Young Conservatives of Texas to Host Free Speech Rights Event

October 29, 2009

Austin, TX – The Young Conservatives of Texas will host a Freedom of Speech Event featuring the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) President Greg Lukianoff on Tuesday, November 3rd to show the general public how speech codes and censorship are failing to teach students how to live in a free society. Starting at 7pm in UTC 2.112A on the UT Campus, Lukianoff will explain this “Unlearning Liberty” and its effects of student voice oppression on campuses throughout the United States.

“We’re thrilled to have Mr. Lukianoff come to campus to eduate the student body about their 1st Amendment rights.” Says Dustin Matocha, chairman of the YCT group at UT. “FIRE was one of the first organizations to assist us when the UT Administration tried to prevent us from passing out fliers on a public sidewalk in near the Diversity Program put on for incoming freshmen during summer orientation.”

Back in June, several members of the conservative group passed out fliers to incoming freshman as they were entering the Diversity Program that they were required to attend during summer orientation. During the program, freshman listened to several “students” stand up in the middle of the audience to announce what racial, sexual, religious, or other group they belonged to and why diversity was important. The Young Conservatives of Texas used their fliers to promote their group and teach freshman that one can simply view people as individuals instead of separating them into distinct racial or religious classes.

It’s incidents like this that causes the FIRE to give the University of Texas at Austin a “Red Light” rating for their protection of free speech. A “Red Light” from FIRE indicates that the University has imposed clear and substantial restrictions on free speech. “We hope that Mr. Lukianoff’s presence on campus will inspire the student body to fight for their 1st Amendment rights,” says Matocha. “Maybe then we’ll have free speech for all students on campus.”

Carter Pushes for Clear Abortion Vote on Health Care Bill

October 22, 2009

House Members should be allowed a clear up-or-down vote on whether the Democrats’ health care bill can fund abortions, according to House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (R-TX).

“The answer as to whether HR 3200 will allow federal funds to be used for abortion should be made crystal-clear to every House Member,” says Carter.  “Yet Democrat House leaders continue legalistic arguments as to how the U.S. Treasury can pay for abortions under their bill and somehow technically avoid using federal funds to do it.  That is deceptive. We can easily clarify any ambiguity on this issue with a simple amendment reinforcing the current ban on federal funding of abortion.  There should be little argument, since Democrats say they don’t intend for this bill to fund abortion to begin with.”

Carter has joined other pro-life House Members in requesting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) allow a floor vote on a bipartisan amendment by Congressmen Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joe Pitts (R-PA).  The amendment would clarify that existing federal law that prohibits federal funds being used directly or indirectly to pay for abortions, other than in instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, will continue to apply to HR 3200.

Survivor of Abortion to Speak at Texas Alliance for Life Benefit Dinner, Oct. 22

October 21, 2009
The Texas Alliance for Life Annual Benefit Dinner this Thursday, Oct. 22, will feature Gianna Jessen, an internationally known speaker and survivor of a failed abortion.

The Benefit Dinner will take place 6-9 p.m. at the Hilton Austin, 500 E. 4th St. The evening will begin with registration and a Silent Auction at 6 p.m. The dinner and program will begin at 7 p.m.

Jessen was born alive more than 30 years ago after a failed saline abortion that left her with cerebral palsy. She has shared her testimony before legislators and through media outlets around the world.

During the 2008 election season, Jessen made headlines when she appeared in a video ad challenging then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s voting record on bills seeking to protect babies born alive following a failed abortion.

Texas Alliance for Life is honored to welcome Jessen to Austin, where she will speak to an expected crowd of more than 1,000 pro-life supporters. Also on the program for the evening are the Rev. Ellis Hutchison, chaplain for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; the Rev. Mike Sis, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Austin; Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of TAL; and a special video address from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Funds raised from the dinner will benefit the programs of Texas Alliance for Life, a non-sectarian, non-partisan pro-life organization of people committed to protecting innocent human lives from conception through natural death through peaceful, legal means.

For more information, visit www.TexasAllianceforLife.org. To arrange interviews, please contact Valerie Pokorny.

TAB Recognizes State Rep. Dan Flynn as a 2009 Champion for Free Enterprise

October 14, 2009

Austin – State Rep. Dan Flynn was recently named a Champion for Free Enterprise by the Texas Association of Business (TAB) for his strong pro-business voting record during the 81st Legislative Session.  Flynn scored a perfect 100 for his voting record supporting Texas businesses and creating and maintaining Texas jobs.

The Champion for Free Enterprise accolade is TAB’s most prestigious legislative award.  Champions must have scored 90% or better on the key issues important to Texas employers to receive this award.

