Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Who Really Cares About Women?

In one of the most sensational news stories of 2009, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson walked away from her 8-year career to join forces with the pro-life movement. In so doing Johnson joined a growing contingent of former abortion-industry workers and leaders who now work to unveil the truth about abortion and help those victimized by the industry. The fact is that abortion does not help women, but is a highly lucrative industry that profits from women's pain.

One of the early defectors from the abortion industry was Round Rock's own Carol Everett. In the 1970's and 80's, Everett worked as a director of abortion clinics in the Dallas area and eventually opened her own clinics. As she describes in her book Blood Money: Getting Rich Off A Woman's Right to Choose, Everett made $150,000 a year selling abortions and was on target to make $260,000 in 1983. She also describes her sales methods in the book, including 'family planning' services; prescribing low-dose birth control pills that were sure to fail, thus promising more abortion income for the clinic. As for 'caring for women,' Everett's harrowing description of fatally botched abortions reveals the callousness of an industry devoted to profit.

While she may have profited financially from these abortions, Everett was suffering from the consequences of abortion personally. After her then-illegal abortion in 1973, she became one of the many thousands of women to endure Post Abortion Stress syndrome (PAS); a debilitating depression that drives numerous women to drugs, alcohol, and sometimes suicide each year. Everett sought psychiatric care, but spent years coming to terms with her 'choice.'

As the testimonies of courageous witnesses like Carol Everett and Abby Johnson prove, the notion that abortion somehow helps women is a devastating lie. The truth is that abortion hurts women both physically and emotionally, and that the abortion industry, whose number one provider is Planned Parenthood, is financially thriving on both government subsidies and obscene profits. It is intellectually dishonest to claim to be both 'Pro-Life' and 'Pro-Planned Parenthood,' which is likely the reason Texas Alliance for Life endorsed Ken Paxton for Texas Speaker today. 

Although lambasted by the pro-abortion Left, Everett and Johnson are anything but silent. Johnson has been speaking out quite effectively over the past year, and Everett continues to work through her organization The Heidi Group, a Round Rock-based non-profit dedicated to providing alternatives to abortion and ministering to the needs of women and children, especially in low-income, inner-city areas.

Carol Everett's story will soon be available in film version, and she will be the special guest speaker at a luncheon in Round Rock next week sponsored by the Williamson County Republican Women.  WCRW has a history of hosting pro-life speakers each January in honor of Sanctity of Human Life month, and past speakers have included Dr. Joe Pojman of Texas Alliance for Life, Molly White of Women for Life International, and Dr. Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life.  The luncheon will be on Wednesday, January 5, at 11:30AM.  RSVP at the WCRW website.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Hansen Family Christmas Curse

I am spending time celebrating the Season with my family this month and will return to political commentary in January, but wanted to share this little Christmas message.

Christmas at our house always seems to involve contracting some sort of vile illness. The ghosts of Christmas past remind us that we have survived bronchitis, strep, scarlet fever, rotovirus, raging double-ear infections, and this year thus far, the stomach flu. Years ago we learned to stay home for the holidays, not only because Christmas Eve worship services are always better at your home church, but because it's really terrible to be sick in a relative's guest room or hotel room.

Christmas shopping at our house involves the usual purchases of gifts, wrapping, and bows, but also includes stocking up on kleenex, 7-UP, saltines, Immodium, and children's ibuprofen. And yes, we eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and take vitamins, but alas, for 12 years we've not had a healthy holiday, and are known far and wide for "The Hansen Family Christmas Curse."

And yet, we love Christmas. Fever and chills aside, you'll find us singing the old carols, decorating cookies, and sharing gifts with friends and family. We never forget what Christmas is all about, and no, we don't care that Jesus wasn't actually born on December 25. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and we celebrate him with great joy.

My wish for all is that you know the peace in your heart that only comes through knowing the Christ whose birth we celebrate.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We Are All 'Conservatives' Now?

Wow, what a difference two years makes.  In the face of the Obama victory in 2008, so many of my political acquaintances were touting their 'moderate pride,' and discussing the various ways the GOP needed to move to the center.  Now, however, it seems everyone wants to be a Conservative.  Democrats shamelessly sprinkled the term throughout their 2010 campaign literature, and Republicans previously known as 'moderates,' are scrambling to prove that, really and truly, they have always been Conservatives. 

So, did all these folks suddenly have death-bed Election Year conversions? Perhaps to some extent, but for the most part I think the survivors are redefining the Conservative label in an effort to squeeze into the political fashion du jour.  

Of course claiming to be a political Conservative has had various implications over the years.  At different times and locations, today's Conservatives would have been called "Liberals," and today's Liberals are earnestly seeking a return to their previous identification as "Progressives."  (Oh, the delicious irony; but that's for another day.)  While there are common threads that run through the history of Conservatism, we have to acknowledge that certain policy positions have characterized conservative thought in recent decades, and none more significantly than those regarding abortion.

In recent years, when anyone identified as a political Conservative, we immediately knew they were pro-life.  For those who hate Conservatives, abortion policy stands front and center as the issue held up for the greatest ridicule and disdain.  Now however, we are to accept as Conservatives not only those who've been silent on the issue, but those who've been in bed with the enemy: abortion-giant Planned Parenthood.

We are now told, via endless and annoying internet advertisements, that Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is a Conservative.  When it comes to abortion issues however, the evidence just doesn't add up.  Straus earned a 50% pro-life rating in 2005, his wife has held several Planned Parenthood Board positions, and in addition to special recognition, Straus has received campaign contributions from the abortion business' political action committee.  This is not the resume of a Conservative. 

Some of my colleagues would clarify by saying, "well, he's a fiscal Conservative," but that argument doesn't hold up when we consider his less than stellar ratings from fiscally conservative groups, and his troubling committee appointments in 2009.

Now, I do not believe Joe Straus is 'evil,' nor is he a Democrat in Republican clothing. He is not, however, a Conservative by the current definition.  This isn't a reason to kick him out of the Republican party;  the GOP, like any other major party, is a coalition of various political camps.  However, super-majorities are rarely lasting, and if we are to make the most of our current status, we will need a strong, conservative leader in place.  Who that leader will be, remains to be seen, and there may yet be another candidate in the race.  Even so, Straus may survive and emerge with the gavel on January 11.  If so, we must continue to work for conservative priorities, but with a watchful eye on our moderate Speaker.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Support for Straus Crumbling

Representative Bryan Hughes, HD 5, released the following today:   
(HT:  Blue Dot Blues)

Today after much prayer and counsel, I formally withdraw my support for Speaker Joe Straus. I do this with no malice toward the Speaker or any other member.
Over the past several days I have heard from an increasing number of my constituents and supporters. Their unanimous voice has called for me to withdraw my support of Speaker Straus.
My decision, though not a light one, was made clearer after a phone call I received over the weekend from a member of Speaker Straus's leadership team. This member brought up the subject of redistricting and explained to me how that process would be used to punish those members not on Speaker Straus's list of supporters.
More specifically, this member told me that maps were already being drawn to get rid of Representative-Elect Erwin Cain (R-Sulphur Springs) and Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van), because they were not on the Speaker's list of supporters.
I was then told that I had nothing to worry about in redistricting, so long as I stayed on the Speaker’s list.
This conversation first saddened and then disgusted me.
Using the redistricting process for retribution reminds us of all that is wrong with politics. The Speaker's race should be decided not based on threats of punishment and not on promises of power, but on principle.
The people of Texas have chosen us to speak for them. As we prepare to cast our first vote on their behalf, we should lay aside our ambition for powerful committees, stand against the threats, and support the Speaker candidate who best represents our conservative principles.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Williamson County and Beyond

Wow, what a night!  Williamson County voters rejected Democrats and the liberal-progressive agenda by solid margins.  In what many thought would be a close race, Republican Larry Gonzales defeated incumbent Democrat Diana Maldonado with 57.45%, and all other Wilco GOP candidates won their respective races

Voters also rejected Round Rock's Proposition 1 by a mere 26 votes.  While I tepidly voted for Prop 1, the defeat is not really surprising.  Americans are suspicious of attempts to redirect any government spending right now, and residents are miffed that the Round Rock City Council voted to increase fees, 'adopt the effective tax rate,' (ie., raise property taxes,) and spend an additional $300,000 for a commuter bus service in 2011.  Hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call to city leaders who are not seriously trying to cut spending and taxes.

