Last month, Travis County district judge John Dietz ruled that the Texas Legislature’s $5.4 billion cuts to public education in 2011 were unconstitutional. In response, State Senator and Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee Dan Patrick claimed that he “led the charge” to restore the funding cuts, trying to cast himself as an advocate for Texas students.
The one problem with that claim? It’s completely false.
The Austin American-Statesman‘s Politifact looked into Patrick’s claim that he “led the charge” to restore education funding and found it so egregious that they gave it their worst rating–“pants on fire”.
As the Statesman pointed out, when the Legislature voted to restore $3.4 billion to public school spending in 2013, “Patrick was among four senators who voted against the final version of the budget.” He did speak in favor of a State Senate budget that added some funding to public schools, but the Statesman noted that when doing so Patrick “made no mention of rolling back the 2011 reductions.”
In fact, many Texas education policy lobbyists remember Patrick being unreceptive to the idea of restoring funding for Texas schools. Said Josh Sanderson, a lobbyist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators, “He never responded positively.” Sanderson and other education policy experts remember that those who were actually “leading the charge” by being vocal advocates for restoring education funding were Texas House members–not Dan Patrick.
Texas progressives have strongly condemned Dan Patrick’s dishonesty. Annie’s List Interim Executive Director Patsy Woods Martin released the following statement:
“Dan Patrick’s false claim that he’s fought to fund our schools is not only disrespectful to the Texas students he voted against, but it’s dangerous. Dan needs to own up to his votes to slash school funding – those votes have left our classrooms over-crowded and have placed undue financial burden on teachers and districts across the state.
Electing Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor would have disastrous consequences for Texas. Time and time again, he has fought against Texas women and families, and the cuts to public education are just one more instance of his siding against Texans. He’s also blocked women’s access to health care and has opposed paying women fairly for the same work as men.
Annie’s List recruited Leticia Van de Putte to run for lieutenant governor because we know Texans deserve a leader who will put Texas families first. Leticia actually did lead the charge to restore funding to our schools. She’s been the strongest advocate for veterans and their families I know. And Leticia would ensure women have access to quality affordable health care, while fighting for them to receive the same pay for the same work as men. That’s the advocate Texas families need at the helm of the State Senate.”
Will Hailer, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, criticized Dan Patrick for putting politics above the needs of Texas students:
“Dan Patrick’s disregard for truth and transparency is frightening. Patrick’s words are false, but his actions on education were devastating. 11,000 Texas teachers lost their jobs, and Texas students have been packed in overcrowded classrooms.
Texas families don’t need more more lies, deceit, and excuses. They need solutions. Leticia Van de Putte understands the importance of education and will put our neighborhood schools, children and their education first.”
Leticia Van de Putte reminded Texans that she will stand up for them. Said Emmanuel Garcia, Communications Director:
“Today, Texas voters caught another front-page display of Dan Patrick’s disrespect for them. Patrick’s disdain for the truth has earned him a ‘Pants on Fire!’ ruling from PolitiFact. His votes against our kids puts the future of Texas students in jeopardy. Fortunately, Leticia Van de Putte won’t let him go unchallenged.
Texans believe in honest leadership. In this state, your word is your bond. It’s becoming clear to voters that Dan Patrick’s word isn’t worth much. Patrick is unwilling to debate Leticia across the state; unwilling to present any substantive policy proposals; and unable to be honest with Texans.”
Dan Patrick’s willingness to blatantly lie about his record is troubling, and dangerous for Texans. As Lieutenant Governor, he would hold one of the most powerful offices in the state–and Texans deserve someone who would tell the truth.