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Second Baptist High School, Houston, Texas, 1988.
Princeton University, A.B., cum laude, 1992.
Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1995.
Member, First Baptist Church, Houston.
Advisory Board Member, Living Water International.
Advancement Committee Member, YES Prep Charter Schools.
Board Member, Free Enterprise Institute.
Trustee, Texas Supreme Court Historical Society.
Authored a U.S. Supreme Court brief for all fifty States successfully defending the Pledge of Allegiance and preserving the words “under God.”
Successfully defended the Texas schools’ moment of silence law in federal district court.
Chair of the Bishop’s Gala, San Juan Diego School, Austin, 2007.
Authored an amicus brief on behalf of six states in Barnes-Wallace v. Boy Scouts of America, defending the Boy Scouts and urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit to reverse a district court ruling barring them from leasing a public park.
Co-Chair, School Choice and Education Reform Committee, Federalist Society, 1997-99.
Successfully represented over 3 million veterans before the U.S. Supreme Court in Salazar v. Buono, defending the constitutionality of the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, which was erected in 1934 to honor WWI veterans.
Additionally, have devoted hundreds of hours to representing, pro bono, over 3 million veterans -- representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the American Ex-Prisoners of War before the U.S. Surpeme Court in Salazar v. Buono (successfully defending the constitutionality of the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial). Have also devoted substantial time to the pro bono representation before the U.S. Supreme Court of John Thompson, an innocent man who was wrongly sent to death row and subsequently exonerated.
Solicitor General of Texas, 2003-08. (Appointed by Attorney General Greg Abbott)
Over $8 million.
While federal guidelines prohibit donations of over $2500 per individual, our campaign has tens of thousands of donors from hundreds of Texas cities and all 50 states.
As the Solicitor General of Texas, authored a U.S. Supreme Court brief for all fifty States successfully defending the Pledge of Allegiance and preserving the words “under God.”
Authored an amicus brief for 13 states, successfully defending the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The ban was upheld 5-4 before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Authored a brief on behalf of 31 states supporting the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The ban on firearms was struck down in a 5-4 landmark decision before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Authored an amicus brief on behalf of 8 states in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, defending the Indiana photo-ID law and winning 6-3 before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Authored an amicus brief for 18 states, successfully defending the New Hampshire parental notification law. The law was upheld 9-0 before the U.S. Supreme Court [note: this brief was awarded the Best Brief Award from the National Association of Attorneys General for U.S. Supreme Court briefs written in 2005-06.
Senators Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey and Tom Coburn—all of whom have endorsed my campaign—because they are strong conservatives who are leading the fight to stop the Obama agenda, to elimination our crushing national debt, and to bring fiscal discipline to Washington.
I’m running for Senate because in my judgment, America is at a crossroads. Barack Obama is the most radical president this nation has ever seen and we are facing the epic battle of our generation — a battle of whether this nation remains a free-market nation. The size, power, and spending of the federal government has increased faster in the past three years than ever before. And we desperately need leadership to stand up and defend liberty, free-market principles, and the U.S. Constitution.
Two reasons: First, new leadership. I think voters in Texas and across the country are tired of the same establishment politicians. And 2010 showed they were looking for new leaders who have the courage of their convictions and are strong, principled conservatives who are willing to fight to defend limited government.
Second, a proven conservative record. For the past decade, over and over again, I have been standing up for conservative principles and winning on the national level. Serving under Attorney General Greg Abbott, I was proud to successfully defend the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments, the Second Amendment, and U.S. sovereignty from the World Court and the UN—all of which we won before the U.S. Supreme Court.
I am the only conservative in the race with a demonstrated record of standing up for conservative values and winning on a national level. In 2012, primary voters want a strong conservative and a fighter.
The Constitution explicitly gives the Senate the responsibility to advise and consent on judicial nominations. The last forty years have seen an explosion of judicial activism, of federal judges disregarding the Constitution and imposing instead their own policy preferences. I began my career as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, a strong principled conservative who battled judicial activism for decades. There is no responsibility as a Senator that I will take more seriously than making sure that federal judges remain faithful to the Constitution and do not impose their own policy preferences on the American people.
The supermajority requirements in the Senate serve as an important check on legislative action, by design helping slow a reckless rush to the passage of ill-considered federal programs. President Obama circumvented those requirements in passing ObamaCare, forcing it down our throats despite the overwhelming opposition of the American people.
The U.S. Senate and Congress should work immediately to both cut spending in real terms and reform our tax code. What they fail to accomplish can be and must be done rapidly next year to avoid a crisis situation.
The depth of the problem is evident when one considers that in the primary, when the Dallas Morning News first asked this question, the number had just passed $15 million. It has now passed $16 million.
