with Kyle Janek
Well, I know
we've all been waiting for Ron Kirk to mess up and show that
he is a typical left-wing democrat, and boy did he do it-big
time! The mask of moderation has been ripped off him by his recent
remarks on the U.S. with Iraq. Specifically, Kirk said:
say to those who question our patriotic duty to make sure we
have a chance to win. I wonder how excited they'd be if I get
to the U.S. Senate and I put forth a resolution that says the
next time we go to war the first 500,000 kids have to come from
families who earn a million dollars or more."
understands the threat Iraq is to the U.S. and all freedom loving
nations and doesn't engage in cheap class envy and racism.
Once Kirk was
called on the carpet looking like a fool, or playing the race
card or both, he beat a nasty retreat essentially disavowing
his comments and criticizing John Cornyn for pointing out the
Ron Kirk has
done us a favor. We now know his true feelings about the war
on terror -and supporting our military-he is not the moderate
he says he is.
What Ron Kirk
is - is a risk Texas cannot afford. Spread the word.
TCR: What have you been up
to since your hard-fought primary?
KJ: Recovering and getting ready for the general election.
It was a hard fought primary and I have been working to unify
the party behind my candidacy.
TCR: How is your fall campaign
KJ: We are doing fine. This is a turn out race - we must get
our Republican voters out. We are not focusing on radio or TV-
it's about GOTV.
TCR: Financially, how did
you come out of the primary?
We came out of the primary with about $150,000 in debt. Currently, we are raising money to pay for the November election and to pay off the debt.
TCR: Assume your victory
in November, tell us your take on the talk of a $12 billion state
budget short fall for the biennium?
KJ: The $12 billion shortfall is based on what agencies would
like to have. The real shortfall is around $5 billion
which was caused by a drop of sales tax receipts, a slump in
the economy and increases in Medicaid costs. The problem occurs
from both the revenue and spending sides, so we must do what
families do - make tough choices.
One area of concern is education funding -more specifically, education funding that is not getting into classrooms. We need to get a handle
on how much is spent outside the classrooms (and why) and figure out
how we can maximize the dollars spent on instruction.
TCR: What are your ideas
on dealing with our current to five-year problems with transportation
KJ: The long-term plan I like is Gov. Perry's transportation corridor plan. User's fees will minimize the burden on taxpayers. In the near term I like concrete over rail. We can charge tolls on our HOV lanes for single occupant vehicles and use revenue from them to put into new construction in the Houston area. I wonder why we don't blitz highway construction projects-putting on the pressure into getting a project finished more quickly and reducing the inconvenience for our drivers. We need to continue to use incentives to get projects done ahead of schedule.
TCR: Is there any area of
the state budget where we can reduce, outsource or eliminate
without affecting the responsibility of the state?
KJ: I believe every state agency except public safety and maybe a few others need to be scrutinized for outsourcing. I like Carol Rylander's yellow pages test -if a private business can do it why not let them. But we need to do it smartly, where it makes sense.
TCR: Where do we need to
go on Robin Hood school financing?
KJ: My biggest complaint is the state and local school taxes get thrown into a pot and no one defines what the role of each is. The state over the next 2-4 years ought to take responsibility for teachers' salaries. If we can't afford all of it, we can do it for the core subjects-reading, writing math and hard sciences --the local responsibility would be books, building and buses. If we do this, the state puts its money into the classroom and it's uniform for the state and then equalization is not an issue. We would adjust for regional difference in cost of living in regard to salaries
The four Edgewood Supreme Court decisions (which form the basis for Robin Hood) address efficiency, or equity, yet say nothing about the quality of education. In other words, you can have poor quality, but you must have poor quality based on spending roughly the same amounts for all schools. I believe in letting local boards make the decisions on how to spend the money. In a new system, our schools won't be able to hide and must be efficient and possibly some will have to consolidate with other small districts.
TCR: You've been in the news
recently talking about local property taxes - what proposals
do you support that can pass in 2003?
KJ: We need reasonable limits in the appraisal value. The current 10% cap is taxing people out of their homes. I proposed we lower the cap to 1% per year - that's my offer: let the other side counter. Our present system is just not fair.
