Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kay Must Decide, says new Texas GOP Chair and Perry supporter Cathie Adams

W. Gardner Selby at the Austin American-Statesman reported today that "Cathie Adams of Dallas, who also said she won't be withdrawing her earlier endorsement of GOP Gov. Rick Perry's re-election, said her hope that Hutchison acts on the resignation issue reflects concern among party activists waiting for Hutchison's decision before setting their own political plans or making political commitments."
"It would help the people of the state of Texas to know more clearly, especially by (the candidate filing deadline of) Jan. 4," Adams said, "because if she resigns after that, we're going to throw things into quite an unknown."
Selby also reports that, "Adams told reporters it would be impossible for her to withdraw her earlier endorsement of Perry for another term."

There are 39 days remaining until the Filing Period begins. Perhaps Senator Hutchison will soon reveal her plans for the future to all of us. Several folks have been puzzled by the lack of information and action coming out of Team Kay. You'd thought that she would have publicized the sale of her Washington, DC home; instead we're all wondering what's going on?!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gov. Perry won't rule out a 2nd attempt at Texas-Trans Corridor

Phillip Martin at BOR just released a transcript and provided a link to a YouTube video of Governor Perry earlier today stating that he wouldn't not rule out a Texas-Trans Corridor No. 2.

Question: "Would Proposition 11 prevent future Trans-Texas corridors from seizing private land."

: "This is where a government entity can take a piece of property and hand it over to a private developer for development, to enhance tax revenues. When we're building highways in the state of Texas, that still stays the sovreign land of the state of Texas. So when the next road that's built in the state of Texas and there's eminent domain [unclear word] that goes into place..."

Regardless, the fact that Perry was asked -- rather point blank -- about whether or not the constitutional amendment prohibits future Trans-Texas Corridors, and ducked the question, is newsworthy.
The link to the YouTube video is

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Perry: Washington Republicans got us in this mess

Jason Embry at the Austin American-Statesman reports that Rick Perry and his Chief of Staff, Ray Sullivan, attended a donkey roast of a meeting with Washingtonian republicans:

Gov. Rick Perry’s broad criticisms of Washington Republicans aren’t sitting well with Washington Republicans.

In a closed-door meeting Thursday in Washington with Perry chief of staff Ray Sullivan, several top aides to Texas Republican U.S. House members expressed anger over the language Perry is using as he tries to fend off a challenge from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Perry often criticizes Hutchison in code by complaining about Washington.

Stoking their anger was a Sept. 14 fundraising letter in which Perry contrasts Texas’ relatively healthy budget climate with the Washington model of “more government, pork barrel spending and fiscal ruin.”

But instead of just talking about Democratic congressional leaders or President Barack Obama, the letter calls out Republicans.

“Let’s be frank,” the letter says. “Washington Republicans got us in this mess.”

Later in the letter, Perry writes, “If Washington Republicans hadn’t spent like Democrats for 12 years, they might have maintained enough votes to actually kill Obamacare.”

Hutchison’s campaign sent the fundraising letter to Republican chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill.

One would think Perry switched back to the Democratic party after reading Embry's post. We tip our hats to Jason's muckraking style of reporting. Embry's report continues with:

According to two sources in Thursday’s meeting who did not want to be named because they did not want to draw attention to their bosses, Sullivan was unapologetic. “He was nice, but he said, ‘We’re running against somebody from Washington and that’s the strategy,’ ” one source said.

Another said of Sullivan’s reaction, “I think there was shock and awe with the arrogance of it all.”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Perry campaign goes Negative, launches anti-Kay website

Well, it didn't take long for Governor Rick Perry's campaign to go negative.

Texans for Rick Perry has created and posted a website named "" in an attempt to portray her as a 'Washington outsider' and rapidly counter Kay's campaign.

We're not sure how long Perry's campaign will keep the negative website around, but for now it seems to indicate Rick's camp was shaken up earlier this week with Kay's allegations of redundant bill signing around the state for political purposes.

The website is and includes altered photos of Senator Hutchison that make her appear goofy. Visitors to the website can download a variety of YouTube videos that seem to have been developed to respond quickly to Kay's camp using the internet. Graphics and PDF documents may also be downloaded that attempt to show differences between the "Washington Kay" and the "Texas Kay".

Here at KVR we believe that Governor Perry is walking a very fine line. First of all, the site is outright negative in content. The site attempts to humorously ridicule a standing U.S. Senator elected by Texans to represent our state in Washington. Its also easy to construe this new website as misogynistic. Texas has a history of strong women leaders in politics. I'm not sure we've ever seen anything like this in recent political history; even with Strayhorn's gubernatorial bid.

We're waiting to see what Kay's campaign will do in response to this website. They will either ignore it to try and stave off attention from the new site or meet it head-on with a site of their own or calling shame on Perry's camp.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sen. Hutchison will vote 'no' on Judge Sonya Sotomayer

Senator Hutchison has announced that she will join Senator's Hatch and Cornyn by not supporting Judge Sonya Sotomayer in her bid for SCOTUS.

The Associated Press reports:
Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison says she will vote against confirming Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court justice.

She said Tuesday she is concerned about Sotomayor's views on the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms. Hutchison is from Texas, where the population is more than a third Hispanic.

Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed as the first Hispanic justice of the high court.

Texas' junior senator, John Cornyn, voted against Sotomayor on Tuesday as the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination on a 13-6 vote and sent it to the full Senate.

Hutchison is seeking the 2010 GOP nomination for governor in Texas.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kay expands Campaign Staff, surpasses Perry's re-election team in growth

Gardner Shelby at the Austin American-Statesman just published an article about significant changes to Senator Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign staff.
Wiley and Sullivan said the change in leadership, finalized last week, was not in reaction to Hutchison losing ground to GOP Gov. Rick Perry in recent polls. Instead, the two said, the addition of new staff and consultants reflected timely growth in a campaign intent on making history.

“As with any campaign, you build as you go,” Sullivan said. “You don’t hit the ground with a full staff.

“This is big; this is going to be one of the biggest races the country has ever seen outside of a presidential race. This is a multi-dimensional campaign. We want to make sure we’ve got the firepower to win.”

Sullivan, 35, said he’s never managed a gubernatorial campaign. But he previously worked in Texas for Hutchison in 2005, leaving then only after Hutchison chose not to challenge Perry in 2006.

“It’s going to be fun to kick Rick Perry’s record around for the next seven months,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan managed Jim DeMint’s 2004 win of a Senate seat in South Carolina. Later, he coached various Senate campaigns before managing presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s effort in South Carolina in 2008.
Shelby also reports that Kay's campaign staff is larger than Governor Perry's re-election team and growing:
Hutchison’s campaign, which already exceeded the size of Perry’s operation, is also set to reveal other hires, which Wiley and Sullivan characterized as signs of a promising build-up rather than a troubling shake-up.

Two individuals will focus on communication with reporters and a third will be handling rapid response to incidents and sallies from Perry’s campaign. Over the past few weeks there has been great speculation about whether Kay should or would drop out of her bid for the Governorship. Shelby's report seems to indicate otherwise; instead Kay's campaign seems strong and organized.

