Coming off of an energetic rally held in Houston by President Donald Trump to get out the vote for Republican candidates, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick opened up a statewide telephone townhall Tuesday night by highlighting the increased turnout in the first days of general election early voting observed across the state.
The call was sponsored by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Patrick, who is projected to easily defeat his Democrat opponent in November, offered a glimpse into the current midterm election, the upcoming legislative session, and the priorities of the Republican-led Senate in the no-holds-barred forum.
“Let me empower you with this knowledge,” stated Patrick, “we are on a record-setting pace in this off-year election.”
Patrick did note, however, that he believes the Democrats’ strategy is centered around straight-ticket voting affecting down-ballot races. By pouring money into Beto O’Rourke’s race against Sen. Ted Cruz, explained Patrick, Democrats hope to win legislative, judicial, and other down-ballot offices in the process, even with the electoral defeat of O’Rourke.
The November election will be the last opportunity for voters to cast straight-ticket votes, since legislation was passed to end the practice in Texas.
The first question of the night was on Patrick’s plan for property tax reform in 2019, one of the top issues on the minds of taxpayers who have experienced increasingly skyrocketing tax bills every year.
Patrick explained that in 2015 the Texas Senate passed legislation to offer property tax reform and relief during the regular and special session.
“The speaker of the house watered the bill down to nothing,” he added, which ultimately killed the legislation.
Patrick vowed to double down on his efforts when the legislature reconvenes.
“I will stay there until Hell freezes over,” Patrick promised. “If we don’t pass it during the regular session we will have special session after special session after special session.”
On the question of illegal immigration and border security, Patrick highlighted the increased border security funding put into the state budget during the last four years he has been in office, including $800 million for the biennium placed in the most recent state budget.
While he couldn’t comment on classified information regarding the incoming “caravan” of Honduran “migrants” headed through Mexico to the southern border, he pleaded for Congress to finally fund and build the wall.
Referencing an incident last year when State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) was forced off campus by leftist protestors during a speaking event, one caller asked what was being done to protect free speech on campus.
“We have had long discussions with our universities and our regents on this issue,” Patrick stated. “There is a mob mentality on the left.”
“We are not going to tolerate that in Texas,” he added.
On the topic of education, Patrick noted the divide between real-world teachers and Democrat-heavy teacher unions.
“The Democrats and teacher organizations have done a great job of lying about my record on public education,” Patrick stated. “It’s because I want to empower teachers, not their associations.”
Patrick highlighted his attempt to give teachers across the state a $10,000 raise, an effort which failed during the most recent legislative session, explaining that he wants to give money to teachers instead of exorbitant football stadiums.
When compared to Gov. Greg Abbott, Patrick stated, “Greg Abbott and I have a great partnership,” while noting their different backgrounds: “Abbott is a lawyer…I’m a street fighter.”
With common values, however, Patrick promised the two would continue to work in tandem to pass conservative priorities in the upcoming session, including property tax reform and prioritizing education funding in the classroom.
Early voting in the general election will continue through November 2nd, with election day November 6th.
The Texas Senate, along with the Texas House, will reconvene on January 8th for the 86th legislative session.