State of Texas Archives: on Government Reform


John Cornyn: Supports Citizens United

Q: Limit contributions to campaigns or require more disclosure about their sources?

John Cornyn: No. Supports Citizens United, allowing corporations to contribute unlimited amounts to PACs. Supreme Court "has acted to protect First Amendment rights of free speech."

MJ Hegar: Yes. Supports campaign finance and ethics reforms to "ensure Washington is accountable to voters and no one else."

Source: CampusElect survey of 2020 Texas Senate race Sep 30, 2020

John Cornyn: COVID: Against mail-in voting

Q: Support voting by mail to address COVID's impact on voting?

John Cornyn: No. Said if voters "can go to the grocery store they can go to the poll. "Anybody who wants to vote has an opportunity to vote."

MJ Hegar: Yes. "No Texan should have to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote or putting public health in danger."

Source: CampusElect survey of 2020 Texas Senate race Sep 30, 2020

MJ Hegar: Day one: work on campaign finance, ethics reforms

It is time to clean up our broken system and return the power back to people. We will not get the needed action on health care, climate change, lower-cost prescription drugs, common-sense gun safety measures, or comprehensive immigration reform until we get the influence of money out of our political system. On day one, I will work to pass comprehensive campaign finance and ethics reforms that ensure Washington is accountable to the voters--and no one else.
Source: The Yale Politic e-zine on 2020 Texas Senate race Apr 2, 2020

MJ Hegar: Refuses corporate PAC money, endorsed by End Citizens United

Whenever someone tells me they don't understand why a bill passed or decision was made in Washington, I always tell them to follow the money. Americans are sick and tired of watching DC politicians put special interest donors and political games over the needs of the people. It is time to clean up our broken system and return the power back to people. That's why I am refusing to accept any corporate PAC money and am proud to be endorsed by End Citizens United.
Source: 2020 Texas Senate campaign website MJforTexas.com Jan 20, 2020

MJ Hegar: Overturn gerrymandering, fight voter suppression

Once elected, I will make it a priority to overturn partisan gerrymandering schemes that further polarize our politics, fight the increasingly-common voter suppression tactics designed to keep people from exercising their right to participate in our democracy, and pass comprehensive campaign finance and ethics reforms that ensure Washington is accountable to the voters--and no one else.
Source: 2020 Texas Senate campaign website MJforTexas.com Jan 20, 2020

Sema Hernandez: Create uniform requirements for voting

I will introduce legislation to create uniform requirements for voting. We will provide for voter identification, location and number of polling sites, voting methods, maintenance, maintenance of voter rolls, automatic voter registration, notification of voter status changes, election verification, funding to implement the foregoing. I support the constitutional right of all convicted persons to vote, under the equal protection of the laws.
Source: 2020 Texas Senate campaign website, Sema4Texas.com Jan 12, 2020

Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez: No corporate PAC money, but other PACs ok

TzintzŁn Ramirez, meanwhile, could tempt criticism with her acknowledgment last month that she narrowed her campaign's initial pledge against accepting all PAC money -- a promise that Beto O'Rourke famously adhered to -- to just corporate PAC money. She said she dialed back the pledge after hearing from labor unions who wanted to have the option to give to her through their political arms.
Source: The Texas Tribune on 2020 Texas Senate race Dec 13, 2019

Royce West: Government contracts raise issues of conflicts of interest

West has dismissed concerns about any conflicts of interest, saying he makes it clear to entities that hire him that they are talking to him in his capacity as a private lawyer, not as a state lawmaker. "I tell people all the time, 'When you come into this office, you're seeing me as an attorney,'" West told the Dallas Observer in 2007. The writer took note of a "State Senator Royce West" nameplate in that same office, in full view of potential customers.
Source: The Texas Tribune on 2020 Texas Senate race Sep 5, 2019

Beto O`Rourke: End secret spending flooding American elections

Q: Campaign Finance: Require political ads to disclose their largest funders? Stand on Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited political donations from corporations & unions?

Ted Cruz (R): No. Opposes DISCLOSE Act, as it raises "grave constitutional concern for speech protected by the First Amendment." Supports Citizens United as aid to 1st Amendment free speech protections.

Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. Co-sponsored DISCLOSE Act to "shine light on the unlimited, secret spending flooding American elections," including foreign influence. Supreme Court should end Citizens United.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Texas Senate race Oct 9, 2018

Beto O`Rourke: Empower communities by ending gerrymandering

Q: Elections: Support nonpartisan redistricting to address charges of partisan gerrymandering?

Ted Cruz (R): No. Political gerrymandering is legitimate, though not racial gerrymandering.

Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. "Empower communities by making sure voters can pick their representatives, not the other way."

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Texas Senate race Oct 9, 2018

Lupe Valdez: Fight against discriminatory voter identification laws

To ensure, Texans have a say in how they are governed I will not only fight against discriminatory voter identification laws and unnecessarily burdensome registration processes, I will advocate to expand voting rights and push for policies like automatic voter registration and encourage the federal government to update the Voting Rights Act. The goal should be to make it easier for more Texas citizens to get to the polls -- not harder.
Source: 2018 Texas Gubernatorial campaign website LupeValdez.com Oct 9, 2018

Ted Cruz: Disclosing campaign spending violates free speech

Q: Campaign Finance: Require political ads to disclose their largest funders? Stand on Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited political donations from corporations & unions?

Ted Cruz (R): No. Opposes DISCLOSE Act, as it raises "grave constitutional concern for speech protected by the First Amendment." Supports Citizens United as aid to 1st Amendment free speech protections.

Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. Co-sponsored DISCLOSE Act to "shine light on the unlimited, secret spending flooding American elections," including foreign influence. Supreme Court should end Citizens United.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Texas Senate race Oct 9, 2018

Ted Cruz: Political gerrymandering is legitimate, unless racial

Q: Elections: Support nonpartisan redistricting to address charges of partisan gerrymandering?

Ted Cruz (R): No. Political gerrymandering is legitimate, though not racial gerrymandering.

Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. "Empower communities by making sure voters can pick their representatives, not the other way."

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Texas Senate race Oct 9, 2018

Beto O`Rourke: Committed to personal term limit for serving in Congress

Q: How can you stay sane and keep your humility if you win?

BO: When [my wife] Amy and I were first talking about running for Congress in 2011-2012, we decided that we would do term limits, and not serve more than four years. In part it was, "I just don't want you to be an ass; I haven't met somebody in this line of work who doesn't become one, that doesn't think that they are so important only they can do it." She's my answer to that. And our kids too. They bring you back down to earth. They could care less about Ted Cruz or what we are doing in the campaign right now. It's hard to do this with little kids, but it also continuously grounds you and reminds you who you are doing it for. Whatever you can do to make sure you never take yourself or your situation too seriously, that's the key. And for me it's Amy and the kids who help me with that.

Source: Austin Chronicle on 2018 Texas Senate race Aug 17, 2018

Andrew White: Fight to end the non-competitive gerrymandering system

Our political parties gerrymander voting districts so well that 95% of congressional races have no competition.˙95 percent! Everyone knows competition, in anything, improves results. But today, the most competitive economy in the world elects its leaders in the least competitive way.˙This is why our system is broken. It explains how a fringe segment of one party can control our entire state government.˙This is where "Bathroom bills" come from. Legislators can't give us fair districts.
Source: 2018 Texas Gubernatorial campaign website AndrewWhite.com Feb 22, 2018

Jodey Arrington: Limit the time a politician can stay in Washington

One way to restrain the federal government and empower the American people is to limit the time a politician can stay in Washington. Term limits would help ensure our representatives tackle the tough issues and minimize the influence of lobbyists and special interests.
Source: 2016 Texas House campaign website JodeyArrington.com Nov 8, 2016

John Kasich: My judicial appointments are solid conservatives

I've appointed over a hundred judges as governor. I even appointed a judge to the Ohio Supreme Court. And you know what they are? They're conservatives. Go check it out. They are conservatives. They don't make the law. They interpret the law. That's all they do. And they stick by the Constitution. So I will do that.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary Feb 25, 2016

Marco Rubio: The Constitution is not a living and breathing document

Q: You have said that religious liberty will trump even the ability of people to stay away from same-sex marriages, not provide flowers, not provide baked goods, etc.