“District 2 has a legislator who understands the needs of business,” said TAB President Bill Hammond. “Dan Flynn is a champion of supporting business legislation that results in job creation, economic expansion and opportunity for all Texans.”

“Texas leads the nation in being a great place to live and work,” commented Flynn. “I am proud of this honor and to continue my work on policy that adheres to a free market and individual freedoms.”

Flynn, a Republican from Van, Texas, sits on the Sunset Commission, the Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services Committee, and is Vice Chairman of the Border and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.  He is running for reelection to his fifth term as State Representative of House District 2.

Founded in 1922, the Texas Association of Business is a broad-based, bipartisan organization representing more than 3,000 small and large Texas employers and 200 local chambers of commerce.

Congressman Carter Calls for Rangel’s Removal from Ways and Means

September 30, 2009

A month after House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) admitted failure to report nearly a million dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms, the lack of any action by the House Democratic Caucus on the new ethics violations or the continuing 15-month investigation of multiple ethics and tax violation charges against the man who oversees the Internal Revenue Service demands Rangel be removed. 

Republican Conference Secretary John R. Carter (R-TX) says he will give Chairman Rangel until next week to voluntarily resign the chairmanship of Ways and Means, or he will introduce a Privileged Resolution to force his removal.  “To allow Mr. Rangel to continue to serve as Chairman is the same as allowing a confessed bank robber to serve as Chairman of the Banking Committee during the trial.”

Carter, a former judge, says the lack of new enforcement action by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) or the Democratic Caucus demands Rangel relinquish the Chairmanship of the House Committee that oversees the IRS and the nation’s tax code.  “The reputation and integrity of this body has suffered serious damage by the actions of the Chairman, and the inaction of the Speaker to meet her promise to make this the most honest and ethical House in history,” says Carter.  “Mr. Rangel must step down as Chairman until these issues are resolved.  If he refuses, the House must remove him by a recorded vote.”    

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has blocked previous votes on Rangel’s chairmanship.  Carter offered a privileged resolution to remove Rangel as Chairman in February, but Democrats under Pelosi voted to block consideration of the bill.

The Ethics Committee began investigation of Rangel on July 31, 2008.  Pelosi publicly stated that the investigation would be complete before the end of 2008, but with the probe now well into its second year, the investigation has already been expanded twice to include new charges of tax and ethics violations by the Chairman.

“There remains the question of whether these latest disclosure violations may be coupled with similar tax reporting violations,” says Carter.  “If so this case could bring further discredit to the House for its failure to act for months, and soon to be years on end.”

The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Buffalo News and numerous other publications have also called for Rangel to step down as Chairman of Ways and Means.

Rep. Dan Flynn Recognized as Courageous Conservative

September 29, 2009

At a well-attended town hall meeting in Greenville last night, the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC) presented State Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van) with the Courageous Conservative Award for the 81st Legislature. 

State Representative Wayne Christian (R-Center), President of TCC, stated: “A Courageous Conservative works tirelessly to advance and defend conservative principles.”  Rep. Christian continued: “Based on his spirited defense of conservative values, I am pleased to recognize Representative Flynn as a Courageous Conservative.”

The Texas Conservative Coalition, the conservative caucus of the Texas Legislature, operates under four guiding LIFT principles: Limited Government; Individual Liberty; Free Enterprise; and, Traditional Values.  Rep. Flynn serves as on the Board of Directors of TCC. 

Rep. Flynn serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Border & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. Rep. Flynn also serves on the Pensions, Investments & Financial Services Committee and is a member of the Sunset Commission, where he oversees the operations of statewide agencies and commissions.

Rep. Flynn, a cattle rancher and businessman, is also a Commander in the Texas Maritime Regiment of the Texas State Guard.

 Upon receiving the TCC Courageous Conservative Award, Rep. Flynn stated: “It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to represent the people of Hunt, Rains, and Van Zandt Counties in the Texas Legislature.  My constituents are hard-working, church-going, honest people who expect principled representation in Austin.” 

 Rep. Flynn continued: “The economy, coupled with the fiscal nightmare being experienced in California, called for an especially sharp focus on principles and responsibility in the 81st Legislature.  I know that only hard-working Texans, and not the government, will grow the economy and create jobs.”

Rep. Christian concluded: “Dan Flynn is a Courageous Conservative with a consistent record of principled leadership in Austin, and we are proud to count him as a member and Director of the Texas Conservative Coalition.  We look forward to continuing to work with him to promote and defend conservative principles.”

