PERRY LIES: Rick Perry's statement that, "only three in 10 Texas doctors accept new Medicaid patients" is mostly false, according to PolitiFact Texas.
NO TWEET FOR YOU: A bill filed by Republican State Representative Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi would prohibit government officials from tweeting, Facebook-ing, sending emails, instant messages, and text messages during public meetings.
TOLL ROADS: Republican State Senator Donna Campbell has a bill in the hopper that would prohibit existing state roads from being converted to toll lanes
TEXAS CANCER COALITION: Attorney General Greg Abbott is investigating whether the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas had the authority to alter its mission and change its name to the Texas Cancer Coalition.
DPS CONTROVERSY:The Statesman reports that Texas Department of Public Safety employees have been commuting from home at taxpayer expense in apparent violation of DPS rules. DPS sets a 30-mile limit on reimbursements for employees who drive state-owned vehicles.
This is BOR's Video of the Day, or VOTD, our nightly video clip segment that hopefully provides you with a laugh or a chance to think at the end of the day.
Today, Mitt Romney was endorsed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, in a move that some lazy pundits think will help Romney lose less of the Hispanic vote. A recent poll showed that President Obama leads Mitt Romney among Latino voters by a margin of 70-14 percent. Make no mistake, folks -- Romney is an extreme conservative on immigration issues. He supports an Arizona-style "Papers Please!" immigration policy, and opposes the DREAM Act.
In response, several Hispanic Democrats issued strong statements about how Romney's stance on immigration issues is too extreme for Latino voters. Here are their statements, emphasis mine:
"Mitt Romney has shown he will say anything to get elected, no matter how much his positions harm Latinos. Mitt Romney has called Arizona's draconian immigration law a model for the nation. If Romney were elected president, Latinos across the country could be exposed to these types of extreme laws." -- House Democratic Leader Jessica Farrar (D-Houston)
"If Republicans were serious about reaching out to Hispanics, they'd stop endorsing candidates that are hostile to the Latino community. Romney would easily be the most anti-Hispanic presidential nominee of our time. Only a few minor extremists have ever matched his vitriolic rhetoric towards an entire segment of our population. Romney should self-deport out of Texas." -- Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston)
"Romney's threat to veto the DREAM act is disappointing. Rubio also proposed denying immigrant students the ability to earn citizenship through military service or a higher education. It's sad that they would use kids as a political punching bag to earn points with rightwing extremists." -- State Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine)
"Romney's threatening to punish hard-working immigrant students who have the potential to be the future of our state. I see myself in many of these students. I would not be where I am today if Mitt Romney had been in the White House instead of President Ronald Reagan. It's shameful that Romney would use young students to prove to the extremists in his party that he's conservative enough." -- Rep. Ana Hernandez Luna (D-Houston)
State Representative Ana Hernandez Luna is a Houston lawyer who was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2005. Hernandez Luna was born in Mexico and was able to gain legal status under President Reagan's 1986 immigration reform - when George H.W. Bush was Vice President. My, how times have changed for the modern day Republican Party.
If a laundry list of State Representatives doesn't convince you, maybe this fellow Texan and national co-chair of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign will. Take it away, Eva Longoria:
Read more about Eva Longoria's work to help organize Latinos to support Barack Obama in 2012 here.
Check out all of our BOR videos of the day on the VOTD tag.
Here in Texas, there's been a major split around the controversial Speaker of the House, Rep. Tom Craddick. These four Democrats (highlighted in red), who supported Speaker Craddick, drew challengers, and whether or not they win or lose -- coupled with other key TX House races we're watching in other threads -- could signal the potential defeat of Speaker Craddick.
To see a full list of how the TX House candidates are doing tonight, follow this link:
In just 15 days, our Too Close to Craddick Political Committee has raised over $30,000 ($30,510 to be exact) to help good Democrats challenge three Craddick Democrats--Democratic state representatives who turned their backs on their Democratic leadership to support Republican autocrat Tom Craddick for Speaker instead.
At this point in the campaign, we're sending funds out to the challengers as fast as we're taking them in. And they're spending it for blockwalkers, phones and television. Following are the challengers and their needs:
Brian Thompson (challenging Craddick D Dawnna Dukes in Austin)
Boost last week of television (Field program covered)
Armando Walle (challenging Craddick D Kevin Bailey in a Houston district that is 2/3 Hispanic)
Canvassers for African-American areas (10% of district) (TV not affordable in Houston market)
Sandra Rodriguez (challenging Craddick D Kino Flores in McAllen and Pharr)
Boost last week of television
For the next week, every dollar that we deposit in the morning will be sent out to our three Democratic challengers that afternoon. Let's keep the heat on and the momentum going. Mail your check payable to "Too Close to Craddick" to
Too Close to Craddick
PO Box 5674
Austin, TX 78763-5674
HD-140 is a wedge shaped district in north Houston including the neighborhoods of Aldine and Northside. Hispanic residents make up seventy three percent of the district, but historically low voter turnout among Hispanics compared to smaller blue-collar Anglo and African American populations in the district has blunted Hispanic influence on politics in the area.
