Tag Archives: txgov

Wendy Davis’ Closing Argument? Education

After a tough and complex campaign season, there are some tell tale signs that the end is near.  One of them?  In the seemingly endless barrage of negative television ads, you start to get more that look less like pure attacks, and more like closing arguments. These ads finally show the candidate’s face, and try to leave a lasting impression on voters with the issue they care about the most.

On Wednesday morning, Wendy Davis released the ad that she hopes will send her to victory.  Titled “Our Kids”, it is one with a simple message that reaches voters from every part of the political spectrum.  Check out the full text and video below…

Education led me from a life of struggle to one filled with hope. I want every Texas child to have the same opportunity.
But that can’t happen when Greg Abbott goes to court to defend $5 billion dollars in cuts to our schools.

How much learning will your child do in a classroom crammed with 36 kids?

These are our kids, and this is their future.

I’m Wendy Davis. Let’s make Texas stronger for every hard-working Texan.

As campaign pieces go, this is one seems to be very effective.  It reminds Texans that the devastating 2011 cuts to education had real consequences… ones that many Texas school districts are still dealing with today.  There are kids in our state right now sitting in packed classrooms, teachers and school employees that lost their jobs in 2011, 2012 and 2013 because the districts, faced with tough decisions, had to get rid of entire programs like Art and Music, or severely pair back on after school opportunities.

Sure… after seeing this devastation up close, it’s true that the legislature restored some of the funding in 2013.  But the current funding levels are still not enough to meet the needs of a rapidly growing state.  And for the kids who had to suffer from the loss of a teacher or vital program, they will never get that instructional time back.

Let’s not forget that these same cuts have also been passed on to Texas taxpayers in school districts.  If you’re a voter in the Katy ISD tax zone, you probably know very well about the $748 million dollar bond referendum that is being decided at the polls right now.  If state funding sources had been available over the past two and a half years, would Katy ISD officials have to ask for so much money in 2014?  We all know that education dollars are an investment, and it’s quite possible that those disastrous cuts are causing schools to have to make up for lost time and resources now.    Katy ISD is just one of the 600 Texas school districts that are suing Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and all of the irresponsible GOP legislators that enacted those 2011 funding cuts.

In 2011, the state legislature abdicated its promise to invest Texas kids, and in the future of the state.  In her closing argument, Wendy Davis is right to remind voters of that promise, and that with the right leadership, there is a better way forward.  Let’s hope they listen, and vote.

 

Texas Leftist 2014 Endorsements

For those interested, here is the full list of Texas Leftist endorsements for 2014.  Some candidates will also have individual or group posts regarding their endorsement, which will be linked via candidate name from this post.  If a candidate participated in this year’s Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, that information will appear beside their party affiliation.

Texas Leftist has chosen to endorse candidates because they have demonstrated a commitment to advancing public policies that will improve the lives of Texans.  Though each person’s individual positions vary, they are generally candidates that stand for equality, social justice, healthcare expansion, living wage, economic prosperity and common-sense governance.

Today is Election Day!!  Early Voting has begun for the state of Texas, and runs from October 20th until October 31st.  For any questions on where or how to vote, check out this previous post or visit the My Texas Votes website.

 

Though not endorsed by Texas Leftist, candidates Ron Hale, Ron Reynolds and Matthew Whittington did participate in this year’s Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire.  Please consult their interviews for more information.  

 

Federal Races

U.S. Senator:                                                    David Alameel (D)

U.S. Rep. District 2:                                      Niko Letsos (D)

U.S. Rep. District 7:                                      James Cargas (D)

U.S. Rep. District 14:                                    Don Brown (D)

 

State Races

Governor:                                                           Wendy Davis (D)

Lieutenant Governor:                                 Leticia Van de Putte (D) [TLCQ]

Attorney General:                                         Sam Houston (D)

 

Comptroller of Public Accounts:                Mike Collier (D)

Commissioner- General Land Office:     John Cook (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture:                      NO ENDORSEMENT

Railroad Commissioner:                                   Steve Brown (D)

 

State Senator, District 15:                               John Whitmire (D)   [TLCQ]

State Senator, District 17:                               Rita Lucido (D)   [TLCQ]

 

State Rep. District 16:                                         Michael Hayles (D)

State Rep. District 23:                                          Susan Criss (D) [TLCQ]

State Rep. District 132:                                       Luis Lopez (D)  [TLCQ]

State Rep. District 133:                                       Laura Nicol (D) [TLCQ]

State Rep. District 137:                                       Gene Wu (D)

State Rep. District 144:                                       Mary Ann Perez (D)

State Rep. District 148:                                       Jessica Cristina Farrar (D)

State Rep. District 149:                                       Hubert Vo (D)

State Rep. District 150:                                       Amy Perez (D)

 

