Tag Archives: TexWatch 2014

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.

 

Where To Watch The First Texas Gubernatorial Debate

Not seen since 2006 in Texas!!  

Tomorrow night, September 19th at 6pm, State Senator Wendy Davis will face off against Attorney General Greg Abbott in the state’s first General Election debate in 8 years.  This is one to watch if you can.  Courtesy of the Davis campaign, here’s a list of channels across the state where you can catch the debate…

 

  • Websites with live streaming

    • WendyDavisTexas.com/debate
    • TheMonitor.com
    • TexasTribune.org
    • Telemundo40.com
    • TelemundoSanAntonio.com
    • TelemundoDallas.com
    • TelemundoHouston.com
    • ValleyCentral.com
  • Abilene

    • KRBC – NBC Channel 9
  • Amarillo

    • KVII – ABC Channel 7
  • Austin

    • KEYE – CBS Channel 42
  • Beaumont

    • KFDM – CBS Channel 6
    • KBTX – CBS Channel 3
  • Bryan-College Station

    • KRHD – ABC Channel 40
  • Corpus Christi

    • CW – Channel 23
    • Telemundo (KAJA) – Channel 68
  • Dallas/Fort Worth

    • COZI – Channel 188
    • KERA – PBS Channel 13
    • Telemundo
  • El Paso

    • KFOX – FOX Channel 14
  • Harlingen

    • KGB – CBS Action 4
  • Houston

    • KTRK – ABC Channel 13
    • KPRC – Channel 2
    • Telemundo – Channel 47
  • Laredo

    • KXOF – FOX Channel 39
  • Lubbock

    • FOX 34 – FOX Channel 34
  • Midland

    • KMID – ABC Channel 2
  • Rio Grande Valley

    • Telemundo (KTLM) – Channel 40
    • KURV Radio – AM 710
  • San Angelo

    • KSAN – NBC Channel 3
    • KLST – CBS Channel 8
  • San Antonio

    • WOAI – NBC News Channel 4
    • KABB – FOX Channel 29
    • Telemundo (KVDA) – Channel 60
    • KTSA radio – AM 550
    • ESPN radio – AM 1250
    • JACK radio – 102.7 FM
    • KTFM – 94.1 FM
  • Tyler

    • KLTV – ABC Channel 7
  • Victoria

    • KAVU – Channel 25
  • Waco

    • KXXV – ABC Channel 25
  • Wichita Falls

    • KJTL – FOX Channel 18

    • KFDX – Channel 3

 

Viewers nationwide can also catch the action on C-SPAN and NPR radio (with a 1 hour delay).  Win or lose this November, the fact that this debate is even happening is a testament to the growing power of Democrats in Texas.

If available, the full debate will also be posted on Texas Leftist in a future post.  Hope you can catch it tomorrow!!

2014 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire

It’s happening!!

As time gets closer to the November election, it is important that voters have a variety of resources with which to research candidates and make an informed decision when they go to the polls.  One of the best ways to obtain that information is to ask the candidates directly. Not only  do these questions help voters in their decision-making, but they also help inform politicians of what their legislative priorities should be.  Sometimes they even influence policy directly.

For all of these reasons, I am happy to announce the 2014 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire.  Questions have already been sent out to several candidates, with a goal of covering even more in the next few days.  As responses are received, they will be published on Texas Leftist.

Here is an example of the TLCQ 2014…

==================================================

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

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

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

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

5. 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.

6. 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.

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

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

==================================================

The above format is going to be used for legislative races, but formats will vary for the other statewide offices.  There are a lot more races to cover than in last year’s municipal elections, but I’ve decided to give it a try.

Texas District Court Rules 2011 Education Cuts UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Today Greg Abbott was dealt yet another significant blow in his fight to defend draconian, Republican-led education cuts.  Here’s the story from Lauren McGaughy of the Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN — A judge on Thursday again declared Texas’ school finance system unconstitutional, reaffirming his 2013 ruling that struck down the current mode of funding public education as inefficient and inadequate.

“The court finds that the Legislature has failed to meet its constitutional duty to suitably provide for Texas public schools because the school finance system is structured, operated and funded so that it cannot provide a constitutionally adequate education for all Texas schoolchildren,” state District Judge John Dietz wrote in his ruling.

He also ruled the system “constitutionally inadequate” and “financially inefficient.” Finally, he said it effectively imposes a state property tax in violation of the state Constitution.

[…]

The 400-page ruling issued Thursday was the latest salvo in nearly two years of litigation, and marked another major victory for the plaintiffs representing nearly three in four Texas schoolchildren. They challenged the adequacy and equality of the Texas’ public education funding, suing the state after lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from the budget in 2011.

This judge’s ruling once again shines the spotlight on the heinous actions of Republicans in the 2011 State Legislature.  Even 3 years later, these cuts are just not going away for the Texas GOP.

