Election Year Launches with Important Local Races

The 2016 calendar has barely settled into place, but everyone is already flipping ahead to the NovemberAdobeStock_Voter Buttons Presidential election. As eyes turn north toward Iowa, we recall the old adage that politics are really at the local level.

With early voting beginning February 16, there are many state races worth watching – but more important, these races are important to the future of North Texas and Texas. (more…)

You Did It! Ex-Im Bank Reauthorized

Congratulations! Thanks to your persistent efforts over a sustained period of time, the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) was reauthorized on Friday, December 4. Garnering a strong bipartisan House vote of 359-65 and a Senate vote of 83-16, the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act” extends the Bank’s charter through September 30, 2019.

Your work has paid off. American companies once again have crucial tools to compete overseas. Your Member of Congress heard you and overwhelmingly voted to support you and your businesses. Please take a moment to thank your Member of Congress for their support. A template thank you note can be found here.

As reported by Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg: “All of us at EXIM are ready to receive applications for new transactions. Given the expected volume, the efforts required to get our processes back up and running, and the need to apply our comprehensive due diligence requirements to every transaction, we are asking customers and other EXIM stakeholders to be patient while we resume authorized activities. We expect online application systems and exim.gov to be fully operational no later than Tuesday, December 8, and customers can always reach us at 1-800-565-EXIM.”

Note that only two of the five seats on Ex-Im’s Board are currently filled, meaning there is not a board quorum to approve loans greater than $10 million. Each member of the Ex-Im Board is nominated by the White House for consideration by the Senate. The U.S. Chamber continues to work with the Administration and the Senate on this important matter.

Thanks again for your continued support and we look forward to working with you in 2016!

Thank you to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for providing this summary.

North Texas Celebrates 95 Years of Women’s Suffrage

It’s been 95 years since the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, granting women across the U.S. the right to vote. Since then, women have not only used that right to their fullest advantage, but have taken the opportunity to run for political office – something that would have been unheard of 100 years ago.

While Edith Wilmans (1882-1966), Dallas attorney, became the first female elected official in the state of Texas in 1922, just two years after the 19th amendment passed, Texas has seen it’s fair share of women in office since then, and today has over 100 women holding office as Mayors, Councilmembers, State and U.S. representatives and so much more.

The North Texas Commission would like to thank the many women who fought for the right to vote, and the current women holding office in North Texas or on behalf of North Texas, as listed below.