District Races

1st Court of Appeals, Place 3                           Jim Sharp (D)

113th Judicial District                                           Steven Kirkland (D)

308th Family Judicial District                           Jim Evans (D)

309th Family Judicial District                           Kathy Vossler (D)

314th Family Judicial District                           Natalia Oakes (D)

District Attorney                                                      Kim Ogg (D)

 

Harris County Races

County Judge:                                                              Ed Emmett (R)

County Probate Court No. 3                             Jerry Simoneaux (D)

County Probate Court No. 4                             James S. Horwitz (D)

County Clerk                                                                Ann Harris- Bennett (D)

County Treasurer                                                      David Rosen (D)

County School Trustee Pos. 7                            Melissa Noriega (D)

 

Propositions

State of Texas Proposition 1 (Infrastructure)             FOR

Lone Star College System, Proposition 1                       FOR

 

 

 

Davis Hits Abbott With Controversial New Ad, Addressing “Wheelchair”

Like a lightning bolt, the Wendy Davis campaign released a new ad that struck the state of Texas faster than any tornado, hurricane or haboob.  Here’s what everyone is talking about, along with some immediate coverage from the Huffington Post...

The campaign of state Senator and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D) on Friday rushed to defend a controversial ad attacking her opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), after the ad received near-unanimous condemnation from Republicans and members of the media.

The spot attacks Abbott, who is partially paralyzed, for opposing litigation on behalf of disabled victims even though he in 2002 successfully sued for, and won, a large reward due to the accident that led to his paralysis.

“A tree fell on Greg Abbott,” the ad’s narrator says, over an image of an empty wheelchair. “Abbott argued a woman whose leg was amputated was not disabled because she had an artificial limb. He ruled against a rape victim who sued a corporation for failing to do a background check on a sexual predator. He sided with a hospital that failed to stop a dangerous surgeon who paralyzed patients.”

The ad was met with immediate derision from Republicans, who accused the Davis campaign of exploiting Abbott’s paralysis to resuscitate a floundering campaign in Republican-leaning Texas.

Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, called the spot “ridiculous.”

Reached for comment on Friday, a Davis spokesman brushed off the criticism and explained that Texans had a right to know about Abbott’s past history.

“What this ad shows is that after rightly seeking justice for himself, Greg Abbott turned around and spent his entire career denying that same kind of justice to other victims,” Davis communications director Zac Petkanas told The Huffington Post. “Whether they were victims of brutal rape, whether they were disabled individuals, or whether they were patients who were maimed by a surgeon who was under the influence. These are important questions that Texans have a right to know about.”

Petkanas said he wasn’t concerned the ad would backfire for Davis, instead insisting that it raised “legitimate questions” about the attorney general.

Whatever one’s initial reaction, the ad seems to have already accomplished its primary purpose for the Davis campaign… everyone is talking about it. That fact in itself raises awareness about the election and ups name ID for Davis when the Democratic candidate needs it the most. The more people that talk about it, the more will watch.

Abbott’s response to the TV spot was swift and expected. His campaign immediately condemned Davis for “attacking a guy in a wheelchair”. It’s a reasonable move by the campaign, and at the outset would seem to point to a clear advantage for Abbott.

But that defense can only last for so long before enough people actually see the spot, and join in the questions it raises. If Abbott was able to win a successful lawsuit from his life-altering event, why does he feel that other Texans don’t deserve the same rights to justice that he exercised and received? Given how Abbott himself has often volunteered, even promoted the sensitive information surrounding his accident, is that subject not “fair game” for Davis to discuss, especially when talking about the Attorney General’s clear record of hypocrisy? Soon, Greg Abbott will have to stop taking offense, and start giving substantive answers.

UPDATE: Wendy Davis herself has now defended the new ad via Twitter and Facebook, saying that she has some nothing wrong.

https://www.facebook.com/wendydavistexas/posts/10154745499045094

The reactions to the ad are coming back swiftly, but apparently, some news outlets are beginning to change their mind.  On Monday, Davis held a press conference with Disabled supporters that in part discussed similar stories to those in the ad.  Here’s coverage of that via the Chronicle

Davis set up the press conference, which featured more than a dozen disabled supporters, after her latest campaign ad that centered on Abbott’s own disability proved to be incredibly divisive, netting mostly negative reviews even among liberal media outlets.

The ad discusses Abbott and his support for tort reform, which came years after he received what’s believed to be at least a $10 million settlement when a downed tree branch partially paralyzed him. The ads starts, “A tree fell on Greg Abbott…”

Abbott supporters and conservative news organizations jumped on the incident, saying the staffer “dragged” White across the stage. The Washington Free Beacon, a right-leaning news outlet, called the move ”awkward,” linking to a video entitled, “Poor advance work at Wendy Davis presser.” Townhall.com called the move “absolutely shameless.”

