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.

* * * * *

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 nation’s 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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