Texas lawmaker wants state education commissioner to become an elected position

Texas Politics
Students learn in a classroom at Susquehanna Township High School (WHTM Photo)

Students learn in a classroom at Susquehanna Township High School (WHTM Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — State Rep. Gina Hinojosa, an Austin Democrat, filed a bill on Friday that would make the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency an elected position, instead of one appointed by the governor.

Hinojosa told KXAN that issues created by the coronavirus pandemic have magnified the need for the state’s top education official to answer to voters.

Hinojosa is a civil rights attorney and former president of the Austin ISD Board of Trustees.

“I am not just a policymaker, not just a legislator, I am a mother,” Hinojosa said. “It’s been my experience during this pandemic that our policymakers, our TEA, in particular, could be more responsive to the needs and concerns of parents in the community.”

House Bill 613 would create a four-year term for the education commissioner who would be elected by voters at the general election for state and county offices.

Mike Morath was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the position of education commissioner in Jan. 2016 and was confirmed by the Texas Senate in March 2017.

State lawmakers will convene for the 87th Legislature in January.

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