Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Grassroots Have Spoken: Scott Turner for Texas Speaker

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you … you may know that your society is doomed."  Ayn Rand

Texas, we're there.  Need proof?  Look no further than the race for the Speaker of the House.  "The money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors" has never been more prevalent than in the dynamics of the Speaker of the House race.  Folks, we're in a battle for control of the agenda for the 84th legislative session and the stakes couldn't be higher.

Texas is known as a bastion of conservatism.  It's a Republican 'red' state, but far from conservative, by my standards anyway.  If we want to make it truly conservative, then we the people of Texas have got to keep our eyes on ALL of our elected officials to ensure that they are voting correctly and really and truly taking a stand to protect our freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The Texas Speaker of the House plays a big part in all of these facets of liberty and if you are a friend of liberty, then you are no friend of Joe Straus.

I have written several articles about the speakers race and have discussed how important it is for us to have a say in who is elected speaker.  The handwriting is on the wall, folks.  County Republican parties all over the state of Texas have endorsed Scott Turner for Speaker of the House.  Not only that, but the body of delegates at the Republican State Convention held in June of 2014 voted to pass a resolution in which the vote for Speaker should be a vote cast by none other than the voters of Texas!

To pile onto the sentiment of unrest over the decision for Speaker of the House, on Monday night, the largest county in the state of Texas endorsed Scott Turner for Speaker.   I'm happy to say that I'm a member of the Executive Committee of the Harris County GOP by way of being a precinct chair.  The resolution was written and introduced by precinct chairman David Wilson with three speakers for the resolution and three against.  After some heated debate, the vote was taken and it passed. 

I'm not sure what more proof that the representatives need that we want a change in the Speaker of the House!  We all know the old saying, "Follow the money."  All of the representatives' support for Joe Straus has been bought and paid for.  I included a link in my previous blog, called, "Is the Republican Delegation of the state of Texas For Sale?" of all the different reps who have received  money from Straus.  We need to make a change.  I don't know about you, but I for one am tired of our representation being bought and paid for.  Scott Turner for Speaker!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is the Republican Delegation of the State of Texas for Sale?


"You were bought with a price." 1 Corinthians 6:20

We all were, if you are a Christian.  Jesus paid the ransom for our sin with his own blood so that we could have eternal life.  Pretty hefty price, if you ask me.

One could say that our delegation of Texas State Representatives have been bought with a price, too.   Not one as noble as the price that Christ paid for our sins.  What I'm talking about here is their vote for the Texas Speaker of the House, bought and paid for by current Speaker of the House, Joe Straus. Follow the money, especially all the lobbyist money Straus distributes with strong strings attached.  See the article just written by a contributor to Raging Elephants Radio with a complete list of state reps who have received contributions from Speaker Straus.

Now, you might accuse me of being extreme here with the parallel I've drawn, but I don't think so.  See, the state of Texas and it's future rests squarely in the hands of the Speaker of the House, which is a position that needs to be held by a true conservative member of the house.  My choice?  Scott Turner, that's who.

Scott Turner understands the responsibility he has as a legislator and where our priorities should be.  From a fellow blogger, Adam Cahnman's most recent blog post he relays some of Scott's legislative priorities:

"...As a candidate for the Office of Speaker of the House, I have spent the last several months traveling across our great state and have heard the voice of the people calling for their representatives to help promote and protect our shared values of faith, family, and free enterprise. It is important that we focus on the future of Texas and not rest on the perceived victories of the past.

As the next Speaker of the House, I want us to focus on securing our borders, fully implementing E-verify, and completely ending the practice of sanctuary cites. Moreover, we can no longer put off giving parents and families a choice to provide the best educational environment for their children. Additionally, we must provide a solid financial environment for our state by repealing the Gross Margins Tax and implementing a fiscally conservative budget that exemplifies responsible stewardship of the taxpayers’ money.

I look forward to working with my fellow members to seize the opportunities set before us, work on the passage of the critical legislation the people are calling for, and move forward in a bipartisan effort to ensure true freedom and prosperity for Texas.”

As someone who's been working with the Scott Turner team, I've been privileged to hear him speak more than a few times.  One of the quotes I gathered from him that I found rather inspiring myself was this one, "Status quo and complacency rob you."  This quote can definitely be applied to the upcoming legislative session.

Sadly, as I mentioned earlier, it seems that the Straus camp has already sent out their talking points to his delegation, and their little army of 'lemmings' has all but regurgitated the information on all of their Facebook walls and at speeches around the state.  Lots of them reflect Scott's perceived inexperience as a legislator.  Another quote from Scott that refutes that claim, "I'm no stranger to scrutiny and accountability."

I believe it is that same scrutiny and accountability that he speaks of that will make him a great speaker.  Win or lose, Scott will take the vote to the floor, because in his own words, once again, "It's time."


Sunday, October 19, 2014

November 2014 General Election: Why Local Elections Matter

Hello, Texas, it's that time of year again!  No, I'm not talking about Pumpkin Spice Latte time at Starbucks or even Halloween, although both of those would apply.  I'm talking election time!  You may be making Halloween plans or even Thanksgiving plans, but for now, I'd like turn your attention elsewhere; to local and statewide elections, that is.

On the eve of early voting in a mid-term general election, I'm writing this to remind you of how important elections really are and how doing your homework on the candidates that are listed on the ballot can make a huge difference in the outcomes of court cases and policy decisions that are made.  Putting liberty minded, conservative candidates into elected positions is a HUGE start! All the candidates on the ballot have websites and they would love to hear from you!  Ask the tough questions and decide for yourself.  Don't rely on the slate mailers, dubbed pay to play by myself and many other local bloggers. Read my write up about them here and another local blogger called Rhymes With Right, whom I just become acquainted with, writes about them and other local issues here.  Another local blogger, Pondering Penguin has even written about pay to play on a state level and you can check it out here.

Now, granted, some of this may be more useful during a primary, but I still think it's important to know who you're electing.  You might be saying, it's too late, early voting starts tomorrow!  To that I say, it's only too late if you wait to make up your mind on November 5th.  Now, I have been part of the liberty movement for the past five years or so and been part of several organizations.  One of which was my own group called Katy Mommy Patriots and while we were a group, we put together a few research projects. First is a  document called, 'Who Are These People?'  Just a basic job description of local elected officials in Harris County.  I don't know about you, but keeping track of what the District Clerk does versus the County Clerk does can make my head hurt.  So we put together a guide to help keep all of it straight.  Your welcome!

The next project was one called 'How to Vet a Candidate' and it is also a great resource on different ways to gather information to make an informed decision on who to vote for.  The two worked really well together, actually.  I hope you find both of them helpful.

There are a myriad of candidates on the ballot; many statewide offices are up for grabs; Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General to name a few.  We also find ourselves voting for lots of judges as well; family court judges, supreme court justices for the state of Texas, etc.

Seeing all of these positions to be chosen, important ones at that,  I hope you will answer the call to get out and vote.  Your voice counts, make it heard. Early voting starts tomorrow and goes until October 31st and election day is November 4th.  If you want freedom, in its simplest form, then why not take an active role during an election?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

So Who Does Congressman Culberson Represent; Constituents or Colleagues?

"Working in Congress is like standing under Niagara Falls"-John Culberson (R) Texas said repeatedly during a town hall meeting on September 22, 2014

Really?  Sounds like a problem to me.  The button on the pants of the federal government has officially shot off into the atmosphere as the bloat and the sheer girth of government has increased to sizes previously unknown.  Houston, we have a problem.

Thankfully we have John Culberson fearlessly representing the good folks of Congressional District 7!  Um, scratch that.  Thankfully we have John Culberson representing the good folks of Congressional District 7!    Nope, wouldn't even go that far.  I think we can boil it down to 'we have John Culberson representing the good folks of Congressional District 7'.

I am not new to blogging about my Congressional Representative, Congressman Culberson.  I have written about him numerous times regarding his voting record, his lack of town hall meetings and about some follow up conversations that we've had about those posts.  Yet here we are once again talking about a town hall that he held here in Houston, this past Monday night.  Except this time, I made it interesting and I hijacked the town hall meeting.

