It was a packed house at yesterday’s Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club meeting. A total of eight candidates pitched their campaigns to the almost capacity crowd. First up was State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, who is a candidate for Texas Comptroller.
Hilderbran is a tall, lanky, typical West Texas rancher type. He has an easy going manner and probably shook every hand in the room. Because of the size of the candidate field, he was limited in his remarks but still managed to touch his campaign talking points.
One thing that stood out to me was that he didn’t attack his opponents at all. In fact, he said that it was a strong field and that all of them believed essentially the same things. He asked the attendees to consider each person’s experience for the office, touting his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means committee, which includes oversight of the Comptroller’s office.
Hilderbran told us that during his time in the legislature that he championed welfare reform, nursing home reform, state land and parks reform, and cut taxes by $1 billion. He has developed a Texas Taxpayer Bill of Rights that looks solid.
HD 129 candidates
Briscoe Cain – Briscoe stressed that political philosophy is just a starting point for candidates and that experience matters and that he has more experience with legislation than any candidate in the race. He said that he helped drafted on the Merry Christmas bill, began drafting pro-life legislation while still in law school, helped found the first law school pro-life organization in southern states, worked for religious liberty and worked on the lawsuit against the homeless feeding ban in Houston, and that he was just named the lead attorney to handle reversing Mayor Parker’s
executive order giving same sex benefits to city employees settlement agreement with sexually oriented businesses. (thanks to Leif Olson for the correction)
Chuck Maricle – Chuck made the point that the district has changed and has the characteristics of a swing district and that he was the best choice to reach out to all voters. There are four vital interests in the district: Port of Houston, Ellington Field, Johnson Space Center, and the petrochemical industry and he talked about what each needed to thrive. He made the point that getting a permit in the petrochemical industry takes a year and a half in Texas and only six weeks in Louisiana, saying that Texas is losing business because of it. He pointed out that of the two years a rep is in office, the time in session is less than a quarter of that, so he will turn his office into a resource center for economic growth in the down time.
Dennis Paul – Dennis stressed his longtime involvement in the district, stressing that he is the only candidate that lives and works in the district. He has been a precinct chair for 16 years, has been elected SREC for four terms, has over half of the precinct chairs in the district endorsing him. Solid pro-life Christian, second amendment supporter, pro-constitution. Member of Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and Bay Area Partnership. Has Dr. Hotze’s and Gary Polland’s endorsement. Wants to work on economic issues to make sure that their is economic growth and opportunity in the district. His engineering background gives him an advantage as a problem solver.
HD 132 candidates
Michael Franks – Michael talked a lot about his sign business and how he has printed signs for almost all of the major candidates in Texas and even for Rand Paul. He was also a SREC member and was a national delegate from three different districts. He was pretty animated, saying he was tired of rhetoric, checking off questionnaires, and let’s then politicians ignoring those things when they get in office. He wants to do everything that we’ve said we would do for thirty years and have not done. He worked with US Border Watch and illegal immigration is one of his major issues. He received death threats from the gay and homosexual lobby after the marriage amendment vote in 2005 because his business name and number were on the bottom of the signs.
Justin Perryman – Justin just returned from a one year tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is a lawyer that specializes in oil & gas and healthcare, he has learned that we need to make business friendly to those who are hiring, especially small businesses. He has written legislation and was Rep. Bill Callegari’s campaign manager. He was also head of the Katy Republicans for eight years. Property taxes are way too high.
247th District Court (Family)
(note – judges cannot get deep into issues)
John Schmude – John noted that he was a second career attorney, having been a bank consultant in a previous life. He said that his business background has helped him in his law practice and given him the ability to improve the family courts. He stressed that the courts need to do a better job of protecting children. He also talked about a “one size fits all mentality” in the family courts and the cost of all of the fees associated with these practice. He suggested using a “social study” at a cost of $110 versus the ad litem system that costs thousands.
Judge M. L. Walker – Meca is currently the Associate Judge in the 247th. She has been an Associate Judge since 2007 and has presided over thousands of cases. She addressed directly her vote in the 2008 Democratic Primary, saying that in 2009 she read the platforms of each party and knew that she was a Republican and that is why she was there. She is the only candidate ready to start on day one, saving thousands of taxpayer dollars because she has does not need training – we’ve already paid for it. She is also the only candidate in the race that has a proven record of being a conservative judge and has been rated by the lawyers that practice in front of her as being a judge that follows the law.
If you have a chance to attend meetings like this, you should. You learn far more about the candidates than just their talking points. I was particularly impressed by Chuck Maricle refusing to back away from Speaker Joe Straus. It’s amazing to me that activists think that issue is going to play any role whatsoever in the HD129 House race. I also thought that Meca Walker taking on her 2008 vote showed that she isn’t afraid to tackle tough issues. And I thought that Michael Franks captured the spirit of a grassroots candidate and was able to get the attendees attention.
See you next week!