Jeff Sadosky’s arrival as press secretary amounts to no surprise considering Hutchison’s campaign earlier this year retained Hans Klingler, formerly with the Republican Party of Texas, as communications director but didn’t immediately designate a press secretary entrusted with day-to-day reporter contacts. Sadosky took the campaign job this week after joining Hutchison’s Washington staff as communications director earlier this year.

The campaign’s new senior communications adviser, Jennifer Coxe-Baker, previously helped Mel Martinez of Florida win a Senate seat. She also was a spokeswoman for the Bush administration’s Secretary of Labor.

Joe Pounder, designated the deputy communications director, will focus on rapid response. He has worked for U.S. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican Whip, for whom he composed this blog today, and Romney’s presidential campaign. (A reader forwarded this Pounder profile from

Sullivan said two Dallas-based consultants—already affiliated with Scott Howell, who’s handling Hutchison’s TV advertising—will play significant roles going forward. Heath Thompson, who was a regional political director in the Bush-Cheney campaign of 2004, will focus on strategy, while Todd Harris, who’s been a spokesman for Florida’s Jeb Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. John McCain, will be a point person on communications. Harris was once called a “spinner extraordinaire” by “Roll Call,” the Washington newspaper.
The continued growth and organization of Kay's camp clearly shows she's ready to fight Governor Perry for the 2010 republican gubernatorial race. Here at KVR we agree with Shelby's assessment that this latest re-organization to her staff is not a shake-up, but rather a strategic build-up of experienced campaign staff. Hold on to your cowboy hat, it looks like Kay's kicking up dust and possibily running Rick outta town.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Report shows Perry lives in Luxury

Its no secret that Texas' longest serving governor lives in the lap of luxury. Today the Houston Chronicle released two lists that show gifts and travel paid provided to Governor Perry since his reign as governor began.

Gifts are nothing new to politicians. Its seen as kind of a perk, but the lists provided by the Chronicle are quite impressive.

Here is a quick excerpt from R.G. Ratcliffe's article in today's Houston Chronicle:

The taxpayers shell out $108,000 a year to rent him an estate west of Austin, and spend another $168,000 on chefs, stewards and housekeepers for the Perrys' creature comforts.

Piano maestro Van Cliburn once played at the Governor's Mansion for first lady Anita Perry's birthday. Dallas aerobics guru Dr. Kenneth Cooper once gave the governor free medical tests. Expensive gifts to Perry have included 16 pairs of custom-made boots, a pair of spurs, hunting trips, sports tickets and a football helmet signed by former Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith.

The perks of being governor are not unusual across the nation, and in many states, governors like Perry are also de facto head of state business recruitment.

Wealthy donors and corporate-funded foundations, for example, have flown him to the Bahamas for scuba diving, to Paris, Rome and Dubai for business promotion and to San Diego, Calif., for the one-time Texas A&M yell leader to attend an Aggies Muster for expatriate A&M graduates.

There was a trip to Istanbul for the Bilderberg conference hosted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. A trip to the Middle East had on its schedule meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jordan's King Abdullah and a “breathtaking sunset cruise on the Red Sea.”

Governor Perry was honest about his role of attracting businesses to Texas -- making him the de facto Salesman for attracting and retaining businesses. Ratcliffe's article continues with:

Perry, who took office in 2000, said in a recent interview with the Houston Chronicle that his only motivation as governor is to affect public policy: “This is not about me. It's not about whatever the people would perceive as the perks of being governor ... I get to go do a job every day that makes a difference in people's lives. I find that very satisfying.”

Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said the governor's amenities are like those of previous governors and others across the country.

“Texas is the tenth largest economy in the world. We're the number one exporting state. We have an economy that is an economic powerhouse,” Castle said. “Carrying that message to other countries, other leaders, business leaders, state leaders is an important mission.”

And what about travel you ask? Well, here's what Ratcliffe's article says about that:

[Allison] Castle noted that Perry's travel is not paid by taxpayers.

Texas One, a corporate-finance foundation, pays for much of Perry's business development travel. Other travel is paid for by his political committee or campaign donors. And some is financed as in-kind contributions from specific wealthy donors or interest groups.

Scuba diving was on the agenda in a controversial 2004 trip when beer distributor John Nau and investor Charles Tate, both of Houston, and San Antonio investor James Leininger paid $40,400 to fly Rick and Anita Perry and others on private jets to the Bahamas for a trip that included discussions of public education policy.

Houston's Gulf States Toyota owner Thomas Friedkin gave $9,000 in travel to Perry's campaign last year so the governor, his wife and daughter could spend two days in Key West for a fundraiser.

Perry and his wife leave this week for San Diego to raise money for his re-election. They visited San Diego this time last year, a trip that included a visit to the San Diego Chargers training camp.

Which reminds us here at KVR... the Dallas Cowboys will begin their training camp in San Antonio at the Alamodome on Tuesday. We hope Rick will at least send an envoy to the Cowboys while he visits with the Chargers in San Diego.

Click here for a list of Gifts provided to Governor Perry.

Click here for a list of travel/trips for Governor Perry paid for by others.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Perry threatens to invote 'States Rights' and reject federal Health Care

David Montgomery at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram includes comments from a WBAP interview with Governor Perry about the proposed national health care plan that is currently before Congress:

Interviewed by conservative talk show host Mark Davis of Dallas’ WBAP/820 AM, Perry said his first hope is that Congress will defeat the plan, which both Perry and Davis described as "Obama Care." But should it pass, Perry predicted that Texas and a "number" of states might resist the federal health mandate.

"I think you’ll hear states and governors standing up and saying 'no’ to this type of encroachment on the states with their healthcare," Perry said. "So my hope is that we never have to have that stand-up. But I’m certainly willing and ready for the fight if this administration continues to try to force their very expansive government philosophy down our collective throats."

"It really is a state issue, and if there was ever an argument for the 10th Amendment and for letting the states find a solution to their problems, this may be at the top of the class," Perry said. "A government-run healthcare system is financially unstable. It’s not the solution."

Texas has a higher percentage of uninsured people than any other state, with 1 in 4 Texans lacking health coverage. Dunkelberg, whose organization supports policies to help low- and modest-income Texans, said the House version would create a "predictable and comprehensive benefits package" for thousands of struggling middle-income Texans.

It seems that lately Governor Perry has been on a mission to challenge the federal government on constitutional grounds for states rights. We're not sure if this strategy is to build hype and a name for himself or put the states interests first.

With so many Texans uninsured, how would the State of Texas propose to cover health care alone?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kay expected to make Big Announcement this afternoon in Dallas

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is expected to make a big announcement at 2pm today in Dallas regarding the financial status of her campaign and perhaps, as we say here in Texas, formally 'throw her hat in the ring' for the 2010 republican gubernatorial race.