RUBIO: The next president of the United States has to fill this vacancy of Justice Scalia -- in the history of the republic, there has never been anyone better than him at standing for the principle that the Constitution is not a living and breathing document -- it is supposed to be applied as originally meant. And the next president of the United States has to be someone that you can trust and believe in to appoint someone just as good as Scalia -- plus there may be at least two other vacancies. I have a doubt about whether Donald Trump, if he becomes president, will replace Justice Scalia with someone just like Justice Scalia.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary Feb 25, 2016

Ted Cruz: Need principled constitutionalist on high court

The court is now hanging in the balance. For voters that care about life or marriage or religious liberty or the Second Amendment, they're asking the question: Beyond a shadow of a doubt, who do you know will nominate principled constitutionalists to the court? I give you my word, every justice I nominate will vigorously defend the Bill of Rights for my children and for yours.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary Feb 25, 2016

Greg Abbott: Voter fraud is real; voter ID is nondiscriminatory

Voter fraud in Texas & throughout our country is real, and Greg Abbott believes that we need to enact strong Voter ID laws in Texas to prevent cheating at the ballot box and ensure integrity in the electoral system. While critics argue that Voter ID laws suppress votes, the US Supreme Court has already approved Voter ID as a legal, nondiscriminatory response to voter fraud.

Voter ID laws do not prevent legal votes. Instead, they ensure legal votes are not discounted by illegal ones. Every state that has implemented Voter ID laws has seen an increase in minority voter participation and there's no reason not to expect the same in Texas.

The Department of Justice was attempting to stop implementation of voter ID laws including the Texas law. Abbott filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court, arguing that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act undermines sovereignty. On June 25, 2013, the US Supreme Court [agreed], and Abbott announced that Texas would implement its duly passed Voter ID law.

Source: 2014 Texas Gubernatorial campaign website, GregAbbott.com Nov 4, 2014

Emily Sanchez: Opposes stricter enforcement of voting rights

Q: Do you support or oppose stricter enforcement of voting rights?

A: Oppose.

Source: E-mail interview on Texas 2014 Senate race with OnTheIssues Sep 19, 2014

John Cornyn: Create anti-Tea Party PACs to counter Super PACs

In 2010 and 2012, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, headed by Sen. John Cornyn, stayed out of primaries to avoid intraparty battles. But no more. Senate Republican incumbents are ready to play hardball in next year's primaries--including Cornyn, who is up for re-election in 2014. "If super PACs are going to get involved in primaries, there has to be some other people involved in primaries who are interested in actually winning the election in November--and not just purifying the party in the primary," Cornyn said.

There are also Super PACs being formed to aid specific mainstream Republican candidates, to be sure the money backs their campaigns. It's a move to avoid funneling it through large conservative organizations where its impact might be diluted--like Karl Rove's Crossroads network, or Americans for Prosperity, linked to the politically active Koch brothers. Cornyn has challengers--but so far none considered worrisome.

Source: Huntsville Item on 2014 Texas Senate race Nov 15, 2013

Paul Sadler: It's crazy to think Democrats want dependency

Sadler was on the attack from the opening question, when Cruz said: "Part of the philosophy of Pres. Obama and this administration is trying to get as many Americans as possible dependent on government so the Democrats can stay in power in perpetuity."

"That's the craziest thing I've ever heard in my life," Sadler responded. "You are really accusing the president of the United States of using a government program to manipulate people to not get a job, to be dependent on government for services. That's just crazy, Ted. It's crazy."

Cruz replied, "I'm impressed that we're a few minutes into it and you've already called me three times crazy on observing that the president has expanded government dependency."

Several times during the debate, a visibly angry Sadler accused Cruz of lying. At times he laughed derisively while Cruz responded to a question.

Source: Houston Chronicle on 2012 Texas Senate debate Oct 3, 2012

Ted Cruz: Dems want to get as many Americans as possible dependent

Sadler was on the attack from the opening question, when Cruz said: "Part of the philosophy of Pres. Obama and this administration is trying to get as many Americans as possible dependent on government so the Democrats can stay in power in perpetuity."

"That's the craziest thing I've ever heard in my life," Sadler responded. "You are really accusing the president of the United States of using a government program to manipulate people to not get a job, to be dependent on government for services. That's just crazy, Ted. It's crazy."

