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February 28, 2016

Resolution Packet For GOP Precinct Conventions

Presented for your approval, here are the resolutions I am taking to my precinct convention on Tuesday. You can download the PDF of the resolutions here.

RESOLUTION REJECTING THE 2014 RPT PLATFORM
WHEREAS, The Declaration of Independence is 2 pages long, The US Constitution is 20 pages long, the Bill of Rights is 10 pages long; and
WHEREAS, the Republican Party of Texas adopted a platform in 2014 which was over 40 pages in length without time for delegates to either read or fully debate its contents; and
WHEREAS, the Texas Republican Platform contains such a diversity of positions, some of them contradictory, some of them of excessive specificity, some of them obsolete, and some of the offensive to many members of our party; and
WHEREAS, our party platform ought to be a document which is easy to read and useful for attracting new members to affiliate with the Republican Party of Texas and encouraging new voters to support the party; and
WHEREAS, many members of the grassroots of the Republican Party of Texas have expressed discontent with the 2014 Platform and Republican groups such as Texas Young Republicans, Texas College Republicans, and the Republican Liberty Caucus have rejected the 2014 Platform in favor of shorter, principle-based platforms, and
WHEREAS, some candidates find it politically impossible to run while adhering to our current platform or choose to ignore it or have not even read it because of its length and poor reputation; and
WHEREAS, historically Texas Republican Party Platforms prior to 1980 never exceeded 13 platform planks and focused on general principles held in common by all Republicans;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican Party of Texas Platform Committee not use the 2014 Platform as the starting point for the 2016 Platform and instead adopt a shorter platform that maintains conservative principles. 


MODEL PLATFORM RESOLUTION
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Platform Committee adopt the following proposal as the starting point of the 2016 Republican Party of Texas Platform.

PREAMBLE We, the Republican Party of Texas, STILL hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We affirm our continued support for limited government based upon a moral and spiritual foundation, as enshrined in our nations founding documents. We affirm freedom for every individual as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution. We recognize that the traditional family is the strength of our nation. It is our solemn duty to protect life and develop responsible citizens. We understand that our economic success depends upon free market principles. We believe that citizens' needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism. We support the Rule of Law and believe in upholding the law of the land. If we fail to maintain our sovereignty, we risk losing the freedom to live these ideals. As a party we adopt this platform and expect our elected leaders to acknowledge its principles in both word and action.

THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
We believe government exists by the consent of the governed and that it must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. The function of government is not to grant rights, but to protect the unalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

REAFFIRMATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF FEDERALISM
We believe that government must strictly adhere to the original intent of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Constitution of the State of Texas. The 13 original Sovereign States in Constitutional Convention created the Constitution of the United States of America and subsequently ratified that document creating a Federal Government and granting to that Government limited and enumerated powers. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States defines Federal powers as those enumerated in the Constitution and reserves all other powers to the States and to the People. We oppose congressional, judicial, and executive abrogation of the principle that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People. We oppose unreasonable and intrusive federal mandates. This is essential to the preservation of the sovereignty of the state of Texas and its sister states.

PRIVATE PROPERTY
We recognize the rights of the individual to own property. We resist any effort by government to take private property without an overwhelming need for public use. We reject the taking of private property by government for purposes of facilitating private development. We strongly oppose civil forfeiture of private property absent the conviction of its owners for a crime involving its acquisition or use.

ELECTIONS AND PUBLIC OFFICIALS
We demand honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability of our public officials. We will work to expose and stop corruption. We reject the buying and selling of endorsements in all elections. We support efforts to improve the security and sanctity of the ballot, including the requirement that voters show photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot. We oppose public financing of election campaigns, limits on political speech, and efforts by government entities to influence the outcome of elections.

NATIONAL SECURITY AND PUBLIC PROTECTION
We honor all those that serve and protect our freedom. We support a military force of sufficient strength and readiness to deter any threat to our national sovereignty or to the safety and freedom of our citizens. We support the Constitutional mandate to protect and secure our national borders. We oppose placement of United States troops under any foreign command, including the United Nations. We support lawful efforts of local law enforcement agencies to protect citizens in their homes and in their communities. We urge reform of the legal system to accomplish a swift and balanced administration of justice, including consideration of rights of the victim. We support capital punishment when appropriate. We hold in abhorrence all schemes for disunion, come from whatever source they may; we hold it to be the highest duty of every American citizen to maintain against all enemies the integrity of the United States and declare that it must and shall be preserved.