Robert Wilonsky at the Texas Observer writes today:
"...her campaign communications director, Hans Klingler, just told Unfair Park: U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's going to be at Dallas County Republican Party HQ on N. Central Expressway to "announce when she's going to announce" her run for Texas governor. That's just a brief peek at her remarks, which she'll deliver at 2 p.m. today, as Hutchison comes home to also offer campaign supporters a look at the amount of dough she's raised thus far as she vies for Rick Perry's job. Perry yesterday announced he'd raised $4.2 million during just nine days in June.
Earlier this morning, Kay's campaign released a teaser YouTube video featuring Texans for Kay Statewide Finance Chairman John Nau. In the video Mr. Nau says:
I have raised money for many years here in Texas to support philanthropic and political causes. I've never seen an outpouring of support like we have witnessed for the last six months for Kay Bailey Hutchison. It is not only impressive, its exciting. I look forward to her announcing her candidacy and working hard, with many people across this state, to guarantee that she wins and becomes the governor of our great state of Texas.
We'll post information from KBH's 2pm announcement in Dallas as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, at least one Austin-based political reporter is crying foul over the location of Kay's announcement.
Gardner Selby at the Austin American-Statesman set his Twitter and Facebook status as:
Hutchison dodging Capitol press? She's huddling with Dallas press about finances today: #txlege #hutchison #rickperry
Sources tell us that we'll be able to watch Kay's announcement live via her website at

We'll be live blogging the 2pm announcement here at

Thursday, July 9, 2009

UT Online Poll shows Perry leading Kay by 12 points

Jason Embry at the Austin American-Statesman reports this morning that:
Gov. Rick Perry leads U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison by 12 points among voters who say they intend to vote in the Republican primary next March, according to an online poll that the University of Texas at Austin will release today.

The numbers:

Perry: 38 percent

Hutchison: 26 percent

Undecided or supporting someone else: 34 percent

Among registered voters, Perry is up 38-27.

The poll — like others in recent weeks — shows a significant surge for Perry over the last several months. Consider that in the same poll released in March, Hutchison led 37 percent to 29 percent. At least for now, these numbers indicate that Perry’s aggressive anti-Washington stance in recent months has helped him considerably with GOP voters, and while Hutchison’s limited public engagement in the race has not.

At the same time, we must stress the election is eight months away and the campaign really has not fully begun.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sen. Hutchison spends Less on Travel than Cornyn

Texas taxpayers helped foot the bill for the $152,000 Cornyn's spent on chartered and commercial jets during the first half of 2009. In comparison, fellow Texas US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison spent $88,000, according to a KVUE news report by Elsie Hu.

"I don't know why he thinks he's so much better than you and I and get on Southwest like the rest of us do," said Tom "Smitty" Smith of Public Citizen Texas. "He claims to be a fiscal conservative. This to me is the worst of the tax and spend liberals in Congress."

But Cornyn says his flight expenses are necessary.

"Not every state is the same. When you represent a state as big as Texas and traveling home from Washington DC every weekend it unfortunately costs more money," he said.

Gov. Perry claims $9.3 Million in Campaign War Chest

Gardner Shelby at the Austin American-Statesman is reporting this afternoon that:

Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign revealed today that it ended June with $9.3 million cash on hand, having raised $4.2 million in the last nine days of the month, which was the only period this year that he could legally accept donations.

For the moment—and surely just for the moment—that means Texans for Rick Perry is reporting more cash on hand than Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s gubernatorial committee, which entered this year with nearly $8 million cash on hand, a tally that then outpaced Perry’s end-of-2008 cash balance of $6.6 million.

Hutchison’s campaign, which could legally raise money through the regular legislative session and post-session veto period, is widely expected to report much more cash on hand by the time all finance reports are due a week from today.

The two are expected to face off for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in March.

Today, Perry’s campaign didn’t release his full report and it disclosed no information on who precisely accounted for his end-of-month haul.

But broadly, the campaign said it had raised $4.23 million—including $454,094 online—from 1,076 donors from June 22-June 30, which it said nearly doubled the amount he collected over a similar time period after the 2005 regular legislative session. (UPDATE: By my math, the campaign’s contributions this June fell $455,410 short of doubling the $2,343,248 Perry’s campaign raised in the June period of 2005—about 10 percent shy of a doubling.)

Jim Lee of Houston, one of Perry’s state finance chairs, said: “This is a remarkable accomplishment and a ringing endorsement of Gov. Perry.” He noted that 95 percent of the contributors are from Texas, “showing that Texans continue to appreciate and value his leadership.”

The Austin American-Statesman is awaiting a response from Kay's campaign.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Perry releases statement on Palin through Campaign

Governor Rick Perry released a statement through his campaign on the sudden resignation of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
“Sarah Palin is a good friend and accomplished governor who will continue to be a strong voice of conservatism in American politics. Her state and our country are better off as a result of her tenure as governor and her candidacy for vice president.

“I expect she will continue to work on the issues facing our country as conservatives strive to undo the damage being done by an out-of-control congress and federal government.”
In February Mrs. Palin endorsed Governor Perry's re-election bid calling him a "true conservative". The Dallas Morning News highlighted Palin's endorsement on February 2nd:

"He walks the walk of a true conservative. And he sticks by his guns – and you know how I feel about guns," she said.

Palin cited one of the Perry campaign's top issues – opposition to federal financial bailouts. And she singled out Perry's opposition to abortion rights.

"Not every child is born into ideal circumstances, but every life is sacred," Palin said in the mail appeal. "Rick Perry knows this – it is at the core of his being."

Hutchison supports abortion rights, although with restrictions, including parental notification and a ban on certain late-term procedures.

While some have speculated that Palin's sudden resignation is a move towards a possible 2012 republican presidential nomination, we believe she's leaving because of emails that will soon be released from the State of Alaska.

MSNBC is reporting today that, thirteen requests for her e-mails, made under state records laws before the November 2008 presidential election, are still pending.
The records include e-mail sent between the governor and her staff not only on their official e-mail accounts but also on their private Yahoo accounts. Palin and many of her staff were using private accounts. But state courts since have ruled that the correspondence between government officials, about government business, are public records, whether they use their government e-mail accounts or private ones.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kay's op-ed: 'Cautious Progress in Iraq'

Read Senator Hutchison's op-ed in today's Dallas Morning News about 'Cautious Progress in Iraq'.

I recently had the opportunity to celebrate the Fourth of July early and in a unique way. This year, on the eve of our nation's Independence Day, I was in Baghdad, thanking those who are protecting the freedom that we celebrate on July Fourth. There in Iraq, I was privileged to visit the Texans who embody the same patriotism as the American soldiers who won our nation's freedom 233 years ago.

I spent the Senate's July Fourth recess traveling to Iraq so I could carry a very clear message to those who were not able to spend the holiday at home with their families: The American people are completely behind our troops, and we are deeply grateful for their brave service. Our nation would not know freedom without their sacrifice.

The soldiers of the Texas National Guard warmly welcomed me and made me prouder than ever to be a Texan. I am happy to report that Texas troops are exhibiting our state's indomitable spirit of pride and optimism as they serve overseas. Their energy was infectious, and their attitudes were uplifting.

As America undertakes its first major deadline for drawdown of forces, I also wanted to be there on the ground to see this process begin to unfold and to hear from our commanders how it is being executed. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commanding general of multinational forces in Iraq, and Christopher R. Hill, American ambassador to Iraq, outlined for me their vision of the way forward.

On June 30, we reached a key milestone. U.S. forces completed a process that began last January of transferring responsibility for patrolling Iraqi cities to the Iraqi Army. Primarily, American soldiers will fall back to the outskirts of the cities, where they will remain ready to provide training and support.

I hope the Iraqis will be successful and build on the progress we've already made. The indicators for security gains are mostly trending in the right direction. However, there are troubling variables that we must monitor closely, such as resurgence of sectarian violence and the continued malevolent Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs.

