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The Collateral Damage of Deportations

by: David Mauro

Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:00 PM CDT

The Obama Administration's decision earlier this month to allow some undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation may eventually be seen as a turning point in federal immigration policy, but a recent New York Times article by Damien Cave shows the great extent to which deportations have affected Texas families.

Cave's article tells the story of Jeffrey Isidor, a 10-year old American born to Mexican parents. Jeffrey was attending Gleason Elementary School in Texas when his father, a 39-year old carpenter, was deported. Jeffrey's story is not an abberation; nearly 50,000 people deported reported having American children.

Mr. Isidoro, wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat in his parents’ kitchen, said he was still angry that his 25 years of work in the United States meant nothing; that being caught with a broken taillight on his vehicle and without immigration papers meant more than having two American sons — Jeffrey, 10, and his brother, Tommy Jefferson, 2, who was named after the family’s favorite president.

As for President Obama, Mr. Isidoro uttered an expletive. “There are all these drug addicts, drug dealers, people who do nothing in the United States, and you’re going to kick people like me out,” he said. “Why?”

The Isidro family are a prime example of the kind of people President Obama referenced in his speach announcing the change in policy: those who "are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper."

After his father was deported, Jeffrey struggled in school and longed for his missing parent. He eventually joined his father in the Mexican state of Puebla, but adjusting to life in a foreign country has not been easy.

There has to be a better way. Jeffrey and the tens of thousands of children like him are not - as Texas State Rep. Debbie Riddle said in 2010 - "little terrorists" or an "anchor babies." They are Americans. 

President Obama's announcement is a step in the right direction, but it is tragic that so many young Americans must decide between living and receiving an education in their home country or staying with their families.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Bill White Says He Will Not Run for U.S. Senate in 2012

by: David Mauro

Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 09:27 AM CST

Two weeks after his loss to Gov. Rick Perry, the former Houston Mayor said he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2012. Prior to entering the gubernatorial race last year, White had sought the senate seat many had expected Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to vacate. White additionally said he had no plans to run for office in 2014 either and was evaluating future business plans.

The announcement can hardly be described as surprising, though the timing of it may be earlier than many had expected. Former Texas Comptroller John Sharp has said he plans to run for the Senate in 2012 (although his website currently offers advice on how to find "the best male enhancement pills").

The Republican side will likely be crowded, as Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones and Michael Williams along with former Secretary of State Roger Williams and State Sen. Florence Shapiro were all planning on running in what they thought would be a special election. Whether they all ultimately run is unknown, but it seems unlikely.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst could be the Republican frontrunner, but his decision will not come until after the upcoming legislative session. Depending on the political climate, Democrats could see a legislator, or perhaps someone we have not even heard of yet, jump in after the legislature adjourns in May.

Update: As Robert points out in the comments, Hutchison has become well known for saying one thing and doing another when it comes to her future in the Senate. While I still expect her not to run again, Robert is right that given her history it is far from a sure thing. However, if she does choose to run again, Hutchison could find herself as a target for a challenge from the right in the Republican Primary.

Discuss :: (24 Comments)

Rick Perry to Lead RGA

by: David Mauro

Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 07:37 AM CST

In the midst of a national book tour, Rick Perry´s continous assurances that he was not interested in running for president had been met with a wink and a nod by many. No matter what he said, his aggressive actions to raise his national profile seemed to speak louder than words.

Now, after the announcement that Perry will lead the Republican Governors` Association, it seems that Perry may really skip the presidential race after all. As Jonathan Martin of Politico reported, it would be next to impossible for Perry to raise money and direct his party´s efforts in the 2011 contests in Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky while simultaneously running a presidential campaign.

Perry, who had a previous stint at the RGA that ended in 2008, replaces Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Barbour is widely considered to be considering a run for the presidency as well. Martin also reported that longtime Perry consultant Dave Carney would likely play an "important role" at the RGA.

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Texas Democrats Were Reluctant to Share Campaign Cash

by: David Mauro

Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 01:21 PM CST

Months before the results were in, it was no secret that 2010 was likely to be a difficult election year for Democrats. However, according to numbers compiled by the Houston Chronicle, it appears few Democratic incumbents in the state's U.S. House delegation made significant contributions to support their colleagues' reelections.

In contrast, the 20 Republican incumbents from Texas gave an average of $100,000. Republican Representatives Louie Gohmert, Kay Granger and Joe Barton all gave over $200,000. 

Democrats averaged a meager $26,000, with Rep. Gene Green leading the way with $123,000. Two of Green's Democratic colleagues in the Texas delegation, Ciro Rodriguez and Chet Edwards, both of whom met defeat, received the most from the Houston area congressman.

Rep. Solomon Ortiz of Corpus Christi, whose defeat took many by surprise, did not receive a single contribution from any of his Texas colleagues.