SELF DEFENSE
We believe that Americans have the right to be safe in their homes, on their streets, and in their communities; and the unalienable right to defend themselves. We support the individual constitutionally protected natural right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes. We encourage personal responsibility for the care and use of these firearms. We support the Castle Doctrine and the right of individuals to stand their ground when confronted with criminal violence, and reject the notion that law-abiding citizens have a duty to retreat rather than defend themselves from criminals.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION
We claim freedom of religion for every citizen and expect the protection of government in securing to us this unalienable right. We affirm the right to religious expression, including prayer, in both private and public. We reject efforts to limit the free exercise of religion to the four walls of a house of worship. We support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

FAMILY VALUES
We recognize the traditional family, founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman, as the fundamental unit of society. We affirm that parents have the fundamental right and primary responsibility to direct the upbringing of their children and to provide nurturing care, discipline and training in moral values.

RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe all human life is sacred from conception to natural death, regardless of age or infirmity. We therefore we oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the public funding of any of these abhorrent practices. We reject government efforts to force employers to pay for these practices directly or indirectly under the guise of "health care benefits".
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HUMAN SERVICES
We believe that the primary responsibility for meeting basic human needs rests with the individual, the family, and the voluntary charitable organizations. We recognize, however, that there are special social needs that must be addressed through state human service programs. We support requiring welfare recipients to work towards self-sufficiency. We reject the notion that the federal government may mandate the purchase of any insurance product or penalize the failure to do so, as well as federal regulation of insurance products offered for sale.

EQUAL RIGHTS
We believe that no individual is entitled to rights that exceed or supersede the natural rights of others guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas. There shall be no discrimination by government in favor of or against any individual due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. We reject efforts to sanitize history out of political correctness.

EDUCATION
We believe that all children should have access to quality education. Parents have the primary right and responsibility to educate their children, and we support their right to choose public, private, or home education without being subject to coercion in that choice by government. We support incentives to promote competitive excellence. We encourage cooperative initiatives to help all Texans become literate in English. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public private, or home school. We reject federal imposition of educational standards and the tying of federal education funding to adopting federally mandated standards. We reject zero tolerance policies that mindlessly impose punishments that lack a rational relationship to the supposed offense.

TAXATION
We accept the necessity for limited taxation in order for government to perform and administer those services that meet essential public needs. However, we recognize that the power to tax is also the power to control, and believe that the best way to control government is to strictly control the amount of taxes imposed on the people. We encourage further simplification of tax systems, the elimination of the estate tax, and broad-based rate reduction where possible. We reject the imposition of a state income tax and support a meaningful cap on increasing property taxes so that homeowners need not fear being taxed out of their homes.

REGULATION
We recognize that government regulation can be a major impediment to productivity and to competition. We must rely more on market forces and less on government. Regulatory power now exercised by the federal government must be eliminated or returned to state and local governments to the degree that it is practical to do so.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
We support a free enterprise economy unencumbered by government interference or subsidies. We believe that a strong, diversified economy based on a positive work ethic, a well-trained and well-educated work force, a business-friendly environment, and safe work place will help Texas compete in the global marketplace. We believe that developing our human resources is essential to the future of Texas. We support the Texas Right to Work Law.

THE ENVIRONMENT
We appreciate the quality of our environment. Our air, water, and land are at the heart of our existence and must be protected through balanced management. We support reasonable laws and volunteer efforts to improve air and water quality. We continue to seek responsible solutions to controversies surrounding uses of our wilderness. We seek to preserve the environment while serving the best interests of our Texas citizens. We oppose as unconstitutional the declaration by any President without approval from Congress of any large tract of land as a national monument. We call on the State of Texas to use the resources at its disposal to challenge any such declaration in the courts of the United States.

JURY
The jury is a fundamental institution of liberty, because it is the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution. The jury has the right and the authority to acquit if jurors feel justice will be served.

IMMIGRATION
We recognize that America is a nation built on immigration, and celebrate the contributions made to our quality of life by men and women who have come to this country from around the globe. America is a stronger and better nation because of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of legal immigrants, and the Republican Party honors them. We believe that control of our borders is critical to both national security and national sovereignty. We oppose illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants. We oppose granting government benefits to those illegally present in the US. We believe that current laws against employing illegal immigrants should be vigorously enforced, particularly to stem the now too common crime of identity theft in obtaining employment. We support the imposition of civil and criminal penalties for employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens. We support the mandatory use of E-Verify so that employers can determine whether job applicants are legally entitled to employment in the United States.

OUR MISSION
The Republican Party is the party of the people, by the people and for the people. We appreciate the productivity of our citizens, affirm the infinite worth of all individuals, and seek the best possible quality of life for all. We invite all Americans to join us in working together for a better America and a better Texas. 