U.S. Representative Eddie Johnson, District 30
U.S. Representative Kay Granger, District 12
Representative Angie Chen Button, District 112
Representative Cindy Burkett, District 113
Representative Helen Giddings, District 109
Representative Jodie Laubenberg, District 89
Representative Linda Koop, District 102
Representative Morgan Meyer, District 108
Representative Myra Crownover, District 64
Representative Nicole Collier, District 95
Representative Stephanie Klick, District 91
Representative Toni Rose, District 110
Representative Yvonne Davis, District 111
Senator Jane Nelson, District 12
Mayor Adele Mooney, City of Maypearl
Mayor Barbara Woodruff, City of Wolfe City
Mayor Beth Van Duyne, City of Irving
Mayor Betsy Price, City of Fort Worth
Mayor Carrie Marshall, City of Balch Springs
Mayor Charlotte Wilcox, City of Highland Village
Mayor Cindy Spencer, Town of Shady Shore
Mayor Janet Meyers, City of Aubrey
Mayor Janet Nichol, City of Royse City
Mayor Karen Garrison, City of Chico
Mayor Karen Hunt, City of Coppell
Mayor Kit Marshall, City of Aledo
Mayor Laura Hill, City of Southlake
Mayor Laura Peace, City of Kemp
Mayor Laura Wheat, Town of Westlake
Mayor Linda Martin, City of Euless
Mayor Lorne Liechty, City of Heath
Mayor Melody Paradise, Town of Pantego
Mayor Michelle Pittman, City of Rhome
Mayor Onda “Sam” Moody, City of Glen Rose
Mayor Peggy Krueger, Town of Argyle
Mayor Sue Tejml, Town of Copper Canyon
Mayor Pro Tem Kim Ware, Town of Lakeside
Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Harpold, City of Oak Point
Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Wilson, City of Terrell
Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Carrier, City of Combine
Councilmember Alesa Belvedere, Town of Westlake
Councilmember Ana Reyes, City of Farmers Branch
Councilmember Angela Miner, City of Plano
Councilmember Angie Grimm, City of Roanoke
Councilmember Anita Goebel, City of Garland
Councilmember Ann Zadeh, City of Fort Worth
Councilmember Anna Holzer, City of Hurst
Councilmember Betty Spraggins, City of Murphy
Councilmember Betty Spraggins, City of Murphy
Councilmember Beverly Williams, City of Richland Hills
Councilmember Brianna Hinojosa-Flores, City of Coppell
Councilmember Carol Langdon, Town of Westlake
Councilmember Carol Strain-Burk, City of Lancaster
Councilmember Carol Wollin, City of Colleyville
Councilmember Carolyn Arnold, City of Dallas
Councilmember Curtistene McCowan, City of DeSoto
Councilmember Darlene Freed, City of Grapevine
Councilmember Debbie Bryan, City of Keller
Councilmember Debby Bobbitt, City of Rowlett
Councilmember Elzie Clements, City of White Settlement
Councilmember Gyna Bivens, City of Fort Worth
Councilmember Heidi Wilder, City of Weatherford
Councilmember Holly Gotcher, City of Greenville
Councilmember Holly Gray-McPherson, City of Roanoke
Councilmember Jami McCain, City of Cedar Hill
Councilmember Janelle Moore, Town of Addison
Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates, City of Dallas
Councilmember Johnette Jameson, City of Duncanville
Councilmember Jorja Clemson, City of Grand Prairie
Councilmember Kathleen Wazny, City of Denton
Councilmember Kathryn Wilemon, City of Arlington
Councilmember Keely Briggs, City of Denton
Councilmember Kelly Allen Gray, City of Fort Worth
Councilmember Kelly Turner, City of Kennedale
Councilmember Kristine Clark, City of DeSoto
Councilmember Lana Wolff, City of Arlington
Councilmember LaShonjia Harris, City of Lancaster
Councilmember Leslie Thomas, City of Duncanville
Councilmember Lila Thorn, City of Grand Prairie
Councilmember Linda Eilenfeldt, City of Euless
Councilmember Lisa Sutter, City of Carrollton
Councilmember Lissa Smith, City of Plano
Councilmember Liz Carrington, City of Kennedale
Councilmember Lori Barnett Dodson, City of Garland
Councilmember Mabel Simpson, City of Richardson
Councilmember Margo Goodwin, Town of Highland Park
Councilmember Marian Hilliard, City of Haltom City
Councilmember Marta Gomez Frey, City of Richardson
Councilmember Mary Carpenter, Town of Addison
Councilmember Mary Lou Shipley, City of Waxahachie
Councilmember Michelle Schwolert, City of Highland Village
Councilmember Monica Alonzo, City of Dallas
Councilmember Nancy Coplen, City of Colleyville
Councilmember Nancy Welton, City of Hurst
Councilmember Nancy Yingling, City of Coppell
Councilmember Nina Morris, City of Lancaster
Councilmember Rachel Proctor, City of DeSoto
Councilmember Rainey Rogers, City of McKinney
Councilmember Rita Wright Oujesky, City of North Richland Hills
Councilmember Robin Sedlacek, City of Allen
Councilmember Sandy Greyson, City of Dallas
Councilmember Sharron Spencer, City of Grapevine
Councilmember Sheri Capehart, City of Arlington
Councilmember Shirley Roberts, City of Mesquite
Councilmember Stephanie Davenport, City of Haltom City
Councilmember Tammy Dana-Bashian, City of Rowlett
Councilmember Tiffinni Young, City of Dallas
Councilmember Tracy Rath, City of McKinney
Councilmember Wendy Burgess, City of Mansfield

Your work as leaders continues to build the North Texas region into a force to be reckoned with, and your political accomplishments continue to inspire the many women of North Texas to aspire for higher goals. Thank you for all you do.

You Did It: High-Speed Rail Moves Forward

The power of the North Texas Commission’s membership was evident in the days leading up to budget discussions that would have killed the high-speed rail connecting North Texas and Houston. Our members mobilized and quickly reached out to Sen. Jane Nelson and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and the language that would have barred the Texas Department of Transportation from spending any state funds toward “subsidizing or assisting in the construction of high-speed passenger rail.” Texas Central Rail has said on numerous occasions that this $12 billion project will be entirely privately funded.

The project is still underway with an anticipated launch date in 2021. Thank you to all of you who showed your support by reaching out to our state’s leaders. And, thank you Sen. Nelson and Lt. Gov. Patrick for your leadership on this very important matter.

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For information on the actions NTC members are supporters took to help make this possible, please read a previously posted blog HERE.

Bringing High-speed Rail to Texas: We need your help!

Texas is slated to get a high-speed rail connecting North Texas to Houston. This private commuter rail line would be the first of its kind in the United States and would further cement Texas as a national leader. However some Texas Senators seek to halt progress by adding a rider to the state budget that would prohibit this railway.

Texas high speed rail texas central rail time to act

It’s time to act, and the North Texas Commission urges you as a regional representative of your company or organization to

TAKE ACTION NOW

Join the Texas Central Railway’s letter campaign to voice your support for the future of transportation.

