Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas Page: 5 of 48
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MESSAGE OF GOVERNOR HOGG.
pany would get but a small division of the earnings. Now Texas wheat
and corn are first in the market, and first to be shipped to supply the
wants of our people. As a consequence, Texas railways, as to such traffic,
have no division to make with outside companies. This rule applies to
everything else shipped to and from points within the State, and as a result
the per cent of interstate traffic is being greatly reduced, to the proportionate
advantage of local commerce and railways and to home industries.
Looking ahead, only one danger can be seen to threaten the usefulness
of the Commission; and, by timely legislative action, this can be
measurably avoided. The trouble lurks in the political arena. Should
the great powers vested in the Commissioners be diverted from commercial
channels into political currents, then the danger must be fully realized
by the people. By all means, in so far as is possible, the Commission
should be eliminated from politics. As a business institution, its
beneficial work must be keenly felt by every material interest in the State.
As a political machine, every revolution of it would menace the happiness
of the people. By constitutional amendment adopted at the last
election the Commissioners are made elective. This is the first unfortunate
step taken for the Commission. The people demanded it. They
lad a right to it. Now they have the privilege, by their own act, to
elect the Commissioners. It is in the power of the Legislature, however,
to throw safeguards around tlhem, so the evil that must result from their
engaging in political elections may be restricted, circumscribed.
In my first message in 1891 on this subject, warning the Legislature
against this danger, and pointing a way out of it, I said: " This can be
done by providing that no member of the Commission shall be eligible
to any other position of emolument or trust for the period of two years
after the expiration of his term as Commissioner. * * * One of the
great achievements of the Commission, desirable by all classes, should
be the removal of the railways from politics. With the feature of disqualification
as suggested, it is not impossible for this result to be fully
attained. * * * By this method the biennial political agitations and
corrupting influence of corporate power in the elections, always productive
of discontent, jealousy and unhappiness among the just people, will
be at an end."
Every word of this I repeat now. There is serious danger to result
if the Railway Commission is permitted to engage in politics. Their
.election, with all the legislative restrictions that may be placed around
them, will produce much trouble anyway. To permit them to use their
powers for political advantage in seeking other offices, will, in time,
greatly impair, if not destroy the efficacy of the law. It can not be objectionable
to any man in public life, who prefers a fine record to politi
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas, book, 1895; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5862/m1/5/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .