Rick Range is a fourth-generation Texan and a lifelong resident of Dallas County where his family has lived since 1890. He graduated from Irving High School and then attended North Texas State University in Denton and West Texas State University in Canyon where he received his B.M.E. Range taught at the junior high and high school levels before becoming a career firefighter with the Mesquite Fire Department. Here he served for over 31 years as a Driver-Engineer and also as Spanish translator for both the fire and police departments.
For the last dozen years, Range has been heavily involved in research for a book covering all aspects of the Alamo and the Texas War for Independence. He serves as a Board Member of the Alamo Society, an international association of Alamo scholars, researchers, and dedicated enthusiasts. Also a member of the Alamo Battlefield Association, the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy, and an associate member of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, he has spent nearly twenty years in Alamo research in both English and Spanish.
A few months ago he founded the Save The Alamo Committee along with its associated website and social media in order to get the word out to the voters of Texas about George P. Bush’s disastrous REIMAGINE THE ALAMO Master Plan. On November 1, Range publicly announced his candidacy for the office of Texas General Land Office Commissioner to replace George P. Bush.
Range was a firefighter for 31 years. First-responders experience many of the same demands and their aftermath as do veterans. He understands their needs and will work to provide better support for these brave veterans.
Firemen save lives in fires, floods, and other natural disasters. Range has over thirty years understanding the devastation of lives and property. What better background to manage that GLO department?
I really did not want to have to do this. But as a result of Mr. Davey Edwards’ most recent Facebook post of November 18th, I feel I have no choice. I can only conclude he did this because he sees the momentum our campaign is gathering across the state.
I believed that Mr. Edwards and I had a gentlemen’s agreement that we would strictly limit our criticism to the real culprit here, George P. Bush. No negative comments about each other, since Bush constitutes the real threat to the Alamo. I even told him he would have my full support if it came down to a runoff between him and Bush. However, since Mr. Edwards has now insinuated that I am “politicizing” the Alamo in order to use it for “political gain,” I believe that I owe it to the voters of Texas to tell them the whole story.
I have been deeply involved in research on the Alamo for almost fifteen years. During the course of this research, a number of associates and I put together a plan which would have properly protected, maintained, and improved the reverence and appreciation for the site as well as reconstruct portions of the 1836 Battle environment where possible. The plan involved a state-of-the-art museum for the hundreds of battle artifacts for which there had been no room for display, as well as visual educational features. Of course as part of this plan, the streets were to be closed off and the Church and Long Barracks properly repaired and protected against further deterioration. The world-famous Battle of 1836 and the heroism of the Defenders were to remain the premier focus.
Through our efforts, this plan was passed and funded by the Texas State Legislature. Unfortunately, after Mr. Bush came into office, he brought in out-of-state planners who totally disregarded what had been passed by the Legislature and turned the project on its head. At the same time Bush and his minions took the opportunity to turn the whole thing into probably the biggest pork barrel boondoggle in Texas history, turning a project originally projected to cost some 50 million dollars into an outrageously inflated 450 million. (His latest change-with-the-wind statement says 300 million.)
When the horrendous details of his “REIMAGINE THE ALAMO Master Plan” were finally disclosed during the “Big Reveal” public hearings in San Antonio last Spring, all true Texans were horrified. Unfortunately, there was, outside of Bexar County, absolutely no news coverage of this impending disaster at all. Zero.
Consequently a few friends and I decided to set up a website, www.savethealamo.us, in an attempt to get the word out to the rest of the citizens of Texas before it was too late. We even bought a series of public radio announcements, all out of our own pocket.
We, along with other allies, began a diligent search for a well-known public official to run against George P. Bush since he had amply proven that that was what was necessary to save the Alamo. Not a one stepped forward.
Now about Mr. Edwards—When we learned that Mr. Edwards was running, John Hinnant of San Antonio and I met with him for over two hours in Fort Worth. We explained to him the extreme importance of the Alamo issue and that it was absolutely essential to get the word out to all Texans about it if he was to defeat Bush. He told us that he agreed. Two weeks later, Jerry Patterson and Ray Myers met with Mr. Edwards in Austin and explained the same thing in detail. Once again, Mr. Edwards indicated that he understood and would do precisely as they suggested.