State Senator Rodney Ellis issued a statement after today’s court decision, urging the legislature to correct the gross under-funding of our schools…

Now that our school finance system has once again been ruled unconstitutional, you may hear some elected officials claim that the legislature cannot act until after the case has been appealed to the Texas Supreme Court and the nine justices have had an opportunity to rule. I firmly disagree.

The legislature should treat the under-funding of our children’s schools like what it is: an emergency that must be solved immediately. In fact, there’s ample precedent for us working to solve this issue prior to the Texas Supreme Court weighing in. In 2004 and 2005, the last time the constitutionality of Texas’ school finance system was in court, the legislature worked on school finance for three special sessions and one regular session – all before the Supreme Court finally ruled the system was unconstitutional.

Even if one is not a lawyer, this case seems simple enough.  While its true that some of the education funding was restored in 2013 (thanks in no small part to Wendy Davis threatening another filibuster), the restoration isn’t enough to adequately care for state school districts. Texas is still allocating $1.5 billion fewer dollars to educate our kids than the state did in 2010.  But that reduced amount of money has to service a bigger state, as Texas has grown by nearly 1.5 million people in just four short years.  Less money needed for more kids equals a greater burden placed on our local schools, and LOCAL tax payers.

Take Katy Independent School District as an example.  Thanks to a massive population boom in the city, Katy ISD’s school board has an ambitious plan to build new schools.  But to fund that plan, the district is asking voters to approve a $748 million bond referendum.  Could that bond request be reduced if state funding levels were adequate?  School districts are being asked to make the same sacrifices, with little or no state support.

After today’s ruling, Abbott will likely try to kick the case up to the Texas Supreme Court.  Hopefully they will find the same result.

Debate Grate: Is Dan Patrick Afraid of Leticia Van de Putte??

In this year’s race for Texas Lieutenant Governor, one candidate is ready to rumble, while the other is scared to even get in the ring.  Do you know which is which?  If not, Here’s the story from the Houston Chronicle

Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte said Thursday that her Republican opponent, Dan Patrick, has yet to respond to a series of debates she has proposed ahead of the Nov. 4 election.

Van de Putte and Patrick spoke separately at the Texas Association of Broadcasters annual convention, in what amounted to a rare opportunity to see the two candidates address the same audience back to back.

A state senator from San Antonio, Van de Putte used the speaking opportunity in front of TV and radio industry folk to reiterate her call for a robust schedule of debates.

She has challenged Patrick to five in all — part of an aggressive plan to pit the candidates head-to-head in the state’s four largest markets and in the Rio Grande Valley — and has left the door open to three more.

But since she laid out the proposal more than a week ago, Van de Putte said Patrick, a senator from Houston who is a tea party favorite, and his team have yet to get back with a solid answer — or any answer, for that matter.

“He’s not responded to our request for debates,” Van de Putte said, adding that she’s not sure if Patrick is dodging the debate issue or just can’t make up his mind. “This is a race where there’s a big difference in candidates … and the people of the state need to hear the candidates.”

Actually, the reason for Dan Patrick’s reluctance seems simple enough… he’s scared.  As the presumed front-runner in the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Patrick knows very well that to share the stage with Leticia Van de Putte puts him at risk to get OWNED by Leticia Van de Putte.  Time after time in public forum, the Democrat has proven herself an incredibly effective communicator for her ideas.  He also knows that giving voters the chance to hear their views side-by-side puts him at risk of sounding like a far-right extremist.  Of course he sounds like an extremist because he IS an extremist, but that is beside the point.

On debates, Patrick is playing from an old playbook.  Texas Governor Rick Perry won re-election without a single debate against then-Democratic challenger Bill White in 2010, choosing instead to demand White’s tax returns in exchange for meeting him mano a mano.  The “no debates” strategy is now a time-tested method for the Texas GOP… keep Texans in the dark about Government by not allowing them to hear opposing viewpoints.

But 2013, and its massive jump in national exposure for Texas Democrats, brought new hope that more Republicans will have to cave in to pressure to face their electoral adversaries.  GOP Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has already promised to face Wendy Davis in at least two meetings, and Democratic Comptroller candidate Mike Collier seems intent to not give up on a head-to-head with his GOP rival Glenn Hegar.

As Senator Van de Putte made clear last week, Dan Patrick can run but he can’t hide.  Texas has learned from the past, and will demand a campaign for Lieutenant Governor worthy of the great state that eventual office-holder hopes to represent.

Mike Collier Hammers Glenn Hegar on Education Cuts

Long dismissed as an easy win for the GOP, the Texas Comptroller’s race is starting to heat up faster than August.  Here’s the story from the Dallas Morning News…

Democratic comptroller nominee Mike Collier says GOP rival Glenn Hegar bragged to a tea party interviewer last year that he was proud of the Legislature’s 2011 budget cuts to public schools.

