2016 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire

As Early Voting is literally days away for the Lone Star State, Texas Leftist has once again seeking to grow the information available to voters by asking candidates directly.  For the 2016 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire (TLCQ), candidates across the region  have already been sent information, and each response will be published as it is received.  Texas Leftist will also issue endorsements for select races.  This year, a common set of questions has been sent to candidates, regardless of the office being sought.


  1. What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?


  1. Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?


  1. As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?


  1. If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.


  1. Recent years in American Politics have yielded an environment of hyper-partisanship, the results of which have often led to government inefficiency, and sometimes total government gridlock. Describe how you plan to break through this partisan gridlock for the good of your constituents, and work with those from differing political ideologies. 



  1. What makes you the best candidate for this office?


  1. When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?


Though much attention this cycle has been focused on the Presidential race, it is very important to highlight the races of down ballot candidates.  If elected, they are the ones who will have the most immediate impact on the lives of Greater Houston residents, and all of Texas.  Check here for the responses, and endorsements coming soon.


Texoblogosphere: Week of October 10th

The Texas Progressive Alliance has never said anything like what Donald Trump said to Billy Bush when they thought no one was listening, not in a locker room and not anywhere else. No decent person says things like that because no decent person thinks like that or acts like that. What the TPA does say is in this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looked at turnout and voter registration patterns and what they might say about this year.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos shares an exposé as well as her own personal experiences to describe how Jim Crow continues to pervade the voter registration laws in Texas. Jim Crow Actively Lurks in Texas. The State’s Voter Registration Laws.

Socratic Gadfly looks back 150 years or so into Southern racial and class history and finds one key word — “mudsill” that seems to explain much of the Trump voter phenomenon.

The Libertarian ticket seems to have hit their ceiling, and not just because Gary Johnson has short-term memory issues, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad that poverty is down in Texas, but food insecurity is still high.

Neil at All People Have Value discussed an interactive art work on the streets of Houston. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Lone Star Ma celebrates Texas Influenza Awareness Day.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman writes about the Sandra Bland Act bill that he intends to file next session.

Grits for Breakfast considers what we should teach teenagers about traffic stops.

The Texas Election Law Blog explains the vote-by-mail process, and what can go wrong with it.

Eileen Smith waded into the fetid swamp of Donald Trump’s sexism, a couple of days before that swamp got even nastier.

Betsy Barre has a problem with the collective reaction to the Donald Trump “grab her in the p—-” video.


Don’t Be Left Out… Register To VOTE!!

For so many reasons, 2016 could be the election which defines the next generation.  So it’s super important for you to register and VOTE this year.  Today, October 11th is the deadline to register to vote in the state of Texas.  If you haven’t voted in a couple of years had a name change or a change of address, there’s a good chance that you need to register again. Visit the Voter Information Search to see if all of your voter info is current.  If you find your name and your information is current, then you are good to go for early voting, which runs October 24th through November 4th this year.

Sometimes even a search at the Secretary of State’s website doesn’t yield a result.  If you think you should be registered, be sure to check with your County website as well.

For the state of Texas, this election represents not only a choice between the two parties, but a rare opportunity to change the direction of our state and national political conversation.  Even if one isn’t enthusiastic about the top of the ticket, go VOTE and have a say in who will be leading our government.


Republican- Led Congress Proves Incompetence With Veto Override

To say that 2016 is a unique time in American Federal Politics wouldn’t just be an understatement.  It is THE understatement of the Century.  4 years ago, it was next to impossible to imagine someone like Donald Trump would not only make a serious run for the Presidency, but do so as the standard-bearer for one of the country’s major parties.  For many Americans, last week’s first General Election Debate served as a reminder that this is election cycle really is happening.

But even as the debate dominated news cycles this week, something just as important and (and just as concerning) also occurred on Capitol Hill, as both Houses of Congress went to the extraordinary measure of overriding President Obama’s veto.  But as Reuters via Huffington Post reports, that’s not the end of the story…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers on Thursday expressed doubts about Sept. 11 legislation they forced on President Barack Obama, saying the new law allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia could be narrowed to ease concerns about its effect on Americans abroad.

A day after a rare overwhelming rejection of a presidential veto, the first during Obama’s eight years in the White House, the Republican leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives opened the door to fixing the law as they blamed Obama, a Democrat, for not consulting them adequately.

“I do think is worth further discussing,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, acknowledging that there could be “potential consequences” of the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” known as JASTA.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress might have to “fix” the legislation to protect U.S. service members in particular.