Cruz replied, "I'm impressed that we're a few minutes into it and you've already called me three times crazy on observing that the president has expanded government dependency."

Several times during the debate, a visibly angry Sadler accused Cruz of lying. At times he laughed derisively while Cruz responded to a question.

Source: Houston Chronicle on 2012 Texas Senate debate Oct 3, 2012

Charlie Hardy: 2012 House race: Won't accept any campaign contributions

Hardy must gather the signatures of 3,740 registered Wyoming voters to get on the 2012 general election ballot. Hardy said he doesn't intend to accept any campaign contributions. He said he probably will formally declare his candidacy at a news conference in a couple of weeks
Source: Casper Star-Tribune on 2012 Texas House campaign Mar 30, 2012

Rick Perry: Require voters to present photo ID at polling places

Perry signed Senate Bill 14, which requires voters to present photo identification at a polling place. "The right to vote is simply too important for us to take the act of voting lightly," Gov. Perry said. "Today with the signing of this bill, we take a major step forward in securing the integrity of the ballot box and protecting the most cherished right we enjoy as citizens."

SB 14 requires a voter to show as a valid form of photo ID, either a driver's license, US military ID card, US citizenship certificate that contains a photograph, US passport, or Texas concealed handgun license. The bill creates a free election identification certificate, with a photograph, for registered voters who need a photo ID.

The bill also increases the penalty for voting illegally to a second degree felony, and increases attempted illegal voting to a state jail felony. Voters who fail to show a photo ID at the polling place may cast a provisional ballot.

Source: Press release on signing of bill; Texas Voting Record SB14 May 27, 2011

George W. Bush: 1990s: $750,000 punitive damage cap in Texas tort reform

The lieutenant governor serves as president of the state senate, seats committees, and decides on the flow of bills. He is elected separately from the governor, meaning it is possible for the two top officials to be from opposite parties--as Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and I were.

One night early in the session, I got a phone call from Bullock. "Why are you blocking tort reform? " Bullock fired off a couple of f-bombs and hung up.

The main difference of opinion was on the size of the cap on punitive damages I wanted a $500,000 cap; Bullock wanted $1,000,000. If we could get agreement on this legislation, the other five tort bills that were part of the reform package would move quickly. An adviser suggested a compromise: How about a bill with a $750,000 threshold? No question that would improve the system.

We called Bullock. This call was shorter. "Governor Bush," Bullock started in his formal way, "You're going to be one helluva governor. Good night."

Source: Decision Points, p. 56-8, on 1995 Texas Voting Record SB 25 Nov 9, 2010

David Alameel: Money is not free speech; corporations are not people

Source: 2010 Texas House campaign website, AlameelForCongress.com Nov 1, 2010

Randy Weber: No limits on campaign contributions nor campaign spending

Q: Do you support limits on individual contributions to candidates for state government?

A: No.

Q: Political Action Committee contributions?

A: No.

Q: Corporate?

A: No.

Q: Political Party

A: No.

Q: Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?

A: No.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Source: Texas Congressional 2010 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2010

Rick Noriega: Legislative escape tp Okla. protected Voting Rights Act

Cornyn criticized Noriega for fleeing to Ardmore, Okla., with fellow Texas House Democrats in 2003 to protest a Republican redistricting bill engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Cornyn said Noriega wasn’t showing leadership “by cutting and running to go to Oklahoma.” He said, “I don’t consider leaving the state leadership.”

But Noriega said it had to be done to protect the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Republicans have repeatedly criticized the more than 50 Democrats who fled to Oklahoma in a move that brought the 2003 legislative session to a standstill. But Democratic strategists insist the issue was a positive one for Democratic lawmakers.

Source: 2008 Texas Senate Debate reported in Dallas Morning News Oct 17, 2008

Scott Jameson: Increase limits on contributions to federal campaigns

Source: Texas Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage Test Jun 3, 2008

Jon Roland: No constitutional authority to regulate campaign finances

Source: Texas Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage Test May 2, 2008

Barack Obama: Lobbyists & special interests have strangle-hold on agenda

Sen. Clinton and I have both offer detailed proposals to try to deal with [numerous problems]. Some of them are the same. Some, we have differences of opinion. But understand that what is lacking right now is not good ideas.

