The Case For Change

Grassroots activists across Texas are upset with Joe Straus because he’s been a liberal Speaker of the Texas House and facilitated far too much legislative success for an outnumbered and waning Texas Democrat Party – and they are right.  But for me, it’s much closer to home.  As my State Representative since 2005, he’s not only been a poor Republican standard bearer from his position of significant statewide influence, but he’s been a terrible State Representative serving a conservative District in Northeastern Bexar County.

When the San Antonio Express News recently endorsed him for re-election, they reasoned that “His constituents benefit significantly by having the speaker represent their district.”  They then listed precisely zero examples.  If the local print media has a hard time providing examples where his tenure had benefitted San Antonians, imagine how hard it is for conservative Republicans to see the benefit.

In District 121, we often joke about being in “occupied territory”, and “suffering under an oppressive Castro regime” – except it isn’t funny.  Our “small town mayor” Julian Castro has big dreams, and as conservatives nationwide well know, he’s being pitched as the next Barack Obama.  As Mayor Castro implements sweeping progressive changes and builds a Chicago style political incubator, once again we see Joe Straus on the sidelines doing precisely nothing.

Protected from general election challenges in a significantly Republican district, Joe Straus consistently fails to advocate and advance a more conservative vision for his constituents and the other residents of San Antonio and surrounding communities.  The reason why isn’t too difficult to discern when you examine his legislative record in the State House. 

According to a recent analysis, “Texas Democrats Are Surprisingly Successful In Austin”, Democrats are increasingly winning when it comes to legislative success in Austin:

“How can Democrats who are the substantial minority … get so many bills passed? … One explanation would be Democrat-friendly leadership within the House. As shown in the graph, only 39% of the bills coming out of the Senate were Democrat-written or co-written, but 51% of the laws sent to the governor’s desk from the House were Democrat-written or co-written. This means the MINORITY party in the House, outnumbered by nearly 2-1, was the MAJORITY when it came to laws passed. How can this be? There is one probable answer: Speaker of the House Joe Straus.

Even national anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist has observed that Straus is “the brakes now keeping TX from being fully Reaganite.”

At the beginning of the past two legislative sessions there have been passionate and widely supported – but spectacularly unsuccessful challenges to his grip on the Speaker’s gavel.  For many grassroots activists, the focus has already turned to unseating him as Speaker at the beginning of next session in January of 2014.

However, a reality check is needed.  Do you think the majority of the House is going to side with the conservatives if it means NOBODY will be able to put the brakes on significant conservative reforms in the next session?  It is quite clear that the liberals and moderates will need Joe Straus EVEN MORE than he needs them next session.  THEY will need to hide behind him to stall and derail the conservative reforms that are coming.

But there is hope. 

As a veteran, small business owner, and true conservative, I’m proud to challenge Joe Straus in the Republican Primary on March 4th.  Beating him in the Primary will end the concern about him remaining Speaker once and for all.

I’m proud to be the candidate of gun rights in this race.  With scandals like Fast and Furious, and states banning and requiring registration of more and more firearms, Texans should be deeply concerned. The Legislature MUST be a firewall between us and the Federal Government.  I’m proud to have earned an “A” rating from the NRA, and the endorsement of American Gun Rights.

Even more telling was a recent letter from the National Association for Gun Rights that had this to say:  “Under Straus’s leadership as Speaker of the House, countless pro-gun bills were sent to committees filled with his radical anti-gun allies where they would be sure to never see the light of day.”  Our Second Amendment is too precious to be subject to Joe Straus’ political games in Austin. Texans must be confident in the knowledge that their right to keep and bear arms is unbreakable, as the Founders intended.

I’m proud to be the candidate of fiscal responsibility in this race.  When we stack our local, county, and school district debt on top of our state debt, we actually owe more per person in Texas than they do in California or New York – not exactly reassuring, and definitely not “fiscally conservative.”  Sure, we’re flush with oil & gas tax revenues NOW, but the responsible thing to do in boom years is to pay down your debts and prepare for future contingencies.  Under Joe Straus, we’ve done neither.  The spending spree is unprecedented as the Wall Street Journal opined, “Texas Goes Sacramento: Republicans spend their energy gusher, and then some.”

I’m proud to be the pro-life candidate in this race.  As a tireless advocate of protecting life until natural death, I understand how important it is to continually articulate the moral, ethical, philosophical, and scientific arguments behind the importance of protecting life.  Joe Straus has told local GOP leaders that he’s “moderate, and pro-choice” on the issue – before he was Speaker – and shies from the labels, considering it “campaign fodder”.  More recently, he’s likened advancing conservative, pro-life legislation as “throwing an unnecessary grenade” onto the House floor.  Not exactly the words of a “pro-life champion,” let alone a pro-life vote in the legislature.

I’m proud to be the pro-immigration reform candidate in this race.  After visiting with Paul Ryan in January, Joe Straus proclaimed that he was “positive and optimistic” about the immigration reform plan we now understand to be just another dressed up version of amnesty.  He has also criticized State level attempts to address illegal immigration problems as not “serious and effective”.  I realize that Texans overwhelmingly want solutions.  Ending Sanctuary Cities, ending college tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants, and ending the countless other “magnets” that draw immigrants here illegally are not only serious and effective, but they are absolutely necessary.

There are countless reasons to vote for me in the March 4th Primary, but my reason for running is really quite simple. Like you, I’m concerned about where Texas will be 10, 20, or 30 years from now.  The conservative values we hold dear are under attack daily and Joe Straus continues to enable those who would seek to dismantle the very pillars of what makes Texas so great.  The evidence is plenty — this past session my opponent has ignored serious issues like out-of-control spending, refused to end ever-increasing taxpayer subsidies to illegal immigrants, failed to protect our small businesses from excessive regulations and burdensome taxes, and enabled a “money is the only answer” edu-crat establishment that refuses to prioritize dollars into our classrooms.

Ultimately I’m running because when I go door to door I hear citizens concerned about Texas and they want passionate leadership willing to stand on principle.  As Speaker of the House, Joe Straus rarely casts votes, and therefore you have to look deeper into the mechanics of the “sausage making” to see the imprint he has made and the conservative reforms he has derailed.  But this past session, we got a very clear window into his priorities — he only cast two votes last session and both were to spend billions of your taxpayer dollars. His philosophy of “money solves all problems” does not align with the priorities of District 121.

On March 4th, I humbly ask for your support in the Republican Primary.

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