The most recent blog I posted I titled Is John Culberson a Jeffersonian Republican...Or Not?  was about his voting record and his low scores with some of the top freedom groups, groups like Heritage Action, Eagle Forum and Freedomworks.  His score was the lowest with Freedomworks, a 53% rating, which is technically an 'F'.  So in order to make a point, I made copies of his Freedomworks score card and handed them out to the people who were attending the town hall.  Heck, I even handed one to the Congressman himself.  Yeah, I don't think he saw that coming.  Neither did his staff, because when the Congressman showed up, one of his staffers stuck her head out the door and said to him, "We need to talk!".

I could go on and on about the different questions that were lobbed in the direction of the Congressman that evening, but I won't.  I'll spare you and get straight to the point.  I was able to ask him a question about his self-proclaimed Jeffersonian-Republican affiliation and how he reconciles that ideology with all of the votes he's cast to increase or maintain spending on a wide range of programs.  He immediately reached inside his jacket for the Freedomworks Score Card I'd handed him and proceeded to go down the list to explain why he voted for each one.  After hearing his responses, I am personally not satisfied with the idea that there isn't anyone else out there to better represent the voters of CD-7, and here's why.  Each of the reasons he gave for a vote he'd cast were  boiled down to the fact that he'd listened to another Congressman or colleague that he trusted.  

Okay, I guess we all might run our options by another person for their opinion, but ultimately the choice we make is our responsibility.  Same with a vote that's cast; shouldn't the Congressman or Congresswoman be required to stand on his or her own to answer for the consequences?  I mean, have they forgotten the magnitude of their actions and the fact that they are spending our children's and grand children's money?  I think accountability is key to the relationship between a congresscritter and his or her constituents and I for one will not let up until I am heard.  




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is it Murphy's Law to Support Joe Straus?

"If you aren't willing to fight for what you believe, do not cry about what you will lose."
I have no idea who this quote is from, but I love it.  I think it's fitting of the upcoming Speaker's race for the Texas House.  What do I mean?  I mean that if you aren't willing to fight for a new, conservative Speaker of the House, then don't cry about what you will lose.  What will we lose?  The conservative stronghold that we have maintained here in Texas, despite the current speaker's liberal influence.


Let's introduce the players, shall we?  We have incumbent Joe Straus, with known ties to Democrats and a history of stalling conservative legislation.  We now thankfully also have Scott Turner, a staunch conservative who has vowed to his family and his supporters to see this race through to the bitter end.   Not only that, he has promised to make the vote for speaker an 'on the record' vote for all of the state representatives so that their constituents can see.  No more closed door, back room deals on Speaker of the House.

This race also has a history of pitting conservative activists against each other about whether or not to even 'pick this fight'.  Some say it's not worth the time and energy to help one candidate for speaker over another.  Some say that it doesn't matter who the speaker is, followed by those who say that we're wasting our time because our voice won't be heard with our representatives on this issue.  I used to be in one or a few of those camps, but I've changed my mind, and I hope after reading this, you might decide to get involved, too.

What I hear you saying is, how can we make a difference in this particular race, seeing as how it's perceived as such inside baseball, if you will.  Here's my answer: talk to your representatives.  Call their offices and chat with them about making Scott Turner their choice for Speaker.  Send them a note via e-mail or snail mail asking them to vote for Scott Turner.  Better yet, find out when they might be having a town hall meeting and show up to let them know how important their choice is for Speaker and how much you would like for them to vote for Scott Turner.  

Not being one to ask others to do something I wouldn't do, I thought I'd start us off with a town hall that one of the state representatives was holding here in Houston, Texas.  State representative Jim Murphy hosted a town hall this past weekend to a crowd of about seventy-five people.  He took us through the past session and what he sees on the horizon for the upcoming 84th legislative session, but that's another blog for another day.

Lo and behold, it was time for the question and answer session.  Oooh, pick me!  Pick me!  I raised my hand and after a few questions, he got to me.  With video camera rolling, I asked him about the speaker's race.  I wanted to know if I could get a commitment from him on whether or not he would be supporting Scott Turner for Speaker of the House.  He did the typical political song and dance and never really committed to make a decision.  You can watch the video here.  