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF AN ARTICLE V CONVENTION TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION
WHEREAS, The drafters of the United States Constitution empowered state legislatures to be guardians of liberty against abuses of power by the federal government; and
WHEREAS, The federal government has abused its power by creating a crushing national debt through improper and imprudent spending; and
WHEREAS, The federal government has abused its power by invading the legitimate role of the states through the manipulative process of federal mandates that are to a great extent unfunded; and
WHEREAS, The federal government has ceased to abide by a proper interpretation of the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, It is the solemn duty of state legislatures to protect the liberty of the people and of future generations by proposing amendments to the United States Constitution that place clear restraints on federal power; and
WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution authorizes the several state legislatures to restrict the power of the federal government through the amendment process; and
WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution provides that on application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states Congress shall call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the constitution; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Republican Party of Texas calls upon the Texas Legislature to apply to Congress to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, and to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. 

RESOLUTION ON ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION
WHEREAS: The U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 2, clause 3 states: The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;
WHEREAS: Americans are not represented according to the ratio set forth in the Constitution because of apportionment laws passed by Congress in 1911 and in 1929;
WHEREAS: The clear intent of the framers as demonstrated by the actions of Congress was to reapportion Congress and expand the number of representatives after every census;
WHEREAS: At the time of the debate on the bill setting the arbitrary limit on the number of representatives, Representative Ralph Lozier (MO) made the following seemingly obvious observation: "I am unalterably opposed to limiting the membership of the House to the arbitrary number of 435. Why 435? Why not 400? Why not 300? ... There is no sanctity in the number 435.... There is absolutely no reason, philosophy, or common sense in arbitrarily fixing the membership of the House at 435 or at any other number."
WHEREAS: In America today, each member of the House represents, on average, 721,609 citizens, America basically has two upper houses of Congress with less and less representation of the people
WHEREAS: The US representation at 1:735K or 1:598K (including both chambers) per citizen ratio falls behind all other nations with representative systems of government, such as Sweden with a representation ratio of 1:27K, Germany at a ratio of 1:127K;
WHEREAS: A larger ratio of representatives to population will result in each constituent having more influence over his or her representative and make Congress more responsive to the people;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: Representation in the House must be expanded to a more reasonable number and a process should be set for regular reapportionment. We urge our lawmakers to work on significant changes to improve representation of the people and put our representatives back to a number that the people in districts can hold accountable . 

RESOLUTION ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
BE IT RESOLVED by the Republican Party in Precinct 333 that capital punishment should be meted out to those whose crimes are capital in nature. 
NO EXCEPTIONS FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS
WHEREAS, both Democrat and Republican elected officials have exempted themselves and their staffs from laws they force on the American public, the most recent being the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare);
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that both state and federally elected officials must be subject to the same laws, regulations and ordinances as their constituents. 
RESOLUTION ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion to every American; and
WHEREAS, religious liberty is under severe attack in our churches, schools, the military and the public arena by anti-religious organizations and the federal government.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Texans should be free to express their religious beliefs, including prayer, in public places. We reject the politically correct efforts by the Obama administration and anti-religious groups to intimidate, bully, and silence people of faith in the U.S. and call on elected officials to uphold the First Amendment.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Church is recognized as a God-ordained institution with a sphere of authority separate from that of civil government and thus the Church is not to be regulated, controlled or taxed by any level of civil government. 

DEFUND AND REPEAL OBAMACARE
WHEREAS, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (also known as Obamacare), was passed by completely partisan votes (i.e. not one Republican vote) in both the U.S. Senate, and U.S. House; and
WHEREAS, reliable public opinion polls find that a majority of the American people want it repealed as more and more details of the costly law are revealed; and
WHEREAS, President Barack Obama has illegally and unconstitutionally changed the law by sidestepping Congress and by executive fiat; and
WHEREAS, the Office of Personnel Management has exempted Congress and its staff from Obamacare while forcing other citizens to comply; and
WHEREAS, the costly and error-ridden website to enroll in Obamacare is staffed by navigators, who have not been vetted, causing major security concerns of consumers private information.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we petition the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately defund Obamacare, including its implementation and enforcement, thereby effectively repealing the onerous law. We further petition Congress to hold President Obama and his administration liable for illegal changes to the law and ignoring the Constitution of the U.S. 

RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
WHEREAS, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has held that that the right to travel from one state to another is not a mere conditional liberty subject to regulation and control under conventional due process or equal protection standards, but a right broadly assertable against private interference, as well as governmental action, and a virtually unconditional personal right guaranteed by the Constitution (Shapiro v Thompson 394 U.S);
WHEREAS, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has deployed advanced imaging technology requiring a traveler to either submit to a scan with the capability to capture a virtual naked image of the person or to submit to an intrusive, groping search including the touching of the individuals genitals as a condition of travel without probable cause that the individual poses any threat;
WHEREAS, there remain significant questions about the long-term safety and effectiveness of the technology as a security device;
WHEREAS, refusal to submit to a body scan does not constitute probable cause to be searched;
WHEREAS, it is an appropriate role of the State of Texas to protect her citizens from the abuse of overzealous government employees groping and abusing them without probable cause and in the name of safety;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Texas recommends the passage of legislation to protect the rights and dignity of travelers by requiring that probable cause must be present for an individual to be searched as a condition of access to public facilities or transportation. 

