Help move Diana Maldonado up the list of State Senator Kirk Watson’s Monopoly Buster contest. Drop everything and vote for Diana Maldonado.
Maldonado was running 4th out of 28, but in the past two days the other Representatives have been working hard. You will need to give up your email address to vote, but Sen. Watson assures us these addresses will be shared only with Maldonado. The whole point is to show off the great organization and grass roots support of the Maldonado campaign. Show your support and start getting involved in Maldonado’s re-election campaign in any way you can.
Via Texas LSG, Homeowner Insurance Rates Continue to Rise [PDF]. And there is no oversight.
State Farm has announced that they will raise homeowner insurance rates by 4.5 percent in May. This comes on the heels of an 8.8 percent increase in October. 1 Texas homeowners already pay the second highest insurance premiums in the country; such a steep rate increase hurts Texas homeowners financially as they navigate through the worst recession in a generation.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Texas homeowners have been charged excessive premiums. In November, State Farm was ordered to repay its customers $310 million for overcharging homeowners for coverage dating back to 2003.2 This sum was actually $700 million less than what consumer advocates and the state’s Public Insurance Counsel recommended.
Since no legislation that gave such regulatory power to the Department of Insurance passed, insurance companies are free to continue raising rates. The Commissioner has been left only with the ability to write a disapproving letter to companies.
I’m sure a disapproving letter really scares an insurance corporation like State Farm. State Rep!? Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock) says it’s time for “meaningful” reform.
“Forcing rate increase after rate increase on Texas homeowners is unacceptable and it is past time for the legislature to reverse course on this loophole that became law in 2003,” Rep. Maldonado said. “Hard working Texans deserve a level of stability and accountability in this volatile economy. Texas homeowners already pay the second highest insurance premiums in the nation, and I will work to eliminate this loophole to ensure that Texas homeowners are treated fairly and that insurance agencies are not allowed to continue unjustly raising rates in Texas.”
It’s doubtful either of her potential “conservative” opponents care much fore regulating the insurance corporations, and helping hardworking home owners.
BOR had this to say, State Farm Insurance to Raise Insurance Rates on Homeowners, Insurance Commission Unable to Stop:
These rate hikes require no prior approval of any kind. It might be important to mention, the Texas Insurance Commissioner is also appointed, not elected. This means the only person who can reprimand the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner, Mike Geeslin, is Rick Perry. Geeslin, has served as the Commissioner since 2005.
If Texas have to wait for Gov. Perry to help them in their fight against insurance corporations that help will never come. This means, at the current time, there is no regulation of homeowners insurance in Texas.
In HD-20 of the three viable candidates – Dr. Charles Schwertner, Milton Rister, and Stephen Thomas – Schwertner was the only one who didn’t receive large contributions from GOP Sugar Daddy Bob Perry. He self-financed his campaign. And for that reason he was probably the best of the bunch. At least he’s not beholden to a fat cat donor or special interest.
In HD-52, the race to see who will face incumbent Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock), it has come down to The “‘Ol Fart” vs. The “Young Whippersnapper”.
Round Rock Democrat Diana Maldonado is going to have to wait a little while longer to see who her Republican opponent is going to be in the House District 52 race.
With all GOP primary votes counted by 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, John Gordon and Larry Gonzales are headed for an April 13 runoff.
Throughout the primary campaign [John] Gordon, 63, touted his long history of involvement with Williamson County and the Republican Party. On Tuesday night he said voters recognized that experience and it paid of for him at the ballot box.
[Larry] Gonzales, 39, is a Round Rock resident and owner of Lazarus Graphics. He’s making his first run at elected office but, like Gordon, has previously worked as a behind-the scenes political foot soldier.
Other than the age difference between the two candidates this race sets up a lot like the run off in 2008. Gordon, like Dee Hobbs in 2008, is a long time Williamson County resident with deep roots here. He is also largely self-funding his campaign like Schwertner. Gonzales, like Bryan Daniel, is the slick newcomer to the county who is favored by the statewide money – with ties to the Perry’s, Bob and Rick, and the deposed Craddick faction in the Texas House.
According to the eight day out reports, home builder and right-wing sugar daddy Bob Perry is making his presence known, contributing a total of $95,000 to his candidates in two local House GOP primary races. The largest single political donor in Texas tapped Larry Gonzales and Milton Rister for largess as they seek the Republican nominations for House districts 52 and 20.
In HD-52 it looks like a two candidate race between Larry Gonzales and John Gordon. Gonzales in the current filing raised over $83,000, $70,000 of that from Bob Perry ($40,000) and his wife Doylene ($30,000). Gordon is largely self-financing his campaign and spent just shy of $48,000 over the last filing period. The two other candidates, Alyssa Eacono (raised $7,000/spent $16,000) and Stephen Casey (raised $1,200/spent $2,300), are lagging behind in the money race.
In HD-20 there are three candidates spending and raising significant money – Milton Rister, Dr. Charles Schwertner, and Stephen Thomas.
