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Lon Burnam

Out-of-State Charter School Group Campaigns for Ramon Romero, Lon Burnam's Opponent in HD-90

by: Shelby Alexander

Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM CST

As previously reported, longtime State Representative and progressive leader Lon Burnam is being challenged in a heated primary for HD-90 by Ramon Romero, who a history of donating to Republican candidates. Now, an out-of-state charter school advocacy group run primarily by Wall Street bankers is funding mailers for Romero.

Lon Burnam has been a watchdog for public education, carefully monitoring charter school expansion in Texas. He has an established record prioritizing public education for all students in his district, knowing well how lack of oversight of charter schools, as well as their expansion, can affect his district.

Education Reform Now, a New York-based charter school group, has dropped two district-wide mailers supporting Burnam's opponent. This group has worked actively in other states to push for the expansion of charter schools. From their website:

ERN-WA helped lead the coalition that campaigned successfully for the passage of a public charter school initiative in November 2012. Not only has Washington State lifted its ban on public charter schools, but thanks to ERN's work, it now has one of the strongest charter school laws in the country.

Read more about Representative Burnam's strong record on charter school accountability and his support of public schools below the jump:

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Ramon Romero, Democratic Candidate in HD-90, Has Republican Donor History

by: Chaille Jolink

Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:46 PM CST

The race for House District 90 -- occupied by longtime incumbent and stalwart liberal lion Lon Burnam -- is heating up.

Ramon Romero has been building a significant challenge to the longtime incumbent, but his donor history reveals that Romero might not have the best interests of Democrats in mind.

In 2008 Ramon Romero donated to conservative Republican Phil King. Legislative watchers might remember King from his authorship of one of the voter ID bills back in 2007, and of his more recent attempts last session to prevent the Travis County District Attorney's office from operating the Public Integrity Unit.

Romero has reportedly denied that he donated to Phil King publicly, according to a Facebook post, but a 2008 Ethics report by the Phil King campaign reveals otherwise.  

Click below the jump to read more about Ramon Romero's donor history

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The Way of the Gun: Cruz Talks to NRA; Lege Ignores Supremacy Clause

by: Edward Garris

Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:00 PM CDT

For a group allegedly committed to originalism, first principles, and tri-cornered hats, the Tea Party and its acolytes aren't even going two for three.  Haberdashers, however, you are in luck.

In the shadow of a tragic shooting in Terminal B of Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the National Rifle Association held its annual convention in Houston. According to the Texas Tribune, the NRA convention saw Sen. Ted Cruz challenge Vice President Joe Biden to a debate on gun control and crime, and Gov. Rick Perry lobby for guns because "we believe in the God-given right for people to have peace of mind to defend themselves and their family."  Because on the eighth day, God created firearms. Originalism, indeed.

To see how all this misfired this weekend, go below the jump.

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Why Texas Might Help End Outside Money in Politics: Wolf-PAC Texas

by: Ben Sherman

Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:00 AM CST

Money in politics is the number one threat to our democracy. The reason we formed an American government is to represent the American people. When outside groups are allowed to donate millions of dollars to influence our elections and buy our politicians, they will of course do it. It's our fault if we allow them to skew our representatives to their interests over the good of the American people. This is a fundamental principle of representative democracy, and something the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with.

Wolf-PAC is a political organization devoted to the removal of corrupting money out politics. The organization does not distinguish between types of outside money in politics, but views all of it as fundamentally corrosive to a government "dependent on the people alone," as James Madison foresaw. Founded in 2011, Wolf-PAC has a unique approach to achieving their goal: in adherence with Article V of the Constitution, convince 2/3 of the states to call an Article V convention to propose amendments on this issue alone. Article V conventions are solely for the purpose of proposing amendments.

The logic behind this state-based strategy is that at this point, Congress is so fundamentally corrupted with big money that they would never pass an amendment to cut ties with their overlords. Wolf-PAC intends to get around Washington's corruption by going straight to the states. Once the convention is called, if 3/4 of the states approve an amendment to the Constitution, guess what happens? That amendment becomes part of the U.S. Constitution.

