Voices Empower


By Donna Garner 

Joe Straus Liberal Speaker of the HouseTo better understand what is behind the profanity-laden e-mails from Speaker Joe Straus’s staff (just released by RedState.com), please read my article dated 6.1.12 entitled “The Loss of Texas Conservative Champions” in which I explained how disastrous Speaker Joe Straus’s and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s redistricting maps were for some of our most outstanding Texas conservatives:  

Back during the 82nd Legislative Session (spring 2011), I am sure that many Texans thought we conservatives who were loudly voicing our concerns over the redistricting maps were biased and were over-reacting. 

The public was soothed into complacency by the sweet-sounding rhetoric from Speaker Joe Straus’ and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s teams who told everyone that the redistricting maps were fair and would stand up in the courts. We all know that did not happen. Not only did significant redistricting changes have to be made this spring, but the primary elections themselves were delayed from March until May 29, 2012.

Now after this last Tuesday’s primary elections, we see the terrible price that we conservatives paid when Straus/Dewhurst were allowed to remain in office to choose all of the House and Senate chairs and committees.

No doubt about it, we conservatives have lost some courageous champions.  The Redistricting Committees were stacked with left-leaners –http://libertylinked.com/posts/9808/dilemma-for-texas-voters—/View.aspx 



The President of the Texas senate, David Dewhurst (now in a run-off with Ted Cruz for U. S. Senate), appointed Kel Seliger as the chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee which ended up with an average rating of 46.8% on a conservative scale (Texas Eagle Forum) with 14 out of 15 membersfalling below 64%. 


The House was worse.  Even though we conservatives elected a supermajority of predominantly conservative House members on Nov. 2, 2010, Speaker Joe Straus appointed 17 members to the House Redistricting Committee (Solomons as chair); and all of them scored below 44% with an average for the committee at 27.2% (Texas Eagle Forum).


The “redistricting gremlin” has cost us conservatives. Rep. Wayne Christian has been one of the finest leaders of the conservatives in the House and in the Texas Republican Party for many years. The same can be said of Rep. Leo Berman.  Both lost in the primaries on May 29, 2012.

Wayne Christian lost his main base of conservative support through the redistricting maps and had to start trying to build support in all new areas that had strong Democrat leanings.

Gail Lowe, conservative member of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), has given years of dedicated service and has done much of the grunge work behind the scenes to move our Texas public schools away from Type #2 and back to Type #1 Philosophy of Education —


 Gail lost on Tuesday because six of her strongly conservative counties where she already had established trust with her constituents were replaced through redistricting with moderate-to-liberal counties that were deliberately selected based on past voting patterns.

 Then there is Thomas Ratliff, also a member of the SBOE.  Because he is a registered lobbyist for Microsoft and spends nearly the entire legislative session chumming with his cronies tied to the Straus/Dewhurst power machine, Thomas was able to hand-select exactly the counties he wanted under redistricting.  It was no surprise that the counties he selected matched up almost perfectly with the ones his own father Bill Ratliff controlled while he was in the Texas Senate.  

 Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled on 8.12.11 that Ratliff is “not eligible to serve on the Board. Thus, a registered lobbyist who has been paid to lobby the legislative or executive branch on a matter relating to Board business is ineligible to serve on the Board … Absent a mechanism to cure a violation in subsection 7.103(c), we cannot advise that a member of the Board may cure his or her ineligibility under the subsection.”https://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/opinions/50abbott/op/2011/htm/ga-0876.htm


 To translate, this means that Thomas Ratliff, a registered lobbyist who sells to clients that do business with the Texas State Board of Education and with the Texas Education Agency, is ineligible to serve on the SBOE; and the ineligibility cannot be “cured.”

 In other words, even though Ratliff says he can recuse himself from certain votes involving his clients, this argument is mute and void because Ratliff is not eligible to be on the SBOE in the first place.

 The problem is that short of a lawsuit, there does not seem to be any mechanism in Texas law to get Thomas Ratliff off the SBOE even though he is ineligible to be there. We had hoped that enough of the voters in Ratliff’s district would have voted for Randy Stevenson, a super-great candidate; but the “redistricting gremlin” served its purpose; and Ratliff won re-election to the SBOE.

 Thomas Ratliff was also helped along with the money from Daddy Ratliff’s Texas Parent Pac which is heavily subsidized by Charles Butt of H-E-B Supermarkets. To read more about this PAC, please go to:http://libertylinked.com/posts/9689/beware-texas-parent-pac/View.aspx 

Bennett Ratliff, who is Bill Ratliff’s son and Thomas Ratliff’s brother, is in the run-off in HD 114 against Steve Nguyen. Bill Ratliff’s Texas Parent PAC has undoubtedly been funding both Thomas and Bennett’s campaigns. I know nothing about Steve Nguyen, but could he be any worse than a Ratliff?

 Texas has suffered other casualties because of the redistricting gerrymandering done by the Straus/Dewhurst power machine, and it is no coincidence that the “champions” we lost were some of the most outstanding conservatives in our state.   

Excerpts from this article: 

Private Emails From Texas Speaker Joe Straus’s Office Reveal War Against Conservatives

In the next 72 hours, right after the election, members of the Texas House will have to begin considering who they will support for the speakership in 2013 — Mr. Straus, a self-described moderate dripping with disdain for conservatives, or the conservative Bryan Hughes.


These emails appear to me to be just the tip of the iceberg.Straus is a known liberal who was empowered predominantly by Democrats, and has held on to power through threats and intimidation. Conservatives in Texas have been fighting back; the question now is whether House Republicans in Texas will do what they have been elected to do… and stand up against Straus.



Knowledge is Power and together we can make the difference!!


Alice Linahan


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