PROTECT PREBORN CHILDREN FROM DISMEMBERMENT ABORTIONS
WHEREAS, a dismemberment abortion, also called a D&E Abortion (Dilatation and Evacuation), takes the lives of preborn children by ripping their limbs from their tiny bodies; and
WHEREAS, in undercover videos, Planned Parenthood executives discuss preferring this horrific form of abortion in order to procure the body parts of preborn children so that they can harvest and sell them; and
WHEREAS, it is the purpose of the state to assert a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of preborn children who are capable of feeling intense pain from such an inhumane and torturous procedure; and
WHEREAS, in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the states interest in "ethical and moral concerns over preborn fetal life could be the basis of legislation to protect that life at all times during the pregnancy and not just after viability.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED we call on government at every level to enact legislation that would protect all preborn children, no matter their stage of development, from horrific dismemberment abortions. 

REPEAL & REPLACE PART OF THE TEXAS ADVANCE DIRECTIVES ACT
WHEREAS, every year in Texas, an unreported number of vulnerable patients are victims of the unethical, unconstitutional, and unprecedented Ethics Committee process due to the Texas Advance Directives Act; and
WHEREAS, Section 166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code enables physicians and hospitals to unilaterally withhold or withdraw a patients Life-Sustaining Treatment at the expiration of ten days against the patient or patients familys will and without a mechanism for appeal and with no liability attached for erroneous determination, although such withdrawal will likely result in death for the patient; and
WHEREAS, this legal process in Section 166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code simultaneously violates the patients Constitutionally protected right to Due Process, and the patients Right to Life through the hospitals own Ethics Committee without opportunity for appeal or legal recourse.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, we call on the Texas Legislature to repeal Section 166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and replace the unethical, unconstitutional, and unprecedented law with truly Pro-Life options that respect and protect vulnerable patients in Texas.

RESOLUTION ON NON-STATE SCHOOLS
WHEREAS, education is the primary responsibility of parents, and that parents, not the state, are the stewards of the children; now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, we oppose all attempts by the state or local government to interfere with parental rights in education; and that we further support maintaining the present status of private, parochial, and home schools free from state government control. 

RESOLUTION ON RIGHT TO WORK
WHEREAS, any individual should have the freedom to work in the job he desires without being forced to join or pay dues to any organization; and
WHEREAS, the Texas Right-To-Work Law has provided a good economic climate for stable management-labor relationships; now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that we urge the State of Texas maintain its Right-To-Work Law.





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February 27, 2016

Why #NeverTrump Is The Only Moral Position

One of the arguments that Republicans are having among ourselves is what do we do if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee in November? Some argue that they must support the party's nominee, but others (commentator Erick Erickson, for example), take the position that they cannot vote for Trump. Taking the latter position leads those who say vote for the nominee to make the accusation that failure to vote for Trump-the-nominee constitutes making a positive choice in favor of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and therefore moral responsibility for the negative impact of the election of one of those hard-left candidates. I would argue that those who make such arguments are wrong not merely as to the question of intent, but also as to the moral implications of that choice.

It is a fundamental tenet of traditional Christian moral teaching that one may not choose to commit an objectively immoral (malum in se) act. If an act is gravely and objectively morally evil, one cannot do it, even if the result of doing it might be good or better than the alternative. For example, it is not permissible to kill a wealthy man simply because doing so will result in an immediate bequest to a local charity which will allow it to remain open and continue to do good works for thousands of needy people. Similarly, one may not rob a bank or sexually abuse a child because of a hostage taker has threatened to kill an innocent person if you do not. The Christian -- indeed, any person is morally obligated not to choose to do evil and to reject the utilitarian notion that choosing objective evil is morally acceptable if the ultimate outcome is a subjectively (or even objectively) greater good.

Which leads us to the electoral question. When approaching the ballot box, one has the obligation to vote in a manner that is objectively moral. In most elections, this is an easy task, for there is usually at least one non-corrupt candidate whose positions and promises are, if not perfect, within the realm of moral acceptability. If there is more than one acceptable candidate, it is acceptable to vote for any one of them -- though the more virtuous act is to vote for the greater good. If there is not such a candidate, it is the obligation of a moral person to abstain from voting for any candidate a vote for the lesser evil is still a choice to do evil, and the choice to do evil is always objectively wrong. The utilitarian argument that one should choose the lesser evil must be rejected.