Wolf-PAC's Texas arm has already succeeded in getting a call for an Article V convention introduced in the Texas House. Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) has introduced HJR-94 calling for an Article V Convention to get big outside money out of politics.

Story continues below the jump.

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Roundup of Democratic and Republican Primary News

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue May 22, 2012 at 03:00 PM CDT

Lots of press releases and news stories coming in with election day only one week away.

Democratic Primary:

CD-33: Tensions have flared in the Metroplex after former State Rep. Domingo Garcia attacked State Rep. Marc Veasey and former Congressman Martin Frost for conducting a press conference with men and women who work at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington. Garcia accused Veasey of standing with "Wall Street Corporations," while Veasey and other Metroplex media organizations have pushed back against Garcia for attacking a major area employer. Today, Veasey sent out a release asking his opponent to stop mudlinging and focus on educational opportunities:

"Working families in North Texas have neither the time nor the desire to wade through all this mudslinging," said Veasey. "Schools in DFW are literally closing down, the ladders of education opportunity are being pulled out from under our children.  I would rather talk about how we reverse course and focus on improving our schools rather than engaging in petty political attacks."

US Senate: In the UT/TT poll released yesterday, Paul Sadler led the field with 29%. Sean Hubbard came in second with 25%. Addie Allen had 19% and Grady Yarborough had 11%. 15% said they don't know. Results here.

HD-90: Lon Burnam's campaign is touting a poll showing him with a 54%-27% lead over challenger Carlos Vasquez. The poll was conducted by Jeff Smith of Opinion Analysts. Vasquez seems to be coming apart on the trail in the last few weeks of campaigning as he has lashed out at Burnam and apparently exhibited some odd behavior at candidate forums.

HCDP: At the Harris County Democratic Party's BBQ event last weekend, attendees participated in a straw poll in a wide range of races, from President to County Chair. Click here to see the results!

SD-14: Not really primary news, but congrats to Preston Watson, son of Senator Kirk Watson, who graduated from UT last weekend with a degree in history.

Additionally, all candidates on the ballot would like to urge you to vote early this week. Early voting ends Friday. Election Day is next Tuesday, but since it's right after the three-day Memorial Day weekend, you might forget. Vote now!

Republican Primary:

There's lots of muck on the other side of the aisle and plenty of money to sling it with.

US Senate: Sarah Palin endorsed Ted Cruz, then apparently sent a robo-call to voters in Florida and Kansas to tell them about it. Ah, it makes me think back to four years ago, when Republicans -- or at least the one they nominated for the Presidency -- wanted her to be one heartbeat from the Oval Office.

Railroad Commissioner: Roland "Don't Pee on the Electric Fence" Sledge claims to have earned the endorsement of primary opponent Beryl Burgess, which should certainly shake up the race. Sledge is also touting a long list of conservative blog endorsements. Pfft. Blog endorsements.

CD-4: The Campaign for Primary Accountability is spending $100K on mail, TV, and radio against Ralph Hall in the 4th district. Hall has two challengers, Steve Clark and Lou Gigliotti. Will it be enough to force a run-off or unseat the incumbent?

HD-19: Republicans James White and Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton were paired together in redistricting and are now fighting a brutal primary against each other. Last Friday, Hamilton released records showing that White was "admonished for inappropriate sexual references" while he was a teacher at Livingston HS. He was reprimanded and later resigned. From Quorum Report:

According to the documents obtained by the Hamilton Campaign through Open Records requests, White was first notified of the student and parent complaints in August of 2006. Both he and the principal of Livingston HS signed a letter documenting their conversation about his behavior that resulted in student complaints including, "What is more intimate... sharing your credit scores or having sexual intercourse." And "other comments such as 'girls are used as a utility for guys.'"

"Further discussion took place in regard to student/parent complaints about comments such as 'after a man and a woman have sex... then their undergarments are mixed together in the same washing machine."

In his response, White called the attacks a "desperate lie."

