fuel pumps and grocery store scales, as well as the certification of organic produce. Production agriculture includes protecting agricultural crops, facilitating the market development of agricultural commodities and advocating for beneficial agricultural policies at the state, federal and local level.

The Agriculture Commissioner also regulates the National Breakfast and lunch program for the students of Texas. Regarding the economic development sector, the commissioner provides tools for communities to attract businesses, administers the Certified Retirement Community program and markets Texas products.

Incumbent: R-Sid Miller

Challengers: D-Kim Olson, L-Richard Carpenter

RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS

Contrary to popular belief, the Texas Railroad commissioners do not regulate the Texas railroads. According to the Railroad Commission of Texas, “[The commission] no longer has any jurisdiction or authority over railroads in Texas, a duty which was transferred to other agencies, with the last of the rail functions transferred to the Texas Department of Transportation in 2005.”

Instead, the Railroad Commission of Texas primarily handles everything fuel-related. Several divisions of the commission hold various responsibilities, including regulating fuel prices, overseeing the nation’s largest pipeline infrastructure and operating programs relating to the use of alternative fuels.

Incumbent: R-Christi Craddick

Challengers: D-Roman McAllen, L-Mike Wright

Photos courtesy of Creative Commons