This button connects to a simple form that will enable you to share your voice with the your state lawmakers at the click of a button.

Why is it so important to REMOVE Rider 48 from article 7 of the Senate appropriations bill 48?

Rider 48 is bad public policy that places government in the role of picking business winners and losers in the state’s transportation industry.

 If enacted, Rider 48 will likely kill this important and necessary infrastructure project. It will prohibit TxDOT from working with Texas Central Railway to:

– Design and develop the proposed Dallas station adjacent to or over I-30

– Coordinate on design for overpass when the line crosses a state or federal highway

– Find connectivity and land access solutions for landowners

– Prevent TxDOT for participating in the entire EIS process (which Texas Central Railway is already paying for)

let your voice be heard. help keep high-speed rail in texas.

TAKE ACTION NOW & CONTACT YOUR STATE LAWMAKERS HERE.

 

Image courtesy of www.timetorideTX.com 

Early Voting Starts Today!

The first Presidential candidates for 2016 are throwing their hats into the ring but did you realize that you have a voting opportunity this week? Early voting for local elections starts today, and we encourage you to vote. Municipal and County elections typically have low voter turnout, but these elections are some of the best ways you can have a direct impact on your community and the region.

If you are an employer or manager, we encourage you to give you employees a little extra time during the voting week to make sure they can cast their ballots.

For voters, there are lots of ways to vote, but there are some items you should know beforehand. Don’t let confusion regarding locations, Voter ID or registration get you down. Here are some tools to help make sure you are ready to vote.

When can I vote?: Early voting starts on April 27th and goes until May 5th.  Election Day is May 9th and is your last chance to cast your vote. May 9th is a Saturday so make sure you plan ahead. Check your local election board to see what time polling stations are open.

Am I registered? You can find out at the Texas Secretary of State page. https://team1.sos.state.tx.us/voterws/viw/faces/Introduction.jsp

Where do I vote? You can find your voting location at your county election web page. Typically voting sites are at school, fire stations, churches or other municipal offices.

Do I need ID? YES. There has been a lot of noise around Voter ID laws, but chances are you have an ID that qualifies.

Here is a list of Approved Voter ID

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

More info here: http://votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/need-id

What am I voting for? That depends on your county and city.  Your local county election page should give you a list of candidates and issues. Take the time to research important races and cast your vote.

Additional Voting Resources: 

http://votetexas.gov/

https://team1.sos.state.tx.us/voterws/viw/faces/Introduction.jsp

2014 Election Results

Rain or shine, Texans came out to vote and Republicans not only made a clean sweep of the statewide offices but spun the state Senate to a supermajority in the chamber.  As for the House chamber, Republicans gained two unexpected seats in Bexar and Harris counties where the Republicans unseated incumbent Democrats.  With the open seat in HD-23, this gave the Republicans three seats giving them a control of 98 seats in the House. A two vote away from a supermajority in that chamber.

Governor’s Race:

2015 brings new leadership in the executive office of the Lone Star state.  After Governor Perry’s long tenure as the chief executive, he announced in July 2013 he would not seek re-election.  This opened the doors for candidates to run especially since the last time there was an open race for governor was in 1990.  Texas has not elected a Democrat to a statewide office since 1994 and last night was no different.  General Abbott won the election receiving 59%  of the vote while Senator Davis received 39%. 

Early voting turnout was not what was expected especially for the Democrats. Democratic statewide candidates had hoped to expand the electorate in their struggle to break a 20-year losing streak.  This was also an indicator of whether Battleground Texas and other Democratic organizing groups are making progress in the red state.  However, win or lose Democrats concerned themselves on whether Davis could win with more than 42% of the vote.  Mayor Bill White lost to Perry four years ago with 42% of the vote.  It had been the best showing of a Democrat since Ann Richards drew 46% in her losing re-election bid against George W. Bush in 1994.  By surpassing the 42% of the vote, Democrats know they are on the right track.  This is a long-term game for the Democrats…the eye on the prize is the presidential race in 2016.

Lt. Governor’s Race:

It is no surprise Senator Patrick won the Lt. Governor’s race with 58.2% of the vote.  Although Van de Putte is known as a great campaigner, she didn’t seem to have come across in this election. 

Attorney General:

Another race we were not surprised, Ken Paxton winning the race with 58.8% of the vote.

Comptroller:

Glenn Hegar wins with 58.4% of the vote setting up a vacancy when he resigns the remainder of his 4 year term to be sworn in as Comptroller.  This means there will be eight new freshman Senators and the Senate has lost six current committee chairmen. 

Land Commissioner:

With 60.7% of the vote, George P. Bush, had an easy win. 

Railroad Commissioner:

We are expecting good things for the newly elected Ryan Sitton as Railroad Commissioner.  Sitton won with 58.3% of the votes.

