Tag Archives: Sarah Davis

After Perplexing Attack On Sarah Davis, Have Texas Women Had It With Greg Abbott?

There was a time when some Texans had high hopes for Greg Abbott’s tenure as Governor. (emphasis on the term “some”). The mostly jovial and mild-mannered former Attorney General gave the impression that, perhaps, his administration would bring forth an elevated political discourse which puts the needs of real Texans before inter-partisan bickering and personal vendettas.

Of course… we know how that turned out. Behind the friendly smile lies a politician that really takes that “bully” part of the bully pulpit to heart.

For evidence of this, we need look no further than last year, which found the Governor telling lawmakers that he was “keeping a list” of anyone who opposed his initiatives during the Special Session.

But while Abbott has indeed taken several retaliation measures, one particular lawmaker has received an unprecedented wave of attacks. Here’s more on that from Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle

[Sarah] Davis, a West University Place state representative, lawyer and breast cancer survivor elected in 2010, represents House District 134. She sits on the powerful appropriations committee and chairs the committee on general investigating and ethics. Her power and influence only go so far.

But she’s one of the few moderates who hasn’t given up on Texas politics, who is willing to fight the often-futile battle against motivated, moneyed ideologues who have hijacked the Republican Party.

And for that she has drawn the ire of one of the most powerful, moneyed ideologues of them all: Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor, in a rare move, has come after several moderate Republicans who aren’t inclined to carry his water, but he seems to have reserved a special vintage of vengeance for Davis.

He has not only endorsed Davis’ opponent, Susanna Dokupil, whose chief qualification seems to be that she once worked for Abbott at the attorney general’s office. He has hit the campaign trail for the elusive Dokupil,

‪Not only is HD 134 known as a notorious swing district, but it also has some other unique attributes, like being the home of the world-reknowned  Texas Medical Center, Rice University and some of the most prominent biomedical research centers in the United States. For Governor Abbott to prop up an anti-vaxxer candidate in one of the most Doctor and Medical Professional-heavy electoral districts in the country?? Well…it smacks of either total ignorance or a simple lack of concern for the real issues of Texans in this district. Your guess is as good as mine.

Or perhaps, this fight serves as a proxy for Abbott’s fight against Texas Women. Most will recall that Davis’ record on women’s issues is starkly different than her Republican colleagues. Abbott, on the other hand, has distinguished himself as an ‘anti-woman Governor’ with all deliberate speed. Why else would he veto bi-partisan legislation designed to focus on Women’s Health issues?

Here’s more on that from Sophie Novack of the Texas Observer

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy in the United States, the highest uninsured rate in the country and an ongoing Zika outbreak that threatens pregnant women. Yet Governor Greg Abbott unilaterally ended a committee that advises the state on women’s health programs.

Abbott on Thursday vetoed a bill with bipartisan support by Senator Borris Miles, D-Houston, that would continue the Women’s Health Advisory Committee past September.

“I am shocked and frustrated by the governor’s veto,” said Representative Donna Howard, D-Austin, who wrote the House companion to Miles’ bill. “At no point during the past six months had the governor’s office expressed any concerns to me over the legislation. This absentee style is disgraceful, and it is now jeopardizing the health and safety of women across the state.”

A very confusing decision, especially after the Governor himself highlighted maternal mortality as a focus of the Special Session. If he cared that much about the issue, what sense does it make to scuttle a panel devoted to research and recommendation?

And in case you’re wondering… a co-sponsor of this bill in the Texas House?  Rep. Sarah Davis.

Whatever the Governor’s motivations, one thing has become clear… Texas women are watching.  Abbott’s curious attempts to oust Davis have drawn major headlines across the state and all over the country.  But while he may believe that his efforts will draw far-right Primary voters to support Dokupil, most that actually live in the district are wondering if the attacks will ultimately serve to actually help Davis.  Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest strong turnout for Davis, including some Democrats that voted in the Republican Primary just to support her.  We’ll find out the final outcome with tonight’s Election results.

But one thing is for sure… this race has exposed a palpable weakness for Governor Abbott.  The misguided decision to meddle in this race could ultimately prove more detrimental to his agenda, and his political future than anyone else.

So back to the opening question… Have Texas Women HAD IT with Greg Abbott??  We’ll find out some opening thoughts on that tonight, with more to come in November.

Gov. Abbott Rules Out Special Session Over Marriage Equality Fallout

As Americans wait for the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling on Marriage Equality, there’s been one question looming in the distance… how will we handle states fallout?

For Texas especially, this question has been quite unclear.  With a new Governor and much legislative turnover, some have wondered if a ruling in favor of Marriage Equality would cause the Governor Abbott to call a Special Session to rebuke the nation’s highest legal authority.

But today in a radio interview with WOAI San Antonio, the Governor essentially put those questions to rest…

The Texas Legislative Session is over, but several social conservative groups are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session for lawmakers to consider exceptions to same sex marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this month that Texas must either allow same sex marriages to be performed, or to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states as valid, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.


The social conservative groups, including the Texas Eagle Forum, Texas Values, and a group called Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, specifically want Abbott to recall lawmakers to consider a bill that would prohibit county clerks from issuing same sex marriage licenses.


But Abbott says it won’t happen.

“I do not anticipate any special session,” he told News Radio 1200 WOAI.  “They got their job done on time, and don’t require any overtime.”

Governor Abbott’s statement may cause fury among some fringe Right groups, but for the majority of Texans, right and left, this is the correct stance to take.  If the state ban is struck down and no Special Session is called, legal marriage would be able to take place for nearly 2 years before the legislature could reconvene.  That’s 2 years of marriage equality taking place across the state, and 2 years of Texans getting used to it.