Which leads us to the potential situation facing voters in November of 2016. Hillary Clinton, the likely Democrat candidate, is personally corrupt and is running on a platform that highlights her support for abortion and laws that would deeply infringe upon freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, and the property rights of Americans. Her Democrat opponent, Bernie Sanders, is a socialist whose program is steeped in Marxist ideology and will require confiscatory levels of taxation that will reduce most Americans to the position of being wards of the state rather than free and self-sufficient citizens, not to mention the fact that he is every bit as hostile to constitutional liberties as his Democrat rival. Ordinarily, this would make a vote for the Republican alternative the only good moral choice except for the fact that Donald Trump may be that nominee.

Why can't a Christian --- or any individual with a functioning moral compass vote for Donald Trump? That's easy Trump combines the hostility to freedom displayed by both Democrats with Hillary's personal corruption and Bernie's totalitarian tendencies. Add to that a thin-skin and personal vindictiveness that rivals the character flaws of Barack Obama and you have a perfect storm of political evil. Many commentators not just on the Left, but also on the Right have called Trump a fascist. And even if most scholars of fascism are unwilling to go quite so far as labeling him a fascist, they so note his the we and rhetoric do sound many themes that have been a part of fascist rhetoric and platforms from the beginning of that malignant movement. At a bare minimum, it is fair to label Trump a proto-fascist. On that basis alone, it is morally unacceptable to vote for him, because the racism, support for violence against opponents, and efforts to intimidate and control the press are objective evils which we cannot legitimately support.

So what is a voter with a right conscience to do? Civic participation and voting in elections are generally seen as virtuous things, but choosing to vote for evil is never an acceptable alternative. That is true even when one might vote for what one views as the lesser of two evils, for that still constitutes the material cooperation in evil. (Note, please, that this differs from voting for a candidate whose platform is not 100% in line with ones principles in that case one is voting for a good but flawed candidate because a perfect one does not exist.) One is compelled to abstain from voting for either candidate in such an instance whether by leaving that race blank on the ballot or by voting for a third-party or independent candidate. While the outcome will still advance evil, one's refusal to give active assent by giving a vote to an evil candidate absolves one of that evil and does not constitute a so not omission. It is, in fact, the only morally acceptable choice for one not wedded morally relativistic utilitarianism.





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February 08, 2016

Republican Primary Endorsements -- 2016

Here are my endorsements in contested races in the upcoming primary. I did not endorse in a couple of state representative races, justice of the peace races, and constable races. I did list one race in which I made no endorsement and offer an explanation for that decision, and another with only one candidate where I believed it better to leave the ballot blank.

* * * * *

President of the United States: Marco Rubio Marco Rubio may be the best hope for the Republican Party to win the presidential election this fall. A solid conservative with roots in the Tea Party movement, Rubio is among the most conservative members of either house of Congress. At the same time, Rubio has what both of his major rivals (Cruz and Trump) lack a warm personality that voters find attractive. That may be why polling data shows him consistently beating Hillary Clinton in head-to-head match-ups while Cruz is in a dead heat and Trump consistently loses. While Rubio may not be the perfect candidate (something that doesnt exist), he is the best of a good bunch and deserves the support of Republicans.

Congress District 7: James Lloyd There appears to be a groundswell for change among constituents in CD7. While John Culberson may have done excellent work during his years in Congress, it appears that Republican voters want change. With that in mind, it appears that James Lloyd is the better of the challengers in the race seeking to unseat the incumbent.

Congress District 8: Kevin Brady Lets say it Kevin Brady is a conservative who has worked his way into leadership in Congress, earning the respect of his colleagues along the way. He deserves to be reelected.

Supreme Court Place 3: Debra Lehrmann Justice Lehrmann has earned the respect of legal professionals in her time on the Texas Supreme Court. There is no good reason to replace her.

Supreme Court Place 5: Paul Green We have a solid conservative justice with an impeccable record running against a politician with a confusingly similar name. Stick with Paul Green.

Supreme Court Place 9: Eva Guzman The daughter of immigrants who has worked hard to climb to the top court in the state of Texas, Guzmans story is the American Dream lived out before us. We in the Houston area have watched her rise through the ranks as she has become one of the states most respected jurists. Her opponent is a pretender, trying to capitalize on his daddys name and a Democrat besides. Eva Guzman is the easiest endorsement on this list.

State Representative District 128: Briscoe Cain Briscoe Cain is one of the finest men I know. Committed to public service and conservative principles, I can think of no better person to replace the incumbent, who is a part of the Straus gang in Austin.