We must get serious about shrinking the federal budget. Politicians of both parties have been complicit in growing federal spending and our crushing debt. Now, for the first time in history, the federal debt exceeds the size of our GDP – historically, the beginning of the decline of a nation. I am convinced that will not happen in America, but only if we elect strong conservative leaders who will finally get serious about stopping out-of-control spending. There will be no U.S. Senator—bar none—who will be a more relentless, strategic, and effective defender of cutting the size, power, and spending of the federal government than I will be. We need to eliminate unconstitutional federal agencies, cut domestic spending across the board, shrink the federal civilian workforce, reform entitlements, and pass a strong Balanced Budget Amendment.
I will lead the fight for fundamental tax reform. I strongly oppose all net tax increases, and—to spur growth and limit government—believe we need to lower the overall level of federal taxes. The current tax system is far too complicated, and far too burdensome. We need a system that is simple, transparent, and fair. I strongly support any and all efforts to simplify the tax system and move toward a flat tax for everyone at a low uniform rate, or, ideally, the Fair Tax.
Government doesn’t create jobs. The private sector – entrepreneurs risking capital to meet a demonstrated need – creates jobs. But government can kill jobs. Extending unemployment benefits does exacerbate the jobless situation, because it subsidizes unemployment and increases the tax burdens on those who are employed.
I have laid out a 12-step jobs and growth plan that will stop Obama’s war on jobs and will unleash the private sector. The best way to create jobs is by defeating President Obama’s destructive policies, like ObamaCare, cap-and-trade, abusive environmental enforcement, and relentlessly attacking right-to-work states. We should reform our tax code to be flatter and fairer, and pass a strong Balanced Budget Amendment to stop out-of-control government spending and debt. 26 million Americans are out of work because of foolish federal policies that are destroying jobs; I will lead the fight to reduce the burdens on small business and to unleash new jobs and vibrant economic growth.
Yes. We cannot balance our budget without fundamental entitlement reform, and Democrats are recklessly refusing to save Social Security and Medicare. I believe Social Security reform should include four elements. First, there should be no changes whatsoever for those currently on Social Security and those near retirement. Second, for those people who are in younger generations, we should gradually raise the retirement age, giving them time to plan and save. Third, we should limit the rate of growth of Social Security so that it mirrors inflation instead of exceeding inflation.
And fourth, for younger workers, we should allow them to keep a portion of their taxes in a personal account that they own and they control. Personal accounts are transformative public policy. They allow workers, even workers with very limited incomes, to acquire assets — very substantial assets — that when they die, they can pass on to their kids. Personal accounts provide an avenue to build assets that can provide the means for their children and grandchildren to buy a home, start a business, get an education, climb the economic ladder, and achieve the American dream.
Yes, millions of seniors rely on Medicare, and Democrats are recklessly endangering Medicare by refusing to undertake the fundamental reforms necessary to make it fiscally sound. We must save Medicare by gradually increasing the eligibility age and by moving to a premium support system that expands choices for seniors, opens up innovation, and utilizes market forces to rein in healthcare costs.
Yes. Obamacare is not only terrible policy, written behind closed doors, it represents the greatest expansion of federal power over individual liberty in modern history. The first bill I intend to introduce in the Senate will be to repeal every syllable of every word of ObamaCare—and I will lead the fight to make get it done.
Once ObamaCare is repealed, we should pursue healthcare reforms that expand competition and empower patients and their doctors to make medical decisions, not unelected federal bureaucrats. These include allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, reining in abusive lawsuits, and expanding health savings accounts for everyone.
We have an illegal immigration crisis, and neither party is serious about solving it. The first act of any sovereign nation is to secure its borders, and I believe we must use any and all means necessary to secure our borders. That includes fences, walls, technology, helicopters, drones, and—most critically—boots on the ground. As a Senator I will introduce legislation to triple the U.S. Border Patrol, so that we finally, and completely, secure our border.
I categorically oppose amnesty, and I strongly support legal immigrants—“Americans by choice,” as President Reagan called them—who follow the rules and come here legally, working to achieve the American dream.
It should be repealed, and we should eliminate the federal Department of Education. Education is far too important—absolutely vital to our future—for it to be controlled by unelected bureaucrats in Washington. Decisions about education should be made at the state and local levels, by school boards responsive to the concerns and values of parents in the community.
The Obama Administration has waged a war on jobs, a war on the oil and gas industry, and a war on Texas. We need a Senator who will stand up and lead the fight to stop it. I strongly support the immediate expansion of domestic energy exploration, in ANWR, offshore, and on-shore. Our dependence on foreign oil—especially given Middle East instability—is a grave national security threat. And I have a proven record fighting to expand energy exploration. When President Obama imposed the offshore drilling moratorium, I represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 29 chambers of commerce along the Gulf Coast challenging the moratorium, and the federal court of appeals agreed that the moratorium was contrary to federal law.
Currently, the Obama Administration is using the alleged presence of a lizard to try to stop oil and gas exploration in West Texas. Again, I have a proven record fighting abusive environmental enforcement. As the Solicitor General of Texas, I authored a U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of seven states, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the Endangered Species Act as it applied to a purely intra-state species of Arroyo toads.