Agricultural Commissioner:

Sid Miller secured his seat with 58.6% of the votes.

Supreme Court:

All of the incumbents kept their seat on the Texas Supreme Court:

Nathan L. Hecht – 59.6%

Jeff Brown – 60.3%

Jeffrey S. Boyd – 58.9%

Phil Johnson – 78.8%

State Legislature Races:

Many incumbents returned to the state capitol, but many are new faces. A third of the Texas Senate is new, which is unprecedented in this generation. And all new members are much more conservative than those that they replace.  With Dan Patrick in the Chair leading this more conservative body, this will make for an interesting shift in the politics of the session.  Patrick has already stated his priorities as border security, education and pro-life issues.

About 60 members of the House are either freshman or sophomore members. While the House also had significant turnover, and certainly gained many new conservative faces, it will still be a more moderate body with Speaker Straus and his leadership team still in place. 

This election cycle had some rather competitive races in both incumbent seats and open seat races.  Many focused on the following races which were considered “hot races:”

SD-10: Currently held by Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), is estimated to be 56% Republican.  Candidates for that open seat were Konni Burton (R), Libby Willis (D), a Libertarian candidate and a Green Party candidate.  Super Trial Lawyer Steve Mostyn contributed over $500,000 to Libby Willis.  The outcome of this race had a significant impact on liability issues.   This was a very volatile race but Burton pulled through with 52.8 % of the vote. 

HD-23: Currently held by Craig Eiland (D-Galveston), is estimated to be about 54% Republican.  Candidates for this open seat were Wayne Faircloth (R), and Susan Criss (D).  Faircloth is a State Farm agent, and almost beat Eiland in 2012.  Susan Criss has been a district judge in Galveston for a number of years, and her court handled TWIA cases.   She is closely aligned with the plaintiff bar and received at least $200,000 from Amber and Steve Mostyn.  The outcome of this race had significant impact on liability issues.  This race was a toss-up but Wayne Faircloth won with 54.6% of the vote. .

HD-43: Currently held by JM Lozano (R-Kingsville).  Lozano switched parties in 2012, and has been a target of the Democrats ever since.  This district is also a swing district.  The challenger, Kimberly Gonzalez (D-Portland) is an assistant district attorney and an attractive candidate.  She raised a respectable amount of money, but JM has substantially out-raised her.  Neither had a primary opponent. Lozano won with an overwhelmingly 61.4% of the vote. 

HD-107: Currently held by Kenneth Sheets (R).  This district is lean Republican, and is currently the lowest percentage R district held by an R.  (There are only 2 other Republican-majority districts in Texas with a lower R percentage, and both are currently held by Democrats.)  Sheets’ opponent, Carol Donovan (D), is an attorney and mediator.   This race was considered a priority for the Democrats early on, but Sheets had a great deal of support and ran an excellent race.  He won with 55.0% of the vote.

HD-117: Currently held by Philip Cortez (D-San Antonio).  Representative Cortez is well-known in the district, and previously served on the city council.  His Republican opponent, Rick Galindo, received a great deal of financial help and has outraised the incumbent.  This district is at 52% Republican, but with Senator Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) on the ballot for Lt. Governor, San Antonio D turnout was not strong enough to keep Cortez in office.  Galindo unseated the incumbent with 52.7% of the vote. 

The following races were considered as races to watch.

HD-94: Currently held by Diane Patrick (R-Arlington).  Representative Patrick was defeated in the primary by Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington).  Tinderholt faced Cole Ballweg (D-Arlington) in the general. Tinderholt is closely aligned with Open Carry Tarrant County (OCTC), the group that supports carrying weapons in public, and there have been a number of news reports about OCTC group members carrying assault rifles in public, with Tinderholt participating.  Ballweg owns a healthcare business and appeared to be very moderate. This is a strong Republican district (64.1%), so Tinderholt definitely had the edge.  Tinderholt won with 56.6% of the vote.

HD-105: Currently held by Linda Harper-Brown.  She was defeated in the primary by former Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie).  Anderson faced attorney Susan Motley (D-Irving) in the general election.  Both raised a lot of money.  This district is about 56% Republican, and Anderson won with 55.4% of the vote.

HD-115: Currently held by Bennett Ratliff.  Ratliff lost the primary by a half point in an extremely close race, and many agree his loss was more a side effect of the Carona-Huffines senate race than it was of the HD 115 race.  The Republican, Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) is an attorney who represents Dallas multi-millionaire, Monty Bennett, who is a major contributor to Michael Quinn Sullivan. This district is 60% Republican which gave Rinaldi more than enough to beat the Democratic nominee with 57.1% of the vote.

HD-149: Hubert Vo (D-Houston) faced a challenge from Republican Al Hoang (R-Houston), a former city council member and pillar of the Asian community.  Vo pulled through with 54.9% of the vote.