In keeping with our effort to provide Texans with the information they need to be informed voters, Texas Scorecard made a questionnaire available to those running the State Republican Executive Committee. 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:

Deborah Kelting

Tom Nobis

Ralph Fite

What are the qualities of a Texas Republican? Why are you one?

Debrah Keltin: Constitutional Conservative, less regulations to allow the free market to thrive, limited government, border security, free market healthcare, pro-life, marriage between one man and one woman, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, school choice, and our second amendment right to bear arms. 

I have been a Texas Republican for a long time, but during the Obama era as a small business owner, I had a rude awakening when the affordable care act, a socialist-type of healthcare was passed.  This led me to co-founding King Street Patriots and True the Vote with Catherine Engelbrecht.

Tom Nobis: The qualities of a Texas Republican are being Conservative, Fiscally Responsible, and Pro-Life while supporting the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Religious Freedom.

Ralph Fite: I believe the majority of grassroots Texas Republicans are Constitutional conservatives who believe in limited government.  The government that governs the least governs the best.  Smaller government translates to more individual liberty and freedom.  I am a Texas Republican who whole-heartedly supports the RPT Platform including the Biblical principles that life begins at conception and that marriage should be between one biological man and one biological woman.

Texas has a lot of elected Republican officials. Who do you believe does the best job standing up for the priorities of the Texas GOP? Why?

Deborah Kelting: Ted Cruz was one of the first conservatives that stood up to the Republican establishment.  If it weren’t for Ted Cruz and the Supreme Court landmark decision of District of Columbia vs. Heller, we would not have the right to bear arms.  Within the first month of Ted’s inauguration, he stood up to the “gang of 8” and killed the immigration bill with his “poisoned pen,” or we would have had blanket amnesty for illegals.  He has been a constitutional conservative that has continually “walked his talk.”

Tom Nobis: There are three Republican officials in Senate District 7 (SD7)- Tom Oliverson, Paul Bettencourt, and Valarie Swanson that were each rated at 100% on Texas Values Faith & Family Scorecard.  Each co-authored bills that were approved by the SREC Legislative Priorities committee as supporting one of the five Legislative Priorities.

Ralph Fite: I believe that Senator Ted Cruz is the best example we have in the country of upholding Constitutional conservative values and principles.  As a high school student, Senator Cruz could recite the U.S. Constitution from beginning to end from memory in front of a full Rotary Club Meeting.  His foundation of knowledge and study of the Constitution is what makes him one of the most effective advocates for limited government in the U.S. Senate.

Some individuals say the current party platform is too long and should be shortened. Do you agree? If so, what portions of the platform would you advocate eliminating?​

Deborah Kelting: No. The platform has already been reduced substantially, and should not be compromised any further.  It is the platform that serves as the voice of our delegates, that represent the majority, and it holds the elected officials “feet to the fire,” in their legislative positions.

Tom Nobis: The party platform is not too long.  I’ve worked on SD7 resolutions committee over the past two sessions.  Some say it should only address legislation needed, but I say it should include what we stand for.  Each section of the platform addresses different issues and is addressed to different committees of the legislature.

Ralph Fite: The Platform is the work of years and years of grassroots conservative thought originating in individual precinct conventions, of which I have held dozens, as a longstanding Harris County Precinct Chairman.  Having also served on a Senatorial District Resolutions Committee, I know the thought and effort our SD7 Resolutions Committee members make into considering every resolution that comes forward from a Precinct Convention.  The Platform is lengthy, but it is a worthy document.

What must be done to ensure the Texas GOP’s legislative priorities are implemented by legislators?​

Deborah Kelting: We need to activate the base so they know where their legislators stand on the issues, and whether or not they are following the platform adopted by the people. 

Tom Nobis: Be more proactive.  Get as many people as possible to testify and support legislation related to the priorities.  Create an alert system on those bills related to the legislative priorities regarding hearings and votes.  While different groups each have an alert system for their issues, a single system for all legislative priorities may be more effective. I have created a spreadsheet to track all legislation over the last two sessions and distributed it to SREC members and some SD7 activists.  This could be used by others for wider distribution.

Ralph Fite: The Texas GOP Legislative Priorities have routinely been tossed aside by establishment moderate speakers like Strauss and Bonnen and their team of moderate legislator followers.  We grassroots conservatives have to get involved in the campaigns of conservative challengers to establishment legislators.  For instance, I offered financial support to Mayes Middleton in his house race against Wayne Faircloth.  Today, Mayes Middleton chairs the Texas Freedom Caucus and is the type of representative whom I can freely contact to advocate for our conservative legislative priorities.  I love Empower Texans Fiscal Index ratings of our State Representatives and Senators.  You quickly know who is respecting our taxpayer dollars and who is spending like a drunken sailor.

Why have you decided to run for the SREC?

Deborah Kelting: My goal is to work as a unifier between fellow SREC members.  SD7 has always been a conservative district.  We lost an important part of SD7 that lies within Congressional District 7 to Lizzie Fletcher, a Nancy Pelosi clone, and other CD’s in Texas flipped into Democrat hands in the middle of the Mueller Investigation in 2018.   My opponent is a moderate, a pro-official Log Cabin recognition and would change the RPT Platform for Log Cabin Republicans holding official standing as a recognized Party Auxiliary Group.  It is important to maintain a strong Constitutional conservative as SD7 SREC Committeewoman because many of the strong conservative SD7 leaders are retiring:  David Riddle, Mark Ramsey, Terri Leo, Sarah Singleton, Donna Bahorich, Ed Johnson, and we, of course, lost our beloved Clint Moore, the conservative soul of SD7.  I have been endorsed by Texas Right to Life, the Conservative Coalition of Harris County (received a 100% vote), and both the standing SD7 Committeewoman, Terri Leo, and the standing SD7 Committeeman Mark Ramsey, Alan Vera, Catherine Engelbrecht, Rolando Garcia, Tanya Robertson, and many other strong conservatives.

Tom Nobis: I have worked to fight for legislation over the past 2 sessions that supports Pro-Life or Religious Freedom.  I was a member of the Legislative Priorities Committee at the last state convention and a working member of the SREC Legislative Priorities committee.  As a member of the SREC, my voice for these priorities would have a larger audience.

Ralph Fite: I have spent a lifetime in conservative activism from my days as a teenager working in campaigns to President of the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce opening the door to Republican leaders to address young Houstonians, to my first stint as a Harris County Precinct Chair in the 80’s & 90’s to my current period of service as a Precinct Chair since 2008.  I have been a leader in the Harris County Republican Party, having chaired two of its standing committees over a period of 6 years, Accounting Review (2 years) and Vacancy (4 years) (which vets applicants for vacant precinct chair positions).  I have a strong background in accounting and finance and have financially supported and block walked for many fine candidates over the years including extensive support for Senator Ted Cruz, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, State Representatives Mike Schofield, Mayes Middleton, Valoree Swanson, and recently, Wesley Hunt for Congress, and many more.  I am endorsed by the current term-limited SREC Committeeman, Mark Ramsey, and the Conservative Coalition of Harris County.

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