Featured Voice of the Texas GOP: Barry Smitherman
by TexasGOPVote on December 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM
Barry Smitherman is a fourth generation Texan appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Railroad Commission of Texas on Friday, July 8, 2011. He currently serves on the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC) having first been appointed by Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and then reappointed by Secretary Steven Chu. Barry is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Advisory panel on Federal Environmental regulation. He is also a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC) Board of Directors and the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment (ERE). He is on the Visiting Committee of the Bureau of Economic Geology with the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas School of Law Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law, and the Eanes Education Foundation Advisory Board.
Previously, Barry was appointed by Governor Perry to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) on April 21, 2004. He was reappointed on September 13, 2007, and promoted to PUCT Chairman on November 14, 2007. In his prior role as Chairman of the PUCT, he served as an ex officio board member of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Vice President of the Regional State Committee (RSC) for the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).
Barry grew up in Highlands, Texas; a working class neighborhood on the east side of Houston. He graduated from Ross Sterling High School in Baytown and continued his education at Texas A&M University receiving a BBA summa cum laude. He received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law while working at the State Capitol for Senator Lindon Williams. Afterward he received a M.P.A. at Harvard University and was awarded the first Joel Leff Fellowship in Political Economy by the Kennedy School of Government.
For 16 years Barry was a public finance investment banker working with state and local governments throughout the South, Southwest and Midwest to build infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, airports, water and sewer systems, schools, hospitals, and sports facilities. He held leadership positions with First Boston, Lazard Freres, JP Morgan, and Bank One where he was National Head of the Tax Exempt Securities Origination Department. During this time he helped municipalities save hundreds of millions of dollars.
Barry has also been a prosecutor with the Harris County (Houston, Texas) District Attorney's office. In 1990, Barry was a member of the American Center for International Leadership delegation to the former Soviet Union. In 1996, Barry was a delegate to the State Republican convention in San Antonio. Barry is also a former adjunct professor of public administration at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and a former member of the Boards of the Texas Public Finance Authority, and the Harris County Health Facilities Development Corporation.
He and his wife live in Austin with two of their four wonderful children. Their two oldest sons attend Texas A&M University.
"An endangerment finding for the [Sagebrush] lizard is not something to be trifled with; a miscalculation and decision to list the lizard as endangered would not only threaten our economy by killing jobs, it could harm our national security by making us more beholden to dictators like Hugo Chavez who are members of OPEC and other oil-producing countries that are hostile to the United States." - Barry Smitherman