Even more ominously, the EPA has launched “investigations” into hydraulic fracturing, a long-used drilling process that has recently unlocked vast new reserves in both natural gas and oil. These new American energy reserves are poised to create countless new jobs and drastically reduce our dependence on foreign energy supplies. But if the Obama administration succeeds in banning hydraulic fracturing, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost and America will be left even more dependent on foreign dictators for our energy needs. We can and should vigilantly protect clean air and water while aggressively developing these new resources and new jobs.
My view of climate science is the same as that of many climate scientists: We need a much better understanding of the climate before making policy choices that would impose substantial economic costs on our Nation. There remains considerable uncertainty about the effect of the many factors that influence climate: the sun, the oceans, clouds, the behavior of water vapor (the main greenhouse gas), volcanic activity, and human activity. Nonetheless, climate-change proponents based their models on assumptions about those factors, and now we know that many of those assumptions were wrong. For example, the models predicted accelerated warming over the last 15 years, but there has been no warming during that time
Even Dr. Kenneth Trenberth, the lead author of the U.N. IPCC 4th Assessment Report, recently said, "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." So, we need to be good stewards of the environment, but we also have to be rational. We came very close to adopting a cap & tax scheme that would have devastated our economy without a single demonstrable benefit. Now EPA has adopted greenhouse gas regulations on the basis of scientific assumptions that have been totally undermined by the latest science--and those regulations are going to have a devastating impact on many American families and businesses if we don't roll them back.
We must secure our border, and we need to aggressively investigate the “Fast and Furious” operation in which federal law enforcement officials deliberately put guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The American people deserve the truth, and Attorney General Eric Holder has failed to give it to them. Holder should be fired—he has repeatedly obfuscated how the decision was made for law enforcement to knowingly put guns in the hands of violent criminals—and if President Obama will not fire him, Holder should be impeached.
My approach to foreign policy is the same as Ronald Reagan's: I believe that U.S. armed forces should be deployed only to protect the national security interests of the United States. When military action is required, we should use overwhelming force, have a clear and defined objective, and then get out. We should not engage in “nation-building,” permanently occupying foreign nations. Instead, we should be focused directly on U.S. national security interests.
We should come home from Afghanistan, but President Obama should not have set an arbitrary date based on political concerns rather than national security interests.
Iran and North Korea present perhaps the greatest danger in the modern world, specifically nuclear weapons (and the threat of nuclear weapons) in the hands of two of the world's most murderous regimes. We must pursue all means necessary to contain that threat. International sanctions should continue to pressure the Iranian and North Korean elites to decide it's in their best interests to abandon nuclear weapons – and, ideally, overthrow their current regimes. In the meantime, Iran and North Korea must understand they face a threat of overwhelming force if we see any evidence that they might pass nuclear weapons on to terrorists or threaten us with nuclear blackmail.
China is increasingly growing as a major world power, and it represents a significant threat to the United States politically, militarily, and economically. As China has grown stronger, it has become more assertive militarily and more ruthless in its political oppression internally. At the same time, the massive U.S. debt owned by China makes us dangerously vulnerable to potential economic blackmail. And they have failed to act vigorously to protect U.S. intellectual property rights and to prevent theft. America must engage China as a strategic competitor, fully cognizant that their interests are very different from our own. We must vigorously defend U.S. national security interests, fight to defend U.S. intellectual property, and speak out for freedom and against political oppression. And we should pressure China to cease manipulating its currency to favor their exports over our imports; instead, we should press them to open their markets fully to U.S. farmers and manufacturers.
In 2010, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the single biggest threat to national security is the national debt. If we do not get our debt under control, it will dominate every other issue. If interest rates rise, our debt payments will consume more and more of the federal budget—seriously jeopardizing the funds to protect our national defense. And much of our debt is held by foreign nations like China, which gives those nations enormous economic leverage to use against us.
If we do not stop out-of-control spending, we are on a path to economic collapse like Greece, Italy, and much of Europe. Unlike those nations, the United States has nobody large enough to bail it out. We have a brief window of time—right now—to stop it, before it is too late.
No. The Senate is the battleground for major reform, and right now the Senate is at a tipping point. There are a handful of strong free-market conservatives, and they are badly outnumbered—by Democrats and by fellow Republicans unwilling to stand and fight. Today, the five strongest fiscal conservatives in the Senate are Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, and Tom Coburn; I’m the only candidate in the country endorsed by all five. If we can grow their numbers to 10 or 15 strong constitutional conservatives, it will transform the Senate. It will provide a critical mass to drive a serious fiscally conservative agenda, finally shrinking our out-of-control federal spending and solving our crushing national debt.
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I own two small businesses in Dallas. ClearSky24.com is a screen printing and promotions business, and last year I opened The Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge, a restaurant in Deep Ellum.
Southwest Missouri State University (now known as Missouri State University)
Studied Business Management with an emphasis in Human Resources.
I employ over 34 people at two businesses in Dallas, this has kept me reasonably busy. I am on the Libertarian National Committee.
I was the membership director for the Libertarian Party of Texas. I served as Vice-Chair of the Dallas County Libertarian Party.