Collier, who released a video Friday to back up his claims, said it’s “embarrassing and unacceptable” that Hegar “takes pride in cutting education.”

“Hegar does not share our values, and he poses a profound threat to something Texans have held dear since our founding, … a great educational system,” said Collier, a Houston businessman.

Hegar spokesman David White called Collier’s 40-second Web video “a distortion.”

Though Hegar, a state senator from Katy, joined other Republicans in approving $5.4 billion in cuts to schools in the 2011 Legislature, he “believes in adequately funding our education system,” White said.

The clash comes less than 90 days before the election as each tries to gain an edge in the race for the low-profile job as comptroller, the state’s chief financial officer.

The Montgomery County Tea Party posted video of its interview with Hegar on its website late last year. At the time, Hegar faced three other Republicans for the party’s nomination to succeed Susan Combs, who is stepping down.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIWVWHxFY6s?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

The new video is the latest move in an aggressive campaign by Collier, evidenced by a slew of television ad buys and an impressive social media presence.  The Houston businessman has attacked Hegar on his plan to explode sales taxes and a lack of qualifications to even be Comptroller.  Collier has also made several calls to debate Hegar, and even started an online petition to rally the cause, but as yet, Hegar has refused to schedule any debates.

Mike Collier is proving that he has what it takes to win the 2014 election, and more Texas Democrats need to follow suit.  Though some candidates may not have a personal fortune to spend on TV ads, there are other ways to run an aggressive campaign and make lots of noise.  Half the battle in this state is just to get enough name ID to voters so they’ll even know to look for you on the ballot.  Mike “the watchdog” Collier is doing a fantastic job at that as well.  For those hoping that a Democrat will break Texas’ “grand ole ceiling” and get elected statewide this year, the Comptroller’s race is one to watch.  If Collier can building momentum and force Hegar on to the debate stage, he may well win in November.

See Bay Area Houston for more.

Texas GOP Lawmakers Link Same-Sex Marriage to Incest, Pedophilia

As most of America continues to move forward with marriage equality, many in the Texas GOP insist on holding the Lone Star State back with antiquated, harmful falsehoods.  Here’s the story from the Huffington Post

In support of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s efforts to reinstate the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, more than 60 Texas lawmakers signed an amicus brief Monday arguing that recognition of gay marriage could lead to the legalization of incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

Filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 63 members of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the state legislature’s conservative caucus, advanced the notion that legalizing same-sex marriage could provide legal justification for the recognition of various moral taboos, including incest and pedophilia.

“The district court broadened the definition of the ‘existing right to marry’ as one that includes the right of people to ‘select the partners of their choosing’ for marriage, without regard to sex,” the brief contends. “If the right to select ‘partners of their choosing’ is the criterion used to invoke marriage as a fundamental right, then marriage restrictions on age, polygamy, and consanguinity are also ripe for challenge.”

As first reported by Lone Star Q, signatories include the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Pro Tempore Dennis Bonnen (R) and state Sen. Ken Paxton, the Republican nominee for attorney general.

Also thanks to Lone Star Q‘s fantastic work, you can find the names of all 63 lawmakers that supported Greg Abbott’s flawed document, as well as information on how to Tweet them with your opinion of their decision.

By now in Texas, it is to be expected that such a move would receive harsh criticism from Democrats.  But Greg Abbott and his insider club are also getting some major push back from members of the GOP.  Take this statement from the Republican Liberty Caucus

Sixty-three Texas Republican elected officials and candidates have signed on to an amicus brief in the case of DeLeon vs. Perry. Their choice to do this may offer short term political advantages but it is not in the long tem best interests of the party.

The brief stands in defense of Texas’ prohibition on same sex marriage, listing various questionable claims about the dangers of same sex marriage including an argument based on the slippery slope fallacy claiming that it will lead to the legalization of bestiality, incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

The Republican Liberty Caucus opposes using this issue as a campaign tactic. It will embarrass the party and the temporary gain in partisan voters is not worth the ultimate loss in party membership and support in the general election. It is the wrong position to take for party that believes in liberty and equality under the law.

The Republican Party needs to take a position on this issue based on reason and the best interests of the public. The best course for the protection of religious liberty and individual rights is to advocate the removal of marriage from the control of the state.

While it’s good to see that these shameful beliefs are not held by the whole of the Texas Republican Party, the thought of having Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick in the state’s top elected offices is especially scary after seeing this brief.  Anyone that cares about Marriage Equality or just stands for the truth should remember this in November. As they have proven here, a vote for Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton or any of these other legislators is a vote spread harmful, malicious lies about the LGBT community. 

(photo credit: the Texas Tribune)