John Sharp

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp at a Board of Regents' meeting on August 23, 2017. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is set to announce today that Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp will lead the effort to rebuild communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Sharp's job will be to expedite the response and ensure local and county officials get needed resources efficiently.

"This is the largest catastrophe in Texas history and the governor is going to coordinate a response as big as Texas," said Matt Hirsch, a spokesman for Abbott told the newspaper.

Hirsch said the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas, which will be chaired by Sharp, would focus on rebuilding infrastructure and look at how to prevent future hurricane damage, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Abbott is expected to officially announce the commission and the appointment at a news conference today in Austin.

The governor has previously said the cost to help the state recover from Hurricane Harvey could be up to $180 billion.

Sharp has served as chancellor for the Texas A&M System since 2011. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents voted in August to move forward with a three-year contract for Sharp.

Sharp served as a member of the Texas legislature in the 1980s, where he represented a district based in Victoria and included several counties that were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. He served as Texas state comptroller in the 1990s, and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor twice.

Sharp was not available for comment late Wednesday.

State officials confirmed Sharp is not expected to leave his A&M post for the position.

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(1) comment

roy g

Rebuilding infrastructure is fine. Expediting recovery is fine. Preventing (or even mitigating) future hurricane related or other flooding? Empty words.

There have been recommendations in the past on how to mitigate disasters after they happen. This makes city and county administrators look good and responsible in the eyes of their constituents, but what happens after all the outcry dies down? Those studies and reports and up getting shoved into forgotten file cabinets somewhere or just ignored. Besides, they can't be seen as anti-development or anti-business. So unchecked development continues and concealment of hazards becomes the law of the land. Fortunes are made, campaigns get funded, and defenders of the establishment say "well the current disaster was unforeseeable because of (insert convenient excuse here)". The status quo remains safe until the next event.

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