Ran for City Council in Dallas in 2008
Ran for Congress in Texas 32nd District in 2010.
Over $11,000 as of September 1.
All of our contributions come from individual donors who are dedicated to liberty. I have accepted no corporate or PAC money. See our FEC filings for more information.
I started out with a one man operation in my apartment and now own two small businesses that employ 34 people. My businesses have created jobs that pay well above minimum wage, supply people with health care, put their children through school, and put food on their tables. Fighting our way to prosperity despite excessive taxes and government subsidized competitors has been our best achievement.
Ron Paul. I agree with Ron Paul on our foreign policy, on ending the corporatism that is rampant in Washington, and on the idea that you should be free to live your life as you see fit. Ron Paul has always had the courage to stand for peace and freedom even when the rest of Congress does not.
I am running to spread a message that the Democrats and Republicans are the same. As long as we fall for this false choice the wars will continue and the banks will get their way. The people who really call the shots do not care who wins an election because they get the same result with either party. The people deserve the truth and need a Senator who does not serve the same masters that have burned them again and again.
The other candidates had a chance to take the freedom positions we desperately need, but they both failed. Ted Cruz was painted as a political/corporate outsider despite the fact that he has been a government lawyer, worked for the Bush campaign, and his wife is a VP at Goldman Sachs, arguably the worst of the worst of the banking industry. His insider background combined with his war on our bodies and our bedrooms makes him another horrible choice.
Meanwhile Paul Sadler doesn’t have the heart to run on the liberty issues normally found among Democrats, such as social tolerance and ending the wars. He wants to increase defense spending despite the fact that we spend more than the next 16 countries combined, and his lack of conviction on ending drug prohibition is disappointing.
Enough is enough. The people want freedom, not more political favors and violence. I am the only candidate in this race who wants to end all wars, break the corporate control in Washington, and let you live as you see fit.
Unfortunately what should be a relatively simple task of choosing someone to obey the Constitution has become a game of partisan Whack-a-Mole with dire consequences. I believe interpreting the Constitution as it was written is very important, and the only way we will get back to limited government. Unfortunately neither Democrats nor Republicans will ever appoint people that they don’t feel are “malleable”. The Republicans found out just how malleable with the appointment of John Roberts.
I don’t have a problem with 60 votes if it protects the American people from bigger government. More importantly though is that we have a fundamental misunderstanding about what our government is for in the first place. Most bills should be impossible to pass even with 100 votes because they plunder the wealth of this country, wage war around the world, claim power not granted to the Congress, and/or destroy our civil liberties. The common complaint is that “they don’t get anything done.” But the fact is that they do way, way too much. The work Congress needs to be doing is dismantling the monsters they have created, and that’s exactly what I plan to do if elected.
The idea that tax cuts and reduced spending will cause a recession is a self-serving fiction that the establishment hopes will scare us into maintaining current levels of government. This is like arguing that taking heroin away from a heroin addict is a bad thing, even if it would ultimately lead to recovery. No one will ever say that rehab is easy, but we need to get our fiscal house in order or we really will drive over a cliff. We need to reduce the government’s role in the economy so real production and prices that reflect actual demand can return.
Unfortunately I don’t think either of the two major parties have a plan that could change our course. Very large cuts from all sides of the aisle are necessary to prevent a crisis, and neither of the two major parties has the stones to make it happen. We need to rein in government now before our economy is truly ruined.
It’s pretty simple. We need to stop spending more than we take in by eliminating or phasing out unjust economic and foreign interventions. Stop spending on wars, cut entitlement spending, end any and all corporate welfare, start winding down Social Security and Medicare so that people who count on those programs now continue to have them, but future generations will not have to spend countless dollars to receive zero benefits. Some will say this will be too painful, but we must remember that every dollar spent on these programs is stolen from somewhere else first, either through taxation or inflation. Stop the theft, stop the spending, and real production will thrive again.
I believe in abolishing the IRS. The only temporary replacement that makes sense to me is a state level sales tax of around 10% that replaces the income tax, and all other taxes. The states will send a small percentage of that tax to Washington to fund the very limited federal government. But government spending is the problem we need to fix before addressing taxes. It’s hard to even talk about taxes when we are spending 70% more than we bring in on programs government should never have in the first place.
Get government out of our economy, then cut taxes. I own two small businesses, one of which I started last year. For the first 8 months I was growing the business but I was losing thousands of dollars while sending the government 4 times the amount I was losing. Now that we are finally making a small profit, I still write very large checks to the government. Looking around my neighborhood at all the shuttered businesses that used to employ people, I have to wonder if they could have made it without such a high tax burden.
Paying people not to work does not create jobs or lower unemployment. Instead of taxing employers to pay the unemployed, we should let employers keep the money to hire more people. The most charitable thing we can do for the poor and the unemployed is to create an environment where it is easy for small businesses to grow.
