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Volume I Number 9 - September 15, 2002

An Exclusive Interview with Republican
U.S. Senate Candidate, John Cornyn

ALSO THIS WEEK – Does the GOP Have a Down Ballot Problem? / Are Property Taxes Out of Control?

TCR: What is your assessment of your race with Ron Kirk?
Texas is big and it’s close, but I’ve been campaigning hard. During the summer, I’ve traveled by plane, bus and truck to 115 Texas towns to participate in more than 200 events to listen to voter concerns and explain my conservative philosophy. My opponent has spent the summer scouring the country for liberal special interest and trial lawyer campaign contributions. I sense that we’ve built momentum in the past four-five weeks and now have a modest lead – one that will hopefully grow.

TCR: What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishments in public life?
I’m proud of what we’ve done over the past four years in the Attorney General’s office. We turned around a dysfunctional child support division and collected over $4 billion in child support for one million of the poorest children in our state. We’ve cracked down on nursing home operators who put profits ahead of patients.

TCR: Why did you decide to run for the U.S. Senate?
Texas needs a strong conservative voice in the Senate representing our values – hard work, personal responsibility, faith, family and freedom. We also need a Senator who will work with our President to stimulate the economy, win the war on terrorism, defend the homeland and make health care more affordable and accessible.

TCR: What are the issues you are focusing on?
A strong national defense to protect our national security interests and the American people is at the top of my agenda. That’s the most fundamental role of our federal government. We also need to strengthen the economy by making the 2001 tax cuts permanent, reducing useless regulations and eliminating frivolous lawsuits. You cannot tax, regulate and sue your way to prosperity.

We also need to use market forces, in combination with medical malpractice reform, to reduce health care costs. Senate Democrats want the government to run a Medicare prescription drug benefit instead of private companies – a step toward nationalized Hillarycare. That must be stopped.

TCR: What are your most significant differences with Ron Kirk?
The biggest difference is I am conservative. I’ll let Ron Kirk describe himself, but he has shown (most recently on the Priscilla Owen nomination) that he would vote with liberal special interest groups and empower the liberal wing of the national Democratic party. I want to rebuild the military after years of Clinton neglect. Ron Kirk is working hand in hand with ultra-left groups seeking deep cuts in the military budget, including one that even opposed military action against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Kirk has authorized these groups, the Council for a Livable World and, to solicit money for him on their websites.

Another major difference is cutting taxes. I want to make the 2001 tax cuts permanent, including permanent elimination of the death tax. Ron Kirk has called making the cuts permanent "irresponsible."

Finally, Texans are also making a choice about supporting the President or opposing him. I have worked closely with George W. Bush when he was our governor and look forward to joining forces with him to move a conservative agenda forward.

In addition to ridiculing tax cuts, Ron Kirk has criticized the President’s homeland security plan, his judicial nominees, his initiative to deploy a national missile defense and his energy plan. As if that wasn’t plenty, Ron Kirk invited Jim Jeffords to Texas and urged an investigation of the President’s actions before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

TCR: What are you asking Republicans and conservatives to do to help?
To be plain and simple, I need your support at the grass roots level, and financially from those with adequate means. The other side is energized and has an efficient GOTV operation. But there is no substitute for energy and enthusiasm on our side –to make phone calls, tell friends, walk neighborhoods to hand out literature and put up yard signs and bumper stickers. Experts estimate that one bumper sticker on a car can be worth as much as $200 in name identification. We all can send a message to fellow Texans.

TCR: How important is the national picture in this Texas Senate race?
With the Senate majority hanging by a single vote, due to Jim Jeffords’ decision to desert Republicans, every seat is important. National liberal Democrats are particularly fixated on the Texas campaign. They want Ron Kirk to win to cement their control of the Senate and to personally humiliate the President in his home state.

National liberals have fully mobilized behind Kirk – Bill and Hillary Clinton have helped Kirk raise money, Al Gore donated to his campaign and Tom Daschle is pulling out all the stops to help Kirk. While I was traveling Texas this summer visiting 115 Texas towns, Kirk was on the east coast and in Hollywood raising liberal special interest cash. He was rarely seen in Texas, and then only in major urban areas. Instead he went to Washington seven times, New York twice, Las Vegas twice, Aspen, Nantucket, Vail and Hollywood and others.

TCR: What is it going to take for you to win this race in November?
It will take an all out effort by Texas conservatives. I will continue to campaign hard to take my message about pushing Texas values, rebuilding the military, creating jobs and strengthening families to voters across the state. If we generate a strong grass roots base of support, we’ll win.

This campaign is vital for Texas and vital for our country. If Democrats keep control of the Senate, then government spending will continue to increase, tax cuts will be blocked, the President’s judicial nominees will be stalled, market-driven health reform will be thwarted and the deployment of a missile defense system will be threatened. We need to win this campaign to move a positive agenda forward on behalf of Texans and our fellow Americans.

