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Silvestre Reyes

Texas Democrats, Progressive Organizations React to SCOTUS Ruling on Affordable Care Act


by: Katherine Haenschen

Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 09:00 AM CDT

The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act yesterday in a 5-4 vote. It was a surprise win for Democrats and liberals. Meanwhile, Fox News was stunned as they tried to figure out what to do with all of the confetti they bought to celebrate the bill's defeat. Rimshot!

Once the SCOTUS ruled, Texas Democrats sent out a wide range of statements praising the impact of the ruling on the 24.6% of Texans who are currently uninsured.

State Senator Leticia Van De Putte provided us with some helpful figures about what the ACA is already doing here in Texas:

    300,371 young adults gained health care coverage through their parents' plan
    4,029 individuals with preexisting conditions now have health care
    55,280 seniors saved an average of $1,384 on prescription drugs
    3,836,000 received preventive care with no co-pays

No wonder Republicans are calling for its repeal -- the Affordable Care Act just helps too darn many working people!

Below the jump, read public statements from the following great Democrats and progressive organizations:

    State Rep. Rafael Anchia
    State Rep. Carol Alvarado
    Center for Public Policy Priorities
    State Rep. Garnet Coleman
    State Rep. Joe Deshotel
    Congressman Lloyd Doggett
    State Rep. Dawnna Dukes
    State Senator Rodney Ellis
    State Rep. and MALC Chairman Trey Martinez Fischer
    NARAL Pro-Choice America
    National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
    TDP Chair Gilberto Hinojosa
    TDP Spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña
    Congressman Silvestre Reyes
    State Senator Carlos Uresti
    State Senator Leticia Van De Putte
    State Rep. Marc Veasey

Click "There's More" and see what they had to say about this historic ruling.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 3153 words in story)

Texas Democrats Release Statements on SCOTUS Scuttle of Draconian AZ Immigration Law


by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:54 AM CDT

Yesterday's SCOTUS ruling on Arizona's draconian immigration law SB1070 prompted no shortage of press releases from Democrats here in Texas. The bill is a stark reminder of Republicans' hostility towards Latinos, and the way in which many members of the GOP view immigrants as second-class human beings, regardless of their immigration status.

In case you missed it, BOR's Legal Corresponded Edward Garris has a run-down of the SCOTUS decision, which found 3 of 4 parts of SB1070 unconstitutional. In related news, the court of sane public opinion found the entire bill cracker-jack crazy. But I digress.

Below the jump, read statements on the SCOTUS AZ decision from State Representative Garnet Coleman, Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, the Texas Democratic Party, State Representative Carol Alvarado, and State Representative and MALC Chairman Trey Martinez Fischer.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1250 words in story)

Support Our Endorsed Congressional Candidates on ActBlue!


by: Katherine Haenschen

Sat May 19, 2012 at 10:00 AM CDT

We have a stellar crop of Democrats running for Congress here in Texas. From newly created Democratic districts to swing seats that can turn blue this November, we've got strong, progressive advocates for our values on the ballot across the state. Last weekend, we endorsed in 10 of our Congressional primaries here in Texas, urging voters to support the candidates who we feel will best represent their districts -- and our progressive, Democratic values -- in Congress. Now, these candidates need your help to win their primaries.

Support our endorsed Congressional candidates via our ActBlue fundraising page!

Meet Our Endorsed Candidates:

    Marc Veasey, CD-33: This distinguished legislator has fought for education and voting rights in the State House, and is the best choice to represent the new minority-opportunity district in the Metroplex.

    Taj Clayton, CD-30: This inspiring young leader wants to bring new opportunities to this south Dallas County district so that all kids can have the same chances he did. He is an exciting breath of fresh air in this district.

    Pete Gallego, CD-23: Gallego, a long-term legislator representing a sprawling west Texas district, is running to take on Republican Quico Canseco this November. Gallego is the strongest candidate in the primary and the best choice to pick up this swing district for the Democrats.

    Nick Lampson, CD-14: This distinguished statesman has already served most of this southeast Texas district, and is the only Democrat who can win this open seat. Support him today and help him run hard all the way through November.

    Lloyd Doggett, CD-35: This long-time progressive hero is running hard in a new district designed specifically to draw him out of Congress. He's always had our back on issues that matter to progressive Texans, so stand with Doggett now and help send him back to D.C.

    Silvestre Reyes: This El Paso public servant is a leader on veteran's issues and works hard to deliver for his district. Help him win a tough primary battle.