It is my fundamental belief that the best legislators are those that live the spirit of their district, that understand the place of their district. My position on Craddick D's has always been, "the constituents in those districts can have their say as to who best represents their needs." More so than any other challenger this cycle, I think Armando Walle fits that bill.
Raised in the district by a single mom and the first person in his family to graduate high school, let alone college, Armando got his start in public life working as an intern through Senator Rodney Ellis' Texas Legislative Internship Program. For the past six years, he worked as an aide to Congressman Gene Green, who has represented the area as a state representative, state senator and congressman for nearly thirty years and is immensely popular in the district.
I've talked with Walle's supporters, and I hear a passion for their candidate I don't hear in even many incumbents' races. They swear to me that he's serious about helping kids who have to wait thirteen hours in an emergency room just to get medical treatment, or making sure seventeen year old juniors don't out of hand dismiss the chance of ever going to the University of Houston simply because they can't afford it (tuition has gone up 70% at UH since 2003, thanks to Speaker Tom Craddick), because he's a guy who was in a similar place himself once.
Armando Walle gets his district, and I'm not convinced that Rep. Bailey does.
Bailey's support is isolated to long time residents who have supported him since he was first elected, but even these voters will be in question due to Congressman Gene Green's strong support of Walle. The conventional wisdom is that low voter turnout (an anemic 1,300 voters in the 2006 Democratic primary) has been his strongest electoral asset as an office holder. Bailey's been counting on Craddick et al. for his financial support, receiving a $25,000 contribution from Texans for Lawsuit Reform in January in addition to the above mentioned Craddick money. But as Ron Wilson and Talmadge Heflin have both proven in Harris County, you can have all the money in the world and still lose for your ties to Tom Craddick.
Walle's been blockwalking since October of last year, and a strong, serious grassroots effort by his campaign to reach out to new voters and increase Hispanic turnout, combined with the gigantic turnout predicted for Harris County as the Obama and Hillary campaigns come rolling through Texas (up ninefold in the first day of early voting compared to 2006), means Kevin Bailey is in serious trouble.
When Tom Craddick continued his reign of terror as Speaker of the Texas House, it was clear that speaker politics would extend beyond the session and last until November 2008.
Today, Lon Burnam made an announcement few elected officials have the courage to make, he endorsed three Democratic Primary challengers and made a clear statement that a vote for Tom Craddick is not only bad for your district but it is also undemocratic.
"I am proud to publicly endorse Brian Thompson (HD 46 - Austin), Armando Walle (HD 140 - Houston), and Sandra Rodriguez (HD 36 - Hidalgo County)," said State Rep. Lon Burnam, "all of whom have shown remarkable courage by challenging Craddick Democrats. Each of these candidates is extremely viable. I hope to welcome each of them into the State Legislature next year and take three more votes away from the Republican Speaker."
In 2003, Rep. Burnam was the only Representative to vote against Republican Speaker Tom Craddick. At the time, Burnam suggested Craddick was ethically challenged. Many of the Craddick D's share Craddick's ethical lapses.
"Since 2003, the single biggest obstacle to responsible public policy in the state of Texas has been Tom 'absolute power' Craddick," said Burnam. "Unfortunately, some of my colleagues continue to support the Republican Speaker and enable his failed Republican ideology of starving public education, harming the environment, denying children health care, and making a mockery of our ethics laws."
Rep. Burnam put the March 4th primary into simple terms. "Democrats can vote for the status quo and help re-elect Craddick Democrats, or they can vote for change and send a clear message that Tom Craddick and his right-wing cronies are taking our state in the wrong direction."
"I represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, not the Craddick wing of the Democratic Party, and so do the three Democrats I am endorsing today," said Burnam.
In addition to endorsing these three Democratic challengers today, Rep. Burnam has also committed to help each of them raise the funds they will need to be successful on March 4. Next week, Rep. Burnam will unveil details about a political action committee called "Too Close to Craddick" that he is supporting.
