Dan Branch is even worse than Paxton when it comes to missing votes. According to preliminary numbers, in his six sessions, Dan Branch has missed a total of 570 floor votes. In committees during his six sessions, he has missed 292 votes.
When Paxton entered the race, a couple of conservative State Representatives contacted me and let me know that, as much as they think, like I do, that Paxton is a great guy, they do not believe he has the dedication and leadership required to run a statewide agency. They told me about the many votes he missed. They even told me that this past year in one of the special sessions, they recall that the Senate had to wait for him to show up before they could vote on an important bill. The Senate had a hard enough time fighting Wendy Davis and the Democrats, they shouldn’t have to also battle with their fellow Republicans not showing up on time to vote.
Not only is Smitherman conservative, but he actually shows up and gets involved at a high level that is rarely seen. Anyone who has ever met Barry Smitherman will tell you that he is one of the most dedicated leaders they have ever met. Smitherman gets involved and stands up for conservative, Republican values in just about everything, from big things to small things, all while running a statewide agency, the Texas Railroad Commission. From suing Obama 7 times to supporting the Kountze Cheerleaders who held signs with Bible Verses, Smitherman has proven himself to be a reliable, conservative statewide leader.
All opinions aside, the facts are the facts. There is no denying that Paxton and Branch missed HUNDREDS of votes when they thought no one was watching. This is inexcusable and displays a long history of a lack of leadership and commitment. They missed the votes that were not being graded by the conservative groups. They missed the votes that they thought were not important. Well the truth is that, even if the votes were not important to them, they were important to someone. Every bill impacts someone’s life or business and if someone runs for office they are expected to show up to vote. What happens if Branch or Paxton become the next Texas Attorney General? Will they ignore the cases that they think are small and unimportant? Sometimes the small cases are the ones that end up in the Supreme Court and end up taking away our Constitutional rights.
When I was on the Texas State Republican Executive Committee, I would always get frustrated when some of the members would try to end debate of important issues, or leave early because they did not want to have to be in the meeting past dinner time. I never understood it. We only meet 4 times a year and we vote on important issues that impact the Republican Party for the entire State of Texas. That is what we were elected to do and the least we should be expected to do is to commit to sitting through the full meeting and debate the issues before voting on them. We were certainly not elected to leave the meetings early to go watch the big Saturday Night College Football games. I had a long drive home to and on the days that the meetings went long, if I did not have money for a hotel room, I would stop into one of our great Texas State Parks and sleep in my car.
Everyone has something important come up every once in a while that might make them miss a meeting or a vote, whether or not they are on the SREC or in the Texas Legislature. But missing several hundred votes is a pattern of bad leadership and a low level of commitment that should be unacceptable for anyone on in the Legislature, and especially unacceptable for someone wanting to run the Office of the Texas Attorney General.
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