In the last edition of TCR (Volume XIV Number 2 - January 21, 2015), Editor-in-Chief Gary Polland laid out the choices facing the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) as they seek to fill the office of Texas GOP Chairman being vacated by exiting Chairman Steve Munisteri. A line in that article - "Jared states that he will bring the team the greatest conservative political wins in the state to build on Chairman Munisteri's great record of accomplishment." - was lost in translation leading some to misinterpret the sentence to mean that Jared Woodfill would replace Munisteri's current RPT team with a completely new one.
The fact of the matter is that Mr. Polland filed that article on his iPhone in the Panama Canal in order to provide his readers with his perspective on the state chairman's race, which is being actively considered by the SREC in advance of their impending vote. What Mr. Polland meant to say (before autocorrect took over) is that Jared (Woodfill) states he will bring the Republican team (as in we Texas Republicans - all of us) the greatest conservative political wins in the state to build on Chairman Munisteri's great record of accomplishment. Neither Woodfill nor Polland (paraphrasing Woodfill) were suggesting wholesale changes to the Munisteri team, which has had an exemplary record of success. We at TCR acknowledge that great leaders need talented staffs who can implement the vision of their leaders and we recognize that Munisteri's success as Chairman is due in no small part to the team he has assembled during his tenure.
We believe that for those who wish to continue and build on Munisteri's success, there can be no other choice than Jared Woodfill; because he has the experience and record of success as Chairman in Harris County that most closely resembles that of Steve Munisteri and all that he has accomplished across the state.
A New Day In Texas
The headliners for the GOP ticket in 2014 - Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick - wasted no time after taking office last month to start fulfilling promises made on the campaign trail. In just a few short weeks, the duo in their respective roles as Governor and Lieutenant Governor, have taken positions on the front lines of the fight to protect taxpayers and the conservative Texas values the majority of us hold.
Just this week, Governor Abbott took the national stage on Fox News Sunday and stood firm in his opposition to the badly flawed Common Core curriculum. His performance on that issue as well as his statement that he would reject any budget that did not cut taxes for businesses is both a good omen for future policy and a clear message to the Texas Legislature that he plans to fulfill the mandate given to him and Lieutenant Governor in last November's election.
Lieutenant Governor Patrick is also off to a stellar start in living up to his campaign promises, which is no easy feat when attempting to lead 31 powerful political personalities from across the state. One of his first victories was the defeat of the 2/3rds rule that required 21 votes to bring up a bill for a vote, which was replaced by a 3/5ths requirement lowering the threshold to just 19 votes. Those two votes might seem insignificant, until considered in the context that there are 20 Republican senators.
This victory for Patrick demonstrated both bold leadership but also the ability to build a consensus and to gain compromise - traits critical to success as Lieutenant Governor. Patrick also held strong on his promise to give Republicans a majority of the committee chairmanships by appointing 12 Republicans and just 2 Democrats as chairs of Senate Committees. Finally, in a nod to the activists who helped elect him, Patrick established his Lieutenant Governor's Grassroots Advisory Board, which includes Kingwood Tea Party activist Robin Lennon.
The leadership of Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick during these first few weeks of their new administrations should give Texans strong hope for the future of Texas. As Patrick said in his inaugural address, "It's a new day in Texas." That it is, sir. That it is.
Houston Equal Rights Ordinance Fight Continues
On January 20th, the same day that Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick were sworn into office, the battle over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance made its way into the 152nd District Court, which is presided over by Judge Robert Schaffer, a Democrat. The suit was brought by petition organizers, including former Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill and Houston Area Pastor Council Executive Director Dave Welch, after City Secretary Anna Russell first certified that there were sufficient signatures to compel a referendum, but then reversed herself on orders by then City Attorney David Feldman, who has since resigned.
Even though petition organizers submitted more than 55,000 signatures - well in excess of the approximately 17,000 required - the Annise Parker administration has since "disqualified" all but 3900 of those. Included in the more than 50,000 disqualified signatures is that of Houston City Council Member Oliver Pennington, who first voted against the ordinance on Houston City Council and then signed the petition against it. Pennington was called by the plaintiffs as a witness and testified in open court last Thursday, January 29th. Pennington was first questioned by plaintiffs' attorney Andy Taylor and then cross-examined by the defense team of lawyers. Despite the fact that he had signed the petition page in two different places, the city's lawyers contested the validity of Pennington's signature, saying that it should have been signed a third time.
Houstonians should be thankful for the leadership of men like Jared Woodfill, Council Member Oliver Pennington, Dave Welch and Pastor Steve Riggle who have all stuck their necks out to defeat bad public policy and promote good conservative values. This case should be decided within a week; hopefully the plaintiffs will prevail and the people of Houston will be allowed to vote on this bad ordinance in November.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Judges and Party Affiliation - Should the political affiliation of Texas judges be kept off the ballot?
Bill King, author of Unapologetically Moderate. Is there a true middle when it comes to American politics?
The current show as well as past shows are available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his sixteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last fourteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 12 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 15th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.