The Iraqis can be assured that, if there is trouble, the American forces will not be far. We did not invest so much – in American lives and treasure – to see progress languish. Our soldiers stand at the ready as needed.

Odierno and Hill assured me that the full drawdown of our troops will be gradual. Iraq must remain stable so next January's elections can be fair and peaceful and the logistically complex drawdown process can continue apace. In deliberate, calculated steps, we will start to close down base operations in Iraq. Equipment will be refurbished or repaired and sent to support our missions in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the world.

The commanders on the ground assured me that we have a solid plan, supported by the world's finest military. It is in all our best interests that America withdraws in an orderly fashion so that the end result of our efforts in Iraq is greater stability in the region, as well as an Iraq that never again serves as a base for terrorist operations.

My visit with our troops left me hopeful and optimistic for the future of Iraq. Moreover, I returned to Texas thankful that we have such dedicated and selfless young men and women as those I met from Texas who are, even now, serving on the frontlines.

Kay Bailey Hutchison is the senior U.S. senator from Texas and may be reached through

An op-ed in a major Texas newspaper was a great way to reach out to Texans and share details about her trip to Iraq. We give her an A+ for the effort and content of today's op-ed.

What are your thoughts on Kay's op-ed? Comment below.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Perry Goofs on History of 140 Day Legislative Sessions

Last night, Peggy Fikac of the Houston Chronicle quoted Governor Perry on the subject of the Special Session that begins today:
Perry, who faces what’s expected to be a tough GOP primary against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, cited Texas’ “founding fathers” and the biennial regular session schedule when asked why he wants the special session to be short.

“Do we want to have long legislative sessions? No. The founding fathers said 140 days every other year. Get ’em in, get ’em out, get your work done. Bada bing, bada boom,” he said.

It seems that Governor Perry is lacking in his Texas History. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, it wasn't until 1960 that the Texas Legislature implemented the first constitutional limit on the duration of regular sessions (140 days).

Here at KVR we might consider referring to Stephen F. Austin and company as "Founding Fathers", but not legislators from the late 1950's and early 1960's.

It is odd that Mr. Perry, who was elected in 1984 as a Democrat to the Texas House of Representatives, later elected as the Lieutenant Governor in 1998, and has been Governor since December 21, 2000 seems to have no idea about the history of the 140 day duration for the Texas Legislature.

The Cost of the Texas Legislature

How much does the Legislature Cost you ask?

R. G. Ratcliffe highlighted the cost of legislative sessions in Texas in a Houston Chronicle article on June 14, 2009. Here's what Ratcliffe found:

How Much Then & Now

  • The cost of a legislative session in 1963: $2.9 million
  • The cost of the 140-day session that ended June 1: $9.1 million
How Much the Legislature Costs Annually
  • Annual cost per year to operate the Texas legislature including nearly 1,1800 people on staff: $171.5 million
Biggest Costs for the 2009 Regular Legislative Session
  • $4.9 million spent to hire 402 House and Senate sergeants at arms, clerks, researchers, proofreaders and staff photographers
  • An additional $4.2 million paid to the 181 legislators as living expenses on top of the $1.3 million spent on their annual salaries
This morning, Mike Ward at the Austin American Statesman included the agenda for the Special Session that begins today:
Continuing the operations of the state's transportation, insurance and racing commissions plus two smaller agencies; authorizing $2 billion in road-building bonds that voters have approved; and continuing the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation to negotiate private-public deals to build toll roads.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rick leads Kay in latest Poll, but 45% are Undecided

Yesterday's big news was the release of the Texas Lyceum Poll on the upcoming Texas gubernatorial race. The Dallas Morning News included an AP report that highlighted the results of the poll:

A new poll shows Gov. Rick Perry is leading his major primary challenger, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, in his 2010 re-election campaign.

The Texas Lyceum Poll released Wednesday also found many Texans aren't paying much attention to next year's elections yet.

The poll found Perry backed by 33 percent of those polled, while Hutchison had 21 percent. Some 45 percent of Texans were undecided.

On the Democratic side, 80 percent of those polled were undecided, but humorist Kinky Friedman had 10 perecent, followed by former ambassador Tom Schieffer with 6 percent. Schieffer formally launches his campaign on Wednesday.

The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Its obvious that with nearly 45% of Texans undecided on this race, the results of this poll shouldn't cause a party at Rick's re-election headquarters. There's still a lot of campaigning to do between now and election day.

We already know that Governor Perry's plan is to attack Senator Hutchison as a "Washington outsider" who is out of touch with us Texans. We're still waiting for the KBH campaign to crankup in full gear. As both campaigns start to hit full throttle, you'll see more postings here at KVR.

AP: Texas race for gov. a Republican slugfest

Kelley Shannon at the Associated Press captured in one word what the upcoming Republican gubernatorial race is turning out to be so far, a "slugfest".

Shannon's article delves into state of fundraising for both campaigns.
Even if Perry trails in money this summer — a real possibility because he couldn't accept donations all spring but Hutchison could — he'll likely catch up quickly because of established donors who are willing to give him as much as $100,000 per four-year term, said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

"This is a race that will see larger amounts of money spent in the primary, maybe, than in the general election. It's going to be a slugfest between Perry and Hutchison," Jillson said.

Shannon's article continues, with spokespersons from both campaigns.
Hutchison held an early money lead at the start of this year, with nearly $8 million to Perry's $6.6 million in the bank. Most of Hutchison's total was transferred from her federal campaign account.

Since then, she's been working on more state fundraising. She named John Nau, a Houston businessman and former Perry backer, as her finance chairman. She sent out a fundraising letter that sounded the national Republican theme but referred to Perry in saying, "We simply can't afford this type of leadership negatively defining our party for four more years."

Hutchison is stepping up complaints that the two-term governor is showing "hypocrisy" on issues ranging from property rights to the state's business tax.

"Real leaders don't grandstand on a temporary fix to the problem of their own making. This is a new height of hypocrisy even for Rick Perry," Hutchison spokesman Hans Klingler said this month when Perry signed a law revising the business tax that he backed when it was crafted.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the Hutchison accusations ring hollow.

"It's easy to criticize when you've been on the sidelines," Miner said. Perry's camp will continue to point out Hutchison's long history in Washington and link her to federal bailouts and deficit spending, Miner said.

"We'll continue to highlight the differences between someone who's been in Washington and someone like the governor who's been in Texas working to improve the lives of all Texans," Miner said.

So the Parry camp continues down the destructive path of claiming Senator Hutchison is a 'Washington outsider' and some kind of federal government cowgirl. So far, it may be playing out okay on talk radio, but as Kay's campaign kicks into full throttle, we won't be surprised to see her talking about how out of touch Perry with reality.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kay says Perry is hurting the Republican party

Senator Hutchison was on Hardball last night. If you missed her on MSNBC last night, no worries, Todd Gillman at the Dallas Morning News provided a summary in this morning's Trail Blazers Blog:
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was on Hardball last night on MSNBC, talking mainly about Iran and President Obama's latest posture there. But Chris Matthews asked her about the Texas governor's race, too - specifically, whether she thinks she can beat Gov. Rick Perry, given her "centrist conservative views" and the fact that he's a "character... who's talked about secession from the union, who now enjoys... the endorsement of Sarah Palin, who, for whatever crazy reason, has gotten herself involved in Texas politics?