State Representative District 150: Valoree Swanson At one time, Debbie Riddle was a model conservative legislator. Her time in Austin, however, has led her to become an arrogant member of the establishment. Between Trump-like appeals to xenophobia during her last campaign, loyalty to Joe Straus rather than conservative principles, and a growing arrogance towards those who question her actions in Austin, it is clear she has become the worst sort of insider. That may explain why there are so many challengers in this conservative bastion. Valoree Swanson is a solid conservative who has risen from the grassroots to challenge the incumbent, and deserves the Republican nomination in HD 150.

Railroad Commissioner: John Greytok In a race full of well-qualified candidates which is certain to go to a runoff in May, I endorse John Greytok.

14th Court of Appeals Place 2: Kevin Jewell
Our states courts of appeals need conservative jurists who recognize that their role is to apply the law rather than make it. Kevin Jewell fits the bill perfectly.

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2: Chris Oldner An experienced judge and former prosecutor, Chris Oldner has shown the legal acumen and integrity that a judge on the states highest criminal court needs. This has been displayed of late in the case he has overseen regarding Attorney General Ken Paxton, where he has made rulings that were not politically popular but were legally correct.

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5: Sid Harle Sid Harle has been a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a judge, excelling in all three roles. We need such men (and women) on our states highest criminal court.

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 6: Michael Keasler Michael Keasler has written and taught extensively, and has also been active in numerous judicial organizations. He is a well-respected judge who deserves to remain on the court until he reaches mandatory retirement in four years.

80th District Court: Ken Shortreed Despite having criticized Shortreed a couple of years ago for his legal work on behalf of one of the local pay-for-play slate makers, I find myself endorsing him in the race for the 80th District Court. He is an excellent attorney whose varied work experience, knowledge, and training will make him a positive addition to our local courts.

125th District Court: L.A. Olson This is the sort of race where picking the best candidate is hard because of the quality of the candidates. In the end, though, Leif A. Olson is a candidate with a superb education, experience as a law clerk to a federal district judge, and a practicing attorney both with a big law firm and his own private practice. Of a conservative legal temperament, he will certainly be the sort of judge that Republicans want to place on the bench.

151st District Court: Jeff Hastings As Ive spoken to folks about this race, I have yet to find a single person who offered a negative assessment of Jeff Hastings as a candidate, as an attorney, or as a person. That is a rare thing, and made it easy to endorse him.

178th District Court: Xavier Alfaro This is a difficult race to make an endorsement in this year. There are multiple candidates who merit serious consideration and who would be a credit to the bench. With experience as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Alfaro appears to be the best qualified of all the candidates. He is also committed to clearing the backlog in this felony court, which is a pressing concern for advocates for both victims and the accused.

339th District Court: Mary McFadden McFadden has been a conscientious and respected prosecutor for years here in Harris County. She will undoubtedly be a credit to the bench.

Harris County District Attorney: LEAVE IT BLANK Yes, I know there is only one candidate on the ballot in this race but the notion of offering even an implicit endorsement of Devon Anderson by way of silence leads me to encourage all Republicans to cast a vote of no confidence in her administration of the office by intentionally undervoting in this race. Her offices bungling of two abortion related cases in the last 2 years and her indictment of those seeking to uncover wrongdoing in one of them is evidence that we can do better even if that means letting the office fall to someone who is not a Republican this fall.

County Civil Court at Law 1: Clyde Leuchtag Judge Leuchtag was recently appointed to fill a vacancy on this bench and has served creditably. His opponent is a Democrat who crossed parties in the hope of setting up a race in which either she or her husband (a candidate in the Democrat primary) would be elected. Dont reward that behavior when we can keep the experienced Republican in place.

County Attorney: Chris Carmona Chris Carmona is one of the young guns of Harris County (and, indeed, Texas and national) politics, and will be one of our partys rising stars in years to come. In his first race for office, he is seeking to take back the office of County Attorney from the Democrat incumbent. I view a vote for Carmona as a two-fer not only a chance to put someone with integrity in this important office, but also the opportunity to invest in the future of both our county and our party.

Harris County Sheriff: Carl Pittman Many of us in the grassroots believed that Carl Pittman should have been the choice to become sheriff after Adrian Garcia resigned. We were not listened to then; lets make them listen to us now.

Harris County Tax Collector-Assessor: Mike Sullivan Sullivans opponent recently asked if voters want an activist or an administrator for this position. Personally, I vote for an administrator, and therefore endorse Mike Sullivan.

Harris County School Trustee Position 1 Precinct 2: Marvin Morris Marvin Morris has shown himself to be a man concerned about the education of the children of Harris County since being elected to this position. While some claim that this entity needs to be eliminated, Morris correctly points out that the taxes that fund it will simply become a part of the general budget for the county rather than go away. As such, we are better off with those who will oversee its operations with an eye towards efficiency than those who seek to undermine it.