After all of the painstaking work it takes to not only approve the bill and send it to the President, members in both Houses of Congress felt so strongly about the legislation that they refused to accept President Obama’s veto, and chose to override it just to pass the bill in spite.  But as soon as it is passed, Republican Congressional leaders then blame Obama for an action THEY took, saying he didn’t explain the ramifications of this bill well enough to them.

Umm, did y’all read the bill?  Did y’all read President Obama’s veto, and the more than thorough explanation for it??  As Gary Legum of Salon points out, this whole debacle seems to be a new low, even for the current Congress.

In a week sucked up by campaign antics, it’s easy to see why situations like this one get buried.  But anyone that is horrified by Donald Trump’s blatant lies should be just as disturbed by this action of CONGRESS.  Out of 535 people elected to serve us, whom take nearly $200,000 of our money per each year that they “serve”, and are supported by a full staff of talented Congressional aides, they don’t have the time to actually READ THE BILL before they vote on it… twice??

I’m sorry Republicans, but no.  You do not get to play the ‘blame President Obama game’ this time.  Sure, many Democrats also voted for this bill, and they should be rightly called out for doing so instead of having the political courage to investigate it further.  But this is a mess made of the Republican leaders in Congress.  Had Democrats been in charge, the bill likely would not have come up for a vote at the request of the White House.  Congress is not a place for our so-called leaders to just hang out, socialize, take the American People’s money, call donors and then obstruct the President at every politically convenient turn.  Not only have they wasted time and tax money on these votes, but have proven a complete incapability of doing what American citizens have sent them there to do.

This is unacceptable, and if my blog has anything to say about it, the misdeeds of Speaker Ryan, Senator McConnell and other GOP leaders will not go unheard.  If you don’t have the time to read and contemplate important legislation before you vote on it TWICE, maybe you all should find another job.  There are plenty of hard-working American citizens who would gladly trade your salaries, and get more done.

Capitol Hill

SAVED? Commissioners’ Court Moves Forward On Astrodome Plan

Last year as Houston’s world-famous Astrodome celebrated its 50th Anniversary, many of the folks in attendance were left to wonder if that celebration would be its last.  Since Harris County voters rejected a 2013 proposal to rehab the structure, many have been watching and waiting for some bad news to come.  Even as Judge Ed Emmett continued to push for solutions and not give up the cause, many have prepared themselves for some inevitably tough news.

Which is why this week’s discussions about a new plan to save the dome seemed equal parts fact and fiction.  Have county leaders really devised a plan that would not only save the historic structure, but do so at less than half the cost of the 2013 plan?? It doesn’t seem possible, but apparently this is what has happened.

Here’s the story from Mihir Zaveri of the Houston Chronicle

Harris County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to move forward with a major renovation project that could keep the Astrodome from being demolished for years to come.

The $10.5 million approved Tuesday is the first piece of a $105 million project that would raise the floor of the Astrodome two levels and put 1,400 parking spaces underneath. County officials believe that would make the Dome suitable for festivals or conferences and usher in potential commercial uses in the more than 550,000 square feet that surrounds the core.

From Judge Emmett, here are more details of the plan, via Ted Oberg of ABC 13

Raise the Astrodome floor 30 feet to ground level, greatly easing vehicular and equipment access.

Install two levels of underground parking beneath the raised floor, adding approximately 1,400 premium parking spaces and additional storage.

Raised floor will create nearly eight acres of secure, column-free and weatherproof open space for use by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Offshore Technology Conference, boat show, auto show and more than 100 festivals and community events that are currently subject to threatening weather and /or parking limitations.

The Astrodome’s upper levels encompass more than 500,000 square feet and will become available for redevelopment for a variety of uses.

The plan saves the iconic Astrodome for future use while converting the building into a revenue-generating asset for the taxpayers of Harris County.

After years of sifting through scores of elaborate solutions, in typical Houston fashion, simplicity seems to have won out in the end.  Best of all, the funding scheme put forth by Commissioner’s Court will not raise taxes, and does not require voter approval.  So basically, the Astrodome will be sticking around for a while.

In the coming weeks and months, this is sure to be a hot topic around Houston, as area voters discuss the merits of the plan.  Supporters of the Dome may find the project underwhelming, while opponents will call it a waste.  But the far greater injustice is what has happened over the years as this incredibly unique has sat idol, collecting dust.  It would be nearly as expensive to tear down, so citizens should be encouraged by what County leaders have offered today.

Look out Houston… we just might save the dome after all.



Wait… How Many Teachers Would Lose Their Jobs If Trump Is Elected??

Is it November the 9th yet?? 