Short answer from Hutchison: "Yes."

She invoked Ronald Reagan - the big tent part, not the 11th Commandment part.

"I'm a conservative. I want the party to be growing and building and bringing people into our ideas by welcoming them into the party, by holding to our principles, while we say, here are what we believe, and we know you can't agree on 100 percent of everything, but we can form a party around basic principles of freedom, of lower taxes, of entrepreneurship and -- and the American spirit. We can build a party around that. And we can argue about differences that we might have, but we should not repel people from the party. And that's what I think has happened with Governor Perry, in some instances."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Polls indicate both Perry and Sen. Hutchison are tied

A Rasmussen poll released today indicates that Governor Perry and Senator Hutchison are "essentially tied in an early look at their 2010 Primary battle."

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey shows Perry attracting 42% of the vote while Hutchison earns 38%. Seven percent (7%) say they’d like to vote for somebody else and 13% are undecided.

Perry leads by 15 percentage points among conservative voters but Hutchison leads by 35 points among the moderates.

Garner Shelby at the Austin American-Statesman reported yesterday that "A poll taken Sunday and Monday on behalf of Gov. Rick Perry’s re-election campaign suggests that among Republicans likely to vote in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary, Perry is in striking distance of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison."

The summary doesn’t precisely say how pollster Mike Baselice chose who to poll.

Hutchison’s camp later questioned the methodology.

Her campaign manager, Rick Wiley, and a senior strategist, long-time GOP pollster Lance Tarrance Jr., took issue with Perry’s campaign testing the candidates in two ways—both with their officeholder titles (Gov. Perry, Sen. Hutchison) and simply by their names. Tarrance said the sample size in each case means the margin of error for each sample of 250 GOP voters is plus or minus 10 percent.

“Maybe they’re baiting everybody” with the poll, Tarrance said.

Baselice said later the plus or minus margin of error for a sample of 250 voters would actually be 6.1 percent.

In the summary, Baselice advises: “The overall ballot score shows the race much closer than some of recent polls floating around the Internet.” The percentages as relayed to Perry supporters by Perry consultant Dave Carney: Hutchison 44 percent, Perry 39 percent.

Yet those percentage combine the two samples. When the two were paired against each other by names alone, Hutchison led by 11 percentage points, that is: Hutchison, 47 percent, Perry 36 percent.

Put another way, nearly one in two Republican voters favors Hutchison for governor at this time.

Baselice, reached later, defended his approach.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chris Bell's lawsuit over 2006 contribution for Perry still on

Jason Embry at the Austin American-Statesman reports "District Judge John Dietz late today denied efforts by Texans for Rick Perry and the Republican Governors Association to throw out a lawsuit brought against them by Democrat Chris Bell, who ran against Perry in 2006, said Bell lawyer Buck Wood."
Bell has alleged that reporting errors made by the Perry campaign on campaign-finance reports kept the public from fully seeing the source of money that the governor received for his re-election in the final week of the 2006 race. He has argued that the governors’ group did not follow proper state procedures in making the donation.

Wood said the Dietz ruling did not address Bell’s own effort to have a summary judgment in the case. If that effort is also denied, the case will move closer to a trial.

At issue is $1 million that came to the Perry campaign from the governor’s group in the final month of the campaign.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Job Security: Perry's Appointees reportedly contribute Millions

Wanna show the boss that you like him and hope to keep your job? Better pay up. Matt Stiles at the Houston Chronicle reports today that, "The appointees have given about $4.9 million since Perry became governor in late 2000, with the average donation topping $7,000."
Gov. Rick Perry has accepted nearly $5 million in political campaign donations from people he appointed to state boards and commissions, including some in plum jobs that set policy for state universities, parks and roads, records show.

Nearly half the appointee donations came from people serving as higher education regents, including more than $840,000 from those at the University of Texas System, according to a Houston Chronicle review of campaign-finance records.

Stiles' article includes the following link to see a list of top contributors with State Jobs:

Perry to speak at Family Research Council summit in September

Governor Perry made a lot of news with his support of a pro-life license plate in Texas last week. For many that are following the 2010 road to the Governors Mansion, his support of the license plates shows a strategy that includes courting 'right wing conservatives'.

Earlier this morning, Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News, reported in his blog that Governor Perry is scheduled to speak at the Values Voter summit.

Gov. Rick Perry, whose efforts to woo the religious right to beat Kay Bailey Hutchison in next year's GOP primary, will be a featured speaker at the big Values Voter summit in Washington DC in September. The event -- an annual gathering of the who's who among social conservative political types -- is sponsored by Family Research Council. The group lists the Texas governor on its web site as a confirmed speaker, along with others invited and confirmed -- Sarah Palin, former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell, radio talkers Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, Congresswoman Michele Bachman, Phyllis Schafly and gay marriage opponent Miss. California Carrie Prejean.

Perry is stepping up his appeal to social conservatives with repeated tweets on his Twitter account boosting Tuesday's prayer breakfast in Austin, part of the National Day of Prayer observance.

Governor Perry's efforts to distance himself between Senator Hutchison as a 'Washington Outsider' seems to be faltering. KVR reported earlier that Perry has more money from Washington contributors and guess where the Values Voter summit is going to be held? The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Texas House debates flag for Governor

Things must be really busy at the Capitol these days what with the latest debate centered on what type of flag should be designated for the governor.

Robert T. Garrett of the Dallas Morning News writes in today's Trail Blazers blog about the flag.
The House just had its daily leg stretch and heehaw. This one over designating an official flag for the governor.

House Democratic Leader Jim Dunnam of Waco, offered a bill proposing a red, white and blue flag dating to 1839 and the Republic of Texas (right). Dunnam said, "I think he should have a flag." Gov. Rick Perry has failed to issue an order specifying one.

Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, said Dunnam's proposed flag looks too much like the current flag of Russia. Though Dunnam pleaded that Russia imitated the Republic of Texas, King swayed House members to substitute a blue flag with stars and a seal for Dunnam's 1839 pilot flag of the Republic of Texas.

"Members, vote for America, not Russia," King said.

The Handbook of Texas Online states that the pilot flag was probably used from January 25, 1839, to December 29, 1845.

We thought the Governor already has a flag... our current Lone Star state flag. Sure its our sixth one, but we're proud of it and we hope the Governor is too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Perry's raises more from Washington donors than Kay?!?

The Associated Press is reporting today that, "Perry has collected $2.7 million from Washington since becoming governor — four times more than Hutchison's $670,000 from Washington during the same period, a Morning News analysis found".

Perry has been able to raise far more than Hutchison overall because federal campaigns have limits on individual donations, while Texas state campaigns do not. A slightly higher percentage of Hutchison's campaign money has come from Washington.

The money has come from political communities, lobbyists, individuals and interest groups.

We reported last month that Perry's political strategy is to paint Senator Hutchison as a 'Washington outsider'. The AP article continues with comments from Kay's campaign manager and the Texans for Public Justice:

The governor's financial support from the Beltway undercuts efforts to distance himself from the nation's capital by painting himself as the candidate of Texas-style government and Hutchison as the candidate of Washington, which recently landed Perry in the national spotlight amid talk of Texas secession.

