NEWS
GOP Picks Conaway as House Ag Chairman
Jerry Hagstrom DTN Political Correspondent
Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:51 AM CST
(Page 1 of 2)

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- The House Republican Steering Committee on Tuesday selected Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, as the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the next Congress.

New House Ag Committee Chairman Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, represents 29 counties in Texas' 11th congressional district, including the cities of Midland, Odessa and San Angelo. (U.S. Capitol photo by Nick Scalise; courtesy photo of Rep. Conaway)

"I am humbled and honored to be selected as the 50th chairman of the storied House Committee on Agriculture," Conaway said in a news release.

"The work that farmers and ranchers do is part of our country's foundation. They feed, fuel, and clothe our nation. I look forward to building on the bipartisan work of the chairmen who have led this committee for the past two centuries."

"I represent, and love, rural America. It's the backbone of our country," he added. "The values and concepts that make America great are stored in rural America, and I want to protect that. There are fewer and fewer voices representing rural America, and I am honored to be one of those voices. That is my overarching drive as the committee moves forward."

According to his official biography, Conaway represents 29 counties in Texas' 11th congressional district, including the cities of Midland, Odessa and San Angelo.

"A conservative Republican, Rep. Conaway believes in the principles of lower taxes, smaller government and a secure nation. His background as a CPA gives him a unique perspective on fiscal responsibility and ensuring every taxpayer dollar is being spent wisely," his biography says.

He has served as the chairman of the House Ethics Committee and on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees.

On the Agriculture Committee, Conaway has been the chairman of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee.

He is a deputy Republican whip, a position he also held in the 112th Congress.

A native Texan, he grew up in Odessa and graduated from Odessa Permian High School in 1966 after playing on Permian's first state championship football team.

He earned a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from Texas A&M University-Commerce in 1970.

After serving in the Army at Fort Hood, he returned to the Permian Basin with Price Waterhouse and settled in Midland, later working with George W. Bush as the chief financial officer for Bush Exploration.

Conaway's election means that both top leaders on the House Agriculture Committee will be certified public accountants.

"I congratulate Congressman Conaway on his election to Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee," House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said in a news release.

"As a fellow CPA, I think we can find common ground as the Committee oversees farm bill implementation and reauthorizing the CFTC during the next Congress. The Agriculture Committee has a strong bipartisan tradition, which I look forward to continuing under Chairman Conaway."

The American Soybean Association issued a news release Thursday praising the selection of Conaway as House Ag Committee chairman.

"Rep. Conaway has a proven track record of representing farmers not only in west-central Texas, but across the country, and he will make a fine chairman," ASA First Vice President Wade Cowan stated in the news release. "As chair of the Agricultural Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, Rep. Conaway exhibited fluent understanding of the complex issues that shape the nation's farm program, and how those issues can impact soybean farmers in the field. With this understanding, we are confident that soybean farmer issues will continue to be well represented within the Committee, and we look forward to working with him and his able staff."

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