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Paroles Board Nominee Wants Reconsideration

Pardons and Paroles Board Nominee Shanda Perkins of Burleson hopes Senate will reconsider her appointment.
Pardons and Paroles Board Nominee Shanda Perkins of Burleson hopes Senate will reconsider her appointment.

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

Austin, TX – A former Burleson bank officer is trying to revive her nomination to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. An influential state senator says she's not qualified. From Austin, KERA's Shelley Kofler reports Shanda Perkins has taken her fight to state lawmakers.
Outside the Texas Senate, Shanda Perkins buttonholed lawmakers.

Perkins: I'm talking to various senators as they enter the chamber.

She handed them letters of reference and a resume that details her twenty-plus years as a banker, a youth pastor and a volunteer counselor for abused and troubled teens.

Perkins: There has been a lot of misinformation so I'm trying to clear the air.

Governor Rick Perry nominated the striking 51-year old mother of six to the state Board of Pardons and Paroles. But last week Senators voted 27- 4 to send Perkins' nomination back to a committee.

Senator John Whitmire of Houston, head of the criminal justice committee, says Perkins is not qualified for the job.

Whitmire: No practical experience in criminal justice. No formal education. She's not qualified for a job that pays $95,000 a year and decides life and death matters

Whitmire says Perkins' lack of a college education is part of the problem.

Whitmire: When you regulate people- hundreds who are required to have a college degree- I think it's only right that would be a requirement. We've raised the salary to $95,000 to attract and allow people who would give up other full-time jobs to work full-time in that capacity. If you don't have a college degree you need hands-on experience and I don't think she meets those requirements.

Perkins: Making good grades in college courses really don't give you the insight that one needs to serve on a board of pardons and paroles. I feel like I can bring a balance. I can bring empathy because of my years of counseling and I can also uphold the law.

During questioning, senators asked Perkins about her public campaign in 2004 against a Burleson woman who sold sex toys. They noted Perkins distribution of fliers linking Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to Barak Obama and abortion rights. Senator Hutchison is expected to challenge Governor Perry who is courting the most conservative Republicans in his bid for reelection.

Perkins, however, insists her nomination is not political.
With less than two weeks left in the legislative session Perkins is hoping the Senate will reconsider her appointment. Whitmire doesn't see that happening.

Whitmire: Her nomination will die because the requirement is you be confirmed during the session you were appointed.

Outside the Senate, Perkins thinks she still has a chance if lawmakers hear her story.