"Governor Perry has built a fundraising mechanism well beyond the boundaries of Texas," said Craig McDonald of Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit group that tracks campaign money. "He has been very successful with special interest groups inside the Beltway."

Hutchison campaign manager Rick Wiley said it's more evidence that Perry likes to bash Washington but has no problem taking its money — except for $555 million in federal unemployment stimulus money, which the governor says has strings attached and he has rejected.

"One has to wonder what kind of strings he's attached to the fundraising haul he had from Washington, D.C.," Wiley said.

Friday, April 24, 2009

AP reports that Perry is comfy on the right

KVR picked up on a Associated Press report by Kelley Shannon in the Dallas Morning News. Kelley's report indicates that Perry's strategic goal of staying to the right is working so far; and he's comfortable there.
The two-term governor is lately offering fiery remarks that appeal to highly conservative voters as he gears up for a rough, expensive re-election race against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for the GOP nomination.

"There certainly is a strategy there, and one that he's run before," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. Perry, who has never lost an election, is working to nail down the support of social and economic conservatives who tend to dominate Texas' GOP primary voting before he even thinks about moving toward the middle to appeal to a larger group of Texans, Jillson said.

Recent history shows pleasing those conservative voters is the key to winning GOP primaries in Texas. No more than about 650,000 of Texas' 13 million registered voters typically vote in a Republican gubernatorial primary, but there usually aren't two heavyweight contenders on the ballot.

Whoever survives that contest for governor in March 2010 is the favorite to win the November general election in the still-reliably Republican state.

The challenge for Hutchison, who's more moderate than Perry on social issues like abortion and embryonic stem cell research, is to attract middle-of-the-road voters and suburban women to the GOP primary, Jillson said. By doing that, he said, she could form a foundation for Texas Republicans' future as the state's demographics change and voters become less conservative.

"I think that argument is there to be made because Perry does amaze and offend regularly," Jillson said.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Secede! Or, drink some more tea.

A lot of media attention has been focused on Governor Perry's comments that bordered on calling for secession. Hilary Hylton of Time Magazine reported, "It was the shout-out heard around the world: Texas' Republican governor Rick Perry's praise for his state's tea-party protesters, accompanied by not-so-veiled references to a potential Lone Star State secession."
Dressed in jeans, boots and a baseball cap with a camouflage peak and a hunting outfitter's logo, the Texas governor was one of the few major politicians to appear at the tea parties across the country. While crowds yelled "Secede! Secede!," Perry — 60 but telegenic and youthful — thought out loud that secession might be the outcome if Washington does not mend its "oppressive" high-spending, dictatorial ways. (Most experts say the notion that Texas can legally secede is mistaken, but the state does have the right to split into five states, offering the prospect of 10 U.S. Senators, math that would send cold shivers down any Democratic back.)

After the rallies, Perry downplayed his secession comments, amending them in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to say, "I'm trying to make the Obama Administration pay attention to the 10th Amendment." The so-called 10th Amendment movement, asserting the rights of the states to claim all powers not granted specifically to the Federal Government, has been grist for conservatives for more than a decade. The movement got a boost following the Democratic return to dominance in Congress and more traction when federal dictates about how to spend stimulus money raised hackles in places like Texas and South Carolina. Some two dozen state legislatures are considering or have passed resolutions supporting the 10th Amendment.

Governor Perry seems to be pandering to the radical right wing supporters who seemingly hate President Obama. Hilary's article in Time Magazine is humorous and shows just how much Perry's national media strategy seems to be working.

Hilary's article in Time continues with comments from Royal Masset:

Nevertheless, one longtime Republican analyst and numbers cruncher, Royal Masset, believes Hutchison will defeat Perry and be the next governor of Texas. Polls suggest she has an early lead, and Masset points to her overwhelming victories in the past as evidence of her wide support not only among Republicans but also among independents, who can vote in Texas primaries. He has urged Perry to forgo another gubernatorial bid. Masset believes that Perry should be content with one major accomplishment: helping to create more jobs in Texas than the rest of the U.S. during his tenure. "Your place in history is secure," Masset wrote in a recent analysis piece for the Quorum Report, an insider political newsletter that circulates out of Austin, the state capital. "You would be freed up to do great things on the national scene where real power is now held by media stars such as you."

It is not likely to be advice Perry will heed. He is already the longest serving governor in Texas history — as lieutenant governor, he took over for President-elect George W. Bush in December 2000. That has given him unparalleled influence over state government, where much of the governor's power resides in appointments to boards and commissions. Masset believes that more of that kind of centralization of power "will lead to Washington-style corruption. We need new people with new ideas. We need new appointees and new blood."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Perry says the Federal Government is Oppressive

The governor of Texas gathered in the State Capitol building with reporters, citizen activists and lawmakers to declare the Federal government's oppression on our State. No, this isn't a history lesson about Texas' seventh governor Sam Houston in 1861. It was actually Governor Rick Perry speaking yesterday at the Capitol in support of House Concurrent Resolution 50.

To understand the governors endorsement of the resolution and the excitement of confederate-like supporters, one must put the content of the resolution into perspective. Here's a brief excerpt:
RESOLVED, That the 81st Legislature of the State of Texas hereby claim sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United State over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United State; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That this serve as notice and demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effect immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers...

It seems that this was an attempt by Governor Perry to denounce portions of the Federal stimulus bill and lay the framework for his campaign strategy of Washington versus Austin.

Jason Embry at the Austin American Statesman highlighted Perry's comments in his blog this morning:
Gov. Rick Perry appeared with about 30 Republican legislators — and Democrat Ryan Guillen on Thursday to push for House Concurrent Resolution 50, which according to its caption, affirms “that the State of Texas claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated.”

Perry, who happens to be running for re-election against (and trailing) someone who has been part of the federal government for almost 16 years, said, “I believe that our federal government has become oppressive. I believe it’s become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens and its interference with the affairs of our state.”

There was no mention of giving back the $51 billion in federal funds in the current state budget.

Following his speech, the Perry was asked, "Governor, has Senator Hutchison been an active participant in the expansion of Federal powers?"

"I would suggest that there are a number of folks in Washington, D.C. that have seen the Federal powers be expanded, she [Hutchison] being one of them."

The reporter then followed up with a second question, "In what ways, what things has she supported?"

"I'll get you the long distinguished list of those shortly", Perry replied with a chuckle or two coming from the crowd behind him.

This is an interesting strategy from what is supposed to be an all star-team of campaign and staff consultants. Here at KVR we'll be waiting on that long list with Hutchison's actions as a republican United States Senator representing Texan's.

We're sure that the list will include Perry's request for federal assistance in fighting wildfires and Hurricane Ike recovery along with many other federally-funded programs that benefit the State of Texas.

A video report was provided from Ken Herman at the Austin American Statesman showing clips of yesterday's speech given by Governor Perry.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Knight supports Republican Senate hopeful Roger Williams

With so much focus on both Senator Hutchison and Governor Perry for the 2010 gubernatorial race, we can't lose sight of the ever growing important list of possible candidates vying to replace Kay's senate seat.

Today Aman Batheja at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that republican and former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams has added a Knight to his war chest of supporters:

Famed — or infamous, depending on your allegiances — basketball coach Bobby Knight got involved in Texas politics Thursday, throwing his support to Roger Williams of Weatherford, a Republican who plans to run for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat.

