Voices Empower
 

Early Speaker race chatter

Date posted: August 12, 2011

By Daniel Greer from Agenda Wise Reports

 

Election pairings in Texas are already being described as proxy battles pitting embattled Texas Speaker Joe Straus against insurgent conservative challengers. Conservatives again expect a likeminded conservative leader in 2013.

House District 115, formerly held by Republican Mike Jackson is being touted by the media as one of these races.

According to Mike Hailey of Capitol Inside, a capitol-centric subscription publication, the Speaker and his team are lining up behind Bennett Ratliff in HD 115. Ratliff has a pedigree as he is the son of former Lt. Govenor Bill Ratliff. Hailey speculates that the endorsements of key Straus cardinals including Charlie Geren, Jim Pitts and Burt Solomons mark Ratliff as the establishment’s pick.

Squaring off against Ratliff is Matt Rinaldi a Dallas area lawyer how has been involved in Republican politics for 20 years. Along with conservative activists and elected officials from his area Rinaldi’s press release announcing his candidacy included a word of endorsement from Representative Ken Paxton. In 2011 the conservative Paxton mounted an unsuccessful campaign to replace Straus as speaker in the first speaker race open to the public in over 35 years.

The fact that Ratliff is involved in school district politics is interesting given the tactics employed by Jim Pitts during the 2011 budgeting process. Pitts, in a play to make life more difficult for conservatives, drafted a budget that was intentionally brutal on education spending. His original budget was eventually overhauled and schools ended up with more funding then ever but the damage was done.

The Pitts maneuver was repeated by liberals and moderates all session long when seeking higher taxes and access to the states’ savings. During the upcoming election education spending is expected to be a major theme.

Over the next 7 months several of these leadership races will emerge and this primary will mark the first in which speaker politics will be on display. Candidates should be open with Texans about their allegiances and intentions so that accurate representation is achieved.

Link to Matt Rinaldi HD 115 press release

 

 

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is Executive Director of AgendaWise. Previously, Daniel worked for Empower Texans, a non-profit direct advocacy group focused on fiscal policy in Texas. He holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. A native Texan, Daniel is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, played baseball at St. Edwards University, and lives in Austin with his wife Karen and their two dogs. You can reach him at dgreer@agendawise.com

 

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Confirmation- “Wells Report” KSKY AM 660 Today at 5:05 pm – Drive Time Baby!!

Date posted: May 25, 2011

Jon-David Wells KSKY AM 660

Exciting News-  I just received confirmation that I will be in-studio at 5:05 with Jon-David Wells AM 660 KSKY discussing the release of the Women On The Wall.org  “No Pledge To Joe Straus” video which is shown below.

For More Information be sure and read……..

Texas House Representatives Are On The Take……

“Basically what we have in Texas is a bunch of elected officials who are on ” The Take”  and are putting their name on the list as willing to be funded for their reelection campaign by the Speaker of the Texas House.

Question, is there something wrong with this picture?

Here is a great explanation from the North Texas Tea Party on how this Pledge Card System works.”

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Texas House Representatives Are On The Take……..

Date posted:

First let me say thank you to my friend Kevin Jackson with The Black Sphere  for that line “They are on the Take”. I just got off the phone with him and if you don’t know who he is you are missing out. He’s a great guy and doing wonderful work at the boots on the ground level.

Let me just say it is lucky for Speaker Joe Struas that Kevin Jackson is not living in Texas. He would really be in big trouble. I am hoping at some point I can get Kevin to Texas so he can work a little Comedic magic and really bring out the issue of our State Reps. having their hands deep in Straus’ pockets.

OK here is the deal, it is actually pretty simple. First watch this video and then just think about it.

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Basically what we have in Texas is a bunch of elected officials who are on ” The Take”. They are putting their name on the list as willing to be funded for their reelection campaign by the Speaker of the Texas House.

Question, is there something wrong with this picture?

Here is a great explanation from the North Texas Tea Party on how this Pledge Card System works.

Pledge Cards: Nullifying the Electorate

For some background: the Texas Speaker of the House is a powerful position, elected from among the 150 State Representatives as the first act of any incoming legislature.  However, there has been a long-standing ‘tradition’ of pledge cards that has made this nothing but a sham in the case of a seated speaker.  The real backroom process is about as democratic as a mugging and is a tradition than needs to go the way of  the Chicken Ranch.

No Pledge Card for Struas - OUST STRAUS once and for all!!

Here’s how it really works.  A seated Speaker has hordes of special interests slavering to do favors for the one individual that controls ALL legislation- and tens of billions in State spending. And they have VERY deep pockets for donating vasts sums for campaigns.  toward the end of the session, the Speaker will approach each representative and ask for them to sign a pledge card, promising to support the Speaker for re-election in the NEXT session.  And everyone KNOWS that donations and future committee assignments are tied to this decision.  This last session, redistricting was also a weapon to be used and it apparently was, resulting in a kangaroo court version of an ethics investigation.  Normally, a seated Speaker can get nearly all of his own party’s cards; they ALSO can get many for the opposing party, based on favorable committee assignments and- you can be assured- assistance at killing selective majority party legislation by letting it die in the committees controlled by the Speaker.  The current session, in which the GOP had a super-majority, the vast majority of the conservative agenda- other than the budget- died this way.

And in open seats, candidates parade down to Austin looking for donations for their runs.  They are judged by the ‘powers that be’, on whether they are willing to ‘play the game’.  In the majority party, that very often involves a willingness to sign a pre-election pledge card.  Sign a pledge, and doors are opened and donations made.

The major problem with the raw exercise of political power is there is ZERO input by the electorate in this.  They don’t wait for the office holder or candidates are validated by the voters; they don’t brook any input from the electorate after.  This is the power of the ‘Austin machine’ and it is time to challenge that when it matters- BEFORE the session is out, BEFORE the election.

Mind you, much of that ‘machine is pretty conservative and that is the ONLY reason Texas is STILL in decent shape.  But the constituency has amazing little say in events in Austin and that is one thing we of the Tea Parties need to help change. Both policy AND process matter.

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