AUSTIN, Texas – Former State Representative Sid Miller was sworn-in as the twelfth Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture on Wednesday. The oath was administered by former Ag Commissioner, Texas Governor Rick Perry. The ceremony was held on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives where Miller served the people of House District 56 for twelve years.
Miller told the packed House Chamber and Gallery that agriculture matters to all Texans. He cited the many contributions of agriculture to the Texas economy. Agriculture is the second largest industry in Texas. He called agriculture, “The glue that holds our state’s economy together.” He made one pledge to the people of Texas. “I am going to work as hard as I can to be the very best Agriculture Commissioner I can be.”
“You see every Texan deserves that,” Miller stated. “There is not a more important industry in our state than that of Agriculture. Agriculture Matters.”
To make a point about the future of Texas Agriculture, Miller turned over his swearing-in ceremony to the officers of the Texas Future Farmers of America (FFA). These young men and women performed a flawless business meeting which culminated with Miller taking the oath of office from Gov. Perry.
Texas FFA President Gracie Hedrick officiated the meeting. She also introduced a former FFA member, Governor Perry, as the officer to deliver the oath.
Other speakers during the ceremony included State Representative Allen Fletcher, who acted as master of ceremonies, Lt. Governor-Elect Dan Patrick and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. Each speaker built upon the theme that Miller is the iconic representation of what an Ag Commissioner should be and what they should look like.
Fletcher quipped, “When you look in the encyclopedia under Texas Ag Commissioner, you will find a picture of Sid Miller.” He praised Miller for his work in the Texas House and told the audience how Miller stood by his side when he made is first appearance to the front microphone as a freshman representative. “Sid Miller is a statesman,” Fletcher stated.
Lt. Governor-elect Patrick talked about the respect he developed for Miller while working with him to pass the Sonogram Bill. He credited Miller as having worked tirelessly to pass a bill that will save the lives of tens of thousands of Texans every year by helping women avoid unnecessary abortions. “I know you’re going to be a great Agriculture Commissioner,” Patrick stated, “but passing the Sonogram Bill was the most important thing you will do in your life.”
Lt. Governor Dewhurst called agriculture the “backbone of Texas” and told the audience that Miller is “the right choice to lead this industry.” He called Miller a champion of private property rights. Dewhurst explained that Miller’s life history of growing up and working in the farm and ranch industry meant that Miller understands the “challenges of family farmers and the role of corporate farms.” He reminded Miller, “The eyes of Texas are on you today.”
After being introduced by FFA State President Hedrick, Governor Perry talked extensively about the role the FFA plays in the development of future leaders in Texas. He then turned his attention to Miller, stating Miller was “custom made to be the Ag Commissioner of Texas.” He called agriculture a “foundation of Texas.” He described agriculture as a place where people demonstrate the value of hard work.
As for Miller, Perry said, “He is the real deal, a real cowboy.” He said Miller’s upbringing and his entire career “custom made him to take this agency” to new and greater places than it had been before. He acknowledged the hard work of the two commissioners who followed him as Ag Commissioner, former Comptroller Susan Combs and the most recent Ag Commissioner Todd Staples. The three former Ag Commissioners represent nearly 25 percent of the lineage of Texas Ag Commissioners.
Perry said Miller will continue “to reflect, in a very urbanized world and state, the values and foundation agriculture provides our state.”
After taking the oath of office, Miller thanks his predecessors, Rick Perry, Susan Combs and Todd Staples. He repeatedly stressed his theme that “agriculture matters.” He acknowledged his resume for the job by thanking God. “God was preparing me my whole life for this job,” Miller said gratefully.
Miller stated that the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) touches the lives of Texans more in one day than any other state agency. He said the TDA regulates what can be sold as organic milk, watches over the accuracy of gas pumps and taxi cab meters, manages twelve nutritional programs and works to improve rural healthcare. He said the department also watches over pesticides and oversees the pest control industry.
Agriculture is also the states “keeper of water,” according to Miller. “We use seventy percent of the water in Texas.”
Miller said the biggest problem facing Texas farmers is not the drought that has plagued Texas for several years. Rather, he said, “It is the overreach of the federal government.” He pledged to work with the new Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, to “drag the federal government out of Texas.” With that he received his loudest ovation of the day.
Miller introduced key members of this executive team but said the most important thing he inherited from Staples was the rank and file employees of the TDA. To those workers Miller firmly stated, “I’ve got your back.”
“As Texas Ag Commissioner I will champion the great spirit of Texas and work to spread it around the world,” Miller said in closing.
The opening invocation was from Pastor Werth Mayes of the Cowboy Church of Erath County. The Benediction was presented by Pastor Rick Johnson from the Christian Life Church. Johnson also serves as chaplain for the Republican Party of Texas.
A Texas Department of Public Safety honor guard presented the colors while Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri led the gathered supporters in the Pledge of Allegiance and the pledge to the Texas flag. The National Anthem was performed by members of the Christian Life Church Choir. The ensemble also performed “Texas Our Texas” at the end of the ceremony.
The officers of the Texas FFA, led by President Hedrick, formally closed the meeting and Rep. Fletcher reminded the Ag Commission staff that were present that they had a meeting at the TDA to get to.
A reception for the new Ag Commissioner was held in the Texas Lt. Governors Reception Room behind the Senate Chamber prior to the swearing in ceremony.
Bob Price is a senior political writer for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.