So, that wasn't a total loss.  This just proves my point that we need to keep the pressure on our representatives to ensure that Scott Turner is elected our new Speaker of the House.  As Ronald Reagan once said, "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Turner vs. Straus: Who Will Emerge Victorious?

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.


The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."  -Teddy Roosevelt 

This quote provides an appropriate introduction to the beginning of the Texas House Speaker's race; Scott Turner vs. Joe Straus, a race that's actually been a long time coming.  This speaker's race is one with a REAL flesh and blood opponent to Strauss, not a ghost of a man or men who plan to withdraw at the last moment so that we the people of Texas feel that there has been some valiant effort put forth on the part of the so called opponent.  A tactic that's been tried before so as to keep the status quo so that the same house speaker remains in place.

Who may make it a different race this time, you ask?  Scott Turner, that's who.  You're saying, who?  SCOTT TURNER!  A little background on Scott from his website, "Representative Scott Turner, a businessman, national motivational speaker and former NFL player, was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in November 2012.  He represents House District 33 which encompasses all of Rockwall County and portions of Collin County in North Texas."

The mood is different with this speakers race, and I'll tell you why.  As of the most recent Texas Republican Convention held in June, the delegates adopted a new party platform with this change under the section of "Election Integrity" as it pertains to the Speaker of the House Race: "We support an amendment to the Texas Constitution to make the Texas Speaker of the House a statewide election."  Translation: the activists in Texas have had enough of Speaker Strauss and his games when it comes to passing any conservative legislation AND his bullying tactics when it comes to committee chair selections.

Not only has this gained attention from news and media outlets statewide, it's gaining national attention.  Freedomworks, led by President Matt Kibbe have decided it's time to get involved.  From their announcement of their endorsement of Scott for Speaker of the House, "When I met Scott last month he blew me away with his passion for conservative principles, and with his passion for the state of Texas. I don't say this lightly - Scott is the real deal.  But  it’s his leadership that impresses me most. Scott is the type of guy that will bring Texas together. He will unite conservatives against Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in Texas, and keep this state free. Scott will keep Texas red!"-Matt Kibbe  Freedomworks even has a webpage set up for activists to visit and take action at standwithturner.com.

After all, that's the point, right?  Texas is a conservative state and has been a conservative state for quite a while and as long as we keep electing conservatives to represent us, we will remain a 'red' state.  However, there are groups out there, like Battleground Texas and others who aren't content to let Texas go to the conservatives who have called it home for the past few decades.  That's one of the many reasons why this race for Speaker is so important.  Joe Straus has known ties to Democrats.  How else can you explain why he was elected Speaker by 65 Democrats and only 11 Republicans?

Texas is one of the last bastions of conservatism and the Democrats know this.  They are coming after us hard and fast and unless we hold the line by keeping conservatives elected to the state legislature AND make sure we only pass conservative legislation, the Democrats will have their way here.  To do both of those things, we have to crown a new Speaker.  The Speaker has to be someone who isn't going to kill legislation by letting it die in Calendars committee by putting if off to a later date or who isn't going to fall back on the good ole boy system of appointing his buddies, or should I say, cronies to powerful committee positions.  Scott Turner is that man.  He is a man of integrity, he stands on his own; he doesn't owe anyone anything. Like the "man in the arena", he'll strive valiantly for a greater Texas.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Katy ISD: Got Debt?

There are many issues that we encounter and deal with as a community on a local, city, state, and a national level.  Some are more controversial than others, obviously.  There is one issue that can tear apart an education community or school district faster than any of these other issues; a school bond proposal.  Want to make it even more divisive?  Throw in a new football stadium proposal in the bond proposal.  Look. Out.


The Katy ISD bond is no different.  And sadly, it's a statewide epidemic.

