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.