I am that guy who will pay into Social Security his entire life, starting since I was 10 years old, and about the time I retire is when Social Security is predicted to be completely insolvent. This is what you get when you let the government be in charge of a Ponzi scheme where they are allowed to raid the piggy bank. We need to find a way to slowly phase out Social Security, while replacing it with optional, tax free health and savings accounts.
No program has done more to increase health care costs than Medicare. We now pay twice as much out of pocket as a deductible after adjusting for inflation with Medicare than we did for the actual service prior to the creation of Medicare. These types of government programs only make health care less affordable for those who are not on them while requiring more and more money from taxpayers to fund those who are.
Yes. Replace it with a truly free market. The Affordable Health Care Act is just a handout to another set of corporate vultures, the insurance lobby. Insurance is not health care, and being forced to buy a product is a travesty. I would have more respect for the AHCA and Obama if it was a single payer system, not because I think it is a good idea, but in my opinion being a socialist is a small step above being a fascist. A very small step.
All problems that most people associate with immigration are actually problems with a different part of government. Immigrants are not the problem. Our welfare state is a problem, the drug war is a problem, and the war on terror is a problem. If you look for solutions to these problems, the idea that people are here, working, living, producing and purchasing products is not a problem.
If more Americans understood the true role of government, immigration would not be a big issue at all. People who want to come and work here, should be able to come and work here. We need to eliminate federal quotas and only subject immigrants to a simple process to check for violent criminals.
The National Archives website has FAQs about the Constitution. One of those questions reads, “Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?”. The answer, “There is none; education is a matter reserved for the States.”
No Child Left Behind should be repealed and the Department of Education should be eliminated. Central control of education is what is inflating costs and leaving students behind. Freedom in education is the solution, and getting the federal government out of the education business is a good first step. The Department of Education takes our tax money, then promises to send it back only if we comply with one size fits all standards. All children are unique, and each one has their own educational needs. Education decisions should be made as close to home as possible, with the ultimate goal of parents and teachers making these decisions directly.
We need to end all subsidies to any type of energy, while at the same time allowing people the right to explore and expand all legitimate resources they have available. Federal land should be sold, and private investors allowed to pursue whatever energy sources they feel are most economical. However, energy producers should be liable and suffer dire consequences for pollution or negative economic effects their endeavors have on others.
Earth’s climate is constantly changing. At one point this planet was a fireball, at another an iceball, and it’s been everything in between. I have no doubt that man has made some impact on climate, but most legislation written in regards to the environment just protects massive corporations from competition. Meanwhile government pollutes more than anyone, and government subsidies for certain energy sources forces innovators out of the market. Government needs to stop blocking innovation, stop subsidizing their corporate friends, and focus on simply holding polluters accountable for the damages they cause.
What steps did the U.S. take to deal with violent gangs during prohibition? They got rid of prohibition, and like magic that destroyed the violent gangs. The violent feed off of the profit incentive our War on Drugs creates. Ending drug prohibition will end the problem immediately, both in the U.S. and in Mexico.
No, we need to get out now. Osama bin Laden is dead. I can think of no reason for us to continue to be in this country. We need to withdraw as soon as troops can be safely withdrawn. I believe there are secondary motives for our actions around the world. Our country is being swindled by the banks, the military-industrial complex, the oil industry, and other foreign persuasion in order to increase profits and the safety of others at the expense of our own. Yes, I believe our government is that corrupt. War is a racket.
None. There are already less stable countries with nuclear capability and using Iran as the next bogeyman will only sow the seeds of violence again. We should stop trying to force our will on other sovereign countries. Our own military interventions, such as invading Iran’s two neighbors, overthrowing their democratically elected leader, or sponsoring Saddam Hussein in a war against them, will give our perceived adversaries an incentive to pursue their own arms race. If anything we should take care of defense at home in stopping such an attack or detecting such a bomb, not on recklessly killing anyone that we think is getting close to making one. Our focus should be on peaceful trade and exemplifying what freedom is all about.
Our military spending dwarfs theirs. We are more than capable of protecting ourselves from any military threat in the world, so long as we disengage from our present wars and bring our troops back home to protect America first. More importantly, we should break down the barriers to free trade set up by both governments. It only benefits the poor of this country to have inexpensive products and resources available. Hopefully freer markets will allow production return to the United States naturally, which also helps the poor.
No country in the world can reject freedom and honest trade. However if we continue to engage in a foreign policy that does not serve our own interest we are going to find ourselves with a lot more enemies than we currently have. I predict that unless we change our foreign policy soon, in 10 years terrorism will actually be the only tactic of warfare and it will be rampant all over the world. Our security and liberties will be lost while government tries to stop billions of people who might individually want to do us harm. All of the money we have spent to build a massive military machine will be wasted when large scale combat becomes a thing of the past.
Not only are they incapable of solving major challenges, but they do not have the right to. Government’s economic interventions only result in cronyism, funneling wealth into the pockets of the well-connected. Foreign interventions spread war around the world and turn peaceful people into violent enemies. Government’s attempts at charity have created poverty traps that trade the scraps from the elite's table for votes, with no opportunities for real progress. The bottom line is that Congress does not solve problems, it perpetuates them. It’s only business recently has been to grant favors to the few at the expense of the many. The correct role of government is to protect our rights and leave us free to make our own peaceful and cooperative choices regarding the problems we face.