Harris County School Trustee Position 2 Precinct 4: No Endorsement It pains me to not endorse Eric Dick on this one, as I view him to be a man of great integrity and would support him for almost any position. That said, I believe that Danell Fields is correct in observing that the Harris County Department of Education provides economies of scale save local ISDs money. Unfortunately, Dick wants to abolish HCDE (which, as noted in my endorsement above, is unlikely to result in tax savings) while Fields seems to be unprepared for the office, suggesting that she will wait until in office to decide what about priorities. In both cases, Harris County students and taxpayers deserve better.

Harris County Commissioner Precinct 3: Steve Radack An experienced incumbent or a candidate running an amateur campaign with no real vision. The choice is obvious.

Harris County Republican Chair: Paul Simpson Paul Simpson ran with the goal of making Harris County Republicans competitive in every part of the county. In two years, we were nearly able to take two top spots in the city of Houston something we never imagined happening. Weve seen an increase in the number of precinct chairs and expanded outreach to every community. What he is doing is workinglets not mess up a good thing.





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February 05, 2016

A Proposed Shorter RPT Platform

For the consideration of my fellow Texas Republicans, here is my latest revision of a proposed six page platform for our party to replace the 40 page document that now exists. It is easy to read, based on principle, and designed to be used not just by elected officials in setting legislative priorities and Republicans looking to judge candidates' fidelity to GOP priorities, but also as a tool for drawing people into our party.

Please consider seeking to adopt this resolution at precinct, senatorial district, and county conventions in coming weeks, so that it (or something like it) can become our state platform. You may make it a single resolution, or you may put each section in a different resolution. You may, of course, choose to edit portions of it in order to strengthen it or achieve consensus. And I would recommend also adopting a resolution requesting that the 2016 RPT platform committee not use the 2014 platform as a template for the 2016 platform.

* * * * *

PREAMBLE
We, the Republican Party of Texas, STILL hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We affirm our continued support for limited government based upon a moral and spiritual foundation, as enshrined in our nations founding documents. We affirm freedom for every individual as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution. We recognize that the traditional family is the strength of our nation. It is our solemn duty to protect life and develop responsible citizens. We understand that our economic success depends upon free market principles. We believe that citizens' needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism. We support the Rule of Law and believe in upholding the law of the land. If we fail to maintain our sovereignty, we risk losing the freedom to live these ideals. As a party we adopt this platform and expect our elected leaders to acknowledge its principles in both word and action.

THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
We believe government exists by the consent of the governed and that it must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. The function of government is not to grant rights, but to protect the unalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

REAFFIRMATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF FEDERALISM
We believe that government must strictly adhere to the original intent of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Constitution of the State of Texas. The 13 original Sovereign States in Constitutional Convention created the Constitution of the United States of America and subsequently ratified that document creating a Federal Government and granting to that Government limited and enumerated powers. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States defines Federal powers as those enumerated in the Constitution and reserves all other powers to the States and to the People. We oppose congressional, judicial, and executive abrogation of the principle that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People. We oppose unreasonable and intrusive federal mandates. This is essential to the preservation of the sovereignty of the state of Texas and its sister states.

PRIVATE PROPERTY
We recognize the rights of the individual to own property. We resist any effort by government to take private property without an overwhelming need for public use. We reject the taking of private property by government for purposes of facilitating private development. We strongly oppose civil forfeiture of private property absent the conviction of its owners for a crime involving its acquisition or use.

ELECTIONS AND PUBLIC OFFICIALS
We demand honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability of our public officials. We will work to expose and stop corruption. We reject the buying and selling of endorsements in all elections. We support efforts to improve the security and sanctity of the ballot, including the requirement that voters show photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot. We oppose public financing of election campaigns, limits on political speech, and efforts by government entities to influence the outcome of elections.

NATIONAL SECURITY AND PUBLIC PROTECTION
We honor all those that serve and protect our freedom. We support a military force of sufficient strength and readiness to deter any threat to our national sovereignty or to the safety and freedom of our citizens. We support the Constitutional mandate to protect and secure our national borders. We oppose placement of United States troops under any foreign command, including the United Nations. We support lawful efforts of local law enforcement agencies to protect citizens in their homes and in their communities. We urge reform of the legal system to accomplish a swift and balanced administration of justice, including consideration of rights of the victim. We support capital punishment when appropriate. We hold in abhorrence all schemes for disunion, come from whatever source they may; we hold it to be the highest duty of every American citizen to maintain against all enemies the integrity of the United States and declare that it must and shall be preserved.