In a Huffington Post article, Democratic strategist Erica Payne identified Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin as one of the top five "Deadbeat Democrats." She wrote that Doggett had about $3 million in the bank.

To be fair, Doggett did have his closest general election in years. Still, he is far from the only Texas Democrat who could have contributed excess money to help the Party survive the Republican wave. 

Congressional Republicans clearly smelled blood and were not shy in sharing their financial resources in their quest to take control of the House. If Democrats had been more willing to help their struggling colleagues, it could have meant winning several more seats, perhaps even more.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Rick Perry Appoints Jeff Rose to Third Court of Appeals

by: David Mauro

Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 00:49 PM CST

Ten days after being repudiated by Travis County voters, Jeff Rose has been selected by Governor Rick Perry to fill a seat on the Third Court of Appeals. The seat became vacant when Republican Alan Waldrop resigned two years before his term was set to expire.

Rose was defeated on November 2 by Democrat Tim Sulak. The Third Court will have four Republicans, including the recently elected Melissa Goodwin, who defeated Kurt Kuhn, a Democrat who had attracted high-profile support from former Republican State Supreme Court Justices.

Rose will likely be a top Democratic target in 2012. Kuhn, a far more qualified candidate than Goodwin who found himself caught up in the Republican wave, could be a strong candidate against Rose in two years.

What do Rose and Goodwin share in common? Besides their new jobs on the Third Court of Appeals, they also were both Perry appointed Travis County District Judges who lost handily when they were forced to face the voters (Goodwin was soundly defeated by Jim Coronado in 2008). The Third Court of Appeals, once one of the state's most respected courts, has certainly seen better days.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Tim Kaine Condemns John Cornyn's Promise to Repeal Healthcare & Wall Street Reform

by: David Mauro

Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 06:54 PM CDT

In a recent interview with Jim Lehrer, Sen. John Cornyn said that Republicans would move "pretty quickly" to repeal health insurance and Wall Street reform if the party wins control of congress in the November election.

Today DNC Chairman Tim Kaine hit back against Cornyn, the chairman of the NRSC.

“Senator Cornyn is not the first Republican to call for the repeal of Wall Street reform and health insurance reform, but I grow more concerned for our country's future every time I hear another Republican leader pledging to do away with critical legislation that guarantees, among other things, that American taxpayers will never again be left to bail big banks out of a mess of that the banks created.

"There is a rapidly growing rank of Republicans who show themselves to be hopelessly out of touch with middle class Americans’ concerns – for their families, their finances, and their future.

“Senator Cornyn and Republicans might act like they’re promising change, but really they’re just promising more of the same policies that failed so miserably and put us on the brink of a second Great Depression.  It's more of the same back-room dealing with special interests – like the strategy sessions they held with Wall Street lobbyists shortly before voting against financial reform in the first place.  And it's more of the same cynical obstructionism – like the political tactics they used to delay reforms that are ending unfair lending practices and putting a stop to unfair credit card rate hikes.

“If Senator Cornyn thinks the America people want to go back to the policies that nearly left our economy in tatters; if Senator Cornyn thinks the American people are ready to let corporate special interests and lobbyists write their own rules again; and if Senator Cornyn thinks for minute we’re not going to spell out very clearly for the American people how Republicans are putting these special interests at the head of the line; then I have a message for Senator Cornyn: 'You are wrong.'”

Tim Kaine is exactly right: John Cornyn is wrong. More talk like this from Republicans will enable Democrats to make it clear what this election is about.  The more Cornyn continues to talk, the greater chance Democrats have to fair far better in November than the coventional wisdom would dictate.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Dallas Morning News Endorses Jeff Weems for Railroad Commissioner

by: David Mauro

Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 10:44 PM CDT

Jeff Weems received the backing of the Dallas Morning News in a strongly worded endorsement that makes it clear who the best candidate for the job is.

In a lower ballot race like RRC, where many voters are not familiar with either candidate, newspaper endorsements could take on more signifance. If that is true, Weems could ultimately be a significant advantage to his opponent, Republican David Porter, who upset incumbent Railroad Commissioner Victor Carillo in the primary and since then has seldom been heard from. If other editorial boards have anywhere close to similar impressions of Weems and Porter that the DMN had it is easy to imagine Weems coming close to sweeping the state's newspaper endorsements.

Excerpts from the editorial:

Seldom do we run into a first-time candidate for any office and wonder why that person hasn't already been elected to the job. But that's how impressed this newspaper is with Democrat Jeff Weems, who is seeking election to the Texas Railroad Commission.

The 52-year-old Houston attorney would be ready on Day One to make a significant contribution, which is why we strongly recommend him for the three-member panel.

Weems' familiarity with the oil industry began long ago, as his family has been involved in the business for three generations. In his own career, he started as an oil land-man and worked his way into an oil-and-gas law practice.