“These critics have obviously never met someone with cerebral palsy before,” added White, who can walk and drive a car independently. “Our movements are awkward. It’s part of the condition.”

White also clashed with Abbott supporters and staffers including campaign advisor Dave Carney, criticizing them to apologize for tweeting out an article that called the disabled Wendy Davis supporters members “props.”

Here are some tweets from Lamar White Jr. following the press conference…

Lamar White Jr

Clearly some in the Right-wing blogosphere may regret their hasty reaction to today’s events.

What do you think of the new ad? Is it offensive? Could it be a game-changer for either candidate? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

If you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation.

Texas Debate Week

For political people in Texas, this is a very big week, perhaps the most important week of the 2014 election season.

But for Texas Democrats, this is a week that many haven’t seen for the better part of a decade.  The strongest Democratic ticket in 20 years have in back-to-back contests  with their Republican opponents.

Tonight at 7pm, the Lieutenant Gubernatorial debate will see Democrat Leticia Van de Putte and Republican Dan Patrick face off.   With the apparent contrasts between these two, this is likely to get interesting.  You can watch the debate streamed live via the Texas Tribune, or check out other viewing opportunities for your area.  You can also follow along via social media with the hashtags #LtGovDebate and #VivaLeticia.

Tomorrow night at 8pm is the Second Gubernatorial Debate between Democrat Wendy Davis and her Republican opponent Greg Abbott. Several PBS stations, including KUHT Channel 8 in Houston, KLRU Channel 2 in Austin, KERA Channel 13 in Dallas/ Fort Worth and KCOS Channel 13 in El Paso will be airing this debate live, as well as other streaming outlets available here.  For social media, you can follow along with the hashtags #TexasDebates and #TeamWendy.

Let’s hope that after these events, the full formats of the debate will be available too.  If so they’ll definitely be posted here at texasleftist.com.  But for now, be sure to catch these very important nights for Texas politics!!

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!!

Wendy Davis Gets Personal In New Book

Over the weekend Texans received something of a campaign season bombshell that has now turned into a national story.  In advance of her book’s release date, Wendy Davis revealed that she, like many other Texas women, has had to terminate two of her pregnancies due to severe fetal abnormalities.  Here are more details from the El Paso Times, via AP…

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who became a national political sensation by filibustering her state’s tough new restrictions on abortion, discloses in her upcoming memoir that she had an abortion in the 1990s after discovering that the fetus had a severe brain abnormality.

In “Forgetting to be Afraid,” Davis also writes about ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus. Davis says she considered revealing the terminated pregnancies during her nearly 13-hour speech on the floor of the Texas Senate last summer — but decided against it, saying “such an unexpected and dramatically personal confession would overshadow the events of the day.”

The Associated Press purchased an early copy of the book, which goes on sale Tuesday.

Both pregnancies happened before Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, began her political career and after she was already a mother to two young girls. Davis catapulted to national Democratic stardom after her filibuster temporarily delayed passed of sweeping new abortion restrictions. She’s now running for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is heavily favored to replace Republican Gov. Rick Perry next year.

After the news broke, Davis sat down with Robin Roberts for an interview on Good Morning America, where she was pressed about the interesting timing of her book release less than 60 days before the 2014 election.

The timing factor is interesting for sure, but interesting is not the same as illegal or unethical.  Politicians write and sell books all the time.  Politicians also do all sorts of other types of work while campaigning… you know, like not stepping down from being Attorney General and not excusing yourself from cases that could have a direct effect on your upcoming election.

For the Abbott campaign, Davis’ book presents a perilous quandary of how to respond.  So they chose to go the path of ethics.  Here’s more from the Houston Chronicle on that…

Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott asked the Texas Ethics Commission on Monday to rule whether opponent Wendy Davis’ book deal and tour crosses the line on illegal corporate campaign contribution because it is tied to her ongoing campaign.

Davis’ campaign immediately labeled the filing a “frivolous stunt.”

In a three-page letter requesting an advisory opinion, Abbott campaign manager Wayne Hamilton asked whether a book tour paid for and promoted by a corporation constitute in-kind political contributions. Under state law, corporate contributions to a campaign are illegal.

[…]

While the request for an ethics opinion makes no mention of Davis, the name of her publisher and details of her book deal are the same as those in the letter.

“Because of the proximity of the book’s publishing and the election, the candidate will be using political funds on voter contact at the same time the publisher is using corporate funds to promote the book,” reads the letter,  insisting that political observers “seem to agree that the promotion of the book essentially equals promotion of the candidate’s candidacy.”

Davis’ campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said the campaign was “very careful to follow every legal guideline.

“This frivolous stunt by the Abbott campaign is the clearest sign yet how worried they are about the power of Wendy’s story,” he said.