Statewide it looks like Republicans will hold a minimum of 97 seats in the Texas House, far more than pundits originally predicted.  Sadly, our neighbors to the south returned Mark "Obama" Strama in District 50, but other Central Texas Democrats Patrick Rose and Valinda Bolton were defeated by Republicans Jason Isaac and Paul Workman. 

Happily, Texans flipped three Congressional Districts from blue to red.  Republican Bill Flores defeated long-time Democrat Chet Edwards, and Francisco 'Quico' Canseco unseated Ciro Rodriguez.  In a win I confess I never saw coming, Republican challenger Blake Farenthold took a long-time Democrat stronghold from Solomon Ortiz in South Texas. 

It was a good night for Texas Conservatives, and an important victory in the battle for our country.  However, there is still much to be done.  I encourage all to remain informed and engaged.  Your nation is depending on it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Williamson County Early Vote Totals

The Williamson County Elections Office released the Early Vote totals.  Larry Gonzales is leading with 59.31%, Diana Maldonado is at 37.52%, and Libertarian Charles McCoy has 3.17% . 

As expected, Governor Perry leads by 61.09%  (In Williamson County,) Congressman John Carter, has 82.91%, and Dr. Charles Schwertner has 84.63% (Carter and Schwertner had no Dem opponent.)  

Other totals for Williamson County candidates:

Marsha Farney for State Board of Education: 65%
State Senator Steve Ogden:  70%
Melissa Goodwin for 3rd Court of Appeals:  67%
Judge Suzanne Brooks for County Court at Law #1:  69%
Doug Arnold for County Court at Law #3:  68%
Cynthia Long for County Commissioner #2:  68%
Ron Morrison for County Commissioner #4:  63%

Stay tuned:  we'll see what happened on Election Day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Not Quite Time to Celebrate...

I know many of you out there are positively giddy about the potential results of tomorrow's election, but I want to remind you that we haven't won anything yet.  While Early Voting totals indicate far more Republicans than Democrats are coming out this year, have no doubt that the Democrats are not giving up without a fight, and they are doing everything they can to turn out the liberal-progressive vote.  In addition,  there have been some allegations of voter fraud in Texas, and in Williamson County Republicans are investigating the possibility that a liberal group has been creating 'ghost boxes' for mail-in ballots and combing obituaries for dead voters. 

Of course one way to combat voter fraud is to score an overwhelming victory, and it is essential that we turn out every possible vote. 

If you have not yet voted, polls will be open tomorrow, Tuesday, November 2, from 7 am to 7 pm.  Also, please remember that you will only be permitted to vote at your precinct polling location.  You can look up your location at the Texas Secretary of State Website

If you have voted, take a few moments today to email or call those in your sphere of influence, or volunteer with a local candidate's campaign.  Most campaigns will be phone banking this evening. 

So, while we are anticipating big wins, please don't start celebrating.  Our work here is not yet done.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Support Agape Pregnancy Resource Center

Hopefully by the end of next week we will all be in a celebratory mood!  As part of your celebration, please consider joining me next Friday evening at Round Rock's Agape Pregnancy Resource Center Banquet.  The keynote speaker, Rebecca Contreras, is a great speaker and she has a powerful pro-life story that will give hope to women in dire circumstances.  Agape PRC meets an important need in our community.  While Planned Parenthood clinics sell abortions for profit, Agape and other centers are non-profit organizations that work to change the lives of young women facing unplanned pregnancies. The volunteers there are truly angels who lovingly give of their time and talent day in and day out.

Please help Agape continue to provide help and hope to young women in our community.  For details, see the media release below.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jo Markham
Director of Development
(512) 248-8200
(512) 496-2391 cell

October 20, 2010

Agape Pregnancy Resource Center Annual BBQ and Auction

Former White House Official to Share Powerful Story of Poverty and Addiction

Former White House official and local philanthropist Rebecca Contreras will be the keynote speaker at the Agape Pregnancy Resource Center's annual banquet on Friday, November 5. The event will be at the TDS Exotic Game Ranch in Austin from 6:30-9:00 pm. Congressman John Carter will serve as the master of ceremonies, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will deliver a special video message.

The powerful story of Rebecca Contreras is one that began in hopelessness, poverty, addiction and failure, but has become a source of great inspiration to many across the nation. Despite her beginnings, Rebecca eventually became the Special Assistant to President George W. Bush for Presidential Personnel, overseeing the President's appointments for part-time board and commission positions in the federal government. She also served as a representative for the President with National Hispanic groups. Later, President Bush appointed her to be Chief of Human Capital at the Department of U.S. Treasury and to the Board of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Rebecca is currently the Executive Vice-President of the federal practice for Knowledge Bank Inc. and an American Bible Society board trustee. She and her husband are also the founders of Launch Pad: The Center for Building Hopes and Dreams, a faith-based non-profit that focuses on reaching, equipping, and empowering disadvantaged inner city youth.

The Agape Pregnancy Resource Center is a faith-based non-profit organization dedicated to changing the lives of women by providing practical help and loving support to those facing an unplanned pregnancy. In addition. the center offers clients free classes on parenting, childbirth, newborn care, financial planning, nutrition, infant CPR & first aid, Bible Study, Hopes & Dreams, and independent work videos. Since opening in 2004, over 6,500 clients from Round Rock and the surrounding community have come to Agape PRC for assistance.

For more information regarding the November 5 banquet or the Agape Pregnancy Resource Center, please contact Development Director Jo Markham at (512) 248-8200, or visit our website at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rep Kino Flores Convicted: Is Diana Maldonado Next?

Representative Kino Flores, a Democrat from the Rio Grande Valley, was found guilty of multiple charges of tampering with government records and perjury.  It seems Flores had failed to report his sources of income on required personal financial disclosure forms.  He could face up to two years in prison.

As I reported in a recent post, an ethics complaint has been filed against Representative Diana Maldonado for the same offense.  It seems her personal financial disclosure form included no sources of income whatsoever.  As the Flores conviction demonstrates, this is no small matter.  If, in fact, Maldonado has attempted to hide her income sources, she too may find herself in an orange jumpsuit. 

Diana Maldonado's Attack Ad Backfires: Updated

Did you see it?  Nope, probably not.  Representative Diana Maldonado's attack ad hasn't aired much and they haven't posted it on the internet.

Update:  We finally found the ad on Youtube:

According to those who saw it on Austin television stations Monday, the ad opens with scenes of the University of Texas tower and references to the troubled young man who fired shots and killed himself at the school on September 28.  The ad then cuts to Larry Gonzales at a candidate forum discussing Texas' Concealed Handgun License program.  Gonzales asks "How many of you guys on the way here had a shoot-out...?  (Gonzales' question was in reference to opponents of the original CHL legislation who claimed that 'blood would run in the streets' since there would be 'shoot-outs' at every intersection.)

Apparently the Maldonado campaign was flooded with outraged phone calls and emails because many Central Texas residents felt that the ad exploited the UT tragedy for political gain and was horribly insensitive to Colton Tooley's family and friends. 

Diana Maldonado also sent a mailer, basically a milder print version of the TV ad, those who have seen it are outraged. 
(HT:  Lawrence Person's Battleswarm Blog)

In addition to the insensitivity to the Tooley tragedy, Diana Maldonado seems to have seriously misread Texans' love for their 2nd Amendment rights.  Heck, when Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson includes the fact that he carries a gun in his boot in his radio ad, and it's a good thing, campaigning against such an important Constitutional right can only misfire. 

For your listening pleasure, Jerry Patterson's great ad.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Re-Elect Williamson County Commissioner Ron Morrison

Williamson County Commissioner, Precinct 4, Ron Morrison is seeking a second 4-year term to office.  A former Round Rock Chamber 'Citizen of the Year,' Morrison has been a staunch supporter of law enforcement and transportation projects, and the county property tax rate is lower now than when he took office in 2006.  Although under extreme pressure from various groups to raise taxes this year, Morrison cast a vote to cut spending and hold the property tax rate steady.  Consequently, most homeowners will see a slight reduction in their county property tax bill this year. 

Jeff Maurice, Commissioner Morrison's Democrat opponent, has run a very low profile campaign.  Although earlier this year he was very vocal about his support for President Obama's policies, especially the stimulus bill, his meager campaign material includes no party identification whatsoever and might lead the uniformed to believe Maurice is a 'Conservative.' 

As a member of the left-leaning Williamson County Public Policy Coalition and the Hutto Citizens Group, Maurice has tried to sting Morrison by blaming the Commissioner for everything from the federal illegal immigrant detention center to a landfill contract signed long before Morrison's term.  When the Commissioners renegotiated the landfill contract, Maurice then complained that the county did not receive a higher percentage of landfill trash-dumping fees, but ignored the fact that the county's new negotiated share of 14.5%, is more than double the rate received prior to Commissioner Morrison's term. 

Maurice has hoped to conceal his party affiliation and activist history, but has little to offer Williamson County. Furthermore, his complaints about the incumbent are very thin. Commissioner Morrison is a responsive incumbent, and residents should re-elect him.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On The Ballot: Round Rock Proposition 1

In addition to the more publicized contests for elected offices, citizens of Round Rock are voting on Proposition 1 this year. The "Prop the Rock" option involves a half-cent sales tax for a "Type B" city economic development corporation voters approved back in 1997. These economic development programs are common to many cities, but Round Rock's EDC is unusual in that it is restricted to transportation projects only. (A dire need in 1997).

Now city officials are asking voters to approve an adjustment of Round Rock's EDC so that, like other cities, funds may be spent on additional economic development projects such as business and industrial site development and community facilities.

While it is hard to get passionate about Prop 1 on either side of the issue, I voted yes since there is no tax increase involved, and, by allowing the city to use current revenues in additional ways, there is no good reason for the city to ask for tax increases later.

Of course in the last session, Representative Diana Maldonado voted to revive 'streamlined sales tax' legislation, a measure that would 'redistribute' Internet sales tax revenue away from Round Rock. Defeated in 2009, the Streamlined Sales Tax is still very much a part of the Democrat wish list. If Maldonado has her way and Democrats succeed in passing SST, the City's tax revenue could be by cut by 40%, thus opening a whole new can of tax worms.

My recommendation? "Yes" on Prop the Rock, a resounding "No" on Diana Maldonado.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"No-Show" Maldonado

While Representative Diana Maldonado is touting her work on the Veterans Affairs Committee as a reason to re-elect her, it seems she didn't actually show up for work very often.  According to records, Maldonado missed more than half of the votes on bills voted out of the veterans committee.  She also missed opening roll call 66% of the time she did bother to attend committee hearings.  Unlike most freshman, Maldonado has one of the worst attendance records in the house, and is ranked in the bottom 20%. 

Of course this comes as no surprise to citizens of Round Rock.  Diana Maldonado is notoriously late for nearly every event:   the swearing-in of new school board members last May, the grand opening events for Cedar Ridge High School, the re-naming of Hernandez High School, and even for her own campaign events.  It has gotten to the point where folks take bets on just how late she will be or whether she will show up at all.

Life happens, and we have all been late or had to miss important events from time to time.  However, Maldonado's record reveals her consistent tardiness and absenteeism.  What is worse is the lack of respect Representative Maldonado seems to have for the time and needs of others.  While one might convincingly argue that given her left-of-center-votes, it is really best if she doesn't show up, the Citizens of District 52 deserve better.  It is time to terminate No-Show Maldonado, and send a Conservative, and reliable, representative to the Texas House.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Planned Parenthood is Big Business of the Worst Kind

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Texas Alliance for Life dinner in Austin.  Abby Johnson, former Director of Planned Parenthood Clinics in Houston, gave a powerful, unforgettable, keynote address. 

Abby Johnson, a past "Employee of the Year" for Planned Parenthood, described how the organization's representatives recruited her as a college student and how she worked her way through the ranks, all the while believing she was 'helping women.'  Her perspective began to change when supervisors instructed her to double the number of abortions performed each year since "abortions are where we make our money."

Abby's breaking point came, however, when for the first time in her 8-year career with Planned Parenthood, she decided to witness an ultrasound-assisted abortion.  While viewing the monitor, she noted the 13-week-old 'fetus' was fully-formed, and was a male.  To her horror, when the probe came in contact with the 'fetus,' the tiny creature flailed its arms and legs and tried to move away.  With the abortionist's words, "beam 'em up, Scotty," the baby boy was vacuumed away. 

As Abby stated, that child had no choice, and never had a chance against the 3 'big' people in the room, herself included. 

Abby resigned that day, and is now educating the public about the real nature of Planned Parenthood and she is working to stop the $300 million in subsidies taxpayers provide to the abortion industry giant each year. 

Abby's compelling testimony, and her assertion that this evil industry continues in our society due to apathy, will hopefully change a few more hearts and minds about the true nature of the abortion industry.  Many of our elected officials, like State Representative Diana Maldonado, take huge contributions from  Planned Parenthood and work to protect the abortion industry, while hampering the efforts of non-profit pregnancy resource centers.  It is time to heed Abby Johnson's call and stop tax-payer support of abortion 'big business.'

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Williamson County Democrat Party Chair Resigns, Endorses Gonzales

WOW, what a news day!  Here is the press release from Democrat Party Chair Greg Windham.  It will be interesting to see how the Diana Maldonado campaign spins this.  Grab the popcorn...

For Immediate Release
Gregory S Windham
Gregory S Windham, WCDP Chair

Democratic Chair Resigns

Windham Endorses Republican in District 52
Georgetown, Texas - Recently elected Democratic Chairman, Gregory S Windham, announced his resignation from the Chairmanship today citing differences of opinion over the State and National Democratic Agenda and support of a Republican candidate as his reasons.

A Message to Democrats

It is quite apparent that many members of the Williamson County Democratic Party leadership are interested in following a more liberal national agenda than listening to the majority of their constituents here locally. As a fifth-generation Texan and longtime supporter of Conservative, Texas principles, I find myself isolated within the party ranks and unable to relay my message of fiscal responsibility, family values, free-markets, and fair play.

The divisive, rigid leadership with the State and local party have made it clear from the beginning of this term that they have no interest in my opinions; engaging in personal name calling, the marginalization of the Chair's voice, and claiming my Texas ideals are out of touch.
I have a hatred of tyranny and contempt for its tools and being that I cannot sit down quietly and allow my mind be used for the spreading of an agenda that will further divide our citizenry, I choose now to resign as Chairman.I give heartfelt thanks to my many supporters whose tireless work helped me get elected to this position. I am sincere in my hopes that Williamson County residents will take control of the political process from the many hand picked representatives of the left who now hold the keys to our political process. 
After several opportunities to hear the candidates for State House Rep 52, I have decided to support Larry Gonzales as the next Williamson County State Representative. Larry's experience, intelligence, and knowledge of the political process far exceed that of the Democratic candidate. He is a family man, business owner, and a gentleman willing to build bridges and represent his district rather than his party.
Texas and America are facing a perfect storm. We must work together, hand in hand, to guide our way to safe shores. The continual mockery of each others positions and platforms only deepens our internal wounds. Compromise is necessary and I urge all who have interest in Liberty and a zeal for truth to listen carefully to all opinions and, above all, practice the Golden Rule.

