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Username: Katherine Haenschen
PersonId: 4576
Created: Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:22 PM CST
Katherine Haenschen's RSS Feed
Web Page: http://www.twitter.com/KathTX
Email: katherine@burntorangereport.com

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at UT focusing on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns. She is active with Austin Young Democrats and is UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.

Congressman Joaquin Castro Introduces Cut Taxes for the Middle Class Act

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:04 PM CDT

Today is Tax Day.

As Americans file their taxes it's worth remembering that the tax code promotes inequality in part by allowing the wealthiest Americans to take advantage of loopholes, and pay a lower rate on capital gains and interest income.

Thankfully Congressman Joaquin Castro has introduced the "Cut Taxes for the Middle Class Act" which would restore eight tax cuts that expired in 2013. These cuts directly benefit working families, as well as promote goals such as achieving higher education and helping veterans.

Find out what the act does below the jump!

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A Test By Any Other Name: Greg Abbott Wants Standardized Testing For Pre-Schoolers

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 09:25 AM CDT

Is Greg Abbott smarter than a 4-year old? Apparently he wants to test them to find out.

Abbott is under fire for yet another aspect of his education plan: now, he wants to require pre-K students to take biannual standardized tests.

Abbott's spokesperson initially claimed that the tests referenced in the education plan were "for informational purposes only" and "not part of Greg Abbott's policy recommendations."

However, Jim Windham, Chairman of the Texas Institute for Education Reform and a known high-stakes standardized testing enthusiast, makes clear on Abbott's "Town Hall" website feature he means standardized testing, whether Abbott likes it or not.

Read more about Abbott's back-tracking on his Pre-K plan and check out a round-up of media criticism over Abbott's policy ideas.

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An Ode to Battleground Texas and Wendy Davis Knocking 55,559 Doors in One Weekend

by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 09:45 AM CDT

What a weekend.

Battleground Texas and the Wendy Davis campaign set a genuinely ridiculous goal of knocking 48,000 doors this weekend to elect the 48th governor of Texas. For a random weekend almost 7 months from Election Day, that would be a tall feat. (I thought they were kind of a little bit nuts when they told me.)

Tall feat or not, they surpassed it.

Volunteers amassed in what seems like every major city and suburban county and knocked 55,559 doors to spread the message about Wendy and this November's election.

The results were simply astounding, and the volunteers and staffers recorded the highlights on Twitter throughout the weekend.

Below the jump, read a poem (yes, a poem) about this weekend's canvass using some marvelous tweets as illustration.

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Op-Ed: Civil Rights Remain a Struggle in Texas

by: Katherine Haenschen

Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:00 PM CDT

Last week's Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library emphasized the tremendous advancements we've made in America, and the way in which President Johnson helped usher in a new era of opportunity for all.

However, here in Texas our civil right still face significant challenges from Republicans, who continue to erode the capacity of the state to give all Texans the opportunity to succeed on a level playing field.

The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus penned an op-ed addressing the broad range of issues on which our Legislature must still make progress. They write in part,

    "For these millions and millions of Texans, the fight for freedom and fairness is as much about the present and future as it is about the past."

Read the full op-ed below the jump.

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Op-Ed: Miles and Miles of Texas on the Leticia Van de Putte Bus Tour

by: Katherine Haenschen

Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

 Last week, Senator Leticia Van de Putte wrapped up her statewide bus tour that traveled across Texas to engage voters in advance of this November's election.

From Pharr to Lubbock, San Antonio to Houston, Van de Putte visited with voters and made clear that Democrats will fight hard to win this November.

Now that Senator Van de Putte is back home in San Antonio, she has penned an op-ed about what she learned on her trip.

Read it below the jump.

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DNC Hires Sondra Haltom to Head Voter Expansion Project in Texas

by: Katherine Haenschen

Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Big news this week in terms of protecting voting rights here in Texas: the Democratic National Committee has hired Sondra Haltom to head up the Voter Expansion Project here in Texas.

