Texas uniquely vests a great deal of power and responsibility in the office of lieutenant governor. In the 2014 election cycle, Texans suffer from an embarrassment of riches. It speaks highly of the fortunes of the state that four, thoughtful, qualified individuals of strong character and integrity are seeking this most important office.
The distinction between the four candidates comes down to recent experience in demonstrating a willingness to fight for the values and principles that will propel Texas even further ahead. In this regard, we are endorsing the best from a strong group.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility enthusiastically endorses Dan Patrick for Lieutenant Governor. In Dan Patrick, Texans will have a proven taxpayer champion who has established a clear record of working to advance the conservative fiscal policies that protect taxpayers and enhance prosperity in the Lone Star State.
During his tenure in the Senate, Mr. Patrick has consistently been one of the top-rated lawmakers on the Fiscal Responsibility Index. He has established a record of advocating for practical, reform-minded policies supported by Texans, even if opposed by the special interests in Austin.
For example, 94 percent of Republican primary voters said on their May 2012 ballot that they wanted strict, constitutional spending limits enacted. While the House refused to consider the measure, Mr. Patrick successfully authored and moved legislation doing just that out of the Senate Finance Committee. (Unfortunately, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst neglected to bring the matter up on the Senate floor even for a parliamentary rules vote.)
Similarly, Mr. Patrick has been at the forefront of fights to reform the state’s out-of-control property taxes and business tax schemes. Meanwhile, he has kept a tight focus on the need for substantive spending reform, especially in education, to ensure tax dollars are well spent for their intended purposes.
About the other candidates:
- David Dewhurst has ably and honorably served our nation and state in uniform and out. Unfortunately, he has not truly championed the substantive fiscal reforms conservatives want. When the opportunity for important reforms – like enhancing the constitutional spending limit – have been presented, Mr. Dewhurst has been unwilling to allow record votes by citing the Senate’s flawed “two-thirds” rule tradition before bringing up important legislation. He now says that next Session he would ensure a vote takes place in the Senate, but after eight years in office, the lack of pushing for a vote on such a marque issue is troubling. Finally, Mr. Dewhurst has defended a budget process that the Wall Street Journal says increased state spending 25 percent in just two years.
- Todd Staples’ has admirably performed his constitutional responsibilities as the state’s Agriculture Commissioner. Similarly, Mr. Staples established a thoughtful, conservative record during his time in the Texas House and Senate. However, as a candidate for lieutenant governor he has yet to clearly distinguish himself on important fiscal reforms, or offered evidence he would fight for them in a meaningful way.
- Jerry Patterson’s career of service to the nation in the Marines merits great respect and admiration. From his days in the Texas Senate through his service as Land Commissioner, he approaches public policy with good humor, and is generally on the right on most issues. However, his support of (and later flip-flop on) SB 346 in recent weeks—legislation that would undermine basic constitutional rights and infringe on Texans’ political speech rights—cannot be ignored.