Of course even in today’s climate, many GOP activists have moved past this issue.

Houston area Representative Sarah Davis (HD 134) recently became Texas’ first Republican state-level office holder to publicly support marriage equality.  She also earned the endorsement of Equality Texas back in 2014.

Christopher Busby, chair of Harris County Republican Party Precinct 34, had this to say…

I’m glad that Governor Abbott decided to forgo wasting taxpayer money on a special session on a law that would have very likely been ruled unconstitutional at the end of the month. I look forward to the day when Republicans across the state are not only making sound judgment, but championing legal equality for lgbt citizens.

Try as they may, a few loud-mouthed, anti-equality fringe groups cannot stop the evolution of the Texas GOP.  We’ll wait to see if the Governor remains true to his word.


How Choice, Family Planning Became Partisan Issues

If there’s one thing the modern Republican Party wants you to know about them, it is that they are Anti- Choice. No, it’s not fiscal conservatism. It’s not creating jobs. It’s definitely not trying to find solutions to the nation’s issues. Just take a look at their record. In every state that the GOP holds power, anti- abortion and family planning restrictions have been the supreme priority. Just in 2013, over 40 separate restrictions have been passed across different states. And that number keeps on climbing. If Republicans are not working to pass TRAP laws, then they are working hard to defund established programs for women’s health and family planning services.

But the real irony here? We wouldn’t have those services in the first place if not for the diligent work of the GOP. The law that we now know as Title X, the law that essentially funds family planning for low income women, was signed by none other than Republican President Richard M. Nixon, and passed Congress due to the tireless support of then- Congressman George H.W. Bush. Smart, sensible contraceptive services were part of the Republican legacy of the late 60s and early 70s in this country, which all came to a crescendo with the Roe V. Wade decision in 1973.

But as money influence grew and the number of GOP voters didn’t, it became necessary for the party to start using wedge issues as a way to stir up fear and anger within their base. Republicans have been forced to latch on to the far-right in order to stay relevant, and as a result are driving out party moderates at a deafening pace. Those moderates were given an ultimatum at the 1976 GOP convention. The party was faced with fracture over Roe V. Wade, and the Pro-choice wing… much closer to even with Anti- Choicers at the time… was basically silenced to form a lasting coalition with the Religious Right. From that point forward, Pro-Choice opinions in the party have virtually vanished from the national scene.

But even with this cogent reality, there are still a few Republicans out there that refuse to hop on the anti-choice, anti- family planning bandwagon, and they pay dearly for it with party backlash. Take Texas State Representative Sarah Davis for example. During the Second Special session of Texas’ 83rd legislature, she became the one and only Republican to speak out against the state aggressive plan to ban abortions at 2 weeks, and close down the vast majority of the state’s clinics. The reward for her independent action? Having her Twitter account hacked, threatening calls to her offices and a slew of terrible blog posts. And of course, that’s just the public backlash… privately the party probably wasn’t very happy with her stance.

But some might be surprised to know that there are a few voices of sanity still out there. The Republican Majority for Choice is a PAC devoted to encouraging the Pro-Choice movement within the GOP. This is from an August 2nd RMC blog post

Unfortunately, many Americans still do not have unfettered access to birth control. Cost and restrictions can make contraception inaccessible to those people who need it most; regular visits to a doctor and prescription costs prevent many people from obtaining reliable birth control. And now, in states such as Texas, some uninformed lawmakers are reducing funding to family planning initiatives, cutting off all healthcare access to many families. The results of these cuts have been glaringly injurious to all citizens. Unintended pregnancies in Texas have been on the rise, and the cost to taxpayers could be as high as $273 million. Some people argue that it is not the duty of government to provide these services, but the reality is that without them, the financial burden on taxpayers will be dramatically increased in the long run.

As Republicans, we firmly believe in responsible government spending, and we cannot allow our leaders to cut corners now that will cost taxpayers millions in the future. While some individuals object to investments in family planning, the reality is that spending money on preventative services now will save the nation millions of dollars down the road; it is truly the only fiscally responsible choice.

The Republican Party once championed investments in family planning, and the numbers clearly illustrate why we must move back towards that position. A recent study from the Guttmacher Institute reveals that for every $1 spent on family planning initiatives, the nation saves $5.68 in the long run. With programs like Title X, we can increase the quality of living for out citizens and save enormously on healthcare burdens in the future. The facts are undeniable: family planning and access to birth control save the country money.

In addition to proving the only sensible choice, family planning initiatives also serve the goals of social conservatives. Without public investment in family planning, 2010 would have seen approximately 2.2 million more unintended pregnancies, resulting in 760,000 more abortions. This is an issue where we can find common ground. There is only one way proven effective to reduce the rate and incidence of abortion: promoting access and use of birth control. We should agree on this issue no matter our political views.

Is it possible that a common-sense message like this one can ever find resonance in the greater GOP again? That answer is not known for sure, but it’s already appealing to citizens in states like Texas and North Carolina, as was evidenced through historic protests of recent omnibus abortion bills. And that’s where Democrats have an advantage. They already know that having access to contraception, and educated choices actually reduces the number of abortions performed. They already know that its also not only better for women, but saves the government money. But this must be articulated in a coordinated message, the same way the GOP executes their Anti- Choice lies. The RMC is making the case for how to win over Red States. Now it’s up to Democrats to pay attention and harness it. As long as the GOP makes contraception and family planning a group of wedge political issues, Democrats can and should use them to their advantage, and win over common- sense conservatives and moderates.

And remember that safe, legal and rare argument?? Why did that seem to vanish from the Democratic lexicon after the Clintons? We should bring it back too.