God Bless You and God Bless Texas

Gregory S Windham
Georgetown, Texas
# # #

SBOE Fashionista Judy Jennings: Hatred is in Style!

Apparently Democrat candidate for State Board of Education Judy Jennings has already planned her wardrobe for her first day on the job if elected.  During an exchange with a supporter, Jennings enthusiastically agreed to wear an offensive, T-shirt to her "first meeting" after viewing this picture.  (WARNING:  OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE). 

Apparently, this is a part of the liberal campaign to convince voters that Conservatives don't want to teach "science."  However, it is the left-wing ideologues who want to teach certain elements of scientific theory as a sacred religion.  They insist that only one earth-origin theory be presented to students, and that it should be presented as gospel truth without any critique whatsoever. 

More reasonable thinkers argue that science teachers should not only teach various life-origin scientific theories, but also the processes of the Scientific Method alongside Formal Logic, (the latter has been too long ignored,) and equip young minds to draw their own conclusions. Sadly, rather than encouraging students to engage in further research by presenting the diversity of opinion from the scientific community as well as the questions scientists are still unable to answer, Jennings et. al. want certain theories presented as indisputable fact.  No questions, no critique. 

I have trouble understanding why Jennings and her ilk are so afraid of statements like "Scientists believe X," "Scientists do not understand how Y works," and "Scientists do not agree about Z."  Is this so dangerous?  Shouldn't we be honest with students about how our body of knowledge is limited and how highly educated, intelligent people disagree?  Might that not spur young minds to investigate further?

Unfortunately, as evidenced by the fashion Judy Jennings has agreed to wear "to the first meeting," there is no room for dialogue or diversity.  Just hatred for those who question.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The 2010 General Election Begins Today

Early Voting begins today, October 18! Any registered voter may participate in Early Voting in their home county. Williamson County Early Voting Locations are listed below.

There are also numerous campaign events in Williamson County this week; our new Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri will be on hand for an Early Voting Kick-Off Rally at 5PM today at Junior's in Round Rock. On Wednesday, October 20, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will join GOP House District 52 candidate Larry Gonzales for a reception at the Terra Vista Community Center from 2-3PM.

Even if you cannot make these events, be sure to make your voice heard and vote early!

Monday, October 18 through Friday, October 29, 2010
7:00 am to 7:00 pm Weekdays and Saturday
Sunday, October 24 Noon – 6:00 pm
Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown
Parks & Recreation Admin. Bldg., 1101 N. College St., Georgetown
Sun City Social Center, 2 Texas Dr., Georgetown
McConico Building, 301 W. Bagdad St., Round Rock
Round Rock Randalls, 2051 Gattis School Rd, Round Rock
Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Dr., Round Rock
J.B. and Hallie Jester Annex, 1801 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Round Rock
Anderson Mill Limited District, 11500 El Salido Pkwy, Austin
Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Blvd., Cedar Park
Cedar Park Randalls, 1400 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N. Brushy St., Leander
Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter St., Taylor
Hutto City Hall, 401 W. Front St., Hutto

Monday, October 18 through Friday, October 29
Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday, October 24 Hours: Noon – 6:00 pm
Thrall VFD, 201 S. Main St., Thrall, Monday, Oct. 18
Granger City Hall, 214 E. Davilla, Granger, Tuesday, Oct. 19
Weir Fire Hall, 450 FM 1105, Weir, Wednesday, Oct. 20
Cowan Creek Amenity Center, 1433 Cool Springs Way, Georgetown, Monday, Oct. 18, Tuesday, Oct. 19, Wednesday, Oct. 20
Seton Medical Center Williamson, 201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock, Thursday, Oct. 21, Friday, Oct. 22
Liberty Hill Annex, 3407 RR 1869, Liberty Hill, Saturday, Oct. 23, Sunday, Oct. 24
Georgetown ISD Admin. Bldg, 603 Lakeway Dr., Georgetown, Thursday, Oct. 21, Friday, Oct. 22, Saturday, Oct. 23, Sunday, Oct. 24
Jarrell Memorial Park, 1651 CR 305, Jarrell, Monday, Oct. 25
RR Higher Education Center, 1555 University Blvd., Round Rock, Monday, Oct. 25
Andice Community Center, 6600 FM 970, Andice, Tuesday, Oct. 26
Florence VFD, 301 S. Patterson Ave., Florence, Wednesday, Oct. 27
Highland Estates Independent Retirement Living, 1500 N. Lakeline Blvd., Cedar Park, Tuesday, Oct. 26, Wednesday, Oct. 27, Thursday, Oct. 28, Friday, Oct. 29
Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Tr., Austin, Thursday, Oct. 28, Friday, Oct. 29

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ethics Investigation Into Representative Diana Maldonado's Finances

In a previous post I wrote about the Diana Maldonado campaign's attempt to 'play chicken' with the Texas Ethics Commission. According to the TEC, Diana Maldonado filed a campaign finance report on July 15, 2010, in which she left off multiple political contributions totalling nearly $60,000. In addition, Maldonado failed to report 90% of her political expenditures, and had to file a corrected report. An error here or there could be attributed to an oversight, but the extent of these omissions indicate there may have been an attempt to circumvent campaign finance law.

Unfortunately, at that time I was not aware that the Texas Ethics Commission is not permitted to investigate such egregious violations unless an individual files a complaint. As a citizen of Texas House District 52, on Wednesday I filed an official complaint regarding this matter, and now the TEC has moved forward with an investigation.

I have learned today that a second complaint has been filed against Representative Maldonado regarding her Personal Financial Disclosure, which allegedly fails to report any income whatsoever. I am not sure how anyone manages to live without any income, but apparently Maldonado has discovered a way. The Texas Ethics Commission is investigating this matter as well.

These are very serious legal matters, and the citizens of House District 52 deserve an answer to these questions. Hopefully the Texas Ethics Commission will get to the bottom of Diana Maldonado's finances quickly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Diana Maldonado and the Incredible, Amazing Flip Flop

Wow. Just, wow.

At last Tuesday night's candidate forum sponsored by the Round Rock West Neighborhood Association, State Representative Diana Maldonado performed one of the most amazing political flip-flops, evah. While previously so opposed to common-sense voter photo ID legislation that she was willing to kill hundreds of other bills to stop passage, Maldonado stated that she now supports photo ID! This is so astounding that we might need a new award category, perhaps Acrobat of the Year?

Here is the release from the Larry Gonzales Campaign:

Diana's Flip Flop
For Immediate Release

October 13, 2010

Maldonado Metamorphosis: From Capitol Chubber to Campaign Conservative
Liberal Flip-flops on Voter ID

Williamson County – How do you know we are just five days away from the start of voting? Liberal Democrat Diana Maldonado announced last night she supports requiring a photo ID to vote, despite stating just 5 days earlier at a forum she was opposed to voter ID and last session participated in a five-day delay of the House Calendar that killed the photo ID bill.

In a forum hosted by the Greater Round Rock West Neighborhood Association, Maldonado said, “I am for voter identification where it does have a picture, let’s do that.” Emphasising her point, she said later, "Sure let's put a picture on it."

But according to the Austin American-Statesman, at the forum hosted by the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on October 8th, “Maldonado compared asking voters for more identification, than what is currently required, to police officers asking for more identification when they pull over drivers.”

“Diana’s desperate flip-flop on voter ID doesn’t change the fact she helped kill that bill, and dozens of other bills last session including a bill to require background checks of childcare providers who receive state money,” said Gonzales. “She literally put politics ahead of the safety of our children to kill a bill she now says she supports. It’s just pathetic political pandering.”


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Education Elites to Parents: "WE Know What's Best For Your Children"

One tactic employed by Education Bureaucracy Elites is to try to convince voters that somehow education issues are 'non-political' and 'non-partisan.'  Hence the Democrats' campaign to take away from voters the right to elect the State Board of Education, and instead establish an 'appointed' Board .  In Elite minds, voters are just too uneducated to understand the role of the SBOE.  However, this attitude is not limited to elections, but these Leftists extend their condescension to parents as well.   According to Democrat candidate Judy Jennings and her supporters, parents do not know what is best for their own children, and those matters should be left to really smart people like...Judy Jennings.