TCR: Thank you Attorney General Cornyn for your time and thoughts and best of luck in your race.
Contact: Cornyn for Senate at

Voters and Down Ballot Candidates--A Problem? Is there a Solution?

In a recent study the GOP ticket in this county has shown to have suffered a drop off of 50,000 voters from Governor Bush to GOP judicial candidates.

In 1998, Governor Bush drew 350,527 voters and the lowest District Court Judge was 260,000 and the margin of victory was 19,000.

This election cycle such authoritative experts as Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt says the GOP base vote should crest at a level below 1998 which leaves some important questions and concerns:
1. What if the GOP vote isn’t as high as 1998?
2. What if the Democratic turnout is higher?

If this occurs, if the drop off rate does not change we become vulnerable at the lower end of the ballot – District Judges and lower on the ballot.

So what to do? First, we need a strong base GOP turnout. Second we need a plan to minimize the drop off rate of our voters.

To minimize the drop off rate, there are a number of solutions: (a) encourage straight ticket voting; (b) educate voters on the critical importance to their daily lives of who wins down ballot races, and (c) educate GOP voters on how simple it is to vote straight Republican but still depart the GOP and vote for one or more Democrats they may prefer. I know it is an idea that may cause controversy but remember the problem is not the splitting of tickets by voters – it happens – it’s insuring a down ballot vote. The truth is we really don’t lose any voters who were with us and we can minimize down ballot drop off of our votes at the end of the ballot with special efforts.

Property Taxes Out of Control – Bettencourt, the Chronicle and Others Get it

Last week runaway property taxes were back in the news. We previously discussed this key issue in TCR No. 2 (available on our web site).

The average Houston homeowner is paying 73% more on property taxes today than five years ago due to value increases and there is no end in sight. The taxes have outpaced inflation and wage increases and homeowners are now paying 44% more in taxes than five years ago per the Houston Chronicle on September 8, 2002.

So what to do? Paul Bettencourt, Harris County Tax Assessor collector has some interesting ideas – raise the standard 20% homestead exemption, reducing the 10% cap on increasing appraised values or freezing home values for five years. Other ideas – zero based taxes so no overall tax increase takes place without a vote of the taxing authority, or establish home values for tax purposes forever based on what you purchased your house for plus any significant improvements. Which idea do you like?

On the spending side the Chronicle suggest you who complain about higher tax bills are the same ones that want a new park, library or client in your area. Is that true? Send us your comments and we will send them to Jeff Cohen, the Editor.

Finally a special thank you to some public officials who have recently spoken up for the tax payers. Republican State Senate candidate Kyle Janek, and Republican State Representative's Robert Talton and Talmadge Heflin and Democrat Representative Rick Noriega.

May you successfully continue your efforts in Austin in January for our local taxpayers.

On the Economy

I regularly read Dow Theory Letters by Richard Russell ( In his most recent issue he raises questions about our economic future worth pondering:

"But there was also something very fundamental behind the bear market that took over from the bull market. That fundamental was worldwide over-production. Over the last decade many nations have learned how to produce and how to compete. Nations that had never before competed in the world export markets learned how to produce just about every type of goods from cars to computers to soy beans to refrigerators."

"Walk into any large store such as Target or Wal-Mart or Costco and check out the merchandise. Chances are that whatever you pick up, whether it’s a shirt or a tool or a table – it will say made in China or Malaysia or South Korea or Taiwan or Thailand. The US has exported a large portion of its manufacturing facilities to foreign lands. And with every factory that is closed-down here, and opened somewhere else – jobs are lost. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in the US as the great migration of manufacturing facilities continues."

"But more recently foreign nations have moved into loftier regions of high-tech manufacturing and even of service. Computers, computer programming, biotech, scientific research, all of this is now evidence in other nations. It’s a new world, and the US is no longer the undisputed leader in manufacturing and service."

There you have it, we have to get Americans working and selling the products here and overseas and not just be consumers.

What is the HPOA Up To?

A question: What do the Houston Police Officers Association PAC and The Texas Democratic Partnership have in common? The HPOA is on the Host Committee for Democratic Speaker Peter Laney group’s fund-raiser. It is also interesting that they also funded the “Willie Horton” campaigns in at least two Republican primaries last spring and are major supporters of liberal democrat Lee P. Brown. The big question is whether this AFL-CIO affiliated union, one of Lee Brown’s biggest supporters, is to be trusted. Given the facts, what do you think?

About Your Editor

Gary Polland is a long time Republican spokesman, fund raiser, leader who just 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.

The Texas Conservative Review is published as a public service by Gary Polland
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