U.T. regent nominees Sara Martinez Tucker, Steven Hicks and David Beck. Photo by Bob Daemmirch.
Almost six hours of inquisition of Greg Abbott’s nominees for the University of Texas Board of Regents, ended with the Senate Nominations Committee effectively turning the trio into political hostages by not voting.
Perhaps it was nothing more than a desire by senators to digest extensive testimony from nominees Steven Hicks and David Beck on their roles in the university controversy over favoritism in admissions and supplemental funding from an outside foundation of law professors, or nominee Sara Martinez Tucker’s support for national education standards known as Common Core. But usually a governor, especially a new governor, sees his board of regent nominees pass quickly through the advice and consent process to confirmation.
These nominees represent something more than just a shadow of scandal. In selecting these three as U.T. regent nominees, Abbott seems to have given a nod of conciliation to the U.T. alumni and the business/legal conservative wing of the Republican Party over the tea party social conservatives who had fought to oust U.T. Austin President Bill Powers and break the status quo. Powers is stepping down after the current legislative session.