    Candace Duval: This young woman is running a spirited campaign, and is the best choice to take on Lamar Smith in the fall. She's better suited to capitalizing on the anti-SOPA fervor that surrounds the incumbent. Support her today.

    KP George: George is a Democrat with an inspiring life story, running to prevent a LaRouchie from making the ballot on the Democratic ticket. He needs your support to spread the word about his own qualifications and his crazy opponent.

    Joaquin Castro, CD-20: Last but certainly not least, Castro is already a star in the Texas Democratic Party and the kind of leader we need to turn this state blue. Support him today!

Click here to visit our ActBlue fundraising page for our endorsed Congressional candidates!

May of our endorsed candidates have already been working hard for you in the State House or in Washington D.C., advocating for improved access to education and affordable healthcare, championing women's rights and equality, and working hard to fight back against Republican majorities. Our endorsed candidates include some of the leaders who will be working to provide a better future for Texans.

Support their campaigns today, and keep them running strong in the primaries and all the way through November.  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Burnt Orange Report Endorsements: CD-16: Silvestre Reyes


by: Burnt Orange Report

Sun May 13, 2012 at 03:00 PM CDT

Silvestre Reyes has capably represented his El Paso constituents, and is deserving of another term in Congress.

Reyes is a solid Democratic vote and a dedicated representative who has delivered for his district, including securing substantial funding for border security. He also brought home $1 billion in federal stimulus funds to the district, providing for projects at Fort Bliss, the El Paso Housing Authority, and Sun Metro, among others. He is a staunch advocate for Vietnam veterans as a ranking member of the Veterans Affairs committee.

Challenger Beto O'Rourke caught our attention, and while we are excited to see a young Democrat making a bid for office, we do not believe that he has articulated a meaningful reason to change representatives. We also have qualms about O'Rourke's support of Republican Jay Kleberg in 2010, when Kleberg was running in the Republican primary against Dee Margo, after which the winner would challenge Democrat Joe Moody in the general election. Had Kleberg won, O'Rourke would have been supporting someone actively campaigning to unseat a Democratic legislator.

This will be a close race owing to changes to the 16th during the redistricting process. That's one reason why both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have endorsed Reyes for re-election. We join them in urging voters to support Silvestre Reyes in CD-16.




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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More Like No Bridge To Somewhere: Your Weekly Environmental Roundup For Texas And Beyond


by: Adam Schwitters

Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:51 PM CDT

An EPA Administrator is ‘crucified.’ An election in El Paso might hang on a bridge.  Spills, fines, and lawsuits abound.  The future might not be so bleak after all.  All that, and more, in this week’s environmental roundup for Texas, the nation, and beyond!

Texas

  • Al Armendariz, the EPA’s Region 6 Administrator based in Dallas, was forced to resign after a video surfaced in which he likens his enforcement strategy to a Roman conquest, “they’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they crucified them.”  Needless to say, those comments have not gone over well with members of congress or the oil and gas industry in Texas.  Debbie Hastings, Executive VP of the Texas Oil & Gas Assoc, claims in a recent Op-Ed that Armendariz’s statement is part of a larger “federal undercurrent to undermine the oil and natural gas industry, which promotes our nation’s energy independence, provides millions of jobs and pays billions in taxes.”  EnergyWire is convinced that the feud between the Texas energy industry and the EPA will continue despite the resignation.
  • The 16th Congressional District Democratic primary contest might hang on the construction of a new international bridge between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.  The incumbent, Silvestre Reyes, claims as many as 5,000 El Pasoans will be displaced by the bridge.  There is a slight problem for Reyes.  According to Roy Gilyard of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (which would be tasked with proposing the bridge in question), there is no current activity to build a new international bridge.  Reyes’s Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke, called the controversy “the worst kind of pandering. [Reyes] is using lies to create anxiety and play upon that to try to win votes.”  O’Rourke has called for the construction of a new bridge, which, he believes, will increase international trade and keep El Paso competitive with other inland ports.
  • After last year’s wildfire season burned nearly 4 million acres in Texas, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced the creation of the Texas Wildfire Prevention Task Force.  The task force is a partnership between the Ag Commission, the Texas Forest Service, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, and researchers at Texas A&M.  It seeks to identify high fire risk areas and eliminate the risk through preventative measures, like controlled burns, before wildfires occur.
  • Four Southeast Texas marine-based entities have filed suit against BP, alleging that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill “has had detrimental effects on the Gulf’s marine and coastal environments and is to this day affecting business and their ability to generate revenue.”  This follows last week’s $7.8 billion settlement in another suit against BP, and federal charges brought against a BP engineer for supposedly trying to cover up the extent of the spill.
  • Flint Hills Resources, a Kansas based refining and chemical company that is “wholly owned by Koch Industries,” was fined $46,450 by the TCEQ for incorrect valve settings which led to the release of 4,875.5 pounds of hazardous organic compounds into the air from its chemical plant in Port Arthur.  At a different Flint Hills facility in Corpus Christi, a leak was reported in an orthoxylene unit last week which led to the plant’s shutdown.  The extent of the leak remains unclear.
  • Port officials say there is no risk for an oil spill after a 750 tanker collided with a drilling rig on Wednesday off the coast of Port Aransas.  There were also no reported injuries from the incident.
  • While Houston remains the worst city in the US, outside California, for ozone pollution, its air quality has improved significantly, according to the State Of The Air 2012 report from the American Lung Association.
  • Austin’s transit agency, CapMetro, added a cool new toy this week.  It is a zero emissions hydrogen fueled bus that has previously operated in Columbia, South Carolina.  A privately owned hydrogen fuel station will fuel the bus.

