By\u00a0James Barrag\u00e1n\u00a0and\u00a0Patrick Svitek\r\nState Rep.\u00a0James White, R-Hillister, announced Wednesday that he is running for agriculture commissioner, marking the first major primary opponent for incumbent\u00a0Sid Miller.\r\n"The combination of my proven conservative record, experience on agriculture issues, and commitment to integrity and ethics makes me the right candidate to steer this crucial agency back in the right direction," White said in a news release.\r\nThe announcement made official a move White had been teasing since he\u00a0announced earlier this month\u00a0that he would not seek reelection to the Texas House after six terms in office. The only Black Republican in the Legislature, White chairs the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. He previously served on the Agriculture and Livestock Committee.\r\nMiller considered running for governor in 2022, challenging fellow Republican\u00a0Greg Abbott, but announced earlier this month that he would instead run for reelection as agriculture commissioner. Miller won a second term in 2018 after facing two primary challengers and prevailing with 56% of the vote.\r\nMiller did not immediately respond to a request for comment on White's candidacy.\r\nIn his announcement, White offered thinly veiled contrasts with Miller over his personal controversies over the years, which include\u00a0spreading fake news on Facebook\u00a0and using taxpayer dollars for two trips involving personal activities, including getting a medical injection in Oklahoma called the "Jesus Shot." The Texas Rangers investigated the trips, and Travis County prosecutors\u00a0eventually opted against\u00a0bringing criminal charges.\r\nWhite said in the news release that Texas "needs competent, statewide leaders."\r\nFormer President Donald Trump could play a role in the race. Miller is an enthusiastically of Trump, and a news release announcing White's campaign cast him as an "early supporter of ... Trump, serving as an advisory board member for Black Voices for Trump."\r\nFor his part, White has received support from House Speaker\u00a0Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, and other colleagues in the House, who have urged him to run for agriculture commissioner.\r\nWhite has represented the East Texas district since 2011 when he ran as a Tea Party favorite and ousted longtime Democratic incumbent Jim McReynolds. His current term expires in January 2023. White has expressed support for term limits on politicians.\r\nAs a state representative, White earned a reputation as a staunch conservative but was regarded by activists and lobbyists as a cordial lawmaker who listened to input even from those with whom he disagreed.\r\nIn 2017, White was appointed chairman of the House Corrections Committee by then-Speaker\u00a0Joe Straus, an appointment he kept for the following session under Straus\u2019 successor,\u00a0Dennis Bonnen.\r\nIn 2021, Phelan tapped him to chair the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, where he oversaw passage of a bill that eliminated the requirement for Texans to obtain a license to carry handguns if the persons are not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing guns.\r\nWhite is most known for his work on legislation around incarcerated people, particularly juveniles. In 2015, he authored a bill to decriminalize truancy offenses for juveniles, which advocates said led to enhanced school attendance and academic achievement while doing away with a policy that punished kids unreasonably for factors outside of their control.\r\nWhite also sponsored a bill in the House that imposed a criminal penalty on those who were charged with improper sexual conduct with juveniles in custody, and another that limited access to the confidential records of youth in the juvenile justice information system.\r\nThis story originally published by the Texas Tribune.