Susan Combs most recently served as the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts from 2007 through 2014, and, from day one, she made fiscal transparency and government accountability a top priority. Immediately after taking office, she launched what has been widely recognized as the nation’s most comprehensive transparency effort. Among these efforts is Combs’ groundbreaking Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST), an innovative approach to measuring public schools’ academic progress in relation to their relative spending.
During her tenure as Agriculture Commissioner and Comptroller, Combs also made obesity a top priority. As Comptroller, she issued three reports and updates outlining the cost of obesity to Texas businesses, with recommendations to help reduce the incidence of obesity. This continued her focus on believing fitness is crucial to academic success. In 2007, Combs designed and secured funding for Texas Fitness Now (TFN), a grant program administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that supported in-school PE, nutrition and fitness programs for middle schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students. From 2008 to 2011, TFN distributed $40 million in grants. While Agriculture Commissioner, TIME Magazine dubbed Susan Combs “The Cafeteria Crusader” in a 2004 article, highlighting her policies to cut carbonated drink sizes, and cookie, candy and chip portions in public schools.
In 2013, Combs partnered with the Texas Library Association to provide 910 public libraries and more than 1,100 public elementary school libraries with nutrition and fitness-related books and DVDs geared to children and preteens, and distributed sports equipment to more than 3,500 schools with students at high risk for obesity.
Prior to her elected public service, Combs worked on Wall Street and for the federal government, and then obtained her law degree. She served as an assistant district attorney in Dallas County where she handled child abuse cases.