It is an irrefutable fact those who seek to disenfranchise and abrogate our liberties and attainments, our political victories and strides are well organized and steadfast. Bearing this in mind, it is our duty to be not only just as coordinated in our efforts but to also be proactive.
When candidates come campaigning for our votes we must be collectively ready to present them with a platform that best benefit our community. In the words of Frederick Douglas power concedes nothing without demand. The Texas Publishers Association (TPA) has made it clear we will not be endorsing any candidate in the upcoming statewide elections that did not attend our candidate screening.
For the office of Lieutenant Governor TPA endorses Leticia Van De Putte. Unlike her Tea Party opponent Dan Patrick, Van De Putte is committed to ensuring all children regardless of their economic status or zip code in the state of Texas receive a quality education and the funding and resources are available to realize this. As Lieutenant Governor she pledges to:
- Restore funding for full day learning for Pre-K students as opposed to 3 hours a day
- Limit the class size for children grades K-4
- Invest the necessary funding in Texas’ public schools, restoring the 2011 Legislature cuts
- Remove the standardized testing pay based on performance system allowing teachers to utilize their creativity and skills to teach
- Allow for more involvement of parents and community members in control of their neighborhood schools
Sen. Patrick’s record has already proven he is not concerned with educating children in our public education school system. In 2011 he was among those who voted to cut $5.4 billion in public education funds and even opposed the use of the state’s Rainy Day Fund to offset cuts. In 2013 when he had the opportunity to restore the cuts not only did he vote against it but composed legislation to limit state appropriations and require any future state surplus funds to go toward property tax relief instead of education.
In addition he proposed exempting certain residences from property taxes, reducing public education revenue and filed “mandate relief” legislation making it easier to lay off employees, reduce teachers’ salaries and higher fewer teachers by increasing class sizes.
For the State Comptroller’s Office TPA endorses Mike Collier who if elected will be the first CPA in history to hold the state’s top accountant position. At the top of his agenda is to make property taxes fair for all homeowners. Since 1997 the property tax appraisal law has unfairly allowed for large companies to drive down the market value of their properties causing homeowners to foot the bill.
In 2013 SB 1342 was presented to correct this flaw however Collier’s opponent Sen. Glen Hegar along with his powerful campaign contributing group of lawyers and tax consultants stalled the legislation killing it upon arrival to the Senate.
TPA endorses Steve Brown for Texas Railroad Commissioner who is the only African-American running for statewide office. Until now the Railroad Commissioner has always come from the ranks of the oil and gas industry, including Brown’s opponent Ryan Sitton who boasts of his fifteen years of experience in the oil and gas and petrochemical industry. But what to him seems like a selling point is in fact to us concern for pause.
As someone so intricately involved with the oil and gas industry it is foreseeable the Railroad Commission will be nothing more than an extension of the oil and gas lobby. As an outsider of the industry Brown represents a breath of fresh air, someone who can bring forth a new and unbiased commission that will put the needs of the citizens before the industry. He has already pledged to protect the interests of all Texans as well as the environment.
For Attorney General TPA endorses Sam Houston, a Houston based attorney that has been practicing civil law at the state and federal level for 26 years. When elected to Attorney General he has vowed to immediately overturn the AG ruling that currently prevents Texans from learning if hazardous chemicals are stored near them.
Up until June of this year Texans had the right to know if hazardous materials were being stored near them. But Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled that to release such information jeopardized homeland-security laws.
Houston has shown himself to be a gentleman with integrity and an evenhanded temperament unlike his contender Sen. Ken Paxton who has a swirl of ethical issues surrounding him including being fined by the State Securities Board. Paxton alleges to be in favor of transparency.
“My goal will be to have a transparent government and to follow the law”, Paxton claimed. However, his actions and previous record contradict him.
Dating back to 2006 Paxton has on more than one occasion neglected to disclose his involvement in or partnering with businesses as required. In one of the instances he claimed ignorance of the law, a reason in our eyes is no excuse. But rather Paxton’s actions were deliberate or unintentional is not only reason for concern.
Someone who is aspiring to the position of the state’s top attorney should at the very least be knowledgeable of the law.