Earlier this month, I published an article on party switchers for Empower Texans. It was more wishful thinking on my part than anything else, but would you know it, apparently there are several Democrats considering such a move in the Texas House. But wait—it gets better. One of these possibly party switchers is from the Rio Grande Valley—Hidalgo county at that! This brave soul is none other than State Representative Aaron Pena of Edinburg.
First off, for those of you not familiar with Representative Pena, please check out his blog. He is one of the few elected officials in Texas who keeps in contact with his constituents via updates of this sort, along with regular tweets and Facebook posts. This is actually how I came to know he even existed; I came across his name and blog online. For some time, I have been reading his posts and from what I can gather, he is a man of principle and the Republican Party of Texas would be lucky to add him to our ever–broadening ranks.
Now why would he consider switching, and why should he? It’s simple, and I cannot say it enough; Latinos are natural conservatives—end of story. Representative Pena understands this. Just after the November elections, he reflected on the state of the Democrat Party in Texas and commented on the loss of many of his South Texas colleagues in his blog. I think Representative Pena would agree with me that this “wilderness” that Texas Democrats now face is of their own doing because, while the majority of Latinos have historically voted for Democrats, the Democrat Party has taken that vote for granted as they have continued to move left, which is in large opposition to the values and beliefs of most.
This is the real reason I pray Representative Pena will make the big decision to join the Republican House majority; we share his views on upholding the Second Amendment, protecting the dignity of life, and supporting policies that incentivize small business growth. This isn’t a biased statement because, while our party has a wide range of opinions on many other issues, we are pretty solid on these basic three which ensure liberty for citizens and allow everyone to make their own future. On the other hand, the liberals who control the Democrat Party have made it clear that they oppose these sorts of common sense policies. However, Representative Pena has been rated similarly to Democrat–turned–Republican Chuck Hopson on fiscal issues, which puts them towards the top of Democrats in the 81st Legislature. It will be interesting to see how Representative Hopson votes as a Republican and how Representative Pena would vote should he become a Republican as well.
The only thing standing in his way of switching are the voting patterns of Hidalgo county. This is arguably where Democrats are strongest in Texas, but this doesn’t mean Pena could not win as a Republican in 2012 there. Just look at Congressman–elect Canseco in TX 23; this district is over 60 percent Hispanic, yet he was able to win. If you still don’t believe that a Republican can win a majority–Hispanic district, then look at Congressman–elect Farenthold in TX 27. If he could win in a South Texas district that is well over 70 percent Hispanic (keep in mind, Farenthold is not Hispanic), then Representative Pena should have more than a shot to win in 2012 as a Republican. Why? Because Latinos know a good representative when we see one. If you are sincere in your service to a community, regardless of party, I am sure they will help you out in reelection.
Will it be difficult for Representative Pena to win in 2012 as a Republican should he switch parties? Of course it will be, but will it be worth it? There are no words to describe how worth it I believe it will be for Representative Pena. If he wants to best represent his constituents, he will seriously consider becoming a Republican and worry about reelection later. Representative Pena is one of the few men of principle in a Texas Democrat Party that has become increasingly leftist. I’m sure that he would feel more at home with the Republican Party of Texas and after this next session, his constituents will be better off for it.
To see where he is more welcomed, all Representative Pena has to do is look at how both parties react to the news that he is considering this switch. Republicans, such as myself, find this as very welcoming news, but the left will respond with nothing but anger. “Another Latino is thinking for himself and not moving to the left?!” Oh no! It’s the left’s worst nightmare!
To make matters worse for the left, State Representative Allan Ritter of Nederland has confirmed he will be switching parties. The formal announcement is expected to be made in Austin this Tuesday. Republicans will officially be beginning the 82nd Legislature with a two-thirds supermajority in the Texas House of Representatives—very good news! Two other House Democrats and one Senator are rumored to be considering a switch as well.