In keeping with our effort to provide Texans with the information they need to be informed voters, Texas Scorecard distributed a questionnaire to those running for the lead the Republican Party of Texas as chairman: incumbent James Dickey and challenger Cindy Asche.
We also decided for the first time ever to make a number of the same questions available to those running for the State Republican Executive Committee as well. While we won’t be issuing an endorsement in any of these races, we hope that the responses to these questions will help you decide which man and which woman will best represent your interest on the SREC.
Here are the answers from the Senate District 15 candidates who responded without edits:
Why should Republicans choose you for the SREC?
Vergel Cruz: I would first like for my fellow Republican delegates in SD15 to consider my experience on the SREC. In three terms, I have been fortunate to serve on Rules, Resolutions, and as Vice Chair of the Candidate Resource Committee. I believe my efforts in these Committees — particularly the third — have been productive. Second, keeping in mind the SREC’s Purpose as stated in the Bylaws, I have done my best to represent the will of the SD in helping to govern the RPT, manage the RPT, and promote the Platform principles. Finally, I have tried to be fair and tried to minimize factionalism by working with diverse elements in the Party, while remembering that our fundamental principles, as dictated by the grassroots, should always be defended.
Texas Republicans control every statewide office and the Texas Legislature by impressive margins. What measures must pass this upcoming session for it to be declared a success?
Vergel Cruz: The will of the delegates should dictate the specific measures that are our grassroots priorities, not just mine or those of any other single Republican. In accordance with RPT Rule 34, the full convention will adopt five priorities, and the SREC will augment the list with up to three more priorities. The priorities, of course, will be consistent with the Platform in San Antonio.
Current party rules allow for the SREC to censure a Republican officeholder that violates the party’s core principles. Do you think we should have this rule? Why or why not?
Vergel Cruz: Yes, I believe that Rule 44 strengthens the accountability of our legislators. We should support our legislators when they do right and advise them when they stray from core principles. Naturally, everyone must discern the correct balance of carrot and stick. As Rule 44 is still new, and only been applicable for two years, the delegates may decide to modify the process. However, the many years of grassroots advocacy that led to the Rule’s adoption MUST be respected, in my view.
Last year, efforts to censure House Speaker Joe Straus were successful, but efforts to censure State Rep. Byron Cook and other lawmakers were not. What are some examples of actions you believe violate the party’s core principles?
Vergel Cruz: Supporting legislation, for instance, that clearly weakens freedom of choice for parents to educate their children or cedes Texans’ sovereignty to unelected or foreign entities, would be current grounds for censure under Rule 44.
Should you be elected, what tangible metrics should Republicans use to determine if you have been successful?
Vergel Cruz: I return to the SREC Bylaws, which define the SREC’s purposes well. Tangible metrics may be qualitative and not quantitative. The SREC is much more than a series of votes taken quarterly. The SREC is also about listening to the Republicans in your own district, defining policy at the RPT level, and making sure that the State and local parties are in communication. It is about working with fellow SREC members, party leaders and staff, elected officials, grassroots organizations around Texas, and our voters to advance policy, build the organization around the state, and manage the operation of the Party. If I have been competent, knowledgeable, and honest and have worked towards the Bylaws’ Purposes to REPRESENT my district, then I will have been successful.