Republicans select House Ag chairman | TSLN.com

Republicans select House Ag chairman

Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas. photo courtesy The Hagstrom Report

The House Republican Steering Committee today selected Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, as the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the next Congress.

"I am humbled and honored to be selected as the 50th chairman of the storied House Committee on Agriculture," Conaway said in a news release.

"The work that farmers and ranchers do is part of our country's foundation. They feed, fuel, and clothe our nation. I look forward to building on the bipartisan work of the chairmen who have led this committee for the past two centuries."

"I represent, and love, rural America. It's the backbone of our country," he added. "The values and concepts that make America great are stored in rural America, and I want to protect that. There are fewer and fewer voices representing rural America, and I am honored to be one of those voices. That is my overarching drive as the committee moves forward."

According to his official biography, Conaway represents 29 counties in Texas' 11th congressional district, including the cities of Midland, Odessa and San Angelo.

"A conservative Republican, Rep. Conaway believes in the principles of lower taxes, smaller government and a secure nation. His background as a CPA gives him a unique perspective on fiscal responsibility and ensuring every taxpayer dollar is being spent wisely," his biography says.

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He has served as the chairman of the House Ethics Committee and on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees.

On the Agriculture Committee, Conaway has been the as chairman of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee

He is a deputy Republican whip, a position he also held in the 112th Congress.

A native Texan, he grew up in Odessa and graduated from Odessa Permian High School in 1966 after playing on Permian's first state championship football team.

He earned a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from Texas A & M University-Commerce in 1970.

After serving in the Army at Fort Hood, he returned to the Permian Basin with Price Waterhouse and settled in Midland, later working with George W. Bush as the chief financial officer for Bush Exploration. His biography says he "developed a lasting friendship with President Bush as they learned together what it takes to run a business."

Conaway's election means that both top leaders on the House Agriculture Committee will be certified public accountants.

"I congratulate Congressman Conaway on his election to Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee," House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said in a news release.

"As a fellow CPA, I think we can find common ground as the Committee oversees farm bill implementation and reauthorizing the CFTC during the next Congress. The Agriculture Committee has a strong bipartisan tradition, which I look forward to continuing under Chairman Conaway."

An ordained deacon in the Baptist church, Conaway and his wife, Suzanne, live in Midland and have four children and seven grandchildren.

Conaway will succeed Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., who was term-limited as the top Republican on Agriculture after six years as chairman and ranking members. Lucas signaled an interest in challenging House Financial Services Committee Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, but the steering committee recommended that Hensarling retain that position.

–The Hagstrom Report