After that, we all agreed to support Mr. Edwards in his race. I even had an excellent piece created about the whole Alamo dilemma to be put up on the Edwards website as soon as it was set up.
Once the website was up, to our astonishment there was not one single word about the Alamo debacle on the site anywhere. Absolutely nothing. And then to compound our concern, Mr. Edwards on the campaign trail repeatedly refused to utter a word about it for weeks, just his experience in surveying land up along the Red River. That was when I finally was persuaded to enter the race. It had absolutely nothing to do with political ambitions—only saving the Alamo. By this point I had already spent thousands of dollars of my own money trying to spread the alarm.
Due to the effects of our website and our work in explaining the subject on numerous radio talk shows throughout the state, Mr. Edwards realized that the Alamo issue was gaining momentum. That is why he finally started discussing it and using it in his campaign. For him to claim that I am the one trying to use the Alamo for political gain is the very height of hypocrisy—the pot calling the kettle black.
As far as Mr. Edwards’ claimed superiority in “qualifications” for the office, there is a lot more to the Texas General Land Office than just being a surveyor. Land surveyors can be hired. I am fully aware of the duties of the office, and I realize that the stewardship of the Alamo is not the only one—just a hugely important one that is in the most imminent need of correction. And contrary to Mr. Edwards’ contention, there is a “predetermined plan” that will fit the bill quite nicely—the one presented to the State Legislature which they passed and funded. There is no need for another person totally unversed in the Alamo to come in and reinvent the wheel. We’ve already seen how that worked out with Bush.
What needs to be done is to implement the original plan, and then for future safety get a bill through the State Legislature mandating that the focus of the Alamo will always be the 1836 Battle. And purchasing the land that the Cenotaph stands on as a solution for that problem as Mr. Edwards has now proposed, just shows once again his lack of knowledge of the facts on this issue.
The state statutes are very clear that no 1936 Centennial Marker can be altered in any fashion and certainly not moved without the express consent and approval of the Texas Historical Commission, and this is the case regardless of whether such marker is on public, private, city, state, or whatever land. The Cenotaph was entirely paid for by State funds gifted by the Roosevelt Administration and is officially listed as Texas 1936 Centennial Marker Number 95. If the City of San Antonio even touches it, they will be in total violation of State Law. Furthermore, the City has reportedly already agreed to cede the entire main plaza to the State, and if not the State would certainly be justified in exercising eminent domain.
Besides the Alamo, the Texas General Land Office is responsible for several other fields and, unlike Mr. Edwards, I have experience in nearly all of them.
1. Education: I received my bachelor’s degree and post-graduate work in teaching and taught in public schools at the junior high and high school levels for a number of years.
2. Energy: Both my father and grandfather were involved in the field of energy, having founded Range Oil Company which existed for some 65 years and where I myself worked as a youth.
3. Veterans’ Affairs: While I am not an actual armed service veteran, I did spend over 31 years in the role of first responder as a firefighter and also served as Spanish translator for both the police and fire departments. As such, I have experienced many of the same traumatic and stressful situations to which our veterans have been exposed and am very sympathetic to their problems. The plight of veterans is dear to my heart and will be one of my top priorities—especially in the areas of housing and mental health. The tragic suicides have got to end.
4. History: I will put my expertise and knowledge in the field of history up against just about anyone—and certainly Davey Edwards.
5. Land: I have had personal experience in the area of oil leasing and mineral rights in my own family.
6. Coast and Wetlands: I have been a strong proponent of environmental responsibility and pollution prevention for my entire life. Erosion is also a major threat that must be urgently addressed.
7. Disaster Recovery (Flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires): As a first responder I have had extensive first-hand experience dealing with the disastrous effects of flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires. I have personally dealt with the devastating results.
No—I have not ever been a land surveyor. Nor have I ever surveyed land along the Red River. But I do know I have the judgment to bring in the very best people to help me in areas where I am not the best expert. So all in all, I believe that my qualifications at least match those of both of my opponents—if not far surpass them.
I regret that I had to say all this. I really do not like blowing my own horn. But I will not sit silently by when my personal motives and qualifications are impuned.
I would be deeply honored to have your vote for Texas General Land Office Commissioner on March 6th — Rick Range.