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 2 candidates who responded without edits:
Why should Republicans choose you for the SREC?
Jerry Fisher: It is imperative SREC members have the pulse of the grassroots and proven track records of fighting for Republican ideals. as a long-time volunteer in the Republican Party, having held numerous leadership positions in our local party, I bring extensive experience and unwavering dedication. I will be a mentor to all the counties in SD 2, large or small, to foster new growth in our Republican party.
Jason Ross: The top five reasons:
(1) In my first term on SREC, I earned the confidence of Chairman Dickey to be appointed by him to serve on the Officials Committee following his election;
(2) I have supported Chairman Dickey’s initiatives and efforts and will continue to do so if re-elected by the delegates from SD2;
(3) I am a strong conservative and have been involved with the grassroots from when I first founded the Teenage Republicans at Rockwall HS nearly 30 years ago, to College Republicans at Texas A&M, serving as a precinct chair, election judge, county vice-chair, and legal counsel for the county party;
(4) with my experience as the District Chief of Staff for a U.S. Congressman, I bring a unique federal perspective to the SREC; and
(5) the current committeewoman for SD2, Vicki Slaton, is term limited, which means SD2 will have a first-term committeewoman. As such, I believe it is important for SD2 to have at least one experienced member of the SREC.
Tillie Perkins: Republicans of Senate District 2 should elect Tillie Perkins as SREC woman because of my dedication to the Republican Party of Texas. I believe that in order to be a strong viable party in Texas, we must elect conservatives who will empower our party to keep Texas RED by supporting and electing conservatives who will defend and promulgate the platform of the Republican Party of Texas. As a SREC member, I would be steadfast in my commitment to our party. I would be honored and privileged to represent Senate District 2 including all nine counties in our district.
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?
Jerry Fisher: Our Republican leaders must stand firm on our conservative principles, fighting for pro-life initiatives, lower taxes, less regulation, more government transparency, quality education and school finance reform, responsible budgeting and a strong economy. While we control every statewide office and have considerable margins in the legislature, we cannot rest on our laurels.
Jason Ross: Fundamentally, the delegates at the 2018 State Convention will establish our Platform and Priorities. As a member of the SREC, it will be my responsibility to help ensure the Priorities are carried out and the Platform is advanced by our Republican elected officials. On a personal level, I believe that essential priorities for the upcoming session should include: Empowering school districts to protect our children based on the unique needs of the local community, while preserving 2nd Amendment rights; School finance reform; and Property Tax reform.
Tillie Perkins: In order to measure the success of our next legislative session, we must pass a property tax bill which would rein in the rising local property taxes. Texas ranks #46 in the nation when it comes to property tax rates by WalletHub.com. That means that 45 other states have lower tax rates. This is not a number Texans should be proud to announce. The Teacher Retirement System Pay and Retirement benefits needs to be addressed. Also as a private citizen, cities and towns should not have ordinances pertaining to trees on private properties. Also the privacy bill for the protection of women and children should be addressed again. A greater investment in the Mental Health field as Governor Abbott mentioned in his School Safety Plan. Mental Health should be addressed for our greater population as well. There are numerous issues concerning spending in our state that need to be managed.
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?
Jerry Fisher: Although we must hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, we must ensure we are getting our Republican bills passed.
Jason Ross: Yes, I do think we should have Rule 44 and that it should be strengthened. I voted to approve the censure of both Joe Straus and Byron Cook when the matter came before the SREC earlier this year. Republican officeholders who do not support the Priorities and Platform—particularly the planks that have been overwhelming endorsed by our delegates at the state convention—should be held accountable.
Tillie Perkins: Censuring of a Republican Officeholder, should certainly be allowed by the SREC committee.Upholding the beliefs and values of our platform is part of the job description. it is imperative that censuring an officeholder who has demonstrated that they will not abide by our platform is the proper procedure.
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?
Jerry Fisher: While not everyone agrees with the entirety of the Republican Party Platform, we must not waiver on our core values of the sanctity of life, our state sovereignty, limited government that is transparent and held accountable, the right to bear arms and traditional marriage.
Jason Ross: As stated above, I voted on the SREC to approve the censure of both Joe Straus and Byron Cook for the reasons enumerated by the counties who originated the Rule 44 censure process. Rule 44 is based on the fundamental premise that the local constituents of elected officials should be able to hold their elected officials accountable. As such, when a County GOP Executive Committee takes action to censure an elected “Republican” official from that county and requests the SREC act under Rule 44, it is the SREC’s obligation to take up that county’s action. Republican candidates are asked to indicate their support for the established Priorities of the Party, and their constituents are the closest to the process of determining whether their elected official has acted and voted accordingly.
Tillie Perkins: Examples of violations of the party’s core principles should be exposed whenever a candidate or officeholders chooses to manifest a value or belief detrimental to our party. Some officeholders have voted to not defend the Right to Life which is fundamental to the Republican Party. Some candidates have been dishonest in their publicity campaigns. Others have been disgraceful when dealing with opponents or opponents families.
Should you be elected, what tangible metrics should Republicans use to determine if you have been successful?
Jerry Fisher: They should evaluate my success by my attendance, the votes I have taken and the job I have done in the leadership roles I have assumed.
Jason Ross: This is an excellent question and one that probably has not been asked of the SREC candidates in prior cycles. At 43 years old, I am one of the younger members on SREC. As our demographic shift continues to occur in Texas and as the traditional GOP population continues to age, we MUST expand our efforts and be successful in engaging younger and ethnically diverse members. One of biggest concerns is that of ensuring that Texas continues to remain a RED State in Presidential elections. As of this year, Texas will be the ONLY state in the country that has a minority-majority demographic profile for the voting age population and is also a “Red State.” Every other state with this demographic profile is a Blue or Purple state. As goes Texas, so goes the Nation. So the #1 Metric is to Keep Texas Red!
Tillie Perkins: Tangible Metrics I would hope to put in place are communication vehicles which would let the constituents know upcoming issues and results of immediate past meetings in Austin. I would also travel to the other counties to personally engage in conversations on issues. If communication on a issue was not possible, I would hope to have the pulse of the members of my district.