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I hold an undergraduate degree from Baylor University and a Juris Doctorate from the Baylor School of Law.
In addition to my time in the Legislature, I have coached my children’s’ sports teams and participated in various civic organizations.
Please see my record of legislative service below.
Texas House of Representatives, 1991 to 2003
As of September 3, the campaign has raised over $304,000.00
The top three individual contributors are: Neva Purnell, Ben Vaughan, and George Bramblett.
No, I have never been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings. As an attorney, I have been Court appointed to represent individuals charged with a crime during my legal career. During my 30 years as an attorney, I have represented many individuals and businesses in both the trial court and the appellate courts in this country. To my memory, over the last 30 years, the law firm to which I am named a partner was named in two civil suits, which were both dismissed.
The 1995 Ratliff-Sadler Act, which overhauled the public education system in Texas. I was the House leader in re-writing the entire education code, was responsible for three days of floor debate, and securing the necessary votes to pass the education code of Texas. The education code came out of committee unanimously, with support of both Democrats and Republicans, and passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. In honor of my work, Governor George W. Bush signed the new education code in my hometown of Henderson. During my legislative career, I have been responsible for some of the most complex and largest issues confronting our state. Each time I resolved the issues in a bi-partisan manner and was acknowledged by the media, including this newspaper, as one of the outstanding bi-partisan problem solvers for our state.
I cannot honestly say that there is a member of Congress that I most admire - there are many members that serve our state and country with dignity and there are qualities and individual characteristics I admire. As I have travelled around this state, from border to border, I honestly must acknowledge and appreciate the work that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and her staff have accomplished with our communities and other elected officials from both parties. Her handiwork and success are not only evident in every corner of this state, but are acknowledged by community leaders in each region. As Texas citizens we should acknowledge the important work she has done as our Senator.
I am running for the United States Senate because I believe that the people of Texas deserve a government that works. The current government is not functional - others have demonstrated a complete lack of political courage and failure to lead. Instead of partisan ideologues, we need problem solvers who are interested in doing what is good for Texas and our nation. While in the Texas House, I served as Chairman of the House Committee on Public Education. I am proud to have passed many popular, bipartisan bills, including the largest property tax cut in the history of our state, increases in school funding in an equitable and constitutional manner, increases in early childhood development programs, three teacher pay raises, and the creation of the public school employee health insurance program. Today, I am running to bring my record of fierce independence and Texas integrity to the U.S. Senate.
I am the qualified candidate for the United States Senate, the highest legislative office in this nation. I have worked with honor and distinction to solve the problems of our state from education, budget, taxation, health and human services and all aspects of state governance. It is a record of bipartisanship and a record of distinction, including being named one of the Ten Best legislators for four consecutive sessions. My opponent has never been elected in any capacity or at any level of state, county, or city government.
I will bring my proven record of problem solving to the Senate, working toward practical solutions with the understanding that the best ideas can come from any individual. Texans deserve a leader with political courage and integrity and I have demonstrated a commitment to that idea. Being a legislator is not about partisanship or pandering to a small base of voters, it is about developing solutions to create a better life for Texans and all Americans.
There are many issues facing Texas and our nation, including education, energy independence, and job creation. I have always believed that neither political party has a monopoly on good ideas. However, the biggest issue facing our country today is the lack of leadership. Effective leadership requires an independent, results-oriented attitude. I believe the only chance our country has to push past partisan gridlock is to elect leaders with real political courage.
I do not believe either party has performed in an efficient, competent manner for a very long time. The review of judicial nominees is an important responsibility of the Senate and should be thorough and fair. However, the partisan delays have resulted in a backlog of appointments. The application of arbitrary litmus tests by both parties is irresponsible in my opinion. Our country deserves to have a fair, timely, and unbiased review of judicial appointments so that our judicial system can serve the American people in an efficient and fair manner aimed at resolving the issues. The assertion of partisan gamesmanship not only delays confirmation, it taints the very judicial system these judges will represent and serve.
I support the current system. I do not support abuse of the system. Ultimately, the orderly process of any political body depends upon the integrity of the individual members and leadership of the body. The failures we are seeing today do not relate to the rules. The failures are attributable to the lack of character of the individual participants. When we elect people of character, with proven records of rising above partisan games and rhetoric, we will once again start solving the problems facing this great country.
The Senate’s responsibility is to the American people, which is why the Senate should continue working toward prosperity at every opportunity. Whether re-elected or not, the promise to serve their constituents does not end in November, particularly when it comes to protecting our citizens and the full faith and credit of this country.
