On the heels of being rejected for the chancellorship of the Texas State University System, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) now says he’s under serious consideration for an unspecified vice chancellor’s position with the Texas A&M University System, and may soon quit the Texas Senate. But apparently not before leaving the taxpayers with a hefty bill.
Sen. Wentworth is the least conservative Republican in the Texas Senate on fiscal matters, according to the most recent Fiscal Responsibility Index issued by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. The method in which he plans to depart shows one more time why his fiscally irresponsible ways earned him a lousy 31% rating, placing him below state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio), the Texas Senate’s Democratic Leader.
If offered the A&M System job, The Texas Tribune has reported that Sen. Wentworth plans to “stay on the ballot, presumably win (it’s a Republican district, and his only opponent is a Libertarian) and then decline to take the seat.”
The Republican legislator said he would choose this route, “So the people could pick my successor.” This may sound good, but such a decision would force a costly special election on an obscure date many voters may miss. But that’s apparently no concern for the spendthrift lawmaker, who recently bragged in letter how he’s delivered billions of dollars in pork for higher education during his career.
The other option would be for San Antonioan to remove his name now before the upcoming election in November, since it’s clear he’s no longer interested in serving his constituents in the Texas Senate. This would allow the elected county chairs to select a nominee that would be ready to enthusiastically serve on the first day of the legislative session in January, and save the taxpayers the expense of conducting a costly special election.
This is a Constitutional process that’s been used in the past. In fact, our newest Texas State Senator, Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), will likely be placed on the November ballot through this process in SD-22.
Sen. Wentworth did suggest that no final agreement has been made on whether or not he’ll be offered a job with the A&M System, and that speculation “is really premature.”
Perhaps Sen. Wentworth’s speculation as to how and when he’ll leave the Texas Senate was also premature. Hopefully, he’ll consider the costs of holding a special election, as well as the impact on his constituents of having a seemingly disinterested state senator in the months leading up to the legislative session.