Hot Spots on the Primary Ballots

The parties have filed their cleaned-up candidate lists with the Texas Secretary of State, and barring something shocking from the federal redistricting judges, it finally is starting to look like a primary season in Texas.

The primaries might turn out to be more interesting than the general election.

On the Republican side, at the federal level, there are some races that look like those marathon starts with a mob of people struggling to break out of the pack.

Even with Rick Perry off of the ballot, there are nine people seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Another nine candidates are running for U.S. Senate.

Ten Republicans are running for the Railroad Commission — six for an open and currently empty seat (Elizabeth Ames Jones resigned), and four for the spot occupied by Barry Smitherman (appointed when Michael Williams resigned).

A dozen candidates are running in the new c-36 in Southeast Texas, and there are also 12 candidates in what was Democrat Lloyd Doggett's CD-25, now redrawn to favor a Republican. Ten candidates filed in the GOP primary for Ron Paul's CD-14.

They're running in hordes out there.

Supreme Court Justice David Medina drew two primary opponents, and Justice Don Willett will face former Justice Steve Smith.

Many of the incumbent Republicans in the  congressional delegation drew opponents, some of them serious ones. Ralph Hall, Joe Barton, John Culberson, Kevin Brady, Michael McCaul, Mike Conaway, Kay Granger, Mac Thornberry, Bill Flores, Randy Neugebauer, Lamar Smith, Pete Olson, Kenny Marchant, