Texas Lt. Gubernatorial Debate: Review

Well Dan Patrick said it best…

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, there has never been such a clear difference between two candidates.

Which is indeed a true statement… one of a precious few the Houston-area Senator and Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor told during his debate with San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, who is vying for the same office also with her party’s nomination.  Patrick was even given a Pants on Fire rating for one of his responses, as according to the Politifact scoring of the contest.  This was a running theme for the evening with Patrick, who insisted issue after issue that his plans were sound, even when there was a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Take the tax plan that Dan Patrick is proposing, where he wants to lower property taxes for all Texas home and business owners, yet still manage to fund all of the government’s responsibilities.  How does he propose doing this?  By raising sales taxes.  Leticia Van de Putte was quick to rebut this plan, correcting Patrick that property taxes aren’t even controlled by the state, but by local governments and school districts.  Patrick is correct that the state can set lower caps on property tax, but that decreases funds for all of these essential services.

The subject of Education brought the most fiery point of the evening.  Van de Putte stated that when faced with budget short falls in 2011, the state Legislature had a choice to cut, or to invest.  Here’s what Van de Putte said to her opponent…

You need a Math lesson. The fact is that 11,000 teachers lost their jobs.  8,000 class waivers.  A judge has said that our system is inefficient, inequitable and not working.

Patrick’s response was not deny the cuts, but simply double down and try to justify them

Those 11,000 teachers [that’s] a lot of jobs. But by the way we have 332,000 teachers. And those 11,000 teachers were a lot who just retired.  And those 11,000 slots were for the replaced by, like the Math Department head, or various people.  So your children weren’t shorted.

From listening to this, it’s that Senator Patrick needs more than just a Math lesson.  He apparently doesn’t understand the concept of forced retirement, where a teacher is let go long before their choosing.  Nor does he understand that when schools lost teachers, each of those “various people” had to take on extra classes and students to meet the desperate of growing schools that were making substantial cuts.  Patrick can say certainly claim that the school children of Texas “weren’t shorted” from disastrous decisions waged by the GOP, but if that were the case, then why are 600 school districts suing the state due to under-funding? If the “children weren’t shorted” then why decide to restore some of the funding cuts during the 2013 legislative session, and why did your campaign team boast that you “led the charge” to do so??  Say whatever you want Dan… it’s still not true.

One other very clear distinction was on the issue of marriage equality.  Dan Patrick confirmed that under no circumstances would he support a movement for marriage equality in the state of Texas.  Van de Putte had a different view…

I think people’s attitudes are changing.  What we know is that our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters are in our work force, and in our families.  They deserve full equality.  As Lieutenant Governor, I would make sure that this discussion on equality would continue.  That’s why I sponsored a bill last Legislative session to make sure our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters are not discriminated against [in the workplace].

An historic position for a major party, statewide candidate in Texas, and yet another indicator of just how clear of a choice voters have this fall.  In performance, Leticia Van de Putte struck a good balance between consistency, and sincerity.  She forcefully rebutted Patrick when needed, but was also able to stay on track.  Patrick’s style was not bad by any measure, but at times, he lost control, and even became angry when answering Van de Putte.  I guess that’s what happens when you have to work so hard to distort the truth.

In any case, Leticia Van de Putte was the clear winner of this debate. The entire event is linked below, so watch, share with friends and decide for yourself…

 

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