No seriously… many Americans have had it up to HERE with the 2016 election.  For various reasons, they don’t like either choice being offered as the country’s next Commander-in-Chief for the next four years.  There will a be a follow-up post soon to hopefully help ease the pain of that choice, but for now, let’s just call the spade what it is:  a SPADE.

Ok now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to remember that the 2016 elections really ARE happening, and they’re really not a joke.  It’s unfortunate that so many in the mainstream media have simply refused to cover substantive issues in lieu of Hillary’s email saga and Donald’s daily antics.  But someone has got to step and speak the truth of why this election is important.  And, we also have to entertain the possibility that Donald Trump could become the next President of the United States.  This is happening… it is REALLY HAPPENING.

So what would the United States Education system look like under a Trump Administration, and a ReTRUMPlican-controlled Congress?  Well, from the, uhh… “plans” he has on his website, it’s kind of ambiguous.

I’m a tremendous believer in Education, but Education has to be at a local level.  We cannot have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education.  So Common Core is a total disaster, we cannot let it continue.  We are rated 28th in the world… the United States, 28th in the world, and frankly we spend far more per pupil than any other country in the world by far, it’s not even a close 2nd.    So here we are… we spend more money, and we’re rated 28th.  Third World countries are ahead of us.  We’re going to end Common Core, we’re going to have Education an absolute priority.

Umm… yeah.  That’s literally the whole Education section of his website.  A 51 second video, nowhere near a school, that cuts away to some random school kids like once.  Here’s a screenshot for those afraid to click…



It’s fair to say that Hillary Clinton’s Education Plans are a bit more detailed.

Lacking actual proposals or facts, serious voters have to turn to Donald’s Trumps public statements to try and piece together his views on education.  CBS News gives a decent attempt at comparing Clinton and Trump, though it’s hard to actually do so when one side lacks accountable facts.  For Higher Education, Trump acknowledges that students are in debt, but offers no solutions whatsoever to help those with student loans.  Instead, he suggest that debt would go down if colleges just “let in fewer people.”  Disturbing to say the least.

But the real scare with a President Trump lies in what could happen to our public school system.  In a word, it would be essentially destroyed, with “school choice vouchers” as the only alternative.  And just how many of our nation’s hard-working teachers would hear the signature phrase “you’re fired” if Mr. Trump is elected??  Per the Center For American Progress, nearly half a million educators would receive pink slips.  And for those wondering, a full 49,000 those teachers would be taken from Texas public schools.


Besides our decimated K-12 schools, the Trump campaign has apparently promised to eliminate the Pell Grant entirely, and eradicate most other forms of Financial Aid.  With a lack of ability to pay for college, students would be unable to attend or finish any degrees.  This is more than a way to reduce student debt… it’s a way to also destroy our nation’s higher education system.

This is real folks.  Please know before you vote.  The 2016 elections are more important than ever before.  Are we really willing to put our entire education system at risk for the guy who’s only experience in the field is operation of the ponzi scheme Trump University??

One more time… know BEFORE you V-O-T-E!!



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Texoblogosphere: Week of September 19th

The Texas Progressive Alliance prefers tote bags for its deplorables as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff encourages you to read the Houston Chronicle’s story about how special education services have been systematically denied to Texas families.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos is not in the least bit surprised to know TX Governor Greg Abbott threw his hat into the ring with the The Grand Wizard of Birtherism.

On Sept. 11, Socratic Gadfly looked back at 9/11 and reminded readers of many repeated, recurring causes of death that kill almost as quickly as 9/11, some with political connections, that still don’t get truly addressed.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme blames Republicans for playing mean political games instead of addressing real problems like the spread of the Zika virus. Cruel like Texas Republicans denying services to disabled children

Political polling wizard Nate Silver tells Democrats they can start to panic this week, as passed along by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value took the Harris County Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar class this past week. It takes a long time to really be able to register anybody after you take the class because the Republicans who run the county don’t want you to register anybody. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

The gap between the lived experiences of White Americans and Americans of color is significant. With this in mind,Texas Leftist offers a viewpoint on and justification for Black Lives Matter. Most that have lived the experience of being unlawfully detained (or worse) by police see the movement as not only valid, but necessary.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Better Texas Blog has a bit of good news in the fight against food insecurity.

The Lunch Tray packs up six years of lunch packing advice.

Grits for Breakfast interviews Rebecca Bernhardt, executive director of Texas Fair Defense Project, which is one of the plaintiffs suing Harris County over its bail practices.

Streetsblog wonders why TxDOT doesn’t believe its own data that show Texans are driving less per day on average than they were a decade ago.

Eileen Smith has a few questions about those charitable Trump portraits.

The TSTA Blog sounds the warning about school vouchers again.


(photo credit:  TexasFreeway.com)

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