SELF DEFENSE
We believe that Americans have the right to be safe in their homes, on their streets, and in their communities; and the unalienable right to defend themselves. We support the individual constitutionally protected natural right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes. We encourage personal responsibility for the care and use of these firearms. We support the Castle Doctrine and the right of individuals to stand their ground when confronted with criminal violence, and reject the notion that law-abiding citizens have a duty to retreat rather than defend themselves from criminals.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION
We claim freedom of religion for every citizen and expect the protection of government in securing to us this unalienable right. We affirm the right to religious expression, including prayer, in both private and public. We reject efforts to limit the free exercise of religion to the four walls of a house of worship. We support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

FAMILY VALUES
We recognize the traditional family, founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman, as the fundamental unit of society. We affirm that parents have the fundamental right and primary responsibility to direct the upbringing of their children and to provide nurturing care, discipline and training in moral values.

RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe all human life is sacred from conception to natural death, regardless of age or infirmity. We therefore we oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the public funding of any of these abhorrent practices. We reject government efforts to force employers to pay for these practices directly or indirectly under the guise of "health care benefits".

HUMAN SERVICES
We believe that the primary responsibility for meeting basic human needs rests with the individual, the family, and the voluntary charitable organizations. We recognize, however, that there are special social needs that must be addressed through state human service programs. We support requiring welfare recipients to work towards self-sufficiency. We reject the notion that the federal government may mandate the purchase of any insurance product or penalize the failure to do so, as well as federal regulation of insurance products offered for sale.

EQUAL RIGHTS
We believe that no individual is entitled to rights that exceed or supersede the natural rights of others guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas. There shall be no discrimination by government in favor of or against any individual due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. We reject efforts to sanitize history out of political correctness.

EDUCATION
We believe that all children should have access to quality education. Parents have the primary right and responsibility to educate their children, and we support their right to choose public, private, or home education without being subject to coercion in that choice by government. We support incentives to promote competitive excellence. We encourage cooperative initiatives to help all Texans become literate in English. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public private, or home school. We reject federal imposition of educational standards and the tying of federal education funding to adopting federally mandated standards. We reject zero tolerance policies that mindlessly impose punishments that lack a rational relationship to the supposed offense.

TAXATION
We accept the necessity for limited taxation in order for government to perform and administer those services that meet essential public needs. However, we recognize that the power to tax is also the power to control, and believe that the best way to control government is to strictly control the amount of taxes imposed on the people. We encourage further simplification of tax systems, the elimination of the estate tax, and broad-based rate reduction where possible. We reject the imposition of a state income tax and support a meaningful cap on increasing property taxes so that homeowners need not fear being taxed out of their homes.

REGULATION
We recognize that government regulation can be a major impediment to productivity and to competition. We must rely more on market forces and less on government. Regulatory power now exercised by the federal government must be eliminated or returned to state and local governments to the degree that it is practical to do so.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
We support a free enterprise economy unencumbered by government interference or subsidies. We believe that a strong, diversified economy based on a positive work ethic, a well-trained and well-educated work force, a business-friendly environment, and safe work place will help Texas compete in the global marketplace. We believe that developing our human resources is essential to the future of Texas. We support the Texas Right to Work Law.

THE ENVIRONMENT
We appreciate the quality of our environment. Our air, water, and land are at the heart of our existence and must be protected through balanced management. We support reasonable laws and volunteer efforts to improve air and water quality. We continue to seek responsible solutions to controversies surrounding uses of our wilderness. We seek to preserve the environment while serving the best interests of our Texas citizens. We oppose as unconstitutional the declaration by any President without approval from Congress of any large tract of land as a national monument. We call on the State of Texas to use the resources at its disposal to challenge any such declaration in the courts of the United States.

JURY
The jury is a fundamental institution of liberty, because it is the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution. The jury has the right and the authority to acquit if jurors feel justice will be served.

IMMIGRATION
We recognize that America is a nation built on immigration, and celebrate the contributions made to our quality of life by men and women who have come to this country from around the globe. America is a stronger and better nation because of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of legal immigrants, and the Republican Party honors them. We believe that control of our borders is critical to both national security and national sovereignty. We oppose illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants. We oppose granting government benefits to those illegally present in the US. We believe that current laws against employing illegal immigrants should be vigorously enforced, particularly to stem the now too common crime of identity theft in obtaining employment. We support the imposition of civil and criminal penalties for employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens. We support the mandatory use of E-Verify so that employers can determine whether job applicants are legally entitled to employment in the United States.

OUR MISSION
The Republican Party is the party of the people, by the people and for the people. We appreciate the productivity of our citizens, affirm the infinite worth of all individuals, and seek the best possible quality of life for all. We invite all Americans to join us in working together for a better America and a better Texas.





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