At a candidate forum for SBOE District 10 candidates on Tuesday, although moderators did not ask questions regarding homeschooling, Jennings went out of her way to state that she has "never, ever supported home schools."  Now, most families utilize the public school system, but there are some children who cannot learn in the 'one-size-fits-all' approach, and the local public school simply cannot meet the child's educational needs.  While there are numerous reasons parents homeschool, for my own household, our pediatrician confirmed that homeschooling is the one of the only options for our child.  Apparently in Jenning's opinion, my child should be forced into a school where he cannot be educated and cannot thrive. 

Jennings' stance really isn't surprising since she is typical of groups that are determined to stop parents from educating their own children.  For example, the School For All Children Act or SFACA, is dedicated to overturning the Texas Supreme Court's Leeper Decision recognizing parental rights in education, specifically the right to homeschool.  Under the ruling, homeschooling parents must use curriculum and teach core subjects.  Leeper also prevents the State from interfering with private schools.  The SFACA, however, characterizes homeschools as "educational neglect," and longs for government control of private schools.  (The SFACA's candidate questionnaire is posted below.)

Judy Jennings and company want to control the education of ALL children, not just those at public schools. Her hostility to Dr. Marsha Farney's Christianity leads one to wonder how far these leftist ideologues will go if they do gain control; what are their plans for private schools and homeschools?  The reality is that Jenning's campaign is far from 'non-partisan,' and represents a plan to undermine parental rights. 

In comparison, Republican candidate Dr. Marsha Farney wants to make public education the very best it can be, but supports our parental rights and has no plans to interfere with private education.  Texans who believe parents have the right to make educational choices and wish to continue to have a voice in public education via elections should support Marsha Farney. 

School For All Children ACT Questionnaire 2010

Doug Arnold for Williamson County Court At Law

While I've spent much time discussing Texas House races, there are some very important Judicial contests on the 2010 ballot. One of those is for Williamson County Court at Law #3. Doug Arnold, the GOP nominee, is exceptionally qualified. He has 15 years experience as an attorney for various government entities, has published articles regarding legal issues, and has served as an instructor. Williamson County residents are fortunate to have such a stellar candidate for the local bench.

One almost hesitates to even mention Doug Arnold's opponent in this race, as she exemplifies the utter lack of electable Democrats in the area. Since her arrest last Summer, she has barely attempted a campaign; her only tactic seems to be placing campaign signs next to Republicans in hopes that voters will be confused about her political affiliation.

You can meet Doug Arnold at a special reception on Thursday, October 14. The event will take place from 5pm-7pm at the Independent Bank Meeting Room at 1503 Rivery Blvd, in Georgetown.

Other important Judicial candidates include some really strong Republican Women: Judge Debra Lehrmann for Texas Supreme Court, Melissa Goodwin for the Texas Third Court of Appeals, and Judge Suzanne Brooks for Williamson County Court at Law #1.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maldonado and the Stealth Income Tax

While many factors contribute to Texas' economic strength, the state's constitutional prohibition against an income tax is an especially attractive element for both business and individuals.   Democrats have longed to remove this obstacle to higher taxes, and earlier this year Representative Lon Burnham lamented that Texans are "just too stupid" to understand how beneficial a state income tax would be. 

In the 2009 Legislative session, Representative Diana Maldonado and other pro-taxers thought they had found a way around the Texas Constitution by attaching a measure to House Bill 3983.  Also called the "Circuit Breaker Tax," HB 3983 would have tied property taxes to personal income.  Ostensibly the law would have then allowed individuals with lower incomes to receive a reduction in their property tax rate, prompting proponents to refer to HB3983 as an 'affordable housing' measure.

This so-called affordable housing measure has several troubling implications.  For one, the State would be required to compensate local government entities for any reduction in revenue, placing an additional burden on the State budget.  Even worse is Maldonado and friends' attempt to redistribute income.  Under HB 3983, lower income individuals buying homes above their means would be rewarded with a reduced tax bill, and inevitably, higher-earning individuals who prudently purchased more modest homes would be punished with a heavier property tax bill.  In other words, regardless of your home-purchase decisions, your 'property tax' assessment would be based on your income. 

While Liberal-Progressive Democrats were successful in passing this 'stealth' income tax, Governor Rick Perry wisely vetoed the measure saying, 

(HB 3983) would make the distribution of the property tax burden less equitable by shifting it to middle-class property owners. This would make the property tax function more like a progressive income tax, in that the tax burden would slowly be pushed upwards until only the owners of the most valuable property paid any actual tax.

Diana Maldonado's support of the stealth income tax is just another example of her tax-and-spend approach to government.  Rather than protect one of the elements that has made Texas the strongest state economy, our Representative attempted to radically change our tax structure.  It is time to send pro-tax, pro-big government liberals like Diana Maldonado home and replace them with common-sense Conservatives.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Governor Perry Coming to Round Rock

Governor Rick Perry will be coming to Round Rock for a campaign stop and to help support our local candidates next Thursday, October 14 at 2:45PM. Perry's opponent, Bill White for Taxes appeared here last week, but judging by pictures from the event it looks like only about 50 folks showed up.

The stop will be at Junior's Icehouse on Main Street, but I'm really hoping the Williamson County Republican Party will provide some of those yummy hometown Round Rock Donuts.  Mmmmmmm, donuts.

Date: Thursday, October 14th
Time: 2:45 p.m.
Location: Juniors Icehouse
119 East Main Street, Round Rock, TX, 78664

Free parking located at the City Hall Parking Garage on the corner of Lampasas St. and Bagdad Ave.

Please contact our Central Texas Field Director to RSVP!

Jon McClellan -Central Texas Field Director

Get involved! Become a Perry Home Headquarters, Visit to join the conversation, join the Governor's Facebook page, or follow the Governor on Twitter.

Political advertisement paid for by Texans for Rick Perry
PMB 217, P.O. Box 2013, Austin, Texas 78768
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Texas House District 52 Candidate Forum

The Maldonado campaign has finally agreed to an appearance with Republican candidate Larry Gonzales. While not a debate per se, it's something.

The event is sponsored by the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and will take place 11:30-1:00 on Friday, October 8, at the Wingate Conference Center in Round Rock. Cost is $15 (includes lunch) and reservations are required. Click here to RSVP.

Of course Representative Maldonado no-showed for this event in 2008, citing traffic delays, so everyone is hoping she will be able to make it this time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Freshman of the Year Awards: Everyone Gets an 'A'

One of the most damaging educational theories to come out of 'left field' in recent decades was the Outcome-Based-Education model.   OBE is responsible for the deterioration of academic standards in our schools, or the 'dumbing down' of curriculum, so that all the children can feel good about themselves, since everyone gets a 'happy face' no matter what.  Leftists have not limited OBE concepts to our schools, but have implemented such standards for adults too.   Remember when only the most accomplished special forces got to wear a 'green beret'?  In 2001, the Army decided that all soldiers get to wear a black beret.  Happy faces all around, everyone feels good. 

Unfortunately, the OBE "happy-faces-for-all" approach is rampant in politics too.  While Williamson County Democrats have been touting the fact that Representative Diana Maldonado was named "Freshman of the Year" in 2009, there are a few little details voters should know. 

First of all, the awarding entity, 'Legislative Study Group,' is a partisan Democrat group led by ardent liberal-progressive Rep. Garnet Coleman.  Representative Tommy Merritt, the token Republican RINO who joined the group so that they could call themselves 'bipartisan,' was spanked and sent home in the GOP Primaries this year to be replaced by Conservative David Simpson

Furthermore, a little research reveals that EVERY Democrat freshman House member received some kind of 'best award' from a left-leaning group.  For example, Democrat Representatives Carol Kent, Robert Miklos, Joe Moody, Marisa Marquez, Kristi Thibaut, and Armando Walle, all received "Freshman of the Year" awards from various liberal groups.  Other Texas House Freshman Democrats received similar awards;  Rep. Carol Alvarado received a Distinguished Service Award, and Rep Al Edwards received the Legislative Champion Award. 

