September 10, 2009
Written by: Jessica Behnham
By constitutional design, the governor of Texas is a weak executive compared to those of other states. Other than the power of the veto, the most potent weapon in the governor's political arsenal is the power to appoint members of commissions and boards, including the prestigious regents of state universities.
The governor frequently picks associates and supporters who contribute heavily to his campaign coffers. The spectacle of the state's highest profile volunteer public service positions bartered for political gain is ethically unsavory, but legal.
Rick Perry is already the longest- serving governor in Texas history. In his drive to extend that tenure to three and a half terms, he's taking gubernatorial power to new levels and punishing some of his own appointees — those who have declared their support for his primary rival, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Some of them did so before it became clear Perry would stand for re-election, and they're now paying the price for that decision.