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beto o'rourke

Congressmen Doggett and O'Rourke Show Continued Support to Release the #Dream30


by: Shelby Alexander

Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 03:00 PM CDT

While the majority of the group associated with the #Dream30 remains in detention in El Paso, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance has been working hard to build momentum from the outside as they call on members of Congress to support the release of the Dreamers.

In the previous #BringThemHome campaign, the Dream 9 was successful in their release due to increasing outside pressure, some of which was aided by Congressional support. A significant number of letters, including one signed by 34 Congressional leaders, were sent to the President on their behalf. And despite the stakes being just as high (if not more) the second time around, it seems that the #Dream30 has not received the same level of support that surrounded the previous group.

However, Texas Congressmen Lloyd Doggett and Beto O'Rourke joined two other Democratic Representatives (Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and Yvette Clarke of New York) in a new letter yesterday to President Obama asking for the release of the Dream 30. Doggett has been a long supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, and O'Rourke's support is especially notable, since the Dream 30 are currently being detained in his district. While both members signed the previous letter, this type of unwavering support is what we need from all of our progressive leaders to bring the Dreamers home.

Read more below the jump.

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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.  

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