Here are the final numbers[PDF] from early voting compared to 2006. Registered voters in 2006 were 200,285 for a 3.38% turnout in early voting, compared with for a 230, 122 and 7.54% turnout in early voting.
But from yesterday’s Health Care Summit there are a few things that shined through. First this from Latina Lista:
Unfortunately, the big impression I am left with after this bipartisan show of divide is that most Republicans have no sincere wish to help Main Street USA. I say this because as each Republican criticized and was negative about the bill, with the exception of only a couple, there was a distinct lack of empathy for those constituents who lack healthcare or who are paying exorbitant premiums due to a pre-existing condition, if they can get health insurance.
Do Republicans really only represent the wealthy and Big Business – the same businesses that award their employees with big bonuses?
Obama told the men and women in attendance at the summit, and I’m paraphrasing, that each of them were part of the wealthy class with the benefits of having health insurance because of the federal pool they belong to.
What if they didn’t have it?
Though it was rhetorical, it seemed to be a question no one was willing to answer.
How lucky they are that they live in a financial bubble shielded from the hard decisions too many Americans have to answer every day — because they have no choice.
I think she’s referring to this exchange between President Barack Obama and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Obama Takes Dr. Barrasso To Medical School. It’s been obvious for years that the GOP wants no part of any change to the current health care system, unless it will increase insurance corporation profits. They know that any good reform to the health care system that helps the American people hurts them as a going political concern.
It will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.
Essentially the GOP knows that if health care reform passes, and works, it will show the American people again that their government can do things to help them, and that blows up EVERY GOP talking point.
Two more things from yesterday’s summit from Obama’s closing statement. One that’s getting the most attention is that the Democrats have finally, all but admitted, they’re willing to use the tactic the GOP used so many times when George W. Bush was President, reconciliation, to pass a bill.
I’d like Republicans to do a little soul searching to find out if there are some things that you’d be willling to embrace that get to this core problem of 30 million people without health insurance, and dealing seriously with the pre-existing conditions issue.
I don’t know frankly whether we can close that gap. And if we can’t close that gap, then I suspect Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner are going to have a lot of arguments about procedures in Congress about moving forward.
What I do know is this. If we saw movement, significant movement, not — not just gestures, then you wouldn’t need to start over because essentially everybody here knows what the issues are. And procedurally, it could get done fairly quickly.
We cannot have another year-long debate about this. So the question that I’m going to ask myself and I ask of all of you is, is there enough serious effort that in a month’s time or a few weeks’ time or six weeks’ time we could actually resolve something?
And if we can’t, then I think we’ve got to go ahead and some make decisions, and then that’s what elections are for. We have honest disagreements about — about the vision for the country and we’ll go ahead and test those out over the next several months till November. All right?
But I very much appreciate everybody being here. Thank you for being so thoughtful. And, you know, hopefully we’ll all keep our constituents in mind as we move forward. Thank you, everybody.
All right!! The Democrats have been running for years on fixing health care, and it’s standing right in front of them. If they can’t pass this legislation – liberals, progressives, blue dogs, etc.. – and deliver on this campaign promise they deserve to lose big in November. If they do pass this, and show the American people they can govern, and fight against health insurance corporations and deliver for them, they will be rewarded come November. It’s much easier to campaign on how health care reform will benefit their constituents, then trying to explain why it didn’t get passed.
The choice for the Democrats is simple, don’t pass health care, leave corproations in control, and lose control of Congress in November. Or pass health care, help the American people, and keep control of Congress. It’s really not a choice at all.
Here are the early voting totals[PDF] for the last two days in Williamson County. Tuesday’s numbers were uncharacteristically lower because of the weather and early closing of the early voting polling locations.
This weekend at Southwestern University the Student Peace Alliance National Conference, (click link to register and/or check out the agenda),will be taking place. The conference has 500 attendees from across the country who have come to together to find common ground across the political spectrum. Topics include: how we can prevent young people from delinquency, or how to prevent conflicts escalating into wars. Our speakers come from a variety of backgrounds and will cover various topics. The conference even features a performance from the Grammy winning rapper Common.
The Coupland Civic Organization hosted several candidates on Monday at the Fellowship Hall of St. Peter’s Church of Coupland. Candidates at the forum included the three candidates for Judge of the County Court-at-Law #3, Republicans Doug Arnold and Judge Randall Pick and Democrat Allyson Rowe. Also speaking were Jeff Maurice, Democratic candidate for Precinct 4 Williamson County Commissioner, and incumbent and unopposed GOP Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Judy Schier Hobbs. (Maurice’s opponent in November, GOP incumbent Ron Morrison was invited and did not attend).
