Texas Republicans hold seven powerful committee chair positions in the House, more than any other state.
The state’s longest-tenured Republican is gunning to be the eighth.
Rep. Joe Barton of Ennis made his pitch to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, where he could have influence over a broad swath of legislation during the first months of Donald Trump’s administration.
Barton’s conservative agenda includes repealing Obamacare, reforming the Food and Drug Administration, curtailing the Environmental Protection Agency and rolling back net neutrality, rules that govern the equitable delivery of content by internet service providers.
“If successful, Americans will see improved access to care, telecom, and abundant and affordable energy for their homes and businesses,” Barton said in a tweetstorm announcing his platform. He also sent a letter outlining his candidacy to other Republicans in Congress on Wednesday afternoon.
Barton previously served as chair from 2004 to 2007 and unsuccessfully sought the position in the past. He currently serves as chairman emeritus for the committee, a largely ceremonial position.
Republican Fred Upton of Michigan has held the post since 2011 but must step down due to party-imposed term limits. Barton is expected to face opposition from outgoing National Republican Congressional Committee chair Greg Walden of Oregon and John Shimkus of Illinois.
Walden could be the favorite for his role in handing the Republicans a better than expected result in last week’s election.
But Barton’s voting record is more conservative than Walden or Shimkus, and he will likely have the support of Texas’ large Republican delegation.