December 12th, 2012
razshafer

Picking Fights: Retaking the Texas House Speakership

“Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.” – John Wayne, Stagecoach (1939)

Throughout the last two years, ErickDrew Ryun and myself have introduced RedStaters to many problems within the leadership of the Texas State House. Supporting evidence has been provided, most recently with Erick’s exclusive a few weeks ago, showing the Speaker’s office as the catalyst behind the war against house conservatives. It’s not a new fight but with the January vote on House leadership looming, it’s time to saddle up.

Straus’ was brought to the Speaker’s chair by liberal Republicans and Democrats. Since his rise to power, the Speaker has demonstrated himself to be more than proficient at rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies. As a liberal Republican, those enemies fall uniformly to his right. From his staff sending vulgar emails describing tea partiers and conservative representatives, to intimidating representatives with threats of redistricting, to fighting conservatives in contested primary elections, Joe Straus has proven himself time and again to be a petty and vindictive man.

Two years ago we pushed back against him, promising tough primary battles for Republicans who supported Straus’ reelection. We were scoffed at and told that there was no way the Speaker’s race would be a factor in the primary. While we were unable to stop his reelection as speaker, we made good on our promise during the primary elections.

The only significant victories Straus won (defeating Reps. Christian and Landtroop) required significant gerrymandering and incredible expenditures of financial and political capital from the Speaker’s allies. Conservatives on the other hand virtually ran the table. Several of the Speaker’s Chairmen were eliminated in contested primaries, a number more retired in the face of mounting opposition and even more liberal Republicans were taken out in open races. Not only was the Speaker a factor in the races but recently, Representatives have begun referring to him as "toxic" in private conversations.

While Governor Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst are saddling up for a strong, conservative legislative session, Joe Straus has made his opposition to a number of their initiatives clear. In Texas, the Speaker determines chairmanships of the house committees and appoints a significant number of committee spots. Between his opposition to the Governor’s conservative agenda and his penchant for appointing liberals to powerful positions, Straus has cast himself as the chief roadblock to conservative reform in the upcoming legislative session

In the face of the growing case against Speaker Straus, many Representatives with historically conservative voting records are balking and seem unwilling to push back. Having seemingly forgotten who both their friends and enemies are, they are shirking their duty. Reps. Phil King and Jodie Laubenburg are two prime examples. Both voted against Straus last cycle because they know he’s not a conservative but are caving this cycle. I have great respect for the record that each of these Representatives have made and hope that they will once again see this as a fight work picking. (Hint: The way to catalyze that change is for the constituents to call them!)

While some of their elders seem to have grown “weary in well doing,” a growing number of young conservatives are girding for a fight. They branded themselves as fighters during their campaigns and are prepared to prove their tenacity on their first day in office.

Representative David Simpson is the only declared candidate opposing Straus for the Speaker’s chair at the moment. He is a man of great integrity and his conservative credentials, as well as his sense of fairness, cannot be questioned. Probably best known for his Anti-Groping TSA bill, Rep. Simpson has fought against the cronyism and deception emanating from the Speaker’s office since his entrance onto the political scene. Even though his conservative beliefs are well-known, Simpson earned the respect of many opponents, including Democrats, for opposing the leadership no matter if it was unfairly attacking his friends or his enemies. As Simpson said in his letter to the House, it’s not enough to just do the right thing. “We have to do the right thing in the right way.” While it is unclear what choices will be present for a vote in early January, I have every confidence that Rep. Simpson would be a great leader for the House.

What is clear, even more-so now than two years ago, is that Joe Straus must go.  He has further proven his opposition to a conservative agenda and inability to equitably discharge his duties as the presiding officer of this representative body.

Here is your call to action: If you live in Texas, call your representative and make your opposition to Straus and his liberal cronies clear. Whether you think your Rep. is on the right side of this or not, they need your calls. They need to hear from you! If you live outside Texas, chances are you have friends or family here (…everybody’s moving here so the odds are pretty good…). Let them know what’s at stake and make sure they contact their representatives as well.

As a bonus, here is a speech that Rep. Simpson gave on the House floor at the close of the last session. I have no doubt that you’ll see the contrast between this strong conservative and Speaker Straus:

November 2nd, 2012
razshafer

Texas House Freshman Show Strength

It’s not often you see an incoming freshmen member of the Texas House stand up and begin questioning the way things are run before he’s even sworn in. Texas Action has been proud to endorse many candidates who aren’t going to settle for just getting elected but who will actually push a conservative agenda forward. 

Steve Toth is not someone who received our endorsement during the primary election due to our geographic focus on the DFW area. Had we broadened our geographic focus, he would have no doubt been on that list. It’s clear that he is going to be a strong representative for the Woodlands and a leader during the next session.

Just this week Toth wrote Speaker Joe Straus a letter addressing concerns about the redistricting process which seems to have had a myriad of issues. This letter has yet to warrant a response from the Speaker’s office but Toth’s willingness to bring an issue like this to light deserves a significant amount of credit. 

It’s imperative that our incoming freshmen don’t forget the grassroots tidal wave which elected them. We are excited about the strong list of endorsees we have helped send to Austin and it’s encouraging to see another freshman who has clearly not forgotten why he’s been elected. 

August 28th, 2012
razshafer

10 Big Wins For Texas

Texas Action Victory Graphic

The runoff election is behind us and most Republican eyes are focused on national issues and the RNC in Tampa. While the import of those national issues is undeniable, much work is ahead for Texans. 

This has been an incredible year for grassroots activists in Texas! Not only did the efforts of TEA Party activists and conservatives from across the state yield a historic crop of strong candidates but the tireless efforts that those activists put forth carried a great number of them on to receive the Republican nomination. 

