January 11, 2010
There’s one New Year’s Resolution I won’t have any trouble with this year.
I’ll be running. Plenty.
. . . For re-election, at least. Yeah, for those keeping track, I’m also registered to run my first half marathon of the year on January 24th.
But it’s the running for re-election that has me focused right now.
Last Monday was the deadline to file for a slot on the 2010 election ballots. I’m proud and honored that I’m unopposed in the March Democratic primary.
But I’ll face two opponents in the November election.
It would be great – seriously, great – if that election came down to my record over my first term.
We could review our significant and vocal fight to create a truly open and honest state budget and our successful effort to put a spotlight on the inappropriate diversion of dedicated state funds.
We could talk about our environmental successes, from the electronic recycling program we created in 2007 to the first ever piece of statewide climate change legislation, which we passed in 2009.
We could highlight how we passed through the Senate a landmark solar energy bill, which would have created great jobs in Texas.
We could revisit victories that reformed Capital Metro, funded work seeking to cure cancer, helped fix school accountability, started the process to increase the number of Tier 1 universities in Texas, and defeated efforts to seriously cripple scientific research.
Heck, as long as we’re at it, we could recount how Texas Monthly named me Rookie of the Year in my first legislative session and then, after my second session, listed me as one of the state’s 10 Best Legislators. I’d even be willing to talk about the other recognitions and awards I’ve been pleased to receive.
(I’m not going to lie to you. Ego being what it is, I’d really, really like to spend the next 11 months talking about this stuff. We’ve worked hard and it’s paid off, because it’s been a phenomenal three years.)
But this election shouldn’t just be about my record, as proud as I am of it. It’s not about the past; it’s about the future. We should spend the next 11 months talking about visions for Texas and where this great state needs to be when the next generation gets here.
We shouldn’t accept any candidate’s effort to make us believe that this is as good as it gets. We shouldn’t allow candidates to politicize the issues and challenges facing everyday Texans.
Instead, we should require a real defense by those who have supported and enshrined budget gimmicks, diversions and political tricks. We should debate real solutions to ensure that our budgets aren’t balanced on the backs of small business owners, school kids, commuters, college students, and hard-working parents.
And we must reject the notion that if you want to improve things – if you want to raise Texas’ sights, leave a legacy, and fix what’s broken – then you just aren’t proud of Texas.
We know the truth. We know that we’re all proud of Texas. And we want to be proud of the people who lead Texas.
This election has to be about something more than Democrats versus Republicans, or Progressives versus Conservatives, or any other set of labels.
We Texans have so much that unites us. We all want good jobs. We all want affordable insurance and electric bills. We all want a tax system that makes sense. We all want better schools, better universities, and better health coverage for our kids.
But more than even all of those things, we want a Texas that aspires even as it achieves. We want to build Texas into the oasis of opportunity for our kids and grandkids that it was when our parents and grandparents were building it up for us.
We want to create our own heritage – of 21st Century jobs, schools, universities, health care, consumer protections, roads, rail, and utilities – that ensures our children and grandchildren won’t be forced to build the things they’ll need to prosper.
And we want to change the way state government does business. We want to budget past a budget cycle, govern beyond an election, and treat our state as something more than an inheritance to spend without responsibility.
None of this will be easy. It will take an enormous amount of work from so many Texans. And though our mission is much larger than Senate District 14, for so many of us, it starts here.
And that’s why I’m asking for your help. I need you to be actively engaged.
Please go to www.kirkwatson.com. Send your friends there. Get folks to sign up for the Watson Wire so they can learn about the campaign and what’s going on around the state. And please sign up as a follower of my Twitter page, too.
And please, contribute whatever you can to the campaign. Times are tough right now, I know. But they won’t get really, fundamentally better until we can communicate with all voters – not just our friends – about the stakes in this election and our vision for Texas’ future.
And it will be a very bright future once we make investments and reforms to help today’s Texans – and the many more who are coming.
Let’s come together and build the Texas that Texans deserve.