Tag Archives: Texas politics

Texoblogosphere: Week of December 15th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is dusting off its recipes for wassail and figgy pudding as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff says that the actual election results do not support exit polls that claim Greg Abbott received 44% of the Latino vote.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and Daily Kos is not the least bit surprised to learn that two Texas Regulators Get Fired for Doing Their Jobs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is calling for Nora Longoria to resign. How can she be a judge when she got very special treatment?

The Bible verses that contain the words “the poor will be with you always” do not mean what Rick Perry thinks they mean, says PDiddie at Brains and Eggs. And not what many other Christians think they mean, either.

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

Texans Together considers the way forward on campaign finance reform.

Candice Bernd feels railroaded by the Railroad Commission in Denton.

The TSTA Blog reminds us that education is only a priority if it is funded like one.

Natalie San Luis offers a lesson in how not to do PR.

SciGuy laments the budget cuts that will make it that much harder to get to Mars.

The Lunch Tray explains what the “cromnibus” spending bill means for school lunches.

Concerned Citizens bemoans the process that San Antonio’s City Council followed in passing restrictive regulations on transit network companies.

Honorary Texan The Slacktivist chides Rick Perry for his deep ignorance of what the Bible actually says.

 

Wishing all who celebrate a very Happy Hanukkah!!  

Hanukkah

 

 

 

(PEC Lights Display in Johnson City, Texas.  Photo Credit:  Dave Wilson on Flickr)

In ‘Immigration Action’ Lawsuit, Abbott Forecasts Future As Governor

During the 2014 campaign Texas Governor-Elect, Attorney General Greg Abbott said gave this as his current job’s description…

“I wake up.  I sue Obama.  I go home.”

Even as he prepares to assume the state’s highest office, Abbott still has time to file yet another frivolous lawsuit claiming that the President’s Executive Action on Immigration is somehow in violation of the United States Constitution. Here’s more on the news from Michele Richinick of MSNBC

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott and governor-elect of Texas said that his state’s immigration lawsuit against President Barack Obama is to prevent executive actions from causing “harm” to the U.S. Constitution.

Seventeen states, including Texas, filed a joint lawsuit against the White House on Wednesday for its executive actions. Abbott, who will replace current Gov. Rick Perry next month, is leading the legal action. He previously cited his beliefs that the country’s immigration system is “broken,” and that the Constitution says the immigration policy must be fixed by Congress, not by presidents.

What we’re suing for is actually the greater harm, and that is harm to the Constitution by empowering the president of the United States to enact legislation on his own without going through Congress,” Abbott told NBC News’ Chuck Todd Sunday on “Meet the Press.” He continues to argue that the president’s actions will inspire a fresh wave of undocumented immigrants into the country.

The only problem with Abbott’s argument??  President Obama is not enacting any legislation of any kind.  He has not halted deportations, or granted any form of citizenship to undocumented persons.  The Executive Action has simply created a more logical way to deal with the reality of people that are already here.

Given his new job next month, perhaps the Governor Elect needs to brush up the skills of being an executive.  Continuing to throw useless lawsuits at Obama does not instill confidence that Mr. Abbott is ready to assume the new job.

However, it could get him into hot water with a large part of his statewide constituency, as Alexa Ura of the Texas Tribune reports…

Along with his 20-point margin of victory, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott accomplished something on Election Day that many naysayers doubted the Republican could: He took 44 percent of the Hispanic vote.

For Texas conservatives, Abbott’s performance indicated that Republicans are making headway among this increasingly crucial voting bloc, which tends to lean Democratic. But upon taking office, Abbott will find himself in turbulent political waters.

[…]

Abbott, the current attorney general, had to fulfill a campaign promise by filing a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive order protecting up to five million undocumented immigrants, including half a million Texans, from deportation.

“By winning the election and being successful among Hispanics in a low-turnout election, Greg Abbott has not solved the fundamental problem that he has politically,” said Jim Henson, a Texas Tribune pollster and director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

The thorniest issue Abbott may face is a proposed repeal of the so-called Texas DREAM Act, which allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities and community colleges.