The Nation

  • The Sierra Club has filed suit against dated coal-fired power plants across Oklahoma.  According to Whitney Pearson of the Sierra Club’s OK chapter, all coal plants in Oklahoma emit excess emissions, and the EPA needs to “end the free pass that large polluters currently have which allows them to emit unlimited amounts of pollution during certain phases of their operations. Because people need to breathe all the time, limits of the amount of pollution that polluters can emit need to apply all the time.”
  • Amory Lovins, an “energy theorist,” claims in this TED Talk that ending the US dependence on fossil fuels will actually be easier, and more cost effective than most of us realize.  His central point is that once industry, individuals, academics, and the military start moving beyond coal and oil we won’t need federal regulations or acts of congress to help us along.  He also believes that this movement will begin soon.  I hope, one day, to share his optimism.

Beyond

  • A recent study shows that exposure to toxic chemicals can have risks over a much longer time frame than most of us realize.  Bruce Blumberg, a biologist at UC-Irvine, says, “it’s not just ourselves that are at risk. We’re condemning our descendants to have increased risks, too.”  
  • Greenland’s glaciers are still melting, but the rate of that meltdown is not increasing as fast as some climate scientists had predicted.  Earlier doomsday scenarios had the sea level rising by as much as 6 meters (20 feet) by 2100.  Now it looks, as if Greenland’s melting will only cause a 2 meter rise.  The vast majority of the Earth’s population lives less than 100 meters above sea level, so any rise could have a profound effect on millions of people.
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The Campaign for Primary Accountability Has No Accountability


by: Chaille Jolink

Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:40 PM CDT

Throughout this election cycle we have all been introduced to a new player in the political field, the Super PAC. One particular Super PAC, which consists mainly of four wealthy male donors, is targeting incumbent races in the US House of Representatives all over the country. The group is known as the Campaign for Primary Accountability, and they're getting involved in races here in Texas.

The men are Leo Linbeck III, a builder in Houston; Eric O' Keefe, term limits advocate and Club for Growth board member; Tim Dunn, chairman of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility; and J. Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade. They're just four average guys with millions of dollars to spare.

Congressman Donald Manzullo, who was one of their Republican targets in the recent Illinois primaries, said to Politico,

"Why would we have a system that allows people from outside the state with absolutely no connections to literally buy an election?"

The amount of money poured into normally safe seats is unprecedented, and obviously does not sit well with most incumbents particularly when many of them have traditionally won their district by a considerable margin, suggesting that most people in the district are happy with their current elected officials.  However, the Super PAC has their own internal polling that can show different results, at least according to them.

The first race in Texas the Super PAC is targeting is CD 16 in El Paso, where Rep. Silvestre Reyes has served the community since 1996 and is ranking member on the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Veterans Affairs. The challenger is city council member Beto O'Rourke, who is a young man primarily known for his position on wanting to legalize marijuana. This is one of the more unorthodox races they could target but O'Rourke has a connection to the Super PAC through his father-in-law, William Sander, who donated to the super PAC in December.