Haltom is the first staff hire for the project, and a long-time advocate for voting rights here in Texas. She served as the political director for the Texas Democratic Party and also founded Empower the Vote Texas, an organization dedicated to protecting voting rights.  

The Voter Expansion Project is designed to ensure that the Democratic Party not only protects the right to vote and works proactively with states across the country to expand access to the ballot box.

Read the full press release below the jump.

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VIDEO: President Barack Obama Speaks at the Civil Rights Summit at LBJ Presidential Library

by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 07:54 PM CDT

Today, President Barack Obama spoke at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library here in Austin. His speech addressed voting rights and the work we still must do to anchor change in the law.

Here's an excerpt:

    I reject such thinking, not just because Medicare and Medicaid have lifted millions from suffering, not just because the poverty rate in this nation would be far worse without food stamps and Head Start and all the Great Society programs that survive to this day.

    I reject such cynicism because I have lived out the promise of LBJ's efforts, because Michelle has lived out the legacy of those efforts, because my daughters have lived out the legacy of those efforts, because I and millions of my generation were in a position to take the baton that he handed to us.

Watch the video of President Obama and read the speech below the jump.

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Embattled UT Regent and Rick Perry Crony Wallace Hall Abused His Office, Report Finds

by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:30 AM CDT

UT Regent Wallace Hall has been found to have committed impeachable offenses, according to a draft  report commissioned by the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations.

Hall was found to have abused the powers of his office and may have broken the law in his campaign to force the UT Regents to vote to fire UT President Bill Powers.

Hall is Rick Perry's go-to guy on the UT Board of Regents. Hall and Jeff Sandefer, another major Perry donor and controversial higher ed "reformer", are key influencers in Rick Perry's higher education policy, particularly his call for a $10,000 college degree.

Read the key parts of the report and brush up on Hall's misdeeds below the jump.

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Republican SBOE Member Asks if Non-Mexican Americans Will Be Included in Mexican-American Studies

by: Katherine Haenschen

Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 04:00 PM CDT

It looks like Republicans' Hispanic outreach efforts have hit another bump in the road.

Republican SBOE Member Ken Mercer asked during a hearing on Mexican-American Studies if Cuban-Americans Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would be included in the curriculum.

The debate centered on the potential creation of a Mexican American studies course that could be offered as an elective to the entire state. The SBOE would need to develop and approve the new course's curriculum.

Hispanic students are the largest ethnic group in Texas public school systems. The overwhelming majority are of Mexican descent. It should be common sense that Texas public school students should be able to learn about leaders who share their heritage. After all, it seems to be working out just fine for the white kids.

The fact that Ken Mercer cannot distinguish between Cuban Americans and Mexican Americans suggests that this coursework is sorely needed.

Meanwhile, the Senate Hispanic Caucus has signed a letter in support of adding Mexican-American studies.

Read their release below the jump.

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Texas Republicans Pretend To Support #EqualPay Day While Their Voting History Shows Otherwise

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

 Today, April 8th, is Equal Pay Day, meant to symbolize how far into the new year the average woman must work to earn what her male counterparts earned in the previous calendar year.

Or as Republicans like to call it, it's "What Do You Mean We Oppose Equal Pay Just Because We Vetoed It And Say Disparaging Things About Women" Day.

Texas Republicans have been working hard -- especially the female surrogates, who have been forced to work 23% harder -- to suggest that even though their statewide leaders oppose the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and continue to demean working women, they don't actually have a gender problem.

Leading the charge in the "Mansplainer Doth Protest Too Much" category last week was Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak, who penned an op-ed entitled "No One Is Against Equal Pay."

Except for the 207 Republicans in the US House and Senate and 65 Republicans in the Texas Legislature who voted against the modern Equal Pay legislation, Republican Governor Rick Perry who vetoed the law, and Republican candidate for Governor Greg Abbott who says he won't sign an Equal Pay law either.

So yeah, they're "not against" it all right.

Let's debunk this Republican "support" for Equal Pay a bit more below the jump, shall we?

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