With state Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) announcing his retirement earlier in the week it has had a domino effect throughout Williamson County. Freshman tea party state in HD-20 Rep. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) is throwing his hat, and a lot of money, into the race. The other Williamson County freshman tea party state in HD-52 Rep. Larry Gonzalez (R-Round Rock) is going to stay put.
With Schwertner stepping down that leaves 2 open state House seats in Williamson County in 2010, (with the new HD 149 being an open seat as well). First-term State Board of Education (SBOE) District 10 member Marsha Farney will be running to replace Schwertner in HD-20, along with Jeff Fleece (who ran against Mark Strama in 2006). With Farney moving on that leaves SBOE District 10 as an open seat, it includes Williamson, part of Travis and several other counties.
Ogden’s retirement, and the resultant dominoes, creates several opportunities for getting some fresh faces elected in and around Williamson County. This past session saw the GOP dominated Texas legislature again put the burden of the budget shortfall on the backs of poor, working, and middle class Texans, while the GOP and their rich donors got off scot-free. Little will change in Texas and Williamson County if these races are allowed to be treated as if they were regal successions.
While Ogden was no moderate in the Senate, replacing him with Schwertner, would be like being represented by the likes of Michelle Bachmann, or worse, in the state Senate. He recently told the Liberty Hill Chamber of Commerce hat if it was up to him he would eliminate ALL social programs. He likely sees public education as a social program as well.
What we need in Williamson County and across the state are candidates that will stand up for most Texans whose taxes have been going up year after year, as those who benefit from our hard work have been getting off without contributing their fair share. While our governor is prancing around the country, the poverty rate and the number of working uninsured continues to rise. It’s not likely that continuing to elect tea party ideologues will change anything for the better for most Texans.
We need candidates to run that will put those of us who been left out of the debate for to long – poor, working and middle class Texans – first again. Candidates that will truly make education financing fair and the number one priority in Texas, because education is the best economic development ever created. Candidates that will vow to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security – programs that keep the elderly and most vulnerable among us out of poverty – at all costs. We must have candidates that will show a contrast to the current crop of wealthy elected officials in Williamson County. This would be a good platform to run on, Rebuild the American Dream.
Meant to link this yesterday. A good list of the changes in legislative seats across the state, Update on Texas Legislative Races.