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 18 candidates who responded without edits:
Why should Republicans choose you for the SREC?
Michael King: I have been actively involved in GOP and Tea Party activities since my high school days, more that 25 years ago. As a result, I have served in three Texas counties as a precinct chair: Gaines, Tom Green, and Lavaca counties. I believe, like you, that grass roots activism is the backbone of our party. Thus, I will extend every effort to be a liaison between our county-level chairs, county executive committees and all SD18 GOP auxiliary organizations. Like you, I want to unsure that the RPT remains a precinct-centric body with effective grassroots training, focus and organization.
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?
Michael King: In my mind there are at least three measures that must be addressed in the upcoming legislative session. First, the Texas House must elect a solid conservative Speaker that represents the wishes of voters across the State of Texas. Thus, the new Speaker must be representative of the majority of Representatives in his or her ideology. Legislative obstructionism can no longer be tolerated from the Speaker’s Office. With this direction in place, many “must pass” pieces of conservative legislation will inherently see more success. Secondly, as a fellow property owner, substantive property tax reform must be addressed. Finally, the legislature must proactively be engaged in ensuring the success and prioritization of our public schools. We have seen public classroom teachers rise up with great effectiveness in other states. Clearly, there are forces at play, which seek to paint Texas Republicans as anti-public education and ant-teacher. We must not allow this root of deception to take hold within the broader public sentiment. Our party and our legislators must craft effective reforms that protect teachers by ensuring professional wages and securing effective school choice for parents. In my mind, this begins with fiscal responsibility at every level of government.
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?
Michael King: We absolutely must have the censure rule in place. Our party has been plagued by blatant and ongoing “Rinoism” for decades. With primaries now serving as de facto general elections in many Texas counties, the infiltration of Democrats running as undercover liberal Republicans is undeniable. The censure rule allows the party to protect its brand by policing elected officials who routinely snub our platform and our shared conservative agenda.
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?
Michael King: It is wholly unethical to campaign under once face and govern under another. That in and of itself is a violation of the spirit of Republicanism. Specifically, we have witnessed on numerous occasions where lieutenants of the outgoing Speaker have voiced support for Gov. Abbott’s agenda, while working within the bowels of the legislative process to block the governor’s efforts. And yes, I use the term “bowels of the legislative process” intentionally, as these unethical efforts have been masked through legislative trickery.
Should you be elected, what tangible metrics should Republicans use to determine if you have been successful?
Michael King: The job of the SREC, in my view, is to be an effective liaison between the counties and the state party apparatus. This manifests itself on two fronts. First, SREC members must be present and engaged at the quarterly SREC meetings in Austin. Secondly, your committeeman must be actively engaged in personally connecting with each GOP organization in the Senate district. It is only through these two steps that an effective pathway of communication can be achieved and maintained between the counties and their state party.