Judge Edward C. Prado to Receive UT Distinguished Alumnus Award

September 25, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas – Edward C. Prado, a distinguished federal judge in San Antonio with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, will be recognized by the Texas Exes at their Distinguished Alumnus Awards Friday, October 9, in Austin.  The award, created in 1958, recognizes annually up to six graduates or former students of The University of Texas at Austin who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the university. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest award given by the Texas Exes.

 

Judge Prado received his bachelor’s degree in government from The University of Texas at Austin in 1969 and a law degree from the university in 1972. Upon graduation, he joined the Bexar County District Attorney’s office. In 1976 he was appointed to serve as an attorney in the Federal Public Defender’s Office.  As part of that office he lead a  delegation of criminal defense attorneys to go to Mexico and participate in a treaty allowing for Americans convicted of crimes in Mexico to complete their sentence in the United States.  In 1980 the Governor of Texas appointed Judge Prado to serve as Judge of the 187th District Court.  In 1981 he was appointed by the President of the United States as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas.  In 1984 he was then appointed to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Texas. In 2003, Judge Prado was appointed to serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

 

During his years on the bench, he served on numerous judicial committees to help establish administrative policies for the federal courts. In 1992 he chaired a committee to assess legal representation for indigent criminal defendants which resulted in significant changes being adopted by Congress in the method of representation of criminal defendants in the federal court system. Judge Prado frequently visits Latin American countries to lecture on the United States’ judicial system.  Judge Prado is past president of the United States District Judges Association for the Fifth Circuit and presently sits on the national board of the Federal Judges Association.

 

Judge Prado has been a frequent guest lecturer at The University of Texas School of Law and is active in teaching trial advocacy at Cardozo Law School. He also mentors youths and college students each year and speaks at seminars around the United States on a number of legal topics. In 2006 Judge Prado was recognized as the Outstanding Latino Judge by the Hispanic National Bar Association and was named one of the 100 most influential Latinos in the United States by the Hispanic Business Magazine.

 

There will be five other recipients honored at the event in addition to Judge Prado, including: Vice Admiral Vivien Crea, former vice commandant and chief operating officer of the United States Coast Guard; James Dick, a renowned concert pianist who performs with symphonies worldwide; Lee Godfrey, co-managing partner of Susman Godfrey LLP; Jack Crosby, an international telecommunications pioneer and philanthropist; and Darren Walker, vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

 

The Texas Exes, the alumni association for The University of Texas, was founded in 1885. The mission of the Texas Exes is to unite, inform and involve alumni and friends for the purpose of promoting, protecting and preserving The University of Texas. Today there are around 90,000 members whom the association strives to connect to each other and to the past, present, and future of the university through career counseling, travel, reunions, continuing education, fellowship, legislative advocacy in support of higher education, and The Alcalde magazine. For more information on Texas Exes or to become a member, please visit www.TexasExes.org.

Texas Unemployment Rate Remains Well Below National Rate

September 18, 2009

The Texas seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.0 percent in August, up from 7.9 percent a month ago, and continued to trend well below the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August at 9.7 percent. The Texas Civilian Labor Force continued to increase in August remaining above the mark of 12 million workers. Total nonagricultural employment in Texas fell by 62,200 positions in August.

“Despite our strong Texas economic foundation, the national recession is having an adverse impact on our state,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Tom Pauken. “Nonetheless, the unemployment rate in Texas remained well below the 9.7 percent national rate.”

Education and Health Services employment grew by 5,200 jobs in August, following a revised gain of 8,600 jobs in July. This was the 11th consecutive monthly gain in this industry. Since August 2008, employment in Education and Health Services increased by 58,600 jobs, a 4.5 percent gain.

“The Texas labor force continued to grow in August, remaining above 12 million workers,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “To help connect workers with available jobs, staff at more than 240 workforce centers across the state is available to provide job-search assistance and other services.”

Financial Activities employment increased by 600 jobs in August. This was the fifth monthly gain since January, and the eighth monthly job increase in the last 12 months. Since January, this industry added 3,100 jobs. The hardest hit industries in August were Leisure and Hospitality recording a month-over-month drop of 12,900 positions. Construction was down 11,700 jobs, and Manufacturing industry employment fell by 10,900 jobs.

“Aside from job gains in Financial Activities and Education and Health Services, the employment situation in most industries was tough in August,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andres Alcantar. “TWC and our workforce boards located around the state remain committed to helping out-of-work Texans acquire skills and find jobs.”