Here at Texas Action we focused the efforts of our inaugural primary election cycle on 12, highly competitive, State House races in Tarrant, Denton, Collin and Dallas counties. We endorsed principled conservatives in races where we saw a clear choice between a candidate who would fight for Texas and her interests and those who would bow the pressures of compromised leadership and special interest. 

Our goal was not to pick easy races and rack up a nice win ratio. We wanted to dive into the thick of things and put our name and efforts behind conservatives who we will be proud of in the State House. 

We endorsed Matt Krause, Pat Fallon, Stephanie Klick, Scott Sanford, Jeff Leach, Ron Simmons, Jonathan Stickland, Craig Goldman, Giovanni Capriglione, Scott Turner, Matt Rinaldi and Mike Brucia

10 of those 12 candidates won their primary elections (in two cases they went to a runoff) and are advancing to be the Republican nominees! Most of them either don’t have a general election opponent or do not face a strong opponent. 

Matt Rinaldi and Mike Brucia fought hard and are candidates we were proud to support but did not ultimately win their races. They remain strong conservatives and I hope very much that they will continue their fight in the years to come. They forced their opponents to be more responsive to the issues and concerns on the minds of conservative voters and those pressures will help keep Austin accountable in the next legislative session. 

I couldn’t be prouder of the 10 candidates who are headed on to November, and, I hope, to Austin!

Each of these men and women speak with conviction and fight with tenacity. I expect great things from them as they enter their freshman legislative session and hope that you will join us in holding them accountable to the promises they made during their campaigns. 

As we move forward with our November election plans, we need your help. Whether it’s volunteering, donating, or just spreading the word, please support these efforts in any way you can. 

To sign up for our email list and to volunteer, click here

If you are able to donate to help us support conservative candidates and continue this fight, please donate here.

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March 24th, 2012
razshafer

Keller’s Own Ron Swanson

Ron Swanson is a hero of mine. For the better part of 6 months I’ve actually been part of the “Draft Ron Swanson for President” movement (so far we’ve been unsuccessful but still trying…) For any of you unfamiliar with Ron and the message he has for America, I am sorry for your ignorance. It needs to be fixed and that is why I’m writing this post. 

Last night I was talking with Dustin Matocha about Dan O’Leary’s firing of himself as Keller’s City Manager and he rightly pointed out that Dan was acting exactly as Ron Swanson would have. Many thanks to Dustin for inspiring this article! (Follow him on Twitter!)

What exactly will you be cutting (out of government) and how much of it and can I watch you do while eating Pork Cracklins?” - Ron Swanson (Parks & Rec Episode 2.23)

It is all too rare an occurrence in government to see real, selfless leadership. We love it when Presidential candidates talk about cutting departments or a department director returning part of his or her budget but we don’t often see people do things that benefit the tax-payers when it’s to their personal detriment. 

Earlier this week, Dan O’Leary fired himself. He is the City Manager for Keller and he realized that the redundancy of having a City Manager and two deputies was causing Taxpayer dollars to be wasted. In an act of genuine leadership, he fired himself and notified the City Council that his last day of work would be April 20th. 

I’m not sure if Dan knows who Ron Swanson is or whether Ron inspired his action (how cool would that be?!) but I know Ron would be proud! 

Mr. O’Leary did a great service for the City of Keller and has inspired a lot of folks through his Swanson-esque leadership style. I applaud him for him and hope you will too!

March 13th, 2012
razshafer

Texas Action Launches!

American Majority Action (AMA) announces the launch of TX Action. As the Texas branch of AMA, a national 501c4 organization promoting conservative principles and statesmen, TX Action will engage both online, at TXAction.com, and off, to encourage grassroots involvement, starting with this year’s Republican primary election.

The efforts that TX Action undertakes will not be unilateral endorsements and independent expenditure campaigns. TX Action will work with grassroots organizations and community leaders across Texas in an effort to further engage conservative activists and empower individuals to exercise a more powerful voice in the political process. Continue reading…
March 6th, 2012
razshafer

Remember The Alamo!

The Alamo

On this day in 1836, The Alamo fell. Only days after The Republic of Texas had been born, the Patriots who held that ground gave their last full measure of devotion in order to hold off Santa Anna’s army and give Sam Houston time to rally his army. 

As you remember those brave souls today and reflect on the greatness of our state, I hope that you will consider the burden that is on each of us to protect their legacy.

Unlike the patriots at the Alamo we are not asked to give our lives for Texas but we need to engage politically in order to keep her free and true to the sacrifice they gave. Now that we have dates and maps for our primary election it’s time for folks to get involved. Whether you work with a cause or campaign, find an effort to give your time and energy to this election season. 

Here at TX Action we are preparing to roll out our endorsements and make some exciting announcements about what we will be doing this election cycle. Stay tuned! 

In the meantime, Remember the Alamo!

-Raz

March 1st, 2012
razshafer

TX Action Goes Live!

Ladies and Gentlemen, today we’re soft-launching TXAction.com and quietly kicking off our web presence. Our candidate database will be going live in the next few days and we will begin announcing our endorsements in the very near future.

In the meantime, I wanted share some information about who we are and what we hope to accomplish this election cycle. 

Please check out TXAction.com, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We’ll work to keep you informed and engaged as the election cycle progresses!

February 22nd, 2012
razshafer

Welcome to the TX Action blog! We will be using this forum to keep you updated on important updates about the upcoming election and what’s happening with us at TX Action. Please follow us for updates!

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Stay updated on the latest happenings with Texas Action and our fight for conservative victories in Texas!