Knight, better known in the past for throwing chairs, said of Williams: "He’s not a politician. He’s a businessman and a problem-solver, and he will put Texas ahead by putting Texas children first."

Knight sent the remarks in an e-mail to Williams’ supporters. Knight and Williams have been friends for more than 15 years.

Williams, a Weatherford car dealer and former Texas secretary of state, is one of several who may vie for Hutchison’s seat. Other possible contenders include Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott, Houston Mayor Bill White and former state Comptroller John Sharp.

Mayor White already has his website up and running. Expect others to follow suite soon.

Texas' Governors Race to Affect GOP Nationwide

There is a nationwide fascination with the race between Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and current Texas Governor Rick Perry.

We're still 576 days away from the November 2, 2010 election, but the race appears to be heating up. In the next few days we'll be highlighting the election team and consultants that both Hutchison and Perry have recruited to make sure they inherit the restored Governors Mansion.

Last Sunday the Associated Press reported on the developing race between Senator Hutchison and Governor Perry:

With Republicans nationwide wondering how to reunite the party, two of Texas’ highest-profile Republicans are trading jabs in advance of the 2010 primary race.

Perry insists he’s not thinking about any election during the legislative session, and Hutchison has said she won’t formally declare her challenge until summer.

But still, it’s clear that their clash has already started. Hutchison has rapidly built her campaign team, while the Perry re-election campaign has been digging for dirt on her husband, Dallas bond lawyer Ray Hutchison, at Dallas City Hall.

Meanwhile, the pair spar indirectly over issues including federal stimulus money (both dislike it, but Hutchison said last week that Perry should have tried to find a way to get unemployment money while avoiding federal strings) to million-dollar bonuses for managers of a state investment fund (Perry attacked the bonuses, while Hutchison suggested he was trying to punish one of her campaign supporters).

What looms could be a political cage fight on the national stage that could further split and weaken the party.

“There will be blood,” consultant Mark McKinnon said Sunday in the Austin American-Statesman. He has advised former President George W. Bush and the late Democratic Gov. Ann Richards. “Doesn’t matter who you’re for. It will be fun to watch the shoulder pads crack.”

Watching from afar, University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said the Texas governor’s race, along with fights in Florida and California, could reveal whether Republicans across the board are forswearing political habits.

“If Hutchison can beat Perry in a GOP primary dominated by conservatives, it may indicate that some of the activists have gotten the message: The Republican Party cannot continue to win national elections simply with conservative white males,” Sabato said. “It will project (Hutchison) even further into the national debate.”

“She’s a prominent senator now. To be governor of Texas and to win as a moderate conservative Republican, she becomes a very hot property,” he said. “She’ll automatically become a prospect for vice president.”

Recent polls give Hutchison the early advantage. Most recently, a University of Texas survey of Republican primary voters found Hutchison was the favorite of 36 percent, compared with 30 percent for Perry.

But Perry, who has never lost an election, hasn’t given up ground.

At this point we'll remind our KVR readers that Governor Perry won his 2006 re-election with only 39% which is considered shockingly low. Alas, the AP article continues with an interview of a San Antonio republican:

Intent on winning a third term, which would give him up to 14 years as governor, he’s cast Hutchison as representing freewheeling Washington values in conflict with conservative Texas beliefs.

He hasn’t said so, but Perry’s camp is almost certain to remind voters she’s been a senator for nearly double the eight-plus years he’s been governor. At 65, she’s also older (he’s 59), and the two offer similar big-stage longevity. Both won their first statewide office in 1990.

Some Republicans worry that the contentious fight for the governor’s mansion could strain party ranks.

“I don’t understand this race,” said Jim Lunz, a veteran Bexar County activist. “Why are we having this? Why does Perry want to serve another term? And why does Kay want to leave the position she’s in?”

“If she doesn’t like the job she’s got, then why doesn’t she just go home? ... I would say there are probably a lot of people with these questions,” Lunz said.

While Republicans worry about the party, some Democrats are betting on damage to both Perry and Hutchison.

Fort Worth lawyer Tom Schieffer, a former Bush-appointed ambassador exploring a run for governor as a Democrat, predicts Perry and Hutchison will turn off most voters by focusing on conservative-leaning primary voters.

“It gives somebody like me with a middle-of-the-road philosophy an opportunity to demonstrate what a common-sense approach can do,” Schieffer said.

Here at KVR, we believe that Senator Hutchison must clearly separate herself on controversial issues. A repeat of her confusing and contradictory comments two weeks ago at the Texas Daily Newspaper Association left many reporters and supporters scratching their heads -- we know you've got to keep the republican party line talking points going -- but for goodness sakes, sieze on the opportunity to clearly seperate yourself from key and developing issues that affect Texans.

During her speech to the TDNA, Senator Hutchison spoke about how Perry lacked leadership. Well, now is your chance Senator, show us what you've got. Texans want a governor that will make tough decision and stand by them no matter how controversial they may be. And like him or not, that's what Governor Perry has done so far on controversial issues like HPV vaccinations and giving money to the Texas A&M System for the construction of a new drug laboratory.

Editors Note: Perry's re-election information updated based on feedback from Burnt Orange Report founder, Karl-Thomas Musselman. KVR welcomes and encourages comments to improve our blog postings.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What the ETF?

The announcement from the governors office was probably meant to evoke a commitment for Texas to lead the nation in medical research and higher education.

Instead, the governor's announcement of a $50 million grant to create the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM) at Texas A&M System has become his blunder of the week. Governor Perry's press release tried to generate excitement about this new laboratory:
The center will be an international destination for research and development of medications to combat diseases such as cancer, diabetes and influenza, and will serve as a model for future national facilities that will protect the nation from bio-terror threats and attacks.

“There is no question that the biotechnology industry is essential to developing products that can improve and save lives, and Texas is working to foster continued growth of this industry within the state,” said Gov. Perry. “I want Texas to be the place where innovative ideas can go from the lab room to the marketplace and this ETF investment will play an important role in bridging that gap. The development of this center will bring Texas to the forefront of the international stage of disease and biotechnology research and drug manufacturing.”

Hold the presses. What is this ETF the governor speaks of. His press release explained that:

The ETF is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 at the governor’s request and was reauthorized in 2007. A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts reviews potential projects and recommends funding allocations to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.

For more information on the ETF, please visit
The Emergency Technology Fund (ETF) seems to catch Texas lawmakers off guard. The Austin American Statesman reported in an article today by Jason Embry and Ken Herman about the firestorm brewing over the use of ETF funding:
When Gov. Rick Perry and two other state leaders gave the Texas A&M University System $50 million for a new research facility in January, they did not seek approval from a 17-member panel that usually advises them on such decisions.

Perry moved the $50 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, which the state uses to attract businesses, to the Emerging Technology Fund, which often pays for universities to partner with the private sector on technology-related projects. With the required approval from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and then-House Speaker Tom Craddick, Perry then awarded the money to the Texas A&M system for a facility for vaccine and drug-therapy research.

Perry aides had indicated previously that the advisory panel had signed off on the grant. Governor's office officials said Thursday that they misspoke.