My decision to run was made after witnessing the immense need for effective representation in Texas House District 140. There are issues of great importance to parents, students, businesses and neighborhoods that continue to be neglected. District 140 deserves a State Representative that will fervently fight for better schools, access to affordable healthcare, flood prevention and public safety. I have the leadership skills, experience and education to hit the ground running and fight for our community.
Bailey's vote to elect Tom Craddick to become Speaker of the Texas House runs contrary to the needs of House District 140.
Tomorrow Walle will be in Austin to show the people of Texas that change is needed in Houston.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Four Seasons Hotel -- Stone Crossings Room, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.
Armando Walle had a well-attended kick off for his primary campaign against Kevin Bailey (Craddick D- Houston).
Armando Walle had a great turnout the other night at his campaign kickoff for Texas House District 140. Linda at My Dee Dee's Pie Shoppe & Café is a great Democrat and her place is beautiful. Enjoying the fare were more than 100 family members, friends and supporters of Armando's bid for State Representative. Armando's wife, Debbie Dimas Walle, stood with him as he was warmly introduced by State Representative Ana E. Hernandez. Ana and Armando have been friends since their days as student leaders at the University of Houston.
This is an interesting primary to watch. Bailey represents a strong democratic district that is overwhelmingly Hispanic and African American. The last census data showed the district with just over 135,000 people and of that 109,159 are minorities.
The voter turnout is low in the district with a tad under 8,000 people voting in 2006. This is a district were community involvement and endorsements go along way. Without seeing any Bailey endorsements yet, Walle (the challenger), seems to be a front runner in both counts.
As an active community leader and six-year staff member to Congressman Gene Green, Armando is honored to have his former boss' support along with the support of District 140 precinct chairs, educators and business leaders. Among those in attendance Wednesday night were District H Council Member Adrian Garcia, longtime residents Sandra and Alfred Ortega, Frumencio Reyes of the Harris County Tejano Democrats, Martha Griffin, attorneys Lupe Navarro and Alfonso Kennard and even some fellow parishioners from St. Charles on Tidwell. Armando's roots in the district run deep as was evident on Wednesday night.
Walle's campaign seems to be focused on Bailey's early and strong support for Craddick seems to be the cornerstone of his campaign.
Representative Hernandez told the crowd that Democrats in the Texas House need Armando's leadership on crucial issues facing our state. Armando's remarks focused on fully restoring funding for children's health insurance, providing access to higher education and dealing with criminal justice issues. Armando did mention that the current Representative wasn't always voting in the interests of his constituents. Time and time again, Armando said, the incumbent sided with the Republican leadership against his constituents or failed to cast votes on matters important to the families in District 140. Armando pledged to work hard, to always put the needs of District 140 above politics and to stay true to the values of the district.
Of course, we support Democratic candidates, but Bailey's support for Craddick and the Republican leadership is a problem. As with any other Craddick D, announcing support to vote against Craddick and Turner (Craddick's Speaker Pro Tem) needs to be done now and with out hesitation. If not, we support any candidate willing to better represent their district and work to end the pay to play model instituted by Craddick and his top lieutenants in the House.
Among the so-called "Craddick Democrats" — Democratic House members viewed as loyal to Craddick, including a number of committee chairmen — those most likely to draw opponents in their party's primary include Kevin Bailey of Houston, Robert Puente of San Antonio, Aaron Peña of Edinburg and Kino Flores of Mission.
Two of those men have either a declared opponent or one looking at the possibilities--Aramando Walle and Roland Gutierrez has started making the moves to challenge Kevin Bailey and Robert Puente respectively.
Armando Walle, an aide to U.S. Rep. Gene Green of Houston, is preparing to challenge Bailey, and San Antonio Councilman Roland Gutierrez is considering a race against Puente.
Another race of interest is Rick Noriega’s seat. Since Noriega cannot run for both a state and federal office his House Seat will be opening up. House District 145 has a few candidates interested.
Elias De La Garza, owner of a busy Gulf Freeway fronted insurance office, is being wooed for the House District 145 race as an alternative to Houston Councilwoman Carol Alvarado and other potential contenders the local Democratic establishment might rally behind as a replacement for Noriega if Noriega gives up the seat.
There's also speculation Roy Morales, a retired Air Force Lt. Col. who ran twice for city council in the last two years, might run for the HD 145 race as a Republican in 2008.
All of these seats are known for being strong Democratic areas. While the newly created TexBlog PAC isn’t going to be involved in influencing the outcomes of these races, we will do our best to continue to cover them. If you have tips, news, or comments please feel free to write a journal or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.