Railroad Commissioner



Doug Jeffrey
Lance N. Christian
Wayne Christian

Gary Gates
John Greytok
Weston Martinez
Ron Hale

Texas Patriots PAC recommends Wayne Christian


Wayne Christian is the former State Representative for House District 9. In the Texas House of Representatives, Christian was known as a conservative firebrand legislator and was a founding member of the Texas Legislative Tea Party Caucus. He frequently received the highest rankings from conservative organizations like Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Eagle Forum, and the Young Conservatives of Texas. As a staunch opponent of liberal Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Christian’s district was redrawn in 2012 so that his district was 80% new territory. Christian was then defeated in the primary election by Straus-backed opponent Chris Paddie.

Mr. Christian lists the three biggest challenges facing the Railroad Commission as:

  • Permitting: Mr. Christian says that the time it takes to obtain a permit to drill has increased from what was previously only a few days to what is now in some cases a couple of months. He says this costs the industry millions of dollar per year in potential growth, and costs the state both new jobs and revenue. Mr. Christian points out that the steps taken this last session to modernize the computer systems will help solve this problem, but claims that someone needs to go in and cut the bureaucratic red tape to make this process quicker.
  • Federal overreach: Mr. Christian says that one of the biggest protections Texas has from President Obama’s EPA is having precedent established between the commission’s rules and enforcement. He says that if the Federal government tries to sue the commission, the courts will often make a judgement based on how consistent the commission’s rulemaking has been. Mr. Christian says that one of his biggest fears is that with all of the recent turnover at the commission, the need for consistency might be overlooked. He says the first thing he plans to do as commissioner is to review this and make sure the consistency is up to standard.
  • Lack of consistency in rulings: Mr. Christian says that in talking with individuals who work in the energy sector, the top complaint he hears about the commission is that due to politicians using the commission as a launching pad for higher office, there is no longer enough continuity and consistency in the commission’s rulings. Mr. Christian says he is running for Railroad Commissioner to serve the State of Texas in that capacity only, and not to use the position to run for a different office.

We are supporting Wayne Christian for the following reasons:

During his tenure in the House, Christian spent several years on energy-related committees where he gained significant knowledge of the oil and gas industry as well as a thorough understanding of how policy can either help or hurt the industry. As Vice Chairman of the Regulated Industries Committee, Christian had direct oversight of the Railroad Commission - a largely regulatory body – which means he will need no on-the-job training once elected to the Commission.  

Wayne Christian’s 15 year voting record shows that he isn’t just talk. For fifteen years he consistently fought for free market principles, less regulations, and to defend property rights. This legislative experience will also serve to bridge the gap between the commission and the legislature. All of Wayne Christian’s opponents have no voting records.


John Greytok is a lawyer and long-time conservative activist, who was one of the first candidates in this race to declare his intentions of running against incumbent David Porter. When Porter chose not to seek reelection, several other candidates jumped into the race.

Mr. Greytok touts his conservative values and legal experience as qualifications to serve on the commission, which is a “quasi-judicial” regulatory body.

He lists the following three items as the biggest challenges facing the commission:

  • Failure of leadership: Mr. Greytok says that 4 years ago, the commission was supposed to undergo the Sunset Review – a process in Texas where agencies are required to undergo a top-to-bottom thorough review of their entire budget and operations. Mr. Greytok says the fact that this has not happened and the commission has yet to be reauthorized by the state legislature shows a tremendous failure of leadership.
  • Technology: Mr. Greytok says that while the energy industry has been moving ahead, the commission has fallen behind. He says that private companies leverage technology to provide higher levels of service at a lower cost to their customers, and the commission should be no different.
  • Transparency and effectiveness: Mr. Greytok believes the commission lacks a conservative chairman focused on these qualities, and chose to run because he believes the incumbent was focused on helping himself politically. (Incumbent David Porter is no longer running.)

We admire Mr. Greytok stepping up to the plate to run for this office against an incumbent when few others would, despite the prospect of it being a difficult endeavor. The fact that 5 more candidates jumped into the race after the incumbent decided not to run for reelection is telling. However, with the new dynamics of the race, we believe it will be difficult for Mr. Greytok’s campaign to gain traction.



Ron Hale is Director of Operations for a security services company. He says that many of his clients are businesses in the energy industry, for whom he is an anti-terrorism consultant. He was also previously a candidate for Texas Senate District 15.

He lists the following three items as the biggest challenges facing the commission:

  • Staying open: Mr. Hale says the Sunset Commission needs to be convinced to allow the office to stay open, rather than giving control to the Texas legislature.
  • Lobbyist control: Mr. Hale says he would have a “no lobbyist allowed” rule and would ask the Texas legislature to ban lobbyists from the building.
  • Plugging orphan wells: Mr Hale says the backlog for orphan wells is well above 2000. He says they need to make the process of plugging wells more simple, and provide better technology for reporting plugged wells for reimbursement.