One problem with targeting incumbents in House Races all over the country is that the Congressional body itself loses institutional memory with every incumbent loss. In races where there is only one man, and one job, per se, like the President or Governor, it can be argued that term limits are appropriate, but when a group randomly targets races, it erodes at the wisdom of the body as a whole, which is something anyone can say we desperately need in Congress.  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Texas Congressional Members' Positions On #SOPA and PIPA


by: Adam Schwitters

Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 06:00 PM CST

Below are the stated positions of every member of the Texas Congressional delegation with links to their websites so you can voice your disapproval with this dangerous legislation.

Supporting SOPA/PIPA

  • Lamar Smith - Yes, the driving force behind SOPA is not backing off of his support for this legislation.
  • John Cornyn - Cornyn was a co-sponsor of PIPA, but thanks to the overwhelming backlash against the bill, urged Congress to take more time to consider the bill, and seemed to back off from his earlier support.
  • John Carter - Carter is one of the co-sponsors of SOPA.

Against SOPA/PIPA

Have Not Yet Taken A Position

Please contact your representatives and senators and tell them to vote no on these terrible bills. If their positions have changed, please note it in the comments.

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All #SOPA Coverage on BOR:

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Congressman Silvestre Reyes Releases Statement Opposing #SOPA


by: Ben Sherman

Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM CST

El Paso's congressman has it right. Here's his statement:

REYES STATEMENT ON THE STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) today released the following statement regarding his position on the Stop Online Piracy Act, SOPA:

"The Internet is a powerful tool that has changed the way we communicate. As with every powerful tool, it has the potential for good and bad. As your federal representative, I will continue to work to ensure that our community has both access to the Internet and the security tools needed to safeguard our communities, especially children, from inappropriate and unsuitable material.

"Any legislation that aims to curtail online piracy and enhance security must take a balanced and fine-tuned approach. The current version of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, does not take a balanced approach. For that reason, I cannot support SOPA and will oppose it in its current form."

Texans should remember that Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith is the primary supporter of SOPA. He's fighting tooth and nail to protect big business and end Internet freedom. We must prevent this atrocious bill (and Texas embarrassment) from becoming law.

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All #SOPA Coverage on BOR:

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Silvestre Reyes on Torture


by: Centex

Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 10:41 PM CST

Silvestre Reyes:

The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat said Tuesday he has recommended that President-elect Barack Obama keep the country's current national intelligence director and CIA chief in place for some time to ensure continuity in U.S. intelligence programs during the transition to a new administration.

Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said he also recommended to Obama's transition team that some parts of the CIA's controversial alternative interrogation program should be allowed to continue. He declined to say what he specifically recommended, however.

http://www.govexec.com/story_p...

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 271 words in story)

Texas Democratic Congressional Members Endorse Noriega


by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Wed Dec 05, 2007 at 04:00 PM CST

Impressive.

The following U.S. House members endorsed Rep. Noriega in the U.S. Senate race:  Reps. Al Green, Ruben Hinojosa, Silvestre Reyes, Chet Edwards, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Charlie Gonzalez, Nick Lampson, Ciro Rodriguez, Lloyd Doggett, Solomon P. Ortiz, Gene Green, and Eddie Bernice Johnson.  

"Rick Noriega is the candidate in this race whose entire life represents his commitment to profound service to our nation ... military service and public service," said the members of the Texas Delegation.  "From the halls of the University of Houston under an ROTC scholarship, to the halls of Harvard, to the Texas National Guard, to the halls of the State Capitol, to the mountains of Afghanistan after 9-11, and to the Texas border with Operation Jumpstart - we know that Rick Noriega is the candidate to best serve Texans in the United States Senate."

"On the defining issues of the day - national security, border security, health insurance for our children, and fiscal responsibility - Rick is uniquely positioned, by virtue of his life experience, to best serve Texas interests in the U.S. Senate," the members agreed.  "U.S. military policy will long command the attention of future Congresses.  Rick's understanding of on-the-ground logistics - as well as abilities and limitations - of our military will be a fresh and important voice in the Senate on military issues."

Charles Kuffner adds some insight as to why this is really pretty awesome and a success for Team Noriega.

Excellent. It may not seem like a big deal for a bunch of Democratic members of Congress to endorse a Democrat running for Senate, but 1) it's never a trivial thing to get a bunch of Democrats to agree on anything; 2) the more unified Noriega's support is here, the more likely he'll get support from the national folks; and 3) this is still a contested primary, however loosely that's being defined.

You may be wondering about that thirteenth member of Congress. That would be Rep. Henry Cuellar, and as usual, he's doing his own thing.

Various members of Congress also taped video statements of support which the campaign will be distributing over the coming days.  

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

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