TCR: You are unusual for
Texas politics- a full time medical doctor who serves in the
legislature at significant financial sacrifice - why do you do
KJ: When I started in politics I was single - now I'm married
and have two boys so the sacrifice is more. I do it because I
like it and I am making a difference. I also think it's a good
thing to have legislators from a variety of backgrounds and
TCR: Many Republicans had
concerns on how congressional and state senate redistricting
ended up - do you believe it should be revisited to fairly account
for GOP voter strength?
KJ: Clearly congressional redistricting should be revisited, since a court and not the legislature drew the new map. As for the state House and Senate, I'm reasonably happy with the way it turned out.
TCR: Any other legislative
priorities for you in the next legislative session?
KJ: I'm interested in the budget for funding our emergency rooms and trauma centers in the Houston area. Tort reform is sorely needed to help small businesses, health care providers, and nursing homes.
TCR: One of the issues that
remains from the last session is getting full federal Medicaid
reimbursement of our nonprofit nursing homes - will you work
to insure the full take down of federal dollars?
KJ: Yes, I have taken some criticism for some of the Medicaid programs I've endorsed, but I see it as a way to keep Texans' federal taxes from going to Connecticut, North Dakota or other places.
TCR: Anything you'd like
of the Week
KJ: Thank you Gary for doing this interview. My campaign
can be contacted at (713) 526-3399.
v. Watson - Attorney General. Greg Abbott is a modern Texas
hero who overcame his disability to serve with distinction as
a District Judge and Supreme Court Justice. He has also been
a loyal soldier for the GOP going above and beyond regularly.
Kurt Watson is a former so-called pro-business mayor to
the People's Republic of Austin who like Ron Kirk garnered some
business support. Of course, compared to the many whackos in
Austin it doesn't mean much. This race has not gotten the media
attention the big three have gotten but it is important. Most
polls have Abbott with a lead but with many undecided-the outcome becomes uncertain. Greg Abbott will be a great Attorney General. We need to work to give him the opportunity. Contact Abbott for Attorney General at (512) 477-2002 or on the web at www.gregabbottcampaign.com
v. Hochberg - H.D. 137. This is essentially a new District with a sizeable
Hispanic component. Dionne Roberts has run for the Houston
City Council enthusiastically and came close. Hochberg
is a liberal activist. This race leans to Hochberg since he is
a known to the Austin Lobby. Roberts can win with a strong campaign
and a strong GOP turnout. You may get involved by calling (713)
Yarbrough - H.D. 138. This is the third time these two have met--with
Democrat Yarbrough winning both times- narrowly. But this
is a newly configured district that is more Republican. Dwayne
Bohac is doing his usual shoe leather campaign and the district
is leaning his way.
have enough people voting out of his home to make a difference.
Like so many other races, GOP turnout here is critical. We should
win this race. Contact the campaign at (713) 939-6234 or on the
web at www.bohac.com
Registration Report and What it Means
the Harris County Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt - registered
voters number 1.852 million -- slightly below the number in 2000.
Of the newly registered he estimates approximately 63% came from
motor-voter registrations. In the last six months we have a total
of approximately 160,000 newly registered voters.
concluded, "What all the statistics tell us is that the
real battle is about turnout in November."
Which is absolutely
correct, as sources close to the Harris County Democratic Party
report the "Buffalo Soldier" will be active starting
with early voters and funded by the Sanchez fortune.
Nice to Still be Held in High Esteem
Editor's Comment - Every question about the election is
answered with we must get our voters out and they must vote down
We don't want this to be our worst year in the last
ten years. This year there is no margin of error for us, so make
sure everyone you know votes.
If you have
a chance, read the latest Houston Press --Best of 2002
Edition. After last year honoring David Jones and I as Cable
TV Personalities of the Year-this year is different.
This year Houston
Press' Tim Fleck obviously decided Kyle Janek was Republican
of the Year, but if you read the article, it has more about your
editor than Rep. Janek.
Rep. Janek deserves
better than being second fiddle to Tim Fleck's left-wing obsession
with eliminating your editor from Texas politics.
To Tim Fleck
and his friends: I'm not going anywhere!
is a long time Republican spokesman, fund-raiser and leader who
recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican
Chair. During his time as Chairman, Gary was described as the
most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events.
For six years, Gary put out a bi-weekly newsletter which he has
continued due to requests from many Republican activists.
Tune in Thursday
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your editor and left-wing Democrat, David Jones and special guests.