The 15 Heroes of Texas – by Donna Garner


The 15 Heroes of Texas


by Donna Garner



When the vote for Speaker of the Texas House was taken today, Rep. Berman (R-Tyler) required that a record vote be taken of those voting for and those voting against Joe Straus as Speaker.


The 15 Heroes of Texas who voted against Straus were as follows:

Leo Berman
Wayne Christian
Dan Flynn
Van Taylor
Phil King
Jodie Laubenberg
Tan Parker
Bill Zedler
David Simpson
Charles Perry
Jim Landtroop
James White
Cindy Burkett
Erwin Cain
Ken Paxton

Let me attempt to explain what has happened in Austin over the last two days.


My husband coached football for 36 years; and during those years, I learned a few very important things:

(1)  The game is not over until the official blows his whistle.

(2)  Any team on any one day can beat the other team.

(3)  Wins or losses can occur in the last few minutes of the ballgame.

(4)  A coach never walks off the field until the game is won or lost.

I feel a whole range of emotions today as I consider what happened in the race for the Speakership of the Texas House.  Joe Straus was elected Speaker once again, and I feel as if the House “left the ballgame before the official blew his whistle.”


First of all, the decision made at the Republican Caucus yesterday was a total sham; and what many Texas Reps. do not realize is that we voters knew it was a sham.


Our social media networks have spread the word across this state about the reprehensible actions of the Caucus. We do not have to wait any longer to get our news from the liberal media, nor do we have to wait to hear from our elected Reps.


The Republican Caucus was such a sham that the decision made there should have been totally ignored as if it had never happened.


First of all, the Bylaws of the Republican Caucus clearly state:

Section 7.05:  Procedural Rules:  Roberts Revised Rules of Order shall be the procedural rules of the Caucus, insofar as these are applicable.

( )

The Caucus was supposed to follow Robert’s Rules of Order, and RROO says that elections are “commonly conducted by ballot” unless only one candidate is up for election and can be chosen by acclamation.


Representatives who were at the Caucus have reported that the Caucus never even discussed whether to have a standing vote or a secret ballot.  Rep. Larry Taylor, the Caucus chair, arbitrarily made his decision (probably in consultation with Straus), walked into the Caucus, told people to stand who supported Straus, and the herd mentality took over from there.


With Straus looking on and his lieutenants counting noses, less-than-courageous Reps. stood up under the peer pressure of a stand-up vote. Once 70 Reps. had stood up, Taylor called Straus the winner; and the meeting ended.


From what I have been told, the conservative Reps. were terribly upset by the sham Caucus vote.  Rep. Chisum met with Rep. Paxton and others last night and agreed that Paxton should step forward today on the House floor as a nominee for Speaker and that a recorded vote would be taken for either Paxton or Straus.


What happened between last night’s decision and early this morning is anyone’s guess. Rep. Warren Chisum decided to cave and told the Austin American-Statesman that he was going to vote for Straus. Once Chisum caved, then people who looked to him for leadership caved.


By late this morning, Ken Paxton was left feeling unsupported by Chisum and by the others who had previously said they would support Paxton as Speaker.


Paxton knew that if he had been nominated as Speaker, he would not have been allowed to address the floor.  Believing he would definitely lose the vote for Speaker, he pulled his name out of the election, and addressed the floor, laying out the conservative agenda for this legislative session.  (I hope to have the tape of Paxton’s speech by tomorrow, and I will share it with you when I get it.)


Upon being questioned about his decision, Rep. Paxton assured his supporters that he and his family weighed this decision carefully and that he did not talk to Straus or his people.


When the vote for Speaker was taken today, the 15 Heroes of Texas voted against Joe Straus.

What is disappointing to me and to many thousands of conservative voters across Texas is that there was not a clear-cut, recorded vote where Representatives made a choice between Ken Paxton and Joe Straus.


I believe that with the galleries full of conservatives, with a recorded vote being displayed on the board, and with people all over this country waiting to see what Texas conservatives would do, many of the Reps. would have voted for Paxton.


However, we will never know now because Paxton “left the ballgame without finishing it”; and even with the odds stacked against him, who is to say but that he might have “won the ballgame in the last few moments. A coach never leaves the field until the game is either won or lost.”


I do understand how Paxton must have felt once he learned that Chisum had withdrawn his support, and I am terribly disappointed with Chisum.  If the Republicans who call themselves “conservatives” do not have the courage to stand for something as important as the right person to be Speaker of the House, then why do they bother to call themselves “conservatives”?


The Speaker sets the entire agenda, appoints the committees, and is the leader of the House.  What is more important than for the House to have a leader who espouses the same philosophy as the conservative  citizens who elected him?


On a personal note, I have worked tirelessly along with many other people for more than three months to bring the tea partiers together with Republicans under a common banner of “conservatives” so that the Texas House (which now has a supermajority of Republicans) would oust Joe Straus as Speaker.


Many of us have spent countless hours researching archives, reading articles and reports, sifting through Texas Ethics Commission campaign reports, interviewing knowledgeable people, delving into Straus’ dismal record, and publishing our findings.


The good that has come from our efforts is that an ever-growing number of voters now knows that Straus is much more closely aligned with liberal Democrats than he is with conservative Republicans.


Please read this excerpt from Joe Straus’ comments today before the House once he was chosen as the Speaker again:

I know that in recent weeks Members of the House have withstood threats, harassment, and attempts at intimidation because of the fair and respectful way in which you want this House to operate.  Division, threats of retribution, attacks on people’s religious beliefs, and distortions of people’s records have no place in this House.

Straus’ rhetoric sounds the very same as those liberal Democrats who are trying to blame the actions of the Arizona shooter on conservatives even though Jared Loughner’s record now shows that he is a psychotic young man who has had mental problems for many years before the tea party movement ever arose in March 2009.

What Straus and all of our elected officials need to understand is that we grassroots citizens are no longer satisfied to believe their spin because the Internet has opened libraries and public documents to us so that we can do our own research.  Now we can hold our politicians accountable, and we will not forget today’s vote when the next elections come along.


Please watch this video and listen to people in this networking meeting today in Austin identify their tea party organizations and give their enrollment numbers; the total number of Texas tea partiers is staggering:

I for one do not want a third party because I believe that would divide and weaken our cause, possibly allowing the Democrats to gain control again.


I do not want a “Conservative Party” with a capital “C.”  I want “conservatism” with a small “c” so that we can all be united behind common conservative principles established by the founders of our nation.


I believe that many conservatives are not exactly enchanted with the Republican Party — either here or in Washington, D. C.  We got behind Republican candidates in 11.2.10 because many of them appeared to be conservative and because we drastically needed to divest ourselves of those Democrats who had brought us to the brink of cultural and financial ruin.


In the days that lie ahead, I do not know what will happen to Joe Straus and the threat of possible subpoenas from the Travis County D. A. that may await him and the Reps. to whom he gave money directly to pay for their votes.  At this point, I say, “Let the chips fall where they may.”  If Republicans are involved in Straus’ illegal efforts, then they need to be held accountable.


One thing is for sure; the conservatives in Texas are united; we are networking daily with one another; and we care very deeply about the bills that our Legislators pass in this 82nd Legislative Session.


We also pledge to look toward the elections of 2012, and we will not forget the 15 Heroes of Texas who stood courageously against a corrupt Speaker of the House.

Donna Garner 





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