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Edwards pursues state office

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, March 29, 2017
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Davey Edwards

Davey Edwards. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Dr. Davey Edwards of Alvord announced Saturday he will run for Texas land commissioner in 2018.

Edwards, a professional land surveyor licensed in Texas and Oklahoma, will run on the Republican ticket. His announcement came at the conclusion of National Surveyors Week, and he said he wants to bring integrity back to the Texas General Land Office.

The General Land Office is the oldest state agency in Texas, and it’s responsible for managing lands and mineral right properties owned by the state. It provides revenue through the sale and lease of state lands for the Permanent School Fund, and it assists veterans by providing low interest loans on purchases of land and homes. Land commissioners may also advise the governor on land issues.

“A lot of people don’t understand what the land office does for the state,” he said. “I want to educate the public and help people understand how important it is to the school fund and state of Texas as far as its economic development and staying out in front of a lot of other states across the nation.”

Although Edwards has never held an elected office, he is currently serving as the licensed state land surveyor member of the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying under the appointment of Gov. Greg Abbott and is chairman of Decatur’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“I decided I didn’t want to build that political portfolio in order for me to run for a statewide office,” he explained. “Instead, I decided I’d just jump headfirst into it and run off my qualifications instead of being part of a political engine where you have a huge war chest, a name and all this other stuff.

“It’s going back to the grass roots, and I think our nation and everybody is looking for that,” he said. “They’re not looking for the career politician anymore.”

Edwards said his run has been “15 or 20 years in the making,” as it’s been a goal since the start of his professional career. He considered running in 2013 when then-Commissioner Jerry Patterson said he planned to run for lieutenant governor, but Edwards was still working on his doctorate.

Frustation with current Commissioner George P. Bush pushed Edwards to take the plunge.

“I thought he’d do good for one or two terms, and then I’d step up and fill the position,” he said. “But what he did was upset the apple cart.”

Edwards said Bush put in a zero baseline budget, which he didn’t necessarily oppose, but Bush also enforced further cuts and got rid of numerous directors with vast experience, changes which affected Edwards’ work in the land office.

“We were trying to get patents issued when oil was over $100 per barrel, and they got delayed over a year, almost two years, because of this and now it’s down to $30 per barrel,” he said. “My clients were losing money. The morale of (the GLO) was depleted.

“This and other things pushed me to run now instead of later,” he said. “I knew if I could, I wanted to make a positive change.”

Edwards said Bush seems to have a better understanding of the office now than when first elected, and he’s indicated he will run again.

“I’m a little nervous,” Edwards said. “It’s an unknown world for me, but I think in the end it will be a win/win.

“If I win, of course, I’m in. If I run a good campaign, I’ll be known around the state for my qualifications and then in 2022 when it comes up again, I’ll have my name out there.”

Edwards said he hopes he can inspire people along the way.

“You don’t have to have the name. You don’t have to have a big war chest. You just have to be passionate about what you want to do and go for it,” he said. “If I can inspire that, then maybe we can see a change in a positive direction.”

Edwards graduated from Texas A&M University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science and then obtained his professional land surveying license. He has a master’s degree in geospatial surveying engineering and recently obtained his doctorate degree in geosciences.

Edwards’ work has been filed and used at the Texas General Land Office, Texas Attorney General’s Office and the United States Congress for boundary resolution issues. Edwards said most recently he volunteered his time to help defend property rights of the ranchers and the state of Texas along the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma against claims by the United State Bureau of Land Management with his expertise in riparian boundary issue.

Edwards is also a certified federal land surveyor. He and his father, Tommy, own and operate Edwards Surveying in Decatur.

Edwards’ wife, Sonja, is a middle school writing teacher. They have three sons.

To read more about Edwards’ campaign, visit daveyfortexas.com.

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