Two quotes — one from a politician possibly looking to seek higher office and the other from one looking to hold on for one more re-election — got our attention this week.
The first is from state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who on Tuesday sent out a statement that basically walked back her vote on legislation last session aimed at requiring politically active nonprofits to disclose the donors who support their political activities. Here’s an excerpt:
Government action and agencies can greatly squelch free speech with its actions and that is simply unconstitutional. It is because of these threats and potential abuses that I no longer support SB 346 and would not vote for it again, knowing what I know today. My views on the outcome of legislation like SB 346 becoming laws have drastically changed through personal experiences. I have been a champion for transparency in government since my first day in the Texas House. During the last session, this legislation was pitched to members as a push for transparency in the political process. After viewing the authoritarian actions of the Texas Ethics Commission, it’s apparent that there is potential abuse of power in Austin. Balanced hearings and airings on this issue are imperative.
The statement is interesting because she throws in her lot with conservative groups like Empower Texans and, perhaps more importantly, distances herself from the leadership team in the Texas House who will likely be pushing legislation on the topic next session.
Kolkhorst herself has been a committee or appropriations subcommittee chair for almost every session of her legislative tenure.
The move to shore up her right flank very well could signal her intent to seek the state Senate seat that will open up should Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, win the general election contest for comptroller. Other names are in the mix, but the makeup of Hegar’s SD-18 isn’t unfavorable to a candidate from the Brenham area.
The second quote is from 91-year-old Congressman Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, who is in a runoff for the first time in his congressional career. In a statement released Monday, Hall applauded the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right to have a public prayer before town board meetings.
Our Nation is founded upon Christian principles, and our Constitution protects every American’s right to religious freedom and expression. At a time when Christian faith is facing many challenges by this Administration, I am encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold individuals’ freedom of religion through public prayer. I pray for wisdom for our Nation’s leaders and that God may continue to bless America.
Despite capturing 45 percent of the vote in March, the Hall campaign was put on the defensive early in the runoff campaign when challenger John Ratcliffe scored endorsements from a handful of conservative groups — Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project.
Hall has since sought and touted his own conservative endorsements — the Family Research Council Action PAC and Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina congressman favored by Tea Party groups.
In other words, this quote says a lot about how seriously Hall takes the challenge of winning what he says will be his last term in Congress.
Hall also launched a campaign ad this week notable for how negative it goes on his challenger, a tactic usually reserved for an underdog in a race. On the same day, Ratcliffe put up his own ad, which stated the case that the time had come for a younger generation to lead while striving for a softer tone.