At a time when lawmakers across the country (and, of course, Michelle Obama) are pushing schools to ditch the sad square pizzas in favor of healthier lunchtime options, one elected official in Texas continues to take a stand on behalf of (wait for it) junk food.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner Sid Millerwho gained national notoriety and the nickname the “Cupcake King” earlier this year for granting “amnesty” to all cupcakes, pies and sugary treats in schoolsis now proposing to overturn the longtime ban on deep fat fryers and soda machines in cafeterias.

In response to a Houston Chronicle editorial bashing his plan earlier this week, Commissioner Miller (who I can only imagine was eating a corndog while dictating this quote) said it really has nothing to do with health:

“It’s about giving back local control and allowing each school district to make the best decision for their community. It’s not about french fries, it’s about freedom.”

This move, which will be voted on in the coming months, is the latest in a series of tiny hits to the much-lauded health reforms made by former Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs to the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy in 2004. Among other reversals, Former Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples undid the ban on high fat and high sugar foods in schools during his tenure. Miller seems hellbent on keeping pace with Staples’ efforts to make everything bigger in Texas.

sidmillersmallSid Miller, Deep-Fried Cowboy Commissioner
(via: American Quarter Horse Association)

Miller (who also happens to be a professional rodeo cowboy) says this campaign isn’t about ensuring there’s a 20-ounce Mountain Dew in the tiny, greasy hand of every child in Texas, it’s about returning local control to schools.

“I have proposed a new rule to allow school districts to install deep fat fryers and sell beverages like diet soda,” Miller continued in his editorial response. “I believe each school districtnot the state or federal governmentshould decide what foods are offered to students. It’s about giving back local control and allowing each school district to make the best decision for their community.”

Texas currently ranks 5th in the nation for childhood obesity.

[via: Texas Monthly]