White, the African-American Tea Partier, is considered the favorite over Hamilton. It kind of cracks me up that Tea Party wackos are about to elect someone who lost their job for making inappropriate sexual comments about large household appliances.

Referendum on Hawaii Statehood: In case you missed it, BOR PAC released a poll of likely Republican primary voters, which asked them if they believe the President was born in the United States. 60% said no. 21% "aren't sure." And these are the folks who are deciding the eventual winners in our statewide races. Yikes.


PACS, Man! The Texas Tribune put together a really handy interactive guide to the various PACs that have endorsed. Scariest is probably the YCT's endorsing in SBOE races. That can't end well. And by "well," I mean "with educated Texans." But hey, all the better for the YCT membership drive, I suppose.

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Burnt Orange Report Endorses Lon Burnam in HD-90

by: Burnt Orange Report

Tue May 15, 2012 at 00:00 PM CDT

Lon Burnam is a solid progressive. We see no reason to turn him out of office. Burnt Orange Report enthusiastically and unanimously endorses Burnam for re-election to HD-90.

Burnam is a fierce advocate for education, immigrant rights, and progressive socio-economic policies. The Fort Worth native is a leader on environmental issues, actively fighting Rick Perry's efforts to rubber-stamp a nuclear waste dump in West Texas. He has sounded the alarm on unsafe fracking practices that threaten our drinking water. A man of faith, Burnam uses his Quaker values to reclaim turf for religious progressives in the culture wars. There is absolutely no reason for voters in HD-90 to turn him out of office, and the challenger in particular presents no improvement over the incumbent.

We completely respect the desire of Hispanic leaders to elect Hispanic candidates to majority-Hispanic districts, however in this case it is unlikely that Vasquez would be an improvement over Burnam in any way shape or form, or that he would do better on Hispanic issues than the progressive incumbent. Surely there are other progressive Hispanic candidates who would be better contenders here should Burnam ever decide to retire. Carlos Vasquez has close political ties to questionable individuals, and it sounds as if he may have been involved in efforts to steer contracts towards his cronies while on the Fort Worth school board. Additionally, Vasquez comes across as a divisive figure on the campaign trail, and if there's one thing the Democratic caucus does not need it's freshman members who can't work well with others.

Burnam is a progressive champion and solid Democrat who has devoted his career to making life better for the people of Fort Worth. We unanimously and enthusiastically endorse him for re-election to HD-90.

Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.
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Fort Worth Felony Indictment Raises Questions about State House Candidate

by: EricaP

Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:49 PM CDT

Is anybody following the story of the Fort Worth attorney who was indicted last week on felony charges of falsifying campaign records in the 2009 Arlington school board race?

The attorney, Mario Perez, seems to have a history of skirting the law, getting school board friends to steer lucrative contracts to his (now former) firm, Linebarger & Associates.

The story caught my eye because after Arlington ISD shifted its tax collection contract to Perez’ firm in late 2009, Fort Worth ISD followed suit a few months later.  According to Fort Worth Star Telegram reports on the decision, one of Perez’ “close friends” on the Fort Worth school board  -- Carlos Vasquez -- led the push to rebid the contract to Perez’ firm. 

Linda Campbell of the Star Telegram called the 2010 dump-n-hire “behind-the-scenes collusion involving a trio of trustees,” one of which is Vasquez.

If the Star Telegram account is correct, the “frequent contact” between Perez and Vasquez in the lead up to the vote, at the very least, appears to violate the board’s prohibition against contact between bidders and board members about the decision.

This raises some questions about Texas House member wannabe Vasquez’ role in the affair:  Was this the only potential legal violation in the contract re-bid, or were there others? 

What exactly is Perez’ relationship to Vasquez?  What else has “piqued the interest of the Travis County district attorney’s office” about the decision, who is implicated, and perhaps most importantly, is there something here voters should know before heading to the polls later this month?