The problem we have is that Washington has become a place where good ideas go to die. They go to die because the lobbyists and special interests have a strangle-hold on the agenda in Washington. They go to die in Washington because too many politicians are interested in scoring political points rather than bridging differences in order to get things done.

And so the central premise of this campaign is that we can bring this country together, that we can push against the special interests that have come to dominate the agenda in Washington, that we can be straight with the American people about how we’re going to solve these problems and enlist them in taking back their government.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Barack Obama: Consistently in favor of more disclosure around earmarks

I’ve been consistently in favor of more disclosure around earmarks. Keep in mind, a lot of these are worthy projects in our states. I have actively pursued projects that I think are important. But I want to make sure that they’re not done in the dark of night, that they’re not done in committee, that everybody stands up and says, “this is the kind of spending that I think is important.” I have consistently supported those efforts. I will push for those as president of the US.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Barack Obama: Created a publicly searchable database on earmarks spending

Q: A recent report said you were responsible for $91 million in earmarks. You have refused to say where the money went.

A: No, that’s not true. We’ve actually disclosed all our earmarks. We’ll be happy to provide you with that information, because I believe very strongly in transparency. One of the things that I did was to pass a bill with Tom Coburn, very conservative Republican but a sincere fiscal conservative. We got together and created what we call Google for Government. It’s a searchable database, where every single dollar of federal spending is posted on the Internet, so that ordinary voters can take a look. If they see a bridge to nowhere being built, they know where it’s going and who sponsored it. If they see a no-bid contract going to Halliburton, they can check that out, too. The idea is that we open up the process so that the American people can make judgments about whether or not government is doing what it’s supposed to be doing with its taxpayer money.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Barack Obama: Need a government that listens to the people again

My belief is the will of the voters, expressed in this long election process, is what ultimately will determine who our next nominee is going to be. What I think is most important to the voters is that we have a government that is listening to them again They feel as if they’ve been shut out. When I meet mothers who are trying to figure out how to get health care for their kids, it’s not just the desperation of that single mom. It’s also that when they try to find some help, oftentimes they’re hitting a brick wall. They don’t get a sense that the debates that are happening in Washington right now relate to them at all. What they believe is that people are trying to get on TV and they’re trying to score points and they’re trying to win elections, and that they’re not interested in knocking down the barriers that stand between the American people and their dreams. They want their government back, and that’s what I intend to provide them when I’m nominated for president of the US.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Ron Paul: Signing statements erode constitutional balance

Recently, the General Accounting Office studied nineteen instances where the President issued so-called “signing statements.” In such statements, the President essentially begins the process of interpreting legislation--up to and including declaring provisions unconstitutional--hence often refusing to enforce them. The GAO study found that in nearly 1/3 of the cases studied, the administration failed to enforce the law as enacted. This approach is especially worrisome for several reasons.
Source: Weekly column, “Texas Straight Talk” Jul 9, 2007

Joaquin Castro: Limit campaign donations, plus full disclosure

Q: Do you support limiting individual contributions to state legislative candidates?

A: Yes.

Q: Limiting PAC contributions?

A: Yes.

Q: Corporate?

A: Yes.

Q: Political Parties?

A: No.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Source: Texas 2006 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2006

George W. Bush: No lawsuits on good-faith acts

Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “1999 Texas Legislative Record” Jun 25, 1999

Paul Sadler: Limit PAC and other contributions to legislative campaigns

Do you support limiting individual contributions to state legislative candidates?

A: Yes.

Q: PAC contributions?

A: Yes.

Q: Corporate contributions?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?

A: Yes.

Source: Texas State 1998 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1998

George W. Bush: Restore individual potential by focusing govt

By trying to do too much, government has undermined one of America’s greatest strengths: individual potential. A government that overtaxes its workers limits the incentive to earn and to save. A government that hands out check after check undermines the incentive to work. Part of our legacy must be to restore government to its proper scope and role. A government whose tax policies create incentives to work, invest and save. A government that respects and nurtures individual liberty and responsibility.
Source: Powell Lecture Series, Texas A&M Univ. Apr 6, 1998

  • The above quotations are from State of Texas Politicians: Archives.
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2020 Presidential contenders on Government Reform:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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