Some lawmakers have long called for more oversight of the funds, and the grant has drawn scrutiny this week from state House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie. Pitts said he hopes to put language in the state budget that would prevent the governor from making similar transfers in the future. He said testimony from Perry aides in his committee led him to believe the advisory panel had signed off on the grant.

"Don't like it," Pitts said.

He said he plans to ask Perry aides more questions about the project when his committee meets today.

The 17-member panel usually recommends an Emerging Technology Fund project before the three state leaders sign off on it. But Perry did not seek the full panel's input on the project for the A&M system. Because the dollars started in the Enterprise Fund — and because Enterprise projects are not subject to the advisory panel — the full panel did not weigh in, said Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Perry.

"The 17-member committee is advisory in nature and has no fiduciary role in the program, nor is their favorable recommendation required," Castle said.

So basically, its Perry "the Aggie" vs. the Legislature on this one. For someone that has declared his intent to be re-elected, this bad press can't be good. Who's running Ricks strategy?!? Must be an Aggie.

Sen. Hutchison & Secretary Clinton together at Dallas Women's Museum event

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, praised Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today at the Dallas Women's Museum.

Gromer Jeffers Jr., reports from the Dallas Morning News' Trail Blazers Blog:

During an emotional moment at the Dallas Women's Museum, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison praised Hillary Rodham Clinton for "keeping a confident face" during the 2008 presidential campaign when "you were getting so many disappointments."

"You were completely devastated and you never let it show on your face," Hutchison said during the forum. "That character is why you are secretary of state today."

Clinton smiled as her eyes began to water. The audience then gave her a major ovation.

Senator Hutchison and Secretary Clinton were together for what the State Department reported in a press release as:

“Stories from the Top” is the premier event of Women’s History Month hosted by The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future. The purpose of this program is to recognize and applaud the achievements and contributions of our nation’s most outstanding women while raising funds for The Women’s Museum outreach and interpretative programming targeted to girls in the area surrounding Fair Park, Texas.

Senator Hutchison is the author of American Heroines: The Spirited Women who Shaped Our Country a book published in 2004 and Leading Ladies: American Trailblazers published in November 2008.

I wonder if anyone from the Governor's Commission for Women was present at today's event?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Perry's Missed Opportunity with Mexico

The latest news from Mexico is bad. Really bad. Over the weekend the El Paso Times reported in an article written by Diana Washington Valdez that:
Mexican authorities have excavated more than 100 bodies of men and women from clandestine graves in Juárez over the past 14 years.

The latest such grave -- with the bodies of seven men and two women -- was discovered March 13-14 in a desert patch near the Villas de Alcala area in far northeastern Juárez, across the border from San Elizario.

Marisela Ortiz, a founder of the Nuestras Hijas, said "the Mexican government itself will be on trial in the case before the international court."

Jaime Hervella, an El Paso businessman and co-founder of the International Association of Relatives and Friends of Disappeared Persons, is asking the FBI to help families of victims find relatives who may be missing in Mexico.

A Juárez member of the organization contends the cartel is suspected of abducting more than 900 people during the past 14 years, including 30 to 50 U.S. citizens.

"We would like for the FBI to help the families who want to know if they match the DNA samples taken from victims of the (clandestine) graves in Juárez," Hervella said. "The families are afraid of the Mexican authorities, and won't go to their offices.

Wow, mass graves in Mexico that are in all probability linked to drug cartels?!? The last time Americans heard about mass graves was nearly ten years ago during the Bosnian-Serbian war.

As if that weren't enough to worry folks along the Mexico/Texas border, the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory to Americans on February 20, 2009:

Mexican drug cartels are engaged in an increasingly violent conflict - both among themselves and with Mexican security services - for control of narcotics trafficking routes along the U.S.-Mexico border. In order to combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed troops in various parts of the country. U.S. citizens should cooperate fully with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.

Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades. Large firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico but most recently in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area. The U.S. Mission in Mexico currently restricts non-essential travel to the state of Durango and all parts of the state of Coahuila south of Mexican Highways 25 and 22 and the Alamos River for U.S. government employees assigned to Mexico. This restriction was implemented in light of the recent increase in assaults, murders, and kidnappings in those two states. The situation in northern Mexico remains fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements cannot be predicted.

The situation in Ciudad Juarez is of special concern. Mexican authorities report that more than 1,800 people have been killed in the city since January 2008. Additionally, this city of 1.6 million people experienced more than 17,000 car thefts and 1,650 carjackings in 2008. U.S. citizens should pay close attention to their surroundings while traveling in Ciudad Juarez, avoid isolated locations during late night and early morning hours, and remain alert to news reports. A recent series of muggings near the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez targeted applicants for U.S. visas. Visa and other service seekers visiting the Consulate are encouraged to make arrangements to pay for those services using a non-cash method.

All of this alarming news gave Governor Perry a unique opportunity to take the national stage during a moment of not just an international border crisis, but a crisis affecting border towns in Texas. Yet instead of working to foster stronger relations with federal and state agencies to protect communities along the Texas border, the Governor instead asked the White House for a martial law like response.

Today's press release from the Governors office provides his reasoning (and seemingly whining) about the President's refusal to send troops to Texas' border:

Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on the Obama Administration's Plan to Combat Mexican Drug Cartels:

"Texas is pleased the Administration recognizes that securing the U.S.-Mexico border is vitally important to public safety and homeland security.

"While we appreciate the additional investigative resources, what we really need are more border patrol agents and officers at the bridges to conduct increased northbound and southbound inspections, as well as additional funding for local law enforcement along the border to deny Mexican drug cartels access to the United States.

"I have asked the Administration for an immediate deployment of 1,000 additional National Guard troops to support civilian law enforcement and border patrol agents and remain hopeful that we will get the resources we need. The state of Texas will continue to fill in the gaps until the federal government provides adequate resources necessary to secure our border and protect our citizens from those seeking to do us harm."

Texas is currently spending $110 million to secure the Texas-Mexico border and the governor has requested an additional $135 million from the Texas Legislature to continue these border security efforts and combat transnational gangs.

Here are a few steps Perry could have taken:

  • Inviting the Governors of New Mexico, Arizona and California to Texas for a "border state summit";
  • Sending envoy's to the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila -- the Texas Secretary of State's office already works with Mexican states on other issues;
  • Sending the Governor's Director of Homeland Security, Steve McCraw, to border communities to get intel of his own from those that live there;
  • Specifically requested money for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to setup temporary task forces with local law enforcement to combat drug cartels in Texas communities.

Asking the legislature for another $25 million isn't going to do much. With the upcoming gubernatorial election just 587 days away, Governor Perry needs to demonstrate real leadership. Whining about the President not sending troops to the border in a martial-law like manner isn't going to get many votes.

Today's New York Times reminded Americans that:

The suggestion by Mr. Obama that American troops might be moved toward the border to combat drug cartels prompted Gen. Guillermo Galván, Mexico’s defense secretary, to assert that no deployment of foreign soldiers would be allowed on Mexican soil. History was at the root of the concern here, as even Mexican schoolchildren know of the war a century and a half ago in which the United States seized half of Mexico’s territory.

To understand a more about the drug cartels impact on border states, click here to watch an ABC News report that aired earlier today.

As Texans we certainly expect more solutions and clearer stances from Senator Hutchison as she moves from her exploratory committee to actually announcing her official intent to run against Rick Perry.