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Changes come to the House Democratic Campaign Committee

by: Todd Hill

Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 02:40 PM CST

With the loss of State Representative Jim Dunnam, the House Democratic Campaign Committee has begun to transition and prepare for the 82nd Legislative session.  Tarrant County's own, Lon Burnam, has been added to the HDCC Board and I think that is a great move on the part of Representatives Garnett Coleman and Pete Gallego.  

In a note from Rep. Burnam, which includes a message from Coleman and Gallego:

To continue the outstanding record of Member-leadership at the HDCC, we have asked Representative Lon Burnam to join our board. We can tell you that since the HDCC was formed, few Members have matched Lon's willingness to contribute both time and financial support to the organization.  Lon has dedicated many days at the HDCC office to donor call-time, and time and again has been willing to share his campaign funds -- and his own campaign contributors -- with the HDCC, so that the organization can better serve Members in tough primary and general election races.  We are excited to formalize Lon's role, and look forward to working closely with him.

With Democrats deeper in minority status come January, adding Representative Burnam to the leadership at the HDCC will bring an individual with tremendous knowledge, skills, and deep understanding of the tools that can be utilized by the caucus to limit the GOP from ramming too much bad legislation down the throat of Texans.  There's not a whole lot our caucus can do given how deep in the minority they are, but this move helps.  Lon is routinely singled out as the legislator who takes new members under his wing and teaches them the ways of the legislature.  As recognized by his colleagues above, Lon is also very good at fundraising and very willing to do the hard work necessary to win! He has spine and grit, which we know Democrats need a lot more of these days, not necessarily Texas Democrats, but it doesn't hurt having someone of Lon's capabilities helping us in 2011.      

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Tarrant Legislators Deliver Electricity Legislation to Consumers

by: Todd Hill

Sun May 31, 2009 at 09:39 AM CDT

Senator Wendy Davis and Representative Chris Turner won passage of Senate Bill 1468 and House Bill 995, by amendment, which requires utility companies to notify Texas consumers in a timely fashion that their contracts are set to expire.  This notification will give consumers plenty of time to shop around for the lowest possible utility rates and avoid rate hikes at unexpected times--particularly during the expensive summer months here in the Lone Star State.

Passage of this legislation are seen as key campaign victories for Davis and Turner, who campaigned rigorously in House District 96 and Senate District 10 respectively throughout Tarrant County articulating the problems and identifying potential solutions for escalating utility costs to Texas consumers.

From Senator Davis:

"It has been an uphill battle with some powerful interests, but we succeeded in passing legislation that will have a very real, very positive impact on Texas families and their pocketbooks," Senator Wendy Davis said. "This is a common-sense measure that will give people an opportunity to shop around and secure the best electricity rates available, taking advantage of the competition among electricity retailers."

From Representative Turner:

"This legislation is a major victory for Texas families. It will provide more transparency for consumers by preventing unexpected, dramatic utility rate hikes," said State Representative Chris Turner. "I applaud Senator Wendy Davis for her hard work in getting these provisions into the bill and for her strong leadership on consumer issues."

Tarrant County is not only proud of Davis and Turner, but Representatives Veasey, Pierson, and Burnam as well.  You each represented our county, and your districts, well throughout the 81st legislative session.

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LSG Elects Officers

by: Matt Glazer

Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 06:23 PM CST

Today the board members of the Legislative Study Group (LSG) unanimously reelected Representative Garnet Coleman as Chair.  In addition, LSG also unanimously elected Representative Valinda Bolton to the position of Vice Chair. 
Rounding out the returning officers are Representative Elliott Naishtat as Treasurer, Representative Lon Burnam as the second Vice Chair, Representative Dora Olivo as Legal Counsel and Representative Rafael Anchía as Secretary. In addition Representative Marisa Marquez was appointed as the freshman Ex-Oficio representative to the board. 

The LSG board also consists of Representatives Roberto Alonzo, David Farabee, Pete Gallego, Terri Hodge, Scott Hochberg, Eddie Rodriguez, Mike Villarreal, and Abel Herrero. 

Congrats to the board and to both the officers of LSG.

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