So the governor pulled a bit of a surprise this morning when he named Gail Lowe chair of the State Board of Education.
There had been rumors that Perry would name the controversial Cynthia Dunbar as chair. I contended earlier this week that Dunbar would be a less-dangerous choice for opponents of the Christian Right than someone like Barbara Cargill.
Lowe publishes the community newspaper in Lampasas, and once served as a trustee of the Lampasas school board. She’s a reliable social conservative, but has been far less visible during her tenure on the State Board than most of her right-wing colleagues (read: Dunbar, McLeroy, Leo, Mercer, Bradley). You can find Lowe’s bio here.
Perry’s passing over of Dunbar might indicate he wants a little less controversy out of the State Board next year (as he’s running for reelection).
My impression of Lowe — from watching hours of State Board proceedings last year (an experience from which I’m still recovering) — is that she’s not the savviest operator in the group. She’ll likely be a quieter public presence as chair than McLeroy.
The open question is whether she’ll be more effective at passing a socially conservative agenda.