Like Mr. Greytok, Mr. Hale originally launched his campaign to challenge incumbent David Porter. We admire his passion for conservative values and desire to serve in office. However, with the new dynamics of the race, we believe it will be difficult for Mr. Hale’s campaign to gain traction.



Unlike most candidates for statewide office, Gary Gates did not reach out to us for endorsement until after we had announced our support for Wayne Christian. We tried to get in touch with him prior to this, but his campaign website does not list any contact information.

Mr. Gates has made his fortune in real estate, and seems to have no experience in the oil and gas industry. His campaign material focuses heavily on red-meat conservative issues, and only speaks in vague generalities concerning issues with the Railroad Commission. For instance, his website has a graphic featuring his photo next to the text “our country needs proper vetting for Syrian refugees and visa applicants,” which has nothing to do with the seat he is seeking. Meanwhile, his “issues” page only lists ambiguous priorities such as “increase transparency,” and “fight for landowners and focus on agency business.” His one video advertisement features a long, emotional appeal to voters by chronicling a fight he had with Child Protective Services over his adopted children.

It would have been much easier for us to judge Mr. Gates as a candidate had he participated in our vetting process, but unfortunately that did not happen. On the surface, it seems apparent to us that Gary Gates is the type of candidate Mr. Christian was talking about when he warned that candidates with political aspirations often run for the Railroad Commission and similar offices not with the primary intention of making a difference on the commission, but rather to use the elected position as a springboard to higher office. (As is likely with George P. Bush’s desire to be Land Commissioner.)  

His list of endorsements features very formulaic quotes from several state representatives – including moderate Republican supporters of Joe Straus Rep. John Zerwas, Rep. Kenneth Sheets, and Rep. Jim Keffer -  which seem to all follow the model of saying “I’ve gotten to know Gary,” then praise his conservative values.

Mr. Gates previously ran for Texas Senate District 18 in 2006 against Glenn Hegar and again in the 2014 special election against Lois Kolkhorst. In the 2014 race, Mr. Gates solicited the help of the fake tea party organization known as the Texas Conservative Tea Party Coalition, who endorsed Gates and did a mailer on his behalf. This fake tea party was created by the political elites in Montgomery County to give the appearance of tea party support to candidates who did not get support from other tea parties. Mr. Gates’ willingness to associate with this deceptive group is troubling.

Soon after his defeat in 2014, Mr. Gates founded an organization called the Texas Citizens Coalition, which began to send mailers around the state supporting various State Representatives. The “Latest News” section of their website seems to be a dumping ground for press releases from state representatives. While several of these press releases are from conservatives, several are not. In fact, the second news item they ever listed was a press release from liberal Republican House Speaker Joe Straus. While the Texas Citizens Coalition lists values that every conservative can agree with, it’s purpose for existence is vague, as no truly conservative organization would agree to be a platform for Joe Straus. It seems to us that the creation of the Texas Citizens Coalition served to increase Gary Gates’ name ID while also helping him to curry favor with elected representatives in anticipation of a future run for office.


After incumbent David Porter dropped out of the race at the last minute, several candidates piled in including Weston Martinez. Mr. Martinez did not participate in our vetting process.

Having been appointed by Governor Perry, Mr. Martinez is a member of the Texas Real Estate Commission. He has previously been an elected member to the State Republican Executive Committee, and has run several failed campaigns for San Antonio City Council. He also appears to own a small business that supplies water to oil and gas companies.

We would have liked to have met Mr. Martinez, as it appear he is a conservative and some respected conservative leaders and groups have endorsed his campaign. However, we see Mr. Christian as the stronger candidate for the following reasons:

  • While Mr. Martinez may be a conservative, he does not have a voting record to point to. Wayne Christian’s conservative credentials can not only be trusted, but verified by his 15 year conservative voting record.
  • While it appears Mr. Martinez has experience to some degree in the oil and gas industry, this experience does not necessarily make someone more qualified for a seat on the commission. The Railroad Commission does not drill wells or sell oil. Instead, it regulates the energy industry. We find Mr. Christian’s legislative experience on the energy committees much more valuable.
  • Mr. Christian has long been a respected figure among conservatives statewide, and ran for the Railroad Commission in 2014, where he was barely beaten in the runoff by the much better funded Ryan Sitton. When it comes to name ID, Mr. Christian is the best chance conservatives have to get someone elected. While there may not be a clear establishment candidate in this race as of yet, we expect that candidate to be Mr. Gates, who is independently wealthy.



Doug Jeffrey did not participate in our vetting process. His website says he is an Air Force veteran who founded a venture capital company since leaving active duty.


Lance Christian is a geoscientist who currently works for the Railroad Commission. He did not participate in our vetting process and appears to not be running an active campaign.