So which Democrat is the real FOTY?  Hard to say...looks like everyone got an A.  Now, don't we all feel good?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

GOP McGuinness Taking Lead in HD50 Race

Okay, so Texas House District 50 is not in Williamson County, but is significant to us since it borders House District 52.  In what most pundits thought a safe race for Democrats, Republican challenger Patrick McGuinness has a slight lead over the pro-Obama incumbent.  If even Travis County Democrats are in trouble...whew!

Unlike the Quorum Report, I only cite real polls, so here is the official release regarding the Gateway Research Group poll.

AUSTIN, TX – A poll conducted by the Gateway Research Group in the first week of September shows Republican Patrick McGuinness with a slight lead in the race for House District 50 in northern Travis County.

49.7% of those polled favored McGuinness over Democrat incumbent Mark Strama, who garnered 48.1%. 2.2% of those polled were undecided in this race.

“This poll, like the one conducted for GOPAC-Texas recently, shows that voters are turning away from the Democrats’ failed policies, both nationally and in the Texas House,” said McGuinness. “I will continue to make my case to voters in HD 50, advocating fiscally conservative policies that build our prosperity by keeping taxes and spending in check, and pursuing excellence in education by empowering parents and teachers.

McGuinness continued, “My opponent supports Obama and his agenda, and stood with liberal Democrats in the legislature to vote against taxpayers, against ballot security, against teacher merit pay, and against fiscal responsibility. I aim to bring better representation to my neighbors in district 50. ”

The Gateway Research Group is part of the Austin-based Gateway Policy Group. The poll was conducted between August 28 and September 6, 2010 and sampled voters in HD 50. Questions can be directed to Dr. Greg Hupp or Trey Newton at 512-477-3100.

Patrick McGuinness is a longtime Austin resident, and an engineer at Freescale with a doctorate in Computer Science. He and his wife Celeste are raising their four children in northwest Austin. He can be reached at 512-377-1307 or

Texas Lt. Governor Speaking in Williamson County October 6

Lieutenant Governor of Texas David Dewhurst will be in Williamson County on October 6, as the keynote speaker for the Williamson County Republican Women's annual fundraiser at 6PM at the Star Ranch Golf Club in Hutto. 

Dewhurst will be on the ballot this election, but you probably haven't heard too much about his race.  Why?  Because the popular Lt. Governor has been a voice for fiscally conservative/pro-jobs policies, supports strong border security, and has been working with other state leaders to thwart the effects of Obamacare on Texas.  His opponent?  The Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO.  Nuff said. 

The event, playfully entitled the 'Rhinestone RoundUp,' also includes GOP candidate for the Texas Supreme Court Judge Debra Lehrmann as emcee, and Larry Gonzales will give special introductory remarks. 

Tickets are $60 per person, table sponsorships are available.  The Williamson County Republican Women as always, will have some other fun surprises in store, and encourage all to dress "cowboy." 

The Ladies need an rsvp by Sunday, October 3.  Email

And by the way, did you know that our Lt. Gov is a competitive cutting horse rider?  Yep, he was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2009.  Which gives me an excuse to post this really awesome picture of a great Texan. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maldonado Holds Sparsely Attended Transportation 'Tax Hike' Forum, But No-Shows for Economic Forum

On Monday,Representative Diana Maldonado held a transportation forum with Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), Chair of the Texas House Transportation Committee, and David Lewis, a Texas A&M professor. 

Maldonado's guests repeatedly made the case for 'indexing' the gas tax, currently at $.20 per gallon, and bewailed the fact that more fuel-efficient vehicles mean less income for government.  He made the usual comparisons of the amount of increase to a "latte " each month (thankfully it wasn't Happy Meals this time,) and lightly ridiculed politicians who made pledges to not raise taxes.  While whining about the fact that vehicle registration fees decline as a vehicle ages, Representative Pickett said the system was "stupid," and complained that no-one had thanked him for the fee decrease on older cars. 

No, seriously, he really said that. 

Representative Maldonado did not say much at all.  During the brief question and answer period, she attempted to answer a few questions, but Representative Pickett quickly jumped in to save the day. 

The most articulate woman present turned out to be Williamson County Commissioner Lisa Birkman, who asked very knowledgeable questions about road construction funding for the county.  Pickett tried to brush her off with his condescending comments about how "people just don't understand," and "you've got to know the terminology and acronyms," but finally had to concede that she was a 'smart person.'  Commissioner Birkman demonstrated that she knew a lot more than the 'terminology,' and clearly understands how roads are funded, including the fact that the county is funding construction and maintenance of state highways to the tune of $300 million. 

The Democrat's tax hike message didn't get much attention; there were only 20 people in the audience including Maldonado's staff and a few reporters.  Maldonado and local Democrats have been trying very hard to make transportation a campaign issue, and although apparently unable to help Williamson County with the burden of state highway costs, she is still claiming residents should vote for her so that she can do something about road congestion.  Apparently, the only plan is to increase gas taxes and registration fees. 

As poll after poll indicates, voters are concerned about Obamacare, jobs, and the economy.  Transportation is pretty far down the list.  Representative Maldonado should be paying attention to the economic and jobs crisis, but since she was a no-show today for a candidate forum with Republican Larry Gonzales sponsored by Texas Prosperity Project regarding the Texas economy and job creation, she just really, really doesn't seem interested.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Democrats Worked Really, Really Hard Last Weekend

Democrats were very busy over the weekend, but seem to be more desperate than I thought.
Perhaps this is what comes from hiring paid thugs campaign workers via the internet?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Diana Maldonado Now Masquerading as an Independent or Something

Oh my, the Diana Maldonado campaign has finally figured out it's not such a good thing to be an Obama Democrat this year.  The latest campaign flyer from the beleaguered incumbent not only implies she is fiscally conservative, but actually claims she is the "Independent" voice.  Furthermore, that bad, bad word "Democrat" has been stricken from the entire piece, front and back.  What a charade.

For starters, a recent poll showed that the number one issue for independent voters this year is....Obamacare.  Specifically, they hate it.  This is a huge problem for Representative Maldonado; even though she couldn't vote for it, she sent a very public letter to the President in March 2010, urging him to go ahead and force Obamacare through Congress despite overwhelming public opposition.  Not a popular move amongst 'Independents.' 

Another huge problem for Maldonado is her list of supporters; most notably Annie's List , a 'liberal-progressive' group so controversial, that even the Williamson County Democrat Party Chair spoke out against them.  In addition to the radically pro-abortion Annie's List, Maldonado also takes support from Blue Texas, a left-wing, pro-Democrat PAC, as well as other liberal-progressive groups. 

Of course this isn't the only charade Maldonado and her supporters are attempting; in addition to last week's awkward debate faux pas, Lefty blog Burnt Orange Report mistakenly claimed a poll showed her leading by 50-42 against Larry Gonzales.  However, author Karl-Thomas-Musselman had to backtrack since the 50-42 number wasn't a poll after all.   Here is the exchange:

Does a recent poll show Diana Maldonado leading her Republican challenger 50%-42%? It's possible. Maybe those on Sen. Kirk Watson's Online Townhall yesterday with Rep. Maldanado know more- I missed the call.

CORRECTION: Alas, those weren't poll numbers, but instead Rep. Maldonado's time of 50min:42sec for her 5 mile run. Too bad the title wasn't "Maldonado Running Strong in District 52"!
Well, duh.  Maldonado could not get to 50% in a pro-Dem year, only a fool would believe she is somehow stronger in a pro-Conservative year.  A better title would've been "Maldonado Running from Her Votes." 