Milton Rister raised just over $46,000 this filing period. Perry gave him $25,000 of that. Also giving to Rister were former GOP candidate for Governor Clayton Williams ($10,000), James Leininger ($2,500), and a variety of Oil interests – KOCHPAC ($1,000), Conoco Phillips ($1,500), and Chevron ($1,000).
AAS reports on HD-20 and that Dr. Charles Schwertner spent $123,000 on his campaign in the last month.
Charles Schwertner dished out more than $123,000 from Jan. 22 to Feb. 20, according to campaign finance reports.
The next highest spender, Milton Rister, spent about $34,000 in the same period.
Another candidate, Stephen Thomas, listed expenditures of about $32,000.
Patsy Williams, the final Republican in the race, had about $2,200 in expenses
This race is still likely to come down to a runoff. The question is, which two will make it?
[UPDATE]: Later this week it was reported that Stephen Thomas had received $25,000 from Bob Perry, which is the exact amount that Milton Rister received from Perry. Thomas was also formerly the head of the now defunct TRCC, aka the home builder protection agency, that was setup to protect builders like Perry from lawsuits when they built sub-standard homes.
Often when I peruse a write up of the like-minded candidates lined up against state Rep. Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock) it reminds of how fortunate we are to have her representing us. Case in point, House candidates take the podium. It’s likely that race will come down to a runoff. Best bet at this time would be that it’ll likely come down to the two best funded. One, a local activist and a “Godfather” of the WCGOP, is largely self-funding his campaign. The other is largely unknown, like the candidate Maldonado defeated last time; but favored by the Texas GOP and corporate interests that will be able to bankroll a fall campaign.
Many voters in District 52 can still remember the more than a decade of tone deaf, and sometimes embarrassing (see Krusee charged with drunken driving [AAS, 5/01/2008] ), GOP representation we endured. The party whose plan for transportation was to have the government take away Eastern Williamson County farmland, (some of the most fertile in our country), owned for generations by local families, and give it to corporations, foreign and domestic, in order for them to profit from ever-increasing tolls.
Voters in District 52 got wise, electing Rep. Diana Maldonado, who in her first term worked hard and earned the respect of voters; giving them no reason to revert back to the previous representation that favored powerful corporate interests. Maldonado has shown that good policy can be good for business too. The desperation of the local GOP, and those powerful moneyed interests, to unseat Maldonado is palpable, often leading to screeds of misinformation.
Democrats in Williamson County know how to fight back as evidenced by this retort in the RRL, Sweep the Republicans out.
The difference in the candidates could not be more striking. Though in the minority in the House, Maldonado was very effective in her first term and was named Freshman of the Year by the non-partisan Legislative Study group.
Hard work, intelligence, an ability to work across party lines, and an emphasis on education and infrastructure mark Maldonado’s first term. Voters in District 52 have been well served by this up-and-coming leader.
The sloganeering of Hansen aside, we have serious issues that must be addressed besides 2011 redistricting. None of the Republicans in the primary running for their party’s nomination to go up against Rep. Maldonado are willing to fight for us to improve education, rebuild our infrastructure, and care for our children and elderly.
The message the voters in Massachusetts sent to incumbents doesn’t appear to have reached the ears of Republicans in Texas. Every incumbent Republican on the November ballot will continue to ignore voters with impunity unless we sweep them out of office.
This state has been run by the Republicans for too long. Our misery endures on their watch. The national Republican Party may have a brief breath of life, thanks to Scott Brown, but here in Texas it is the same gray face of wealth and privilege.
One party in Texas knows that you pay more and work harder for less. Oppose the Republican incumbents and their wads of lobbyist cash, and vote Democratic in November.
It’s key to remember that the challenges facing Texas and Williamson County today were brought about by the Texas and local GOP who have been in charge. Diana Maldonado has begun to show the type of leadership we need in our district in the Texas Legislature. No matter which GOP candidate emerges from the primary, none of them can replace what Maldonado has done and will continue to do for District 52.
Now is not the time to go back to the failed policies of the past.
Via Williamson County for Bill White, they are hosting a “Kick Off” event:
Williamson County For Bill White Kick off WITH MAYOR BILL WHITE!!
Please join State Representative Diana Maldonado as she hosts Mayor Bill White for the Williamson County for Bill White Campaign Kickoff!
Date: Saturday, February 6, 2010
Time: 10:30am – 1:00pm
Location: Williamson County Democrats Office, 110 North Interstate 35, Suite 170, Round Rock [MAP]
Be sure and RSVP at the Williamson County for Bill White Facebook page.
WCGOP residency fight in HD-52 primary will continue, exactly when no one knows, Residency dispute headed for jury trial.
Gordon and attorney Roy Minton, who is defending [Alyssa] Eacono in the lawsuit Gordon filed earlier this month, each confirmed Thursday that the third and possibly final round in this GOP slugfest will be played out in front of a jury.
“We decided we had to go to a jury trial,” Gordon said, recalling the unfavorable ruling he received Jan. 19 from visiting District Court Judge James Clawson. “We’d rather stand our chances in front of a jury of citizens.”