The problem is two fold. First, when we continue to operate in a deficit it adds to our national debt. We must work to make government more efficient - cutting spending where we can while we end our involvement in Afghanistan and continue our economic recovery. The national debt has reached a point over the last two decades that cannot be ignored. It is stifling our economic growth and resulting in a lack of confidence in the business community. Second, we cannot cut or grow our way out of this debt. It will require us to cut where we can, grow as much as we can and raise revenue for the dedicated purpose of debt reduction. The most obvious place to start with for additional revenue is a complete review of the Bush Era tax cuts, with a particular analysis of their effect on our continued recovery. These decisions are not made in a vacuum or in the finality of a few weeks before an election, but through detailed analysis, testimony and consensus. Without the combination of all three elements, Congress will not succeed in reducing or reversing the federal debt. Spending cuts and government efficiencies must come from a complete review of all government. These decision are not easy, but I have made them before. Arbitrary pledges to special interests or individuals must not be tolerated.
Reforming the U.S. tax code to become fairer and simpler is always a justifiable goal. However, we should not be naïve about the process. I am the only candidate with actual experience in reforming a tax code and various parts of a tax code. Every exemption and deduction has a constituency that argues for its continuance and necessity. I am not going to pre-judge how many rates, deductions, and exemptions testimony and analysis would lead to, nor the number of amendments that ultimately expand upon these matters.
I will say that our tax code should be fair and progressive, as opposed to overly regressive, and should maintain deductions necessary for us to raise our families, own a home, and assist us in educating our children, to name just a few. Honestly, anyone that attempts to answer beyond that has no experience in this area at all. I would also add that the flatter a tax rate becomes, two things occur: it becomes more regressive, and it requires the elimination of more deductions to be revenue neutral. Tax policy also involves an analysis of business competitiveness in the global economy. Again, this is a topic when condensed in election politics leads to naïve statements and rhetoric with little relationship to reality.
The goal for tax code reform is to create an environment in which American businesses to contribute to our societal needs which it depends upon to be successful, that is fair so that it does not provide a competitive advantage internally in the marketplace between competitors, to encourage job creation particularly in the United States, and to allow our American businesses to compete in a global economy.
Spurring economic growth requires a sense of stability for businesses willing to reinvest in the economy through job creation and business investments. In order to make this happen, we must follow a plan to pay down the national debt and decrease the deficit – that is where the federal government has a role. Once market stability is found, confidence will be restored and businesses will begin to expand and create jobs, the necessity of extending unemployment benefits will expire and we can continue to rebuild the foundations for economic growth.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are promises we made to each other as American citizens. I keep my promises. The American people keep our promises. I will not abandon our seniors who paid for the generation before them. I will not support a voucher system of any kind. A voucher system will destroy these programs and force many of our seniors into poverty and an inability to secure health care. The problem with Social Security is really very simple and straightforward – we have more people qualifying and less people paying in as the Baby Boom generation reaches retirement age. We have known this was coming but we did not have the courage in past decades to take the necessary steps to resolve it – now we have to deal with this issue. It is going to require additional funds, and hard decisions. Is it worth it – absolutely - for this generation and future generations.
I oppose significant funding cuts to patient care, however, I will not restrict my ability to look at creative solutions to deliver those funds on behalf of the patient to the health care provider, nor will I restrict my ability to make an honest judgment on solutions to make coverage more effective or efficient. I will also consider additional revenue to preserve this lifeline of support to our seniors.
No, Congress should not repeal the Affordable Care Act. While the legislation is not perfect, it provides several important features that benefit us as consumers, patients, and human beings. It also contains important measures to encourage and incentivize efficiencies within health care. To build upon this, we must continue to look for creative solutions to Medicare and Medicaid funding issues, as well as improve access to quality care and further reduce costs.
We must continue our efforts to strengthen and support border security. Immigration policies need to be streamlined to effectively allow individuals to navigate the system and legally apply for citizenship. A temporary work visa program and a reasonable pathway to citizenship should be established for those without a criminal record and willing to learn English. We should pass the DREAM Act for innocent young people who have achieved educational success or served in our military.
In concept and theory the premise behind No Child Left Behind is a laudable goal. The reality and implementation of the Act has proven the opposite and has reached the point that educators and the public have completely lost faith in it. The result, in my opinion, is the program in its current form is not salvageable. Conceptually a national incentive program to the states to build an accountability program that informs parents and educators of the progress of the student is fine. I know that innovation and reform are most likely to be successfully achieved through incentives at the local levels where educators and parents have a meaningful voice at a meaningful time and place. Unfortunately, this Act included various standards and rankings that did not match state goals and has become a program trying to drive education from Washington down – which will never work even if it is more perception than reality. I have advocated for years, more than a decade, that we must move away from the single test model of judging student, school, and teacher performance, whether it be a series of end of year exams or end of course exams. These all lead to teaching to the test, an inordinate amount of class time on testing, and increased stress on students, teachers, and the system as a whole. I believe the future of student assessment lies in unobtrusive technology that allows us to asses at the beginning of the school year, and throughout the year, to assure our children are progressing. Instead of continuing to pump billions of state and federal dollars into a system modeled around end of year and end of course exams that are often too late to help our students, I would encourage incentive for innovation through technology to allow us to monitor student progress in virtual real time. I understand the desire by some to have a “scorecard” method of data. The two are not mutually exclusive, but the goal is helping individual students to learn and achieve. We can find a better way than the current test driven system, but in order to do so we are going to have to end the current system to regain the public trust.