Curiously, the mea culpa hasn't stopped lefties like Harvey Kronberg from running with the rumor that Maldonado is leading, although he is careful to add "No, we haven't seen the poll."  So much for the credibility of the Quorum Report. 

Diana Maldonado can try to use campaign literature to hide her affiliations, but she won't be able to hide from her voting record and actions as a legislator. Educated voters will realize that Maldonado and her fellow Democrats are part of the problem, and the solution will be to declare their independence by hiring a new State Rep for House District 52.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Maldonado Is Weaving a Tangled Web: UPDATED

Apparently the Diana Maldonado campaign had to do some quick scrambling Wednesday in response to the revelation that the Texas House District 52 Representative has been avoiding open debate on political issues. By Wednesday night, they were sending out notices to lefty bloggers that included a copy of Maldonado's Calendar, which now shows scheduled debates. Their take?  “See? See? She had it right there on her calendar!”

Unfortunately a copy of an electronic calendar doesn't prove much. The syndicated Lynn Wooley radio show invited Representative Maldonado to debate with Gonzales on air, but she claimed she was unavailable for the initial date. The show then offered 3 alternate dates, but she claimed to be busy on all three. Her campaign is now saying the show was too “Tea Party,” but that does not explain why she declined the Austin Community College invitation for a televised debate. The Round Rock Chamber Debate Diana suddenly has on her electronic calendar for October 5, is actually tentatively scheduled for October 14 during lunch at the Wingate, and has not been finalized. The wrangling over the terms of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber has been going on inconclusively for weeks.

Puzzled by the fact that he had never even heard about the debate at Southwestern University to which Diana claims she agreed, GOP candidate Larry Gonzales actually picked up the telephone to call the university to try to determine when and where this debate will take place. Officials at Southwestern were completely baffled by the question, and stated that nothing was on the college calendar. However, when Gonzales finally got in touch with the events coordinator, he was told that the College Democrats had contacted scheduling on Wednesday night to schedule a debate, while the Maldonado campaign is claiming it has been scheduled for weeks. The press release from the Gonzales campaign calling for debates arrived in my mailbox at 11:57AM Wednesday morning.

It gets better. The scheduler tells Larry that “one candidate has confirmed and they've talked to a least one other one,” and “they have talked to Gonzales.” Neither Larry nor anyone with his campaign have ever been contacted by anyone regarding a debate at Southwestern.

The truth is that Larry Gonzales is willing to have an unscripted debate anytime, anywhere, while Representative Maldonado has been evasive and/or making diva-demands regarding parameters. When called out for her tactics, it seems Diana Maldonado and her handlers scrambled together an elaborate deception to try to make Larry Gonzales look like a liar. Pretty slimy stuff.

Happily, the result of all this, is that now Diana Maldonado will have to agree to some real debates. I'm sure the Voters of House District 52 will appreciate the chance to get beyond the pre-worded statements into serious discussion of the issues.

News 8 Austin covered this story this evening, and confirmed that no debate had been scheduled at Southwestern University.  Also of interest: regarding Larry Gonzales' request for unscripted debates,   "Maldonado admitted she preferred less divisive settings."  Of course she does.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Constitution Day: What is Your Child's School Teaching?

Tomorrow is the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, which is perhaps the greatest governing document created by man.  Federal law requires all public schools to teach students about the Constitution on September 17, but apparently there is a great deal of latitude on the 'how' and 'what' of those lessons. 

At Texas' Permian High School, educators instructed students to create a collage about the Constitution, and sent home a rather curious handout with a brief rundown of the Amendments.  This summary only mentions that the First Amendment establishes the people's right to criticize the government, and that the Second Amendment maintains "that states have the right to have armed militias."  This 'lesson' on the 1st Amendment makes no mention of religious freedoms, and the latter seems to exclude an individual right to keep and bear arms.

To make matters worse, when parents Audra and Jason Moore sent an email asking about the origins of the teaching materials, the teacher repeatedly insisted the material came from the Declaration of Independence. (And incidentally, misspelled 'Independence' throughout.)  While those of us already concerned about the quality of academics in public schools are appalled that the extent of the assignment for 11th-grade students is merely to make a collage, apparently the teacher is utterly lacking in the knowledge and skill necessary to teach such an important historic and civic lesson. 

This incident occurred in a relatively conservative community in Texas; one can only guess the extent of the problem in more liberal climes, as evidenced by certain textbook manufacturers who apply an appalling level of bias to U.S. History lessons, and even attach a warning label to the Constitution.  Happily, many groups are working to re-introduce serious consideration of the Constitution, even providing pocket copies of the Constitution to 5th graders. Of course this leads one to wonder why these schools have 5th graders reading the actual Constitution while 11th graders are making collages.

Americans need to wake up and realize the extent of the attempts to indoctrinate their children with liberal viewpoints via the public school system. Rather than just assuming the schools are teaching, take time to talk to your children about this historic anniversary and what it means. The future of the country may depend on it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Representative Maldonado Afraid to Debate?

In the recent Politifact/Austin American Statesman article verifying that Democrat Representative Diana Maldonado is having to hire 'volunteers' through Craigslist, the Maldonado campaign claimed that Larry Gonzales was not willing to discuss the issues.  Ironically, Larry Gonzales has been trying unsuccessfully for months to get Maldonado to debate him on issues important to the District.  She has refused to do so unless she is given the questions in advance, which only further substantiates the rumor that she cannot think for herself and is completely reliant on handlers to script every appearance.  Below is the release from the Gonzales campaign: 

Gonzales to Maldonado: Let’s Debate…Unscripted
Gonzales Proposes Three Issue-Themed Debates

Williamson County – Republican nominee for House District 52, Larry Gonzales, today challenged liberal incumbent Diana Maldonado to three debates focused on key themes.

“Elections are about choices on issues that matter, and I want the voters of District 52 to have ample opportunity to see the differences between a small business owner and an out of touch liberal who represents Austin instead of Williamson County,” said Gonzales. “Let’s stand before the people of this district with no scripts or canned remarks, and let the voters decide who offers the best vision for creating jobs and opportunity in Williamson County.”

Gonzales proposes an initial debate about the subject most on the mind of voters: jobs and fiscal discipline, hosted by a local business organization. Gonzales proposes a second debate on education, including higher education, hosted either by a local PTA or on the grounds of a local campus. Gonzales proposes a third debate on border security, and the challenges posed by illegal immigration, hosted by a local Tea Party.

Gonzales added, “Diana Maldonado has had five opportunities to stand with me and debate the issues, but has declined every one of them – one of them was to be televised,” said Gonzales. “Clearly, trying to work out a debate schedule privately did not work, so we’re making our request public.”

The debates and forums that Diana Maldonado has declined are the following: The Lynn Woolley syndicated talk radio show; the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (we were told she agreed only if she had the questions seven days in advance); Texas P2 (which is comprised of business and industry) on two separate occasions; and Austin Community College, which offered to televise the debate and rerun it before Election Day.

"In order to be transparent, honest and accountable to voters, debates are crucial. They deserve to hear their state representative defend her record, and how my vision for the future contrasts with that record," said Gonzales “Let’s give voters an unfiltered account of where we stand, and how we will lead. I’m ready. Is she?”


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cedar Park Council Votes for Tax Increase, Is Round Rock Next?

So often I find certain local Republicans can talk all day about applying fiscal conservatism at the Federal level, but are unwilling to apply the same principles to local government.  One need only examine Williamson County city and school board budgets to see that 'big government' spending trends are not limited to politicians in Washington D.C. 

Last week in a 4-3 vote, the Cedar Park City Council approved a new budget and tax rate.  According to news reports, the 3 dissenters "preferred a different proposal," but the truth is that Tony Dale, Matt Powell, and Don Tracy were voting against a tax rate increase.  While proponents of the increase gave the usual reassurances that the .45 cent increase is just such a teensy, weensy amount that no one should care, property owners know that these near-annual teensy weensy increases add up. 