The Amarillo Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), followed by the Lubbock MSA with 5.7 percent, and the Midland and Abilene MSAs with 6.1 percent.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst Continues to Build 2010 Campaign Team

September 18, 2009

As Lt. Governor David Dewhurst continues building his 2010 campaign team, veteran political consulting firm Dresner, Wickers & Associates, LLC (DWA) and Texas-based polling firm Baselice & Associates, Inc. will once again have key roles with the David Dewhurst Campaign Committee.

            “These firms are among the best in the country at winning elections by communicating with voters and understanding their needs,” said Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.  “Both have been crucial to my political success and I’m grateful they’ve agreed to continue their work with my campaign so I may continue to serve the people of this great state.”

 

            DWA is a full-service, national Republican consulting firm and represents more than 40 years of experience in political campaigns worldwide.  DWA has helped elect a number of Republicans to the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and governorships, as well as worked on presidential campaigns such as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.  DWA began working with the David Dewhurst Campaign Committee in 1998 during the race for Texas Land Commissioner.  DWA was founded by Dick Dresner and Bob Wickers in 1993.

 

            Baselice & Associates, Inc. is a highly successful national polling and opinion research firm whose current and past clients include Texas Governor Rick Perry, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and dozens more state and federal officeholders in Texas.  Baselice & Associates, Inc. began working with the David Dewhurst Campaign Committee during the 2002 Lieutenant Governor’s race.  The company was founded by Mike Baselice in 1997 and has conducted thousands of survey projects in the political and private sectors.

Gov. Perry: Texas Is Increasing Efforts to Combat Transnational Gangs

September 15, 2009

Gov. Rick Perry today was joined by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and local law enforcement to reiterate the importance of border security and outline the state’s efforts to combat the increasing transnational gang threat in Texas communities.

“Texas continues to deal with the challenges arising from the federal government’s failure to secure our international border by implementing our own proven border security efforts,” Gov. Perry said. “In addition to the Ranger Recon Teams and funding for the Virtual Border Watch program announced last week, I am proud that the Legislature has provided $110 million to equip our law enforcement community with the tools and resources necessary to fight the spread of transnational gangs in our state.”

The governor touted legislation passed in the 81st Session, including House Bill 2086, an omnibus gang bill that provides state and local law enforcement agencies with additional tools to combat the threat of transnational gangs. These resources include electronic monitoring of criminal gang members who have two or more convictions; penalties for engaging in organized crime activity in gang free zones; and enhanced surveillance capabilities, among others. Additionally, House Bill 2187 modifies the penalty for recruiting a person into a criminal street gang.

Transnational gangs such as Barrio Azteca, Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos, Mexican Mafia and Texas Syndicate engage in a myriad of crimes, including human smuggling, robbery, assault, auto theft, drug trafficking, extortion, fraud, home invasions, identity theft, murder and weapons trafficking.

Increased security along the Texas-Mexico border has forced the Gulf, Sinaloa, Zeta and Juarez cartels to employ these violent transnational gangs to carry out and support their operations on both sides of the border. These highly adaptive organizations operate in every region of the state, recruiting from our schools and prisons and using the most up-to-date technology to thwart law enforcement efforts.

To address the growing threat of these gangs, Gov. Perry has implemented a multi-jurisdictional gang strategy that focuses on:

•           Sharing vital gang information across the state and at all levels of law enforcement by integrating gang information databases and obtaining access to federal gang-related data from federal agencies

•           Centralizing gang intelligence by establishing a multi-agency gang intelligence section within the Texas Fusion Center and maintaining a full time local and federal presence in the center

•           Expanding local law enforcement gang operations in identified hotspots by providing grant funding that can pay for overtime enforcement in high-threat areas

•           Increasing investigative and prosecutorial resources that target mid- and upper-level gang leadership

•           Enacting legislation that arms law enforcement with essential gang fighting tools like license plate readers, suspended driver’s license penalties, electronic monitoring of paroled gang members and gang free zones

•           Expanding gang prevention activities that educate parents, teachers and neighborhood leaders on the threats gangs pose to our schools and communities

Gov. Perry announced the expansion of the state’s homeland security strategy during the 81st Legislative Session, which the Legislature supported by allocating $15.4 million for gang operations, including funding for overtime and full time employees for Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, as well as funding to be allocated by the Governor’s Office for gang enforcement patrols, multi-jurisdictional investigations, gang prevention grants and gang-related prosecutions.

In October 2008, Governor Perry announced the first round of funding to combat the emerging threat of transnational gangs by providing $4 million to local law enforcement in areas around the state known to be gang hot spots, including Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Irving. These funds were used as overtime pay for officers who patrol hot spots of gang activity.

For more information about transnational gangs and the governor’s border security strategy, please visit http://governor.state.tx.us/priorities/security/.