We are blessed in this state and in many parts of our country with natural resources. However, the responsible excavation, use, and treatment of those resources is also fundamentally required. I am very concerned that the utilization of fracing is water intensive and water destructive. I am not convinced that independent studies of the process have been performed. I know the competitive rush to discover and extract has often, historically speaking, caused us to destroy elements of our environment and cause harm to human beings. I know that historically, industry driven and paid for studies often distort the truth and the facts. Like most Americans, I would like to be assured that we are not damaging our water table, exposing our families and neighborhoods to unwarranted risks, and that if we allow drilling and excavation activities in our pristine areas, along our coasts and near our residential areas, that all available precautionary measures are taken to protect and restore our environment and protect us from harm.
I also know that the increased demand for energy drives our continued reliance on fossil fuels. Balancing all these needs is difficult but necessary for our future. I do not oppose exploration in certain areas, but I would demand greater security and precautions to protect all of our precious resources as well as the environment. I also believe we can, and should develop more rapidly, alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Wind and solar energies are increasingly important to stabilizing the energy market and should be expanded to help reduce our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels, as well as to help us meet our future energy demands. We have subsidized oil and gas and all forms of energy for decades. The subsidies are massive compared to other industries and the alternative fuel subsidies. A review of all is necessary as we move forward. These new energy sources are less invasive to the environment, result in huge savings of our most precious resource – water - and helps us reduce toxic air pollution without the economic impacts of policies such as cap and trade.
I agree that the activities of mankind are contributing to, and are indeed a principle cause of, climate change. More importantly, it is conduct we can correct. Regardless of whether or not someone agrees with this view, we should challenge ourselves to seek ways to reduce carcinogenic outputs and greenhouse gases. I was raised with the ethical view that polluting our land, air, and water violated our trust to each other and future generations. The technologies necessary for this can help with job growth in fields requiring reductions in everything from automobile manufacturing to fossil fuel production. Advantages will be seen not only in lower costs, but also to improvements in air quality.
As a sovereign nation we have the absolute right to protect our border and defend our citizens from harm regardless of the source. Clearly, this includes illegal and criminal behavior. We must act in cooperation with the government of Mexico. Our border, and the U.S. communities along the border, are actually some of the safest in our state and country. The stereotypes and political rhetoric we hear do not tell the actual truth and facts of this region. However, drug gang activity, wherever it exists - and it exists in many of the counties and cities of this state, both along the border and inland - must be dealt with decisively to protect our children, families, and businesses. There are already existing plans that have been developed with our border communities in cooperation with the government of Mexico and neighboring Mexican communities. These plans are already being implemented and can be supported by our state and federal government.
I support the goal. I believe our principle missions in Afghanistan have been accomplished. It is time for our troops to come home. I would, however, be guided by the recommendations of our military leaders on the schedule and timing in meeting that over all goal.
All steps necessary, including military force.
The significance of China’s role, particularly in Asian economies, necessitates a cautiously open/optimistic relationship. While the U.S. must stand strong in terms of our overall expectations, doing so with the understanding that there is potential for a beneficial relationship will ultimately grant the U.S. an advantage on the global stage. We should always attempt to deal from a position of strength – this is one of the reasons I place so much emphasis on national debt reduction. We are strongest when our financial house is in order.
There will be many and, honestly, our ability to accurately predict crisis hopefully would prevent many crisis from ever developing. However, history teaches us we are constantly surprised whether it is a humanitarian crisis or military crisis. One can look at the outbreak of AIDS and the Arab Spring to see the truth of this statement.
I do believe hunger and available fresh water, not only in developing countries but in advanced countries like our own, will become more of our focus. We have communities currently within this state that struggle to meet their needs for fresh water. We will either start seriously preparing to relieve and prepare for this problem or we will face a certain crisis that not only affects business activity but our very lives.
I believe we will continue to have threats in the middle east and terror groups around the world that require our constant vigilance and strong defense. Obviously, the form and content of self rule in Iran and Afghanistan are potential conflicts. There are numerous potential conflicts between individual nations that could give rise to instability between countries of huge populations and could immediately impact the world. Finally, as we have seen, the global economy means that economic instability in many parts of the world can have negative impacts on all of us. Nevertheless, I remain steadfast in my optimism that engaged and informed nations and people across the world can and will meet these challenges.
The Constitution is grounded in the belief that citizens of the United States are willing and able to govern fairly and adequately. Congress was built to deal with the nation’s major challenges. It is not a matter of whether or not Congress can deal with our challenges; it is a matter of whether or not Congress will take on those challenges. I pride myself on being a problem solver, on not shying away from an issue simply because it is unpopular or difficult. As a U.S. Senator, I will continue to do so and will encourage my colleagues to do the same.