Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Margaret Martin and Rolando Pablos, and has reappointed Gary Aber, to the Texas Racing Commission for terms set to expire on Feb. 1, 2021. The Commission oversees pari-mutuel wagering on horse and greyhound racing and has been in the spotlight in recent months over a controversy involving regulatory approval of pari-mutuel wagering on historical racing machines, which some powerful Texas lawmakers oppose.
In other news, the state's Legislative Budget Board – which had threatened to de-fund the commission over its approval of historical racing – said it would extend funding to the commission for 90 days.
Margaret Martin of Boerne is an independent international business woman who specializes in bringing companies and individuals together in business development and energy. She was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in 2007 and served there until 2015. She is a member of the World Affairs Councils of San Antonio and Austin, San Antonio FBISACAA and Infragard. Martin received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Laredo State University, now Texas A&M International University, and she is Certified in International Protocol.
Rolando Pablos of El Paso is CEO of the Borderplex Alliance. Previously, he served on the Public Utility Commission, Nueces River Authority Board of Directors, and as chair of the Texas Racing Commission. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, University Houston Conrad Hilton College Dean's Advisory Board, Bridge of Southern New Mexico Board of Directors and the Border Trade Alliance Board of Directors. Additionally, he is former chairman of the Free Trade Alliance and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Pablos received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary's University, Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas at San Antonio, Master of Hospitality Management from the University of Houston and a Juris Doctor from St. Mary's University School of Law.
Gary Aber of Simonton is a veterinarian and owner of Simonton Veterinary Clinic, as well as a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. He was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Racing Commission in 2012. Dr. Aber received a Bachelor of Science from Texas Tech and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University.
Aber was one of four commissioners who voted against the repeal of language authorizing wagering on historical racing machines. There were three commissioners who voted to repeal the language, which would end any hope of Texas racetracks getting historical racing machines. One of the other members of the commission who voted against the repeal was not reappointed, so the balance in favor of historical racing may have shifted.
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