Chancellor Duncan's Departure was Over Aggies, Dogs, Cats, and LlamasOpinion
OPINION — San Angelo LIVE! had not been reporting local news for a month on October 3, 2013 when then-Texas Senator Robert Duncan touched down in San Angelo in a private jet with then-Gov. Rick Perry. Duncan was here to stump for Proposition 6, a statewide ballot initiative to take a piece of the Rainy Day fund to finance a $2 billion water source development fund.
Not knowing who I was or what San Angelo LIVE! was, Duncan sat down with me at Ranger Aviation and went over the reasons he wanted his constituents to vote in favor of Prop 6.
Duncan was one of the most well spoken politicians I have ever interviewed, and I have interviewed many. He’s a problem-solver, not an ideological firebrand or hothead.
Prop 6 passed and that resulting water infrastructure fund could have financed the City of San Angelo’s reclamation water plant. That’s what the City was aiming for until politics of potty water shut it down. The point is not the controversial nature of the project, but that a very low interest loan source from the State to build very large water projects is available for a city located outside the populated I-35, DFW, and Houston metro areas, as Duncan promised.
Duncan resigned as state senator to assume the role as Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System.
When we learned that Duncan was resigning as chancellor over his push to build a Texas Tech vet school in Amarillo, my thought was that TTUS lost one hell of a leader.
For more on the details, see this story in the Texas Tribune.
As an Aggie, I’m not supposed to support the idea of a TTU vet school. But as a parent paying for college tuition at Texas colleges, I welcome the competition. A&M should not hold the monopoly on vet schools! We need more supply of classrooms. Maybe (not hopeful though), the price of vet degrees will fall with a little public sector competition.
Besides, A&M isn’t rural anymore. The running quip is that A&M’s vet school graduates twice more cat and dog (or “poodle”) doctors for suburban moms in Houston than they produce vets to treat cattle, horses, goats, pigs, sheep, and llamas for Texas ranchers. I don't know if that is true, but having a vet school out here where ranchers remain made sense.
It’s too bad Duncan probably saw that, worked for that end to benefit his charge (the TTUS), and has to resign because Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp threw a hissy fit in front of Gov. Abbott.
Sharp is a Democrat, too. What is Gov. Greg Abbott thinking? He denied any involvement, of course.