His understanding of the industry shows. He can talk chapter and verse about energy issues, which the oddly named Railroad Commission oversees. And he is a sharp contrast to some candidates who shoot for the commission on their way to a higher post.

If you have time, I encourage you to read the entire endorsement and pass it on to anyone who may be undecided (or uneducated) about this race. 

On a Railroad Commission that votes lockstep in the interests of big oil and gas and where both remaining commissioners (after the exit of Carillo) have made their ambitions for higher office well-known during their U.S. Senate candidacies, Weems' expertise and true desire to do the job would be a real breath of fresh air.

Weems is the second statewide Democrat the DMN has endorsed, following Keith Hampton earlier this week.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

School District Tax Ratification Election Results Undermind Conventional Wisdom

by: David Mauro

Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 03:01 PM CDT

The traditional media has pushed the narrative that this year voters appear to be have turned their frustration with government into a borderline irrational opposition to taxes. Without a doubt, this storyline did not invent itself, but some interesting recent election results here in Texas may undermine the notion that voters this year hate all taxes, regardless of their purpose.

As Jason Embry noted in First Reading, Joe Smith of TexasISD.com reported that of the 44 Texas school districts that have held tax ratification elections, 36 have been ratified. That is nearly 82 percent.

While the 44 districts are located across the state, they are mostly smaller districts, and turnout was predictably low in these contests. Still, the results may do something to disprove the widespread notion that it is only the anti-tax Tea Party groups who are motivated to hit the polls this year.

You can read all of Mr. Smith`s article detailing the results here.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

18 Texas House Democrats Request More Border Air Surveillance

by: David Mauro

Sun Sep 05, 2010 at 11:49 AM CDT

Eighteen Democratic members of the Texas House have formally requested that 2 manned surveillance aircrafts be transferred from Iraq to the Texas Air National Guard to be used to conduct air surveillance along the border.

The request, submitted in a letter signed by the representatives, states that "the level of violence and bloodshed on the Mexican side of the border is tragic. Texas does not have the resources needed to address this public safety and humanitarian crisis."

After many months of heated Republican immigration rhetoric aimed at Washington, the action taken by the Democrats, led by State Rep. Allen Vaught, an Iraqi war veteran, presents an interesting contrast.

Republicans have spent most of their time complaining about the lack of resources the federal government has provided and blaming President Obama for a problem that existed long before he entered the White House.If the Democrats' request is fulfilled it would result in an unprecedented level of air surveillance along the border, following the announcement earlier this week that an unmanned Predator drone would begin surveillance flights.

Republicans recognize border security as an issue that is popular with their base, but have been slow to take any real action to change the status quo. As expected as the Republicans' inaction and foot dragging has been, it is still disappointing. The Democrats' identification of the issue for what it is, a true "public safety and humanitarian crisis," is significant. If we are to find a real solution, it will come from viewing the problem from the perspective, not one where politics comes first and the issue is merely an opportunity to enact racially-charged policy. 

“Our first priority as a state government ought to be protecting Texas’ citizens rather than criticizing Washington for political gain. We are pleased to make a real, practical request of our Federal government that will protect our border and better train our troops for future deployments,” Vaught said in a statement obtained by the Texas Tribune.

It is easy and convenient for Texas Republicans to use border security for their political gain. When it comes to border security, Texas Republicans will never have a shortage of rhetoric. Hopefully their constituents will ask them why it was not them who took real action to get the federal government to address the problem they are so fond of talking about.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Back to Basics PAC Takes Aim at Rick Perry┬┤s Dirty Deals

by: David Mauro

Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 06:38 PM CDT

Back to Basics PAC continued their onslaught against Rick Perry and Texas Republicans earlier today with the launch of a new website, Rick´s Dirty Deals. The site focuses on the land deals that netted Perry hundreds of thousands of dollars during his time as an elected official, many of which Phillip covered yesterday.

Back to Basics presents compelling evidence that Perry made huge profits from shady land deals involving Alan Moffatt, Michael Dell, Mike Toomey and Gary Bradley, among others. The dirty deals did not begin when Perry entered the Governor´s Mansion a decade ago, either. Two of the highly profitable deals the site profiles occurred while he was Agriculture Commissioner, establishing a disturbing pattern of using public office for personal financial gain that goes back two decades.

Career politician Rick Perry has spent the last two years in statewide elected office while simultaneously making millions of dollars. After a decade of letting him slide, the questions that were once ignored are getting a second look, and as Phil wrote yesteday, this could be the issue that ends Perry´s campaign and his ten year tenure as governor. If he does lose, it will be interesting to see if Perry´s remarkable good fortune in the real estate market continue when he no longer has an elected office to exploit.

Back to Basics PAC contracted Blue Roots Campaigns to build Rick´s Dirty Deals. Blue Roots includes Nate Walker, Aaron Figg and David Mauro, although Mauro did not have direct involvement in this particular project. 

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

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