After months of speculation that she might run for office, Debra Medina – who finished in third place in the race for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2010 – threw her hat in the ring for Comptroller. Her bid had been the subject of much speculation, including discussion that she would run as an independent for Governor and play spoiler to Attorney General Greg Abbott in favor of Democrat Wendy Davis.

Medina put that speculation to rest by filing for Comptroller. But why Comptroller? Why not run for the Texas House, where candidates are needed if conservatives are going to wrest control of the House agenda from moderates and liberals?

Maybe Medina doesn’t have a problem with the current liberal and moderate stranglehold on the house policy agenda.

During the 2011 battle for House Speaker between Democrat-backed Joe Straus and conservative Ken Paxton, Medina proudly endorsed Straus. She called supporters of Paxton a “circular firing squad” and said that support for Paxton came from “out of state” and “from the shadows.”

Debra Medina endorsed Straus, calling him “steadfast in his commitment to wield the gavel in a fair and just manner” and “committed to making sure that the will of the members and of the citizens of Texas be done in the coming session.”

For two sessions GOP moderates – like Straus – and Democrats have controlled the House agenda with an iron fist against the efforts of fiscally responsible conservatives and against the kind of reforms Medina has claimed to support.

Perhaps candidate Medina should be asked to square her support of Joe Straus with her support of the very reforms Mr. Straus’s cronies have squelched during his speakership.

What makes her run more of a shame is that Medina – were she truly interested in changing government for the better – had an opportunity to help right things in the Lone Star State in her own backyard. Rather than run for Comptroller, a race already occupied by TFR-endorsee Glenn Hegar, Medina could have competitively run against her hometown state representative, Phil Stephenson.

Stephenson had an extremely disappointing first session. He followed Straus’s lead, earning an “F” (39.7) on the Fiscal Responsibility Index. On his way to earning that grade, Stephenson voted to increase session-to-session spending 26.9%, broke his pledge with the voters by increasing taxes at the request of big tobacco, raided the rainy day fund to support more local water debt and to buy off Democrat votes, put administrators ahead of students by opposing choice in education, chose to fund the “bingo police” over volunteer firemen, supported licensing interior designers, voted to criminalize teeth whitening and rainwater harvesting, and voted against limiting government drone surveillance, amongst other terrible votes.

But Stephenson didn’t just fail TFR’s scorecard. He also scored a 55 on the legislative ratings produced by Young Conservatives of Texas.

If Medina doesn’t have a problem with Straus and his team, then maybe that’s why she doesn’t have a problem with her hometown rep’s horrible record. But if that’s the case, why would Texans want her as Comptroller?

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.


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