The Maurice campaign sent his prepared statement from the forum, which is linked below. In it he states he’s running because he “believe[s] in TRANSPARENCY, in LEADERSHIP, and in ACCOUNTABILITY”, which Precinct 4 is currently lacking.
Like many of my neighbors and friends, over the last three and a half years, I have become frustrated by the lack of leadership, initiative and effectiveness of our current commissioner, Ron Morrison.
He then goes on to cite several examples of Morrison’s non-involvement in key issues in Precinct 4 over the course of his term – the new landfill contract, transmission lines in Hutto, and county budget officer issue. But equally as bad is the neglect Morrison has shown to Eastern Williamson County.
Have you noticed the difference in the money spent on county parks when comparing the east side of the county to the west side of the county? Tens of millions of dollars from park bonds—again more debt—are spent on the west side of the county, with only a pittance going to the east side of the county. Where is the leadership from this precinct which helps us see a return on the taxes we pay—especially as compared to other parts of the county?
Maurice finishes by stating how he will differ from his opponent.
Whether we are talking about the transmission lines that are about to deface the Hutto area, having the county judge sit illegally as the county budget officer, holding the line on property taxes and on spending, running the landfill in a legal and proper way, raising the necessary questions about roads and the Trans Texas Corridor, or even merely being responsive to constituents and discussing their issues, I am a clear choice in contrast to my opponent.
This is not news for the constituents of Precinct 4. Morrison has been virtually invisible as a commissioner, and a rubber stamp for whatever County Judge Dan Gattis wants. I encourage all who reside in Precinct 4 to read the full statement here[PDF].
At its February 22, 2010 board meeting, the Directors of Pedernales Electric Cooperative passed a Member Bill of Rights. This guarantees a PEC member’s right to be notified of and attend all open board and committee meetings, and their access to cooperative records under defined guidelines. The motion was passed unanimously with both legacy and new directors praising its long-awaited appearance on the table. The Member Bill of Rights, which will come before the membership for a final vote at the June 2010 annual meeting, can be downloaded at http://pec.coop/CorpProfile/Bylaws.aspx
The board, however, declined to pass a revised bylaws resolution. The proposal, crafted by the Governance and Oversight Committee, was criticized by both members in attendance and some directors for both its content and poorly crafted language. The current bylaws document, which is 5 pages written in layman’s English, is dwarfed by the proposed revised document which inexplicably ballooned up to 26 pages of legalese. Both current and the proposed bylaws documents can be downloaded at http://pec.coop/CorpProfile/Bylaws.aspx
The bylaws revisions, authored by the Governance & Oversight Committee chaired by District 7 Director Patrick Cox, failed to even garner the approval of its entire committee with only 2 of its 3 voting committee members giving it the nod of approval. Board President Larry Landaker, also a member of the Governance & Oversight Committee, openly acknowledged shortcomings in the proposal, yet proceeded to push the initiative reasoning that “the document is not as flawed as some members might think.”
Director Term Limits—which members have been requesting for over two years—was included in the bylaws revisions. However, the proposed bylaws provided for four consecutive term limits, for a total of 12 years. At past board meetings both Directors and members have asked for a two or three consecutive term limit for directors. Numerous members expressed their opinion at both the January Bylaws Forum and at Monday’s meeting that four terms was one too many.
Bylaws revisions require a super majority vote, in this case 5 affirmatives. “Reform” Directors Clement, Cox, Landaker, and Scanlon voted yes. Director Williams abstained in voting due to what he called “necessary amendments” not being made. Directors Felps and Harmon voted No.
Members Snubbed Once Again on Request for Local Representation
The proposed bylaws revisions also failed to include Single Member District voting in its election reforms. PEC members have been asking for a change from At-Large voting to Single Member District voting for over two years. The Governance and Oversight Committee was officially tasked with researching the issue and bringing it back to the Board for a full vote in an open meeting, however the committee neglected to complete that duty and failed to include it in the bylaws revisions. In January of 2009, the Governance and Oversight Committee, chaired by Director Cox, promised to bring Single Member District voting back to the table. Since then, he and three other “reform” board members (Landaker, Scanlon, and Clement) have successfully boondoggled the issue and denied PEC members their request for true local representation.
Reading over this Texas Tribune article on the GOP race in SD-5 it’s pretty clear it’s a race between which one would do the least harm. As Kuff points out while current Sen. Steve Ogden is not ideal, Ben Bius would be infinitely worse:
I note that mostly as a reason to link to this Trib story about Ogden’s primary race, in which he faces a challenge from the right from someone who doesn’t really have a firm grasp on what’s in the budget. This pretty much said it all to me:
In an apparent attempt to solidify his more-conservative-than-Ogden bona fides, Bius has made the elimination of “generational welfare” a centerpiece of his campaign. “If we begin requiring drug testing for those trying to get cash payments for welfare and require them to be citizens of the United States and Texas, it’ll go along way toward solving our social problems,” Bius says. “My momma told me, you get what you pay for. If you want drug addicts, give them money. If you want illegal immigrants, give them money.”