However, even the folks that support the bond are coming up short on their logic, seemingly failing to consider what the passage of this bond would do to the local and state economies.  The debt of Texas' cities is comparable to California's cities, even to that of bankrupt Detroit.  Even Breitbart has picked up on it in this article titled, Texas Cities Should Learn from Bankrupt, Spendthrift Detroit.  Jess Fields said, "Texans must work to ensure that our localities do not rack up enormous debt and waste money on pet projects we cannot afford. Taxpayers should demand that local governments spend money on priorities, like good public safety and sound infrastructure."

On the other side, the Katy LiberTea group led the fight in 2013 and helped defeat an earlier bond.  Their desire to see the bond voted down is no different this time around.  Cyndi Lawrence, president of Katy LiberTea has this to say about the state of affairs in the Katy Independent School District: "We acknowledge the fact that Katy ISD is a highly desired community. We need to look at a package that addresses classroom space for our kids and that is fiscally responsible. This community has expanded so much because it is a great area to live, but we want it to remain that way. We do not want our community to be in such a large amount of debt.  This bond reminds me of Bills that come through the U.S. House, the INTENTION is always good, but somehow tons of pork gets added and then the intention of the Bill ends up lost.  We need to be more transparent and fiscally responsible when preparing a bond.  There has been way to much “fluff” money added to this current bond package. This bond should only be addressing growth while respecting the community’s hard earned tax payer dollars. According to debt at a glance, for school districts of similar size in Texas, Katy ISD ranks the 5th highest in debt with the amount of $1,234,844,928.  The cost per student is $19,172."

Cyndi continues: "The community has already voted down the 2013 $99,000,000 bond because most felt like the school district was proposing to spend too much money on things that are not necessities. Here we are a year later, and not only did they NOT listen to the community’s concerns, but they added 700 MILLION more dollars to the bond and MORE “fluff.” This is not representative of what the community wants and what is best for our children. They need to consider our concerns and address the growth needs in a fiscally responsible manner. Our community and our children will be paying this debt off for years to come."

Most people think that conservative groups are always railing against any sort of bond referendum or proposal.  That's simply not true!  To back that up, I thought it would be interesting  to include some quotes from some folks who would like to remain anonymous.  The first person comments concerning the stadium that has been injected into the bond:
"Why is the stadium being forced into a bond that is primarily for education and facilities pertaining to education? Why is it not on its own ticket?"
"The stadium did not make the vote last year and there has been a whole year to prepare for a better solution. Why has Katy ISD not researched and secured corporate sponsors, stadium naming rights, and etc… They could sell seat options, raise ticket prices, and paid parking. There are many ways that this could have been sold to the voters without shoving it down our throats in a bond that includes mass much needed educational components. That's just dirty and unethical no matter what side your on."
"Sometimes you have to pay to play!"
Some people are not even talking about the stadium.  Here's one taxpayer who is concerned about whether or not Katy ISD already has the money on hand to spend without passing the bond: 
"On the KISD Bond issue, I have a house that last year was valued at $92,500 - KISD taxes $1415. This year the same house value was upped to $149,000 - KISD taxes $2279. This appears to me to be a little more than $10-$20 per year. And it's a rental with no exemptions. So, if my KISD taxes are going up $864 per year, I guess that I am accounting for the $10 increase for 86 houses. They should not need any bonds approved inasmuch as the increase in valuations more than makes up for the bonds they want to issue."
Here's more from another concerned citizen about the tax rate:
"KISD tax rate is 1.5266% (1.1266 M&O and 0.400 I&S). This is before the planned tax rate increase in the proposed bond. This current rate is already higher than over 93% of all other school districts in TX and even higher than CFISD. Not sure how that is possible with the behemoth of a Berry Center cost already included in CFISD M&O and I&S rates. Good news is it is still lower than Allen ISD but they already have their 60MM stadium. Well it's really even more than the 60MM when you add the costs they are currently incurring to repair all the cracked concrete in it."

Unfortunately, as is always the case with school bond debates, those presenting rationale, financial reasons to oppose the bond will be labeled “anti-children.” 
These are real concerns from real people.  They are legitimate concerns, too.  None that can just be explained away by the pro-bond side as 'ignorant' or uneducated.  If you live in Katy ISD, please consider a 'no' vote on this bond.  It's time that we stop loving our children to debt.