Donald Evans

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On January 21, 2001, Donald Evans, chosen by President George W. Bush, was sworn into office as the 34th Secretary for the Department of Commerce.

According to his White House biography, Evans is a former businessman who "believes very strongly in the free-enterprise system. ... [and that] what U.S. businesses need most in the global market is a level playing field."

In 1946, Evans was born in Houston, Texas, and "attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1969 and an MBA in 1973. While at UT, he was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity."

"In 1975, Secretary Evans moved to Midland, Texas from Houston and began roughnecking on an oil rig for Tom Brown, Inc., a large independent energy company now based in Denver. Ten years later he took the company over as CEO and continued running it until becoming Commerce Secretary."

"In 1995 he was appointed by Governor George W. Bush to the Board of Regents of the University of Texas, serving as Chairman of the Board for the last four years. He was a board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation for 8 years and a driving force behind Native Vision, a program that provides services to some 10,000 Native American children. He has been involved with the United Way for many years, serving as President in 1989 and Campaign Chair in 1981. He has been named Jaycees Man of the Year.

"Secretary Evans has made significant contributions in local and national politics in the past 25 years having worked for Governor Bush's successful gubernatorial campaigns in 1994 and 1998, and serving as Chairman of the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign."

A profile of the Commerce Secretary compiled by Foreign Policy In Focus describes him as "George W. Bush's close friend from West Texas, ... a skilled businessman, fundraiser, and campaign manager."

"Evans, a native of Houston and a longtime resident of Midland, met Bush through his wife [Susan Marinis Evans], a woman who went to grade school with the president. He has now known Bush for over 25 years, and has raised money for all of Bush's political campaigns.

FPIF writes that "The two men are very close; soul mates, in fact. It was Evans who, after a George W. binge, steered the future president away from sin and toward Jesus. According to Gail Sheehy, writing in the October, 2000 Vanity Fair, 'In 1985, Don Evans urged Bush to join a new kind of men's group--a franchised Community Bible Study program for men, a precursor to the Promise Keepers.'"

Regarding Evans relationship to the oil industry, FPIF says that "Evans did well, and recently did even better. The Austin Chronicle wrote in March, 2000, 'The company is among several small, publicly traded oil companies that have seen their fortunes improve in recent months as the price of crude oil has skyrocketed. One of the largest individual shareholders in Tom Brown, Evans has an 800,000-share stake in the company, worth over $13 million.'

"The fact that Evans and Tom Brown, Inc. were the beneficiaries of a Governor Bush-promoted oil company tax break did not unduly upset the Texas electorate. As Bush made clear early on during his 1978 congressional race, 'There's no such thing as being too closely aligned to the oil business in West Texas.'

"However," FPIF adds, "unlike the other big oilman of the administration, Dick Cheney, Evans has little experience in international exploration. He knows far more about the Permian Basin than the Caspian Sea. But Evans, loyalist that he is, is unlikely to create any international initiatives at Commerce that will go against the Bush foreign policy team."

Robert Bryce, writing for the March 20, 2000, Austin Chronicle, adds: [1]

"Evans' close ties to Bush and his contacts with other members of 'the Big Rich' made him a natural choice to be Bush's national finance chairman. And Evans has exceeded all expectations. He has coordinated an unprecedented fundraising drive for Bush. He helped organize the Pioneers, a group of Bush backers who each pledged to raise $100,000. The program has been remarkably successful. At last count there were more than 200 Pioneers who have reached the $100,000 goal." [2] See Bush's Rangers.

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