June 28, 2009
I know you’re all excited about this week’s special encore of the 81st Texas Legislative Session. It’s sort of like an encore at a concert, but after the main set didn’t go very well and nobody applauded when it was over.
I wrote a couple of weeks back about some things the legislature should look at, since we’re coming back to the Capitol this summer – stuff that real Texans care about and that would make a difference in Texas right now or down the road.
Well, the Governor announced the agenda for the Special Session last week. Let’s just say it stretches the definition of “special”:
No work to provide better health coverage to children and seniors, or to actually pass a bill that was allowed to die during the session to expand the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program.
No effort to reform the Texas Department of Insurance so that it serves customers instead of corporations, or to provide any relief at all to homeowners and ratepayers.
No further attempts to improve schools or pass the pre-kindergarten improvements that the Governor vetoed this month.
And no discussion of bringing down skyrocketing utility bills or preparing the state to lead in the 21st Century energy economy.
Texas’ Constitution allows the Governor to call the legislature into session at any time it isn’t meeting regularly. During these special sessions, he has total control over the agenda.
This year, his main goal seems to get the band on and off the stage as fast as possible.
As I reported last week, my wife Liz and I just celebrated 30 years of marriage. You may ask, “What’s the secret?”
Well, here’s one: If a prominent person suggests you ought to run for Governor of Texas, and it results in lots of media coverage, you really, really need to be the first to tell your wife.
Liz took our youngest son Cooper on a quick trip out of state and missed most of the news from this past week. She’s not one of those folks who gets up each morning and, first thing, logs on to the computer so that she can catch every little piece of political news. (She finds it one of my great failings that I need to do that when I’m not at home.)
So Liz missed hearing about my friend and colleague, Senator Leticia Van de Putte, suggesting in a very public way that I should run for something besides re-election next year. Liz missed the stir that Senator Van de Putte’s support created in the media. She even missed my statement about all of that, which you can read by clicking here.
She’s now completely up to date. Due to my strong efforts, it looks like we’ll make it to 30 years and two weeks.
I’ll have more to say about the 2010 elections sometime soon. But Liz, Senator Van de Putte and so many other Texans are absolutely right that the state has endured a crisis of – and, frequently, vacuum in – leadership for far, far too long.
That sentiment has been echoed repeatedly over the last few days by so many people, from so many backgrounds and philosophies, that anyone who counts themselves among the state’s leadership should feel as much grief as fear. I’m very flattered by the significant encouragement I’ve received.
If absolutely nothing else, the 2010 campaign should give Texans a chance to evaluate the path that this state has taken under this leadership. We’ve got to have candidates who will give voters the clearest vision of where Texas needs to go for all of those who are here and those who are coming.
It’s an honor to be considered as one such potential candidate.