The first – and the most significant – difference is the candidate’s position on conservative legislation killer Joe Straus as the Texas House Speaker. Jay Dean has not only donated to Straus, he supports Straus as Speaker. David Watts has quite adamantly repeated he does not support Joe Straus for Speaker.
Like Watts, Dean has been questioned on his position concerning Straus by leaders in both the Gregg and Upshur’s Republican and TEA party groups. At each Dean refused to acknowledge the seriousness of how Straus has not only gravely hindered Texas collectively, but specifically in Gregg and Upshur. (House District 7 includes both Gregg and Upshur.)
The following are a very few conservative reforms killed by Straus in the most recent legislative session:
- Urging Congress to cease imposing the Obamacare contraception mandate on businesses;
- Requiring counties, cities, and school districts to list total outstanding debt and debt per capita on any ballot for a new bond election;
- Protecting Texas from federal gun regulations;
- Closing the “judicial bypass” loophole allowing minors to receive an abortion without parental notification; and
- Protecting Texans from the Obamacare individual mandate.
The race between Watts and Dean is reminiscent of the one between David Simpson and moderate Tommy Merritt. Merritt, one of the 11 Republicans, in 2009, voted with 68 Democrats to first seat moderate Joe Straus as Speaker. Merritt was also afforded favorable media attention, mocked his opponent publicly and privately, and dismissed the concerns of the Republican and Conservative/TEA party groups district wide.
Engaged voters are fully aware of the dangers of Straus as Speaker. Does Dean seek to reach only the ill-informed voter?
Dean has also said he will vote for the most conservative speaker and, in the same LNJ article, it was noted that David Simpson too utilized those same words. What the paper failed to include is that Simpson: 1) unlike Dean, has not donated to Straus’ campaign; 2) has voted against Straus as Speaker; and 3) ran against Straus as Speaker in 2013.
Additionally, at the Gregg County GOP meeting on Oct. 15, Dean stated that House District 7 has not been represented well the past few years. Interesting.
There are a couple of things the men have in common. They both are Christians, with a beautiful families, and have been quite successful in business. However, and the second difference I noticed is Dean’s 18 years in elected office places him squarely in the much frowned upon “career politician” box.
The third difference I noticed between the men is they both have attested to have been block walking the district quite heavily. When asked about their game plan, or a goal for the district, the first six months in office, Dean repeated the point that he plans to spend the next 5 months talking to the voters and learning their concerns. Watts, on the other hand, has repeatedly attested that the voters are telling him they want less government and more liberty.
So, the voters are purposely telling Watts their concerns and not Dean? Is Dean asking the voters or, like Merritt, is this another career politician simply not concerned about the issues paramount to House District 7?
Dean and Watts purport to be staunchly pro-life.
Speaker Straus has publicly stated that he supports Roe v. Wade, does not believe it should be overturned, and received the highest praise for his first term as speaker by Planned Parenthood. Even Straus’ wife served on the board of Planned Parenthood.
In 2013, Governor Perry had to call two special sessions just to get a pro-life bill through. And, to add insult to injury, Straus stopped more than three pro-life bills in the last legislative (2015) term alone.
If Dean fails to “collaborate”, as Straus’ former chief lieutenant, Ralph Sheffield, proudly admitted to constituents in late 2011, Straus will punish him thereby punishing House District 7. How will Dean’s plan to collaborate with Straus and his lieutenants succeed when Dean refuses to support the murder of innocent life?
Straus is not known to allocate to newly elected house representatives a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card walking in.
The district’s conservative stronghold is significantly at risk. I respectfully ask each voter to thoroughly vet the candidates for House District 7. The district has worked very hard to move away from the stance of the moderate Republican to a more principled, constitutional conservative Republican.
By Stacy McMahan