Were Greg Abbott running a more ethical campaign himself, this line of attack may garner more teeth.  But unless he’s planning to resign from office early, relax Voter ID laws reveal the locations of dangerous chemical locations, the request to the Texas Ethics Commission is little more than a small stone within Abbott’s magnanimous glass house.  Plus, what can the Republican really yield from trying to stop the tour anyway?  At best, attacking Davis for the timing of her book can motivate a few more people in his base… ones that really care about the “inside baseball” of politics and were solid GOP supporters anyway.  At worst, the attack makes Abbott look like a hypocrite.

On the other hand, Davis has nothing to lose from releasing her book now.  Scoring an interview on GMA rockets her name ID back to the forefront of the news at a time when she most needs it, and motivates the Pro-Choice base of both parties to really show up and show out this November.  Yes… in the real world, there are still Pro-Choice Republicans in Texas, the very people who Wendy Davis is counting on to win in 2014.

One more calculus that may have been made by the Davis campaign here.  Even more important than what and who everyone is talking about, guess who they are not talking about?  The correct answer is Greg Abbott.  In a critical time for the Republican to be connecting with voters over his personal story of tragedy followed by triumph, Davis has managed to stop Abbott’s momentum dead in its tracks.  As the old saying goes, ‘All politics is local’.  But Wendy Davis is proving right now that the best politics is personal.

 

 

 

Greg Abbott Ordered Armed POLICE RAID of Houston Voter Group

Many across the nation were shocked to see the heavy-handed techniques employed by the police department in Ferguson, Missouri.  In a series of protests, American citizens were routinely threatened by the very officers that were sworn to protect them. No matter what one’s opinion of the case, any time a situation degrades to that level in the United States, it is something that must be investigated to the full extent of the law.

But similar excessive uses of force have been enacted in Texans too, and in their case, they weren’t protesting or putting anyone else’s life in danger.  At the direction of Attorney General Greg Abbott, Houstonians were subjected to a frightening armed police raid, all because they were trying to register voters.  Here’s the exclusive story, as reported by James Drew of the Dallas Morning News

On an overcast Monday afternoon, officers in bulletproof vests swept into a house on Houston’s north side. The armed deputies and agents served a search warrant. They carted away computers, hard drives and documents.

The raid targeted a voter registration group called Houston Votes, which was accused of election fraud. It was initiated by investigators for Attorney General Greg Abbott. His aides say he is duty-bound to preserve the integrity of the ballot box.

His critics, however, say that what Abbott has really sought to preserve is the power of the Republican Party in Texas. They accuse him of political partisanship, targeting key Democratic voting blocs, especially minorities and the poor, in ways that make it harder for them to vote, or for their votes to count.

A close examination of the Houston Votes case reveals the consequences when an elected official pursues hotly contested allegations of election fraud.

The investigation was closed one year after the raid, with no charges filed. But for Houston Votes, the damage was done. Its funding dried up, and its efforts to register more low-income voters ended. Its records and office equipment never were returned. Instead, under a 2013 court order obtained by Abbott’s office, they were destroyed.

And the dramatic, heavily armed raid never was necessary, according to Fred Lewis, president of Texans Together, the nonprofit parent group of Houston Votes. “They could have used a subpoena,” he said. “They could have called us and asked for the records. They didn’t need guns.”

To be innocent citizens subjected to a police raid, only to have the charges of any illegal activity dropped is nothing short of persecution.  And to make matters our, the would-be Suppressor-In-Chief doesn’t seem to regret the turmoil endured by Texans working with Houston Votes.  Just recently in the Dallas Morning News, Greg Abbott actually defended the police raid directed from his office…

Attorney General Greg Abbott said Tuesday that his office’s investigation of a Houston voter registration group that netted no prosecutions but left the organization in tatters was justified.

The 2010 investigation, which included an aggressive raid, targeted a group called Houston Votes, which was accused of voter fraud.

“We have a division that focuses on issues like this, and they operate very professional,” he said. “They undertook an investigation of allegations that were made.”

Even those that support Abbott should be taking pause from this. If Greg Abbott’s idea of an “investigation” always means armed cops forcing their way into a home via warrant, there is much to fear for the future of Texas if he gets elected.

The whole situation doesn’t bode well for Abbott’s stated political philosophy either.  There was nothing “Conservative” about the Attorney General’s actions here.  In a city where real criminals roam the streets waiting for their next victim, who could ever conceive that sending an armed law enforcement team to go after a few voter registration forms as an appropriate use of Texas tax dollars?

Before Texans go to the polls this November, they must stop and ask… if Greg Abbott is capable of raiding Texas voting groups, what else is he capable of??  Let’s hope it doesn’t take an armed police raid to find out.

For more, see Brains and Eggs, Nonsequiteuse, Texpatriate and Off the Kuff.

Abbott Suppressor In Chief