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 7 candidates who responded without edits:
Why should Republicans choose you for the SREC?
Mark Ramsey: I am a multi-decade proven conservative leader. I was awarded an Empower Texans Conservative Leader award and associated Cavalry sword (2016—really cool). I am a 3-term SREC member. If re-elected, this will be my fourth and final term. My goal is continue making conservative strides in Texas. I have children and grandchildren that I want to inherit a strong and free Texas. I would be honored to continue to represent SD7 using my experience and SREC seniority.
My past experience includes:
- 2018 State Platform and Resolutions Committee Chairman
- 2012-2018 State Republican Executive Committee, Officials Committee (Elected), Resolutions Committee (Chairman, formerly Secr), Rules Committee, Candidate Resource Committee
- 2013-2014 Harris County Republican Leadership Council
- 2014-2016 Board of Directors, Conservative Coalition of Harris County
- 2010, 2012, 2014 State Platform Committee member from SD7, (Education, Strengthening our Economy, and Preserving American Freedom subcommittee chairs, respective years)
- 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 SD7 Resolutions Committee Member, Vice Chair, Chair
- 2006, 2008 State Organizations Committee Secretary, Member from SD7
- 2010-2018 — Writer for www.TexasGOPVote.com and www.RedState.com, and the Heritage Institute on social, financial, political, and oil and gas issues. My articles are often widely circulated on other blogs and Tea Party and other conservative email “loops.”
- 2007-2009 — I was one of only two practicing engineers to volunteer for and be selected by the Texas Education Agency to write the TEKS (standards) for a new high school course on engineering principles.
- In 2004 the Texas Sunset Commission invited me to author a review of the Texas Education Agency’s textbook selection process. Several of my recommendations led to language in proposed legislation.
Also, in the past I worked closely with conservative SBOE members on textbook reviews creating a statewide organization to help and getting assistance from national leaders. I reviewed books and testified before the State Board of Education. I have been a precinct chair. I have block walked, worked polls, made phone calls, etc.
I am a strong supporter of Chair James Dickey and have the respect of many members of the SREC, including some that I regularly disagree with on difficult issues. This respect is partially evidenced by the vote on the Officials committee position (54 out of a possible 64 votes), and that I was appointed Chair of this year’s 2018 Republican Party of Texas Platform and Resolutions Committee.
Additionally, I served as Chief of Staff to a Texas Freedom Caucus member of the Texas House of Representatives.
I am known as a creative problem solver and uniter, perhaps due to my day job as an engineer in oil and gas well drilling.
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?
Mark Ramsey: One can be successful a number of ways, but if I were choosing the most important issues they would include:
- Property tax reform, including appraisal caps and eventual abolition of property taxes completely, replaced by a broad-based consumption tax.
- Abortion abolition.
- Election integrity, including stronger penalties for fraud convictions.
- Reduce or eliminate gun-free zones in moving toward full Constitutional Carry.
- Tenth Amendment pushback on federal overreach.
- Texas Spending caps.
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?
Mark Ramsey: Yes. In fact, I was one of the leaders on the SREC who promoted upholding the Censure of Speaker Straus by his own home county of Bexar. Censure itself is but a small piece of the whole question of how to hold elected officials accountable. The push back is proof it is effective. I would prefer that the vote threshold for the SREC vote should be a little lower, though. A “Hard 2/3” vote of membership (not just of those present and voting), is too high, and can be gamed. Additionally, Roberts Rules of Order has almost no supermajority votes—including having a majority vote on censure resolutions—I think for the simple reason that ANY supermajority vote fundamentally puts the minority in control, like we saw for years with the Texas Senate “Rose Bush/maintenance” rule. That said, having the required vote at such a high bar underscored the severity of what the Texas House has suffered through in the past several terms.
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?
Mark Ramsey: First, it is the “page one core principles” that matter, not that an elected official has to agree with every single plank after that. This misunderstanding is used as a [false] straw man argument for those who want to gut the platform itself. The principles speak of adhering to the Constitution, the sanctity of life, sovereignty, limited government, personal accountability, traditional marriage, education choice, safety and self-defense, free enterprise, and honoring those who serve.
Examples of violating these might include stopping pro-life legislation, promoting legislation that clearly grows government (no matter how good the rationale seems), personal failures (such as arrest and conviction of a crime), stopping pro-education-choice legislation, promoting excessive regulations, promoting legislation that would infringe on any of the Bill of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment, protecting sanctuary city status around the state, refusing to pass protections on the traditional family, women and children’s safety and privacy legislation. For those in particularly powerful positions, such as the more powerful committee chairs, refusing to schedule hearings on such legislation in a reasonable time frame, or sanctioning extraordinary delays designed to procedurally kill the legislation, or otherwise gaming the Rules of the Senate or House to kill such legislation would also be included.
Should you be elected, what tangible metrics should Republicans use to determine if you have been successful?
Mark Ramsey: Do I speak out persuasively on conservative issues?
Do I attend to business whenever possible and rarely miss meetings?
Am I effective at proposing and passing conservative rules or resolutions?
Am I persuasive at promoting our great Texas RPT Platform?
Am I transparent with party business?
Do I communicate back with the district—representation is two-way!
Do I have the respect of other leaders and elected officials.
What Committees do I serve on?