The City of Round Rock will approve a budget and tax rate on September 23, and also seems to be on target to increase the property tax rate from 39.7 to 41.2 cents (per $100 of valuation).  This will be in addition to the new charges homeowners will pay for the city's recycling program, and a new drainage 'fee.'  (Don't you just love it when they call a tax a 'fee' or a 'surcharge'?  Makes you feel so much better.)  The City did cut the budget in some areas, but also added new expenses, such as a new commuter bus service to Austin.  Frankly, I was not aware of the overwhelming demand for such a service, but perhaps I missed something?

Each city asserts that they 'must' raise the rate since sales tax revenues and property values have declined.  It is truly disturbing that these leaders are either unwilling or unable to acknowledge that Williamson County families are purchasing less because of declining income levels, higher unemployment, and an increasing federal tax burden.  Families are cutting their respective budgets and cannot demand employers 'adopt the effective salary rate.'  The message from some elected officials to taxpayers seems to be "We don't care that you have less to spend, we are going to make sure you still give us the same amount of money in taxes NO MATTER WHAT!" 

Happily the elected members of the Williamson County Commissioners Court listened to the people of the county and did not increase next year's county property tax rate.  Perhaps the difference is that Commissioners run in partisan elections and know that it was Republican voters who put them in office, and such voters have certain expectations regarding spending and taxes.  City council and school board candidates have the luxury of hiding behind the 'non-partisan' mantle, and run in May elections when few are paying attention.  But, as these budget votes prove, party matters.

Patrick McGuinness for Texas House

Texas House District 50 does not extend into Williamson County, but includes our neighbors to the south in Pflugerville.  Republican Patrick McGuinness is challenging incumbent Mark Strama.  Strama is an Obama Democrat and in 2008 he enjoyed rhyming his name with Obama's on campaign materials, but like most Democrats in 2010 he is now playing 'duck and cover' when the President comes to Texas. 

Here is an introduction to Patrick McGuinness.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Astroturf at the Gate

What does an elected official do if she doesn't have enthusiastic constituents to volunteer for her campaign? Just hire a few strangers through the internet!

As The Right Side of Austin reported, and the Austin American Statesman's Politifact has confirmed, the Diana Maldonado campaign has been advertising on Craigslist for paid canvassers.

When volunteers canvass, they are given names, addresses, and other information about residents of the district, and are instructed to visit homes in person. The Statesman article does not mention whether or not the Maldonado campaign conducts background checks, and one has to wonder about the caliber of folks who might be knocking on doors this weekend to lobby for the beleaguered incumbent. Hopefully these internet hires won't behave like the infamous 'paid volunteers' of ACORN.

The Republican challenger, Larry Gonzales, has been canvassing the district with known volunteers from within the district. The momentum for his campaign is growing, and if someone knocks on your door on Larry's behalf, it's likely to be one of your neighbors.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Meet GOP Candidate Judge Melissa Goodwin in Round Rock

One contested race on the 2010 ballot will be that for the Third Court of Appeals. While judicial races tend to fly under the radar, they are of vital importance to our state.  The Texas Third is an intermediate appellate court for 24 counties, and its judges review cases already concluded in both the civil and criminal trial courts of the district. From there, cases may go to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals or the Texas Supreme Court.

Former Judge Melissa Goodwin is one of many strong, conservative women on the GOP ticket this year. A former judge of the 427th District Court and former Justice of the Peace of Travis County, she has served on the Texas Judicial Council, Judicial Ethics Committee, and as an instructor for the Texas Justice Court Training Center. She has been endorsed by numerous groups, including the Texas Civil Justice League, the Austin Police Association PAC, Texas Alliance for Life, and the Republican Liberty Caucus.   Her opponent, like most Dems in 2010, is trying to 'play moderate,' but endorsements from the Texas AFL-CIO and the Austin Lesbian/Gay Caucus place Austin attorney Kurt Kuhn firmly in the left-of-center camp. 

Judge Goodwin will be at the Williamson County Republican Women's "Texas Tea" event this Sunday, September 12; a membership event open to all women of the county.  The Tea begins at 1:00PM at Arbor Pointe in Round Rock.  There is no charge for potential members to attend.  In addition to Judge Goodwin, Williamson County Commissioner Val Covey, another great conservative Republican woman, will be speaking about her fiscally conservative approach government spending and taxes. What's more, I have to say the Wilco GOP women are just a lot of fun!   To attend the event, RSVP here

Regarding Diana Maldonado: Voters Know a Hawk from a Handsaw

"I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw."
-Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

On a recent campaign mailer, Representative Diana Maldonado included this 2008 quote from the Austin American Statesman: "Maldonado has a reputation as a budget hawk." While I hardly think I need to go over the credibility problems inherent in a liberal town's liberal newspaper praising a liberal candidate, those familiar with Maldonado's work on the Round Rock School Board were baffled by the 'budget hawk' statement at the time. Since then, her actions in the 81st legislative session have proved that, like most Democrats, Representative Maldonado prefers to fly fast and free with taxpayer dollars.

During Diana Maldonado's tenure on the Round Rock ISD Board, 2003-08, voters were appalled by the proposal of a whopping $350 million bond package in 2005, one the voters soundly defeated. Even so, by 2008 RRISD debt had risen to nearly $630 million, and yet the district still failed to allocate the required 65% of funds to classroom instruction, and had to go back to taxpayers for an additional $294 million that year. Granted, the district's student population had grown by about 30%, but revenues had grown by 75% during the same period.  Furthermore, under then school board president Maldonado, the superintendent's contracted salary inexplicably rose by $38,480 giving him an annual salary of $243,080.00- significantly higher compensation than any governor of any state in the country. Not sure where the 'budget hawk' was in that mess.

Maldonado's disregard for budgetary restraint continued in the Texas House, and her first legislative proposal, H.B. 282, called for state employees to have a tax-payer funded paid holiday on Election Days. Never mind that Texas enjoys anywhere from 5 to 14 days of early voting for any election.  Employers with even the most rudimentary grasp of cost-benefit analysis understand that paid holidays add to the overall budget.  In order for every state employee to have 2 more paid holidays each year, Texas would have to add an estimated $54 million to the budget.  Happily, that rotten egg never made it out of committee.

On other votes regarding government spending and business, Maldonado continued to show a lack of fiscal restraint, and earned a 28% fiscal responsibility rating from Texans For Fiscal Responsibility/Empower Texans.  The average score was 56.7%, leaving Maldonado far below the majority of her peers in the House. 

On the 2010 campaign trail, Maldonado seems confused about the projected budget shortfall, and continuously refers to a multi-billion dollar deficit.  What Representative Maldonado doesn't seem to understand is that we are not talking about a current deficit, but a reduction in the estimated amount of tax revenue the state will collect next year, based on current trends.  In the 2011 session, Texas legislators will need to create a new budget in accordance with these projected revenues.  It is disturbing that Diana Maldonado's response to the projected shortfall is to talk about 'new revenue streams' and ending 'exemptions.'  Translation of government-speak for the voter:  'new revenue streams' = new taxes, and apparently the Democrat mantra this year is to call for a state income tax

In contrast, Republican candidate Larry Gonzales is campaigning on a fiscally conservative platform and promises spending cuts.  Last Saturday in front of some 40 volunteers assembled to canvass the district, he signed a Taxpayer Protection Pledge created by Empower Texans.  In his comments, Gonzales reiterated his commitment to doing "what every American family has to do" in cutting spending. 

With Americans already reeling under the weight of Obamanomics, the last thing the economy needs is more and/or higher taxes, which will only stifle growth.  What we really need are elected officials willing to cut government spending and allow people to use more of their own earnings as they see fit. Unlike some Texas House members, I think the voters are smart enough to tell the difference between a failed 'hawk' and a candidate ready to apply a scalpel, if not a handsaw, to the budget.