For most of his campaign, Abbott avoided taking a definitive stance on the act. He urged reform of the program, not a repeal. In a September debate with his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis, Abbott said he would not veto a repeal of the tuition law if it reached his desk.

Campaign promise or not, why would Abbott, now safely on his way to office, choose to take step guaranteed to divide many parts of the Texas Republican party?  Simple… it’s because Abbott truly doesn’t believe in Immigration Reform.  If he did, he would drop the act and let people know just how non-controversial and sensible the President’s actions are.  Or at the very least, not spend the time and energy needed for this lawsuit.

Ask any politician their most favorite time of their political career, and they will likely tell you it was just after being elected.  The grueling work of campaigning is done, and nothing but a bright future of what could be lies ahead.  This is a time to make big plans, and go for bold ideas.  But for the man set to lead the Lone Star State, that’s not what is happening.  Instead of looking to a bigger and better future for Texas, Greg Abbott has decided to just play in the weeds of blanket Obama hatred like his predecessor.  If first actions are any indication, the Greg Abbott version of Governor really be much the same as that under Rick Perry… maybe worse.

Get ready Texas… it’s going to be a long 4 years.

About the Same

TLCQ 2014: Ron Reynolds

In the Seventh installment of the 2014 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from State Representative Ron Reynolds, incumbent of the Texas House of Representatives, District 27.  He is a Democrat, running for reelection.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

RR:  Ron Reynolds

 

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

RR:  Current: Texas State Representative, District 27

 

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

RR:  I am passionate about protecting and serving the rights of my constituents. Our government provides the platform to establish laws that protect citizens and preserve their rights, prosperity, longevity, infrastructure, education and peace of mind for their families and generations to come.

 

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for 2015 legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

RR:  My top three priorities are to fight for economic development, expand access to high quality affordable health care and fund public education.

I will continue to accomplish these goals by ensuring funding for entrepreneurs and small business owners within Fort Bend County through low-interest loans and start-up grants, and equal opportunities for contracts with state governmental entities.  Regarding health care, I believe all Texans have a right to high quality affordable healthcare.  I will continue to support legislation that funds CHIP, stem cell research and access to healthcare for everyone.  Public education in Texas ranks at or near the bottom compared to the rest of the country. I am committed to correcting this problem by supporting initiatives that de-emphasize the significance of teaching to the test and support our educators and students.

 

TL:  A 2013 survey found that 54 percent of Texas voters support Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Expansion is also supported by the Texas Hospital Association. Without Medicaid Expansion or an alternate solution, Texas Hospitals are having to provide over $5 billion dollars annually in uncompensated care to patients who lack insurance.  This leaves Texas taxpayers paying not only for the uncompensated care of our residents, but also paying for expanded healthcare benefits in other states. If elected, would you support Medicaid Expansion or an alternate solution for the state of Texas, so we can bring our tax dollars back where they belong?  If not, please explain why.  If so, please explain how you would work to pass such a measure.

RR:  I support Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act and other options that will restore the funding necessary to support the state’s CHIP program and other critical programs that protect the health of our families.

 

TL:  In the coming years, the state of Texas is projected to have a population boom of historic proportions. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state.

RR:  Fort Bend County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. It is a challenge to keep up with expansion while not compromising quality of life.  Infrastructure is essential to maintaining excellent highways, airports, roadways, water systems, drainage, wastewater treatment, traffic lights and bridges. I will remain proactive in supporting infrastructure projects that plan long-term and strategically for the future economic, physical, social and cultural well-being of the county.

 

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

RR:  I believe to whom much is given, much is required. I am a public servant at heart and always will be. It is simply who I am. I am the best candidate for this office because I care about the well-being of our constituents and will continue to fight for the best interests our families, educators, business owners and community leaders. I willingly reach across the aisle to achieve positive results for the benefit of our citizens, while putting people matters first over politics.

 

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

RR:  Staying grounded through maintaining a strong spiritual life and spending time with my family are very enjoyable to me.

 

Thanks to Representative Reynolds for his participation.