Gordon and Minton each said that due to scheduling and time needed for preparation, the case might not go to trial until after the primary has already been held.
How all this will affect primary election results remains to be seen.
Grits has a wrap-up of Friday’s Forensic Sciences Commission in Harlingen where Williamson County DA continued his delaying tactics in the Willingham case.
That was really quite a display. I’ll give him this. John Bradley came into Harlingen with an agenda; he was on his A-game when other commissioners were back on their heels and didn’t know what to expect; and as a result he got what he wanted out of the meeting: Delay discussing anything substantive about flawed forensic science and a new “process” in which he can bury the Willingham case in committee until after the November election.
It was a pretty brazen performance, but judging by minimalist MSM media coverage, the Williamson County DA clearly made a good bet that – by moving the meeting to the Rio Grande Valley on a Friday and waiting to produce the rules until the last minute – he would get away with such bold hectoring of the commission. It’s not a great start to Bradley’s relationship with his fellow commissioners, but he’s obviously not there to make friends. He’s there to delay the commission’s work and to impede the Willingham investigation by hook or by crook. And he’s succeeding.
And last Rep. John Carter is still running around taking credit for projects he voted against. From an LTE from The Cameron Herald.
Congressman John Carter ought to be ashamed of himself. He showed up in Rockdale last week brandishing one of those larger-than-life “checks” from the federal government, as if he personally made sure struggling and laid off Alcoa workers would be able to get the jobs training they need.
The funny thing is, Rep. Carter voted against the legislation that authorized the $2.5 million that funds the jobs package for our area. He actively campaigned against it and now the hypocrite wants to take credit for legislation he voted against.
Via the RRL, Judge lifts temporary order during candidate’s hearing.
On Tuesday visiting District Court Judge James Clawson from Bell County lifted the temporary order he’d set in place last Thursday. The judge’s order had barred Williamson County Republican Party Chair-man Bill Fairbrother from ordering primary election ballots until the question of Eacono’s residency had been addressed in court.
The judge’s ruling allows Fairbrother – and his Democratic Party counterpart, Richard Torres – to work with Williamson County Elections Administrator Rick Barron in preparing ballots.
On Tuesday, Barron testified that contrary to popular opinion, the lawsuit Gordon filed earlier this month affects the Democratic primary as well as the Republican primary.
“We are waiting on this ruling right now. We can’t lock down the ballots for either party until this is resolved,” Barron testified, noting the early voting period is Feb. 16-26 and Jan. 15 would have been the first day he could have begun sending absentee ballots to military personnel overseas in advance of the March 2 primaries.
“Both [Republican and Democratic] data bases are together,” he later explained, outside the courtroom. “We put everything into one data base. It’s the only way to do it, really.” [Emphasis added].
Next step is a hearing, or possibly a “full trial” on February 4th.
Heard at a recent GOP Candidate Forum:
When asked what the biggest challenge is for the criminal justice system in Texas, the answers varied somewhat. Mr. Casey cited illegal immigration. Ms. Eacono believes that inmates in Texas prisons get too many privileges such as “cable television and three warm meals.” She advocates cutting back on these things to save money. Mr. Gonzales said that he believes cost is the biggest challenge and that many in the prisons are mentally ill. Mr. Gordon thinks that more communities should be involved as volunteers to better the system. Both Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Casey said that they had personally been involved in prison ministries and advocated for more people to get involved with volunteering as well.
While no taxpayer wants prison life to be “easy”, I’m not sure having prisons in Texas filled with hungry and bored prisoners is a good solution. Blaming immigrants makes little sense. And while prison ministry may be rewarding it’s unlikely “community volunteers” are a solution. Wow!! These candidates are completely irrational and out of touch on this issue. As has been the case for quite some time, even the right wing think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation(TPPF) has been on board with rational solutions for Texas’ corrections budget.
Here’s the latest Grits post on the issue, Might 2011 budget crunch bring TX prison closures?
This morning I stopped in for a panel discussion sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative Austin-based think tank, on the topic of “Corrections Solutions for a Tight Budget” at their big annual conference, and was pleased to hear state leaders tentatively embrace a suggestion I’ve been promoting here on Grits: Closing some of Texas’ most expensive or difficult-to-staff prison units to make prisons safer and cheaper.
Among the speakers, Dr. Tony Fabelo was most blunt on this question, suggesting openly that Texas “try to save money by closing down prisons,” citing examples in Michigan, Connecticut and elsewhere to say it could be done safely. The biggest challenge in 2011, he said: “If we’re not careful the Legislature could screw this up again” by slashing probation, parole and treatment programming to prop up prison spending, which is what happened in 2003. Instead, Fabelo ticked off several units that are well over 100 years old and much more expensive to run than modern facilities, suggesting that budget cutters start there when it’s time to make cuts at TDCJ.
There’s much more in the Grits post and of course it’s better for the budget to get the “non violent” offenders out of prison, working and paying taxes.
“Its where I vote, its the address on my drivers license and the address on my concealed weapon permit,” said Republican primary contender Alyssa Eacono.
If three’s a crowd, what is four?
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