Kelton Gray Seliger, known as Kel Seliger (born June 16, 1953), is a Republican member of the Texas State Senate representing District 31, which stretches from the Panhandle south to the Permian Basin.
Born in Amarillo and reared in the Panhandle city of Borger in Hutchinson County, Seliger is a graduate of Borger public schools and Dartmouth College in Dartmouth, New Hampshire. He spent 35 years in the steel industry and is co-owner and executive vice-president of Lake Steel, Inc., a steel service center. He is also a licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor.
Seliger is currently a member of the National Rifle Association, the Texas Farm Bureau, and the Harley-Davidson Owners Group.
Seliger and his wife, the former Nancy Caroline Meredith (born October 11, 1960), reside in Amarillo with their two sons, Jonathan and Matthew.
Seliger served four terms in the nonpartisan position as mayor of Amarillo (1993–2001). He is also a former city commissioner and a former member of the Amarillo Civil Service Commission. He also served on former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn's Municipal Advisory Committee and, in 2002, he was appointed to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission by Governor Rick Perry.
Seliger was sworn into the Texas Senate on March 2, 2004, to complete the term of Teel Bivins of Amarillo, who obtained a diplomatic appointment as United States Ambassador to Sweden from the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. Seliger was reelected to serve a full, four-year term on November 4, 2004. The district spans twenty-six counties and includes mostly conservative voters in Amarillo, Midland, Odessa, and Big Spring.
Seliger is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), serving as Texas state leader.
Seliger was appointed by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst to serve as Vice-Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee for the Seventy-ninth Texas Legislature. In addition, he was appointed to the Natural Resources, International Relations and Trade, and Administration Committees.
Seliger filed and sponsored over seventy-five bills, fifty of which were passed in one form or another during the regular session of the 79th Legislature. As the vice chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, Senator Seliger passed House Bill 2577 requiring local law enforcement agencies to report to the state the reason for a peace officer's termination to protect the integrity of the state's law enforcement officers. This legislation prevents those peace officers with a history of poor performance or unethical behavior, termed "gypsy cops," from taking advantage of police departments that lack the resources to investigate their employment history.
Seliger's membership on the Senate Natural Resources Committee aided him in passing several important bills for West Texas. House Bill 2161 ensures that effective pipeline safety standards are in place for all construction work around oil and gas pipelines. It also establishes a program to address abandoned or orphaned oil and gas wells and includes considerations for potential future periods of decline in oil and gas prices. Additionally, House Bill 951 will establish a notice and remediation process for construction around pipelines.
The Texas Municipal League presented Seliger with its 2005 Distinguished Legislative Service Award for his dedication to protecting and promoting local control. He also received the 2005 Rural Legislator of the Year Award from the Association of Rural Communities in Texas.
Seliger won re-nomination to a full four-year term in the state Senate in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014. He defeated attorney and former Midland Mayor Michael Jackson "Mike" Canon, Sr. (born 1946), 36,623 (52.4 percent) to 33,223 (47.6 percent).
Seliger is considered one of the most moderate of the twenty (as of 2015) Texas Senate Republicans, along with Kevin Eltife of Tyler, according to an analysis by Mark P. Jones of the political science department at Rice University in Houston. Jones also found that these Republicans saw passage of 90 percent of the bills for which they voted.
In February 2015, Seliger filed proposed legislation backed by many school districts that a graduation committee be appointed for each pupil who twice fails an end-of-course assessment. With a unanimous committee vote, the student would be allowed to graduate from high school. The committee would consist of a principal, counselor, teacher, and parent and would consider course grades, standardized test scores, and regularity of attendance as factors to permit graduation in such situations. A. Marcus Nelson, superintendent of the Laredo Independent School District endorsed Seliger's bill, which he said would impact 172 pupils in Laredo who have twice failed the end-of-course assessments. "We need to find the right balance in the number of assessments and the accountability that goes with it," Nelson said.
Seliger is the recipient of the Bell Helicopter 2012 Legislative Leadership Award, the Texas Municipal League's 2011 Legislator of the Year, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association's 2009 Law and Order Award, Legislator of the Year 2009 from the Associated Security Services and Investigators of the State of Texas and the citizens of Odessa honored him with the 2009 Heritage of Odessa Foundation Community Statesman Award in Government.
Election history of District 31 from 1992.
Most recent election
|Republican||Kel Seliger (Incumbent)||107,885||90.43||-9.57|
|Republican||Kel Seliger (Incumbent)||195,878||100.0||+9.79|
|Republican||Kel Seliger (Incumbent)||180,267||90.21|
|Republican||Kel Seliger (Incumbent)||170,299||78.53||-21.47|
|Democratic||Elaine King Miller||46,556||21.47||+21.47|
|Democratic||Elaine King Miller||5,738||8.27|