Ogden brushes off the idea as cynical stereotyping of the poor — and wholly unnecessary in a conservative state that already has among the nation’s stingiest public doles. “It bothers me, because it’s kind of a code word,” he says. “I’m not sure exactly what he means by it, but Texas is the least-generous state when it comes to welfare. The majority of people on it are children. Another large category is people in nursing homes. Neither of these groups fit into the category of ‘generational welfare.’ … We have not incentivized anti-social behavior, but when you’re dealing with unemployed mothers with children, you have to do something. You can’t just say, ‘It’s not our problem – good luck.’”
Yes, it is a code word, and not a particularly subtle one. It’s weird being put in the position of defending Steve Ogden, who’s far too conservative to be the guy I want writing the budget, but that’s the state of the GOP these days. The alternative to Steve Ogden is someone who lives in a fantasy world. The sad thing is that Ogden’s experience and understanding of reality won’t be an asset for him in his race.
Yes it’s amazing that wanting to give poor people a hand up might cost a 20-year GOP incumbent their seat in the primary, but anything is possible right now with the Texas secessionists GOP these days. As this quote from the article shows the “Tea Party”, aka teabaggers, anger is focused mainly at the Federal government, and Obama in particular, and isn’t well-informed of the fiscal situation facing Texas.
Bill Lyle, president of the Tea Party in Leon County, says he’s heard no particular buzz about the District 5 race and no outrage directed specifically at Ogden. “Honestly, we’re probably a whole lot less aware of the state situation than the we are of the federal, but I have heard we’re facing a $12 or $15 billion shortfall in the state,” Lyle says. “We want to get back to conservative roots and the Constitution. Whichever candidate is the most conservative, they’re going to get the vote. It’s going to boil down to who’s the most fiscally responsible and who will do the most to control the borders.” [Emphasis added].
And that depends on what the definition of being “fiscally responsible” means to a conservative, at this point that’s anyone’s guess. Given Mr. Lyle’s response he doesn’t appear to have an idea of how either one of these two would work to fill that $12 – $15 billion hole in the state budget, much less whether they’d do it in what he considers a “fiscally responsible” way.
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).
That means Texas relies more on federal dollars and less on its own taxes than it did when Perry took office. Put another way: Texas is less independent than it was when the governor took office, not more.
Via the comments we find this article from the HChron, No candidate has unveiled budget cure-all. None have put forth a plan, but so far Perry has put forth the most detail – saying he’s do what he did in 2003. Which means deep cuts for poor and working Texans, no “tax” increases, but large increases in fees. Realistically to balance the budget it will take a combination of both cuts and more revenue.
I thought this was enlightening. This a reply to a comment to a post by Paul Burka, Why is this PAC necessary? The post is asking why is there a need for another PAC of rich pro-business Republicans that hate trial lawyers? The PAC wants the same right wing gibberish that’s been spouted for decades. Burka’s major concern seems to be that the GOP is turning too far to the right, if this PAC’s plan is to fund far right GOP primary opponents in the lege.
Not that this has anything to do with what my point was in writing this post, but … I met with Mr. Weekley and Mr. Trabulsi early in their campaign for tort reform. I said then that I favored tort reform. I stated my views in Texas Monthly. The civil justice system was out of balance and had become corrupted because of the actions of trial lawyers and the judges who favored them. Today, I believe that the civil justice system is out of balance in favor of defendants.
It is true that trial lawyers give a lot of money to Democrats. When Democrats start winning statewide offices with trial lawyer money, I promise that I will write about it. But until that money has some impact in statewide elections — or, for that matter, TTLA can get a bill passed — then all the complaints about trial lawyer money don’t amount to anything.
He’s pro-tort reform but now the pro-business/corporate judges it Texas have gone too far. And the GOP bogeyman of evil trial lawyers no longer exists in Texas.
Latest poll, Perry will likely get most votes on March 2nd, runoff like with Hutchison. A campaign Groundhog Day, we’ll get 6 more weeks of negative campaigning.
Debra Medina is fading in the Texas Republican race for Governor, and it continues to look like the contest is headed for a runoff where Rick Perry will be a strong favorite over Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Perry leads with 40% to 31% for Hutchison and 20% for Medina. Compared to PPP’s look at the race two weeks ago Perry has gained a point, Hutchison has gone up three, and Medina’s standing has declined by four.