The new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on the federal workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census is Rep. Blake Farenthold, a conservative Texas Republican from Corpus Christi. His step-grandmother was Frances “Sissy” Farenthold, a liberal Democrat who served in the state House.
A lawyer and former radio talk show host, Farenthold now is in his second term. He also is the founder of a computer consulting and web design firm. He narrowly won his congressional race in 2010, but had a much easier time last year, thanks to redistricting. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) estimates there are several thousand federal civilian employees in his district, including those at Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs Department and Defense Department facilities.
In a statement to the Federal Diary, Farenthold said: “We have a divided government, and House Republicans were elected with a mandate to get spending under control and we have a few leverage points. Taxpayers and their children cannot afford trillions in new debt. In these tough times everyone needs to work both smarter and harder to get the job done in a cost-effective manner. I look forward to continuing my role as a watchdog and advocate for creating a more efficient, accountable and affordable federal government, and getting it done in a timely manner. The federal workforce, the private sector and the American people deserve more certainty from government.”
Federal workforce organizations do not rate Farenthold, a member of the Tea Party Caucus, highly. Based on congressional votes important to those organizations, Farenthold voted with the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association 20 percent of the time over the last two years; with Federally Employed Women 30 percent in 2011 and 20 percent in 2012; with AFGE 4 percent in 2011; and with the National Treasury Employees Union 0 percent in 2011 and 2012.
A chairperson has not been announced for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee overseeing the federal workforce.