When I visited the website of the Texas General Land Office, the first thing I did was check out the tabs across the top of the screen.
Woah! I never knew the Land Office did so much! In fact, I’m not sure I ever thought much about what the Land Office did at all…but it’s pretty interesting. I’d always heard that the position of Texas Land Commissioner “held a lot of power, incognito”. I am beginning to understand why. Let’s take a look:
Under History & Archives there’s an Education & Outreach section. You can research land grants. (Who’s owned the land where you live?), an interesting-looking bit about “Texas Hidden History”, a place to buy maps or searched the digitized sketch database, resources for Texas History Teachers (definitely coming back to that one!), and an article called “Save Texas History!” If that looks cryptic, don’t just gloss over it. It’s a student essay contest. Very cool.
From the menu I also learned that the Land Office manages mineral resources including oil, gas, and renewable energy. We talked about how the corporate taxes on the oil and gas industry go to the permanent school fund to keep college costs affordable for young Texans. The Land Office also surveys and manages all state lands. “Cabin Program”? Sounds like something to come back to explore.
And look at all they do for our coastline! Clean up oil spills. Protect the environment and manage erosion. Track hurricanes and help with the clean-up. “Vessel Removal.” Like shipwrecks? Cool. And in the “What’s New” section below I can check out their current and past projects to see where my tax money is going. Also cool.
In the last section you can find information about many Texas programs for veterans. Land for sale and special loan rates. Veterans’ Homes and Cemeteries.
As of the writing of this post, we have a brand spanking new Texas Land Commissioner. Elected yesterday. Take a moment to find out who it is, because this official wields a great deal of money and power!