 

TLCQ 2014: Rita Lucido

In the Fourth installment of the 2014 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Rita Lucido, candidate for the Texas State Senate, District 17.  She is a Democrat.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

RL:  Rita Lucido

 

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

RL:  No

 

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

RL:  I have witnessed how deeply the actions of the Texas legislature can impact the life of every-day Texans.  Funding for programs for at-risk high school students get cut and a family suffers when their 15 year old can’t make it any more.  Restrictions are put on certain health care providers, and a woman loses her family doctor and affordable birth control.  These are just a couple of examples how the Texas legislature is really where “the rubber meets the road” for all of us.

 

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for 2015 legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

RL:  Strategic transportation planning and funding, accessing funds to expand health coverage for the huge number of uninsured Texans, improving the quality of our public schools.  By working with smart, responsible legislators from both parties, I think I can accomplish a great deal on all of these goals.  We will have more resources in the State treasury next session and our Texas Legislature must set priorities and do the hard work our communities sent us to Austin to do.

 

TL:  A 2013 survey found that 54 percent of Texas voters support Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Expansion is also supported by the Texas Hospital Association. Without Medicaid Expansion or an alternate solution, Texas Hospitals are having to provide over $5 billion dollars annually in uncompensated care to patients who lack insurance.  This leaves Texas taxpayers paying not only for the uncompensated care of our residents, but also paying for expanded healthcare benefits in other states. If elected, would you support Medicaid Expansion or an alternate solution for the state of Texas, so we can bring our tax dollars back where they belong?  If not, please explain why.  If so, please explain how you would work to pass such a measure.  

RL:  Yes.

 

TL:  In the coming years, the state of Texas is projected to have a population boom of historic proportions. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state. 

We need to look strategically at our transportation system and how we fund transportation and infrastructure.  Currently TxDOT pays $1.3B per year in debt service on over $15B in bonds that have been issued since 2006.  This is unsustainable for a state as prosperous as ours.  I’m committed to working on transportation issues and bringing solutions from all sectors to the table for consideration.

 

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

RL:  I am a person who experienced what the power of people of good will coming together can have when they decide to fix a problem or make change for the better.  My experience in leadership for several non-profit boards in the Houston area has given me a good understanding of the importance of appropriate and strategic policy.  My experience as a family lawyer for 31 years has honed my ability to work with people in the most polarizing situations.  Additionally, I believe that my intellectual curiosity to find the best answer and best practices when faced with a problem suit me well for the Texas Senate.

I have run my own business for 31 years, met payroll and prospered in the Houston area.  My opponent is a life-long government employee who doesn’t seem to appreciate the benefits the government can provide for others.

 

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

RL:  When not at my desk at my law-firm I like to travel, cook, sew and read.

 

Thanks to Ms. Lucido for her participation.

 

The Daily Show Set to “Mess Around” in Austin

Some exciting news for the Lone Star State, and (presumably) for state politics.  Just as early voting commences in Texas, Comedy Central phenom Jon Stewart is bringing The Daily Show to Austin.  Here’s more on the news from Austin360

From world news headquarters in … Austin?

Don’t say Rick Perry never did anything for you.

Comedy Central has announced that anchor Jon Stewart is bringing “The Daily Show” to our city for a week’s worth of shows. Covering the upcoming midterm elections, “Democalypse 2014: South by South Mess” will be taped at ZACH Theatre, 202 South Lamar Blvd. and air nightly at 10 p.m. from Monday, October 27 through Thursday, October 30, the cable network announced.

If you’ve seen The Daily Show, you’ll know that Stewart never hesitates to wade squarely into the political waters for mostly comedic gain.  A pop culture shot in the arm could be just the thing to help increase voter turnout in the state too, especially among the younger adults that compose Stewart’s fan base.

We’ll have to see what effect it has.  But for now, Texas will look forward to its moment of Zen.

TLCQ 2014: Ron Hale

In the Second installment of the 2014 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire we hear from Ron Hale, candidate for the Texas State Senate, District 15.  He is a Republican.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot? 

RH:  Ron Hale


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

RH:  No.

 

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

RH:  Government is important to the point of protecting the god given rights we are all given.

 

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for 2015 legislative session.  Describe how you plan to accomplish them. 

RH:  Property Tax Reform

Abolish property taxes and replace them with reformed state sales tax that includes an adjusted tax rate base.

Ideally, the reformed state sales tax would closely resemble the option with an 11% sales tax rate and an adjusted base that includes all services taxed in at least one other state, including the sale of property

Municipal Pension Reform

We have to fight to bring pension control back to our cities, so we do not have another Detroit situation on our hands.

Freeze enrollment in the current defined benefit system and enroll newly hired or unvested employees in a 401(k) style defined contribution pension plan.

Implement either a hard or soft freeze of the system for vested employees.

Replace current employee health care plans with Health savings accounts.

Education Reform

We must maintain our role as world leaders in educating our youth to be the workforce and future of our great State of Texas, and for America.

  •  I believe in having options when it comes to school choice, and that our tax dollars should have the ability to follow each student to their selected school of choice.

  •  There needs to be an end to standardized testing in Texas, and no longer should teachers be teaching an evaluation exam to students in order to achieve higher evaluation scores for that school.

  •  We need to encourage corporations and small businesses to partner up with local schools in their area so that they may provide workforce training during high-school, ensuring our graduates will have better career training and job opportunities.

 

TL:  A 2013 survey found that 54 percent of Texas voters support Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act.  Expansion is also supported by the Texas Hospital Association.  Without Medicaid Expansion or an alternate solution, Texas Hospitals are having to provide over $5 billion dollars annually in uncompensated care to patients who lack insurance.  This leaves Texas taxpayers paying not only for the uncompensated care of our residents, but also paying for expanded health care benefits in other states. If elected, would you support Medicaid Expansion or an alternate solution for the state of Texas, so we can bring our tax dollars back where they belong?  If not, please explain why.  If so, please explain how you would work to pass such a measure. 

RH:  No I do not support Medicaid expansion. It is tax payer who fund Medicaid now and growth in the program means higher taxes. We need to figure out a way to lower health care cost in Texas to provide the best care possible and the lowest rates available.

 

TL:  In the coming years, the state of Texas is projected to have a population boom of historic proportions.  But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure.  Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state. 

 RH:  We need to open the bidding process to more companies with the tools to complete the jobs. this will bring to light the ability of lower cost construction through competitive bidding.

 

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office? 

RH:  My ability to work well with others and the will to do the right thing for Texas not matter what the issue.

 

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

RH:  Reading and watching the history channel. Also, spending time with my wife and the rest of my family.

 

 

Thanks to Mr. Hale for his participation.

Leticia Van de Putte Launches TV Campaign

State Senator Leticia Van de Putte continues with another huge step in her historic campaign to be Texas’ first Female, Hispanic Lieutenant Governor. Today the Democratic candidate released her first major statewide TV ads.  Here’s more from the Van de Putte campaign via press release…

San Antonio, TX — This weekend, Leticia Van de Putte is releasing her first two television ads, one in English and a separate ad in Spanish. The 30-second spots are a significant buy in multiple major media markets, as well as markets with a dominant Latino population.

In “Twice,” Leticia Van de Putte directly calls out Dan Patrick, who voted twice against our kids. Patrick’s cuts to our neighborhood schools in 2011 resulted in the loss of 11,000 teacher jobs. In 2013, Leticia worked across the aisle with many Republicans to put Texas first and support our students. Despite bipartisan support for our neighborhood schools, Dan Patrick voted against our kids — again.

In “Respeto,” Leticia Van de Putte shares about the respect that every Texan deserves. Leticia introduces her immigrant grandmothers; as well as the service of her mother, a teacher, and that of her father, a veteran. Texans never give up, and Leticia — a mother of six, grandmother of six, pharmacist and a State Senator — commits to continue the fight to protect the future of our kids.

The aspirational nature of “Respeto”  speaks deeply to a community whose voice has long been lacking in Texas statewide politics.  “Twice” does a great job of straddling the lines of presenting negative information on the opponent, while managing to be a net positive ad. Touting her strong bipartisan record and unique family story, these ads seem to have all the right ingredients for success.

With six weeks to go before the first votes are cast, it’s impossible to predict just what kind of impact will be had from these spots.  But by getting out ahead of her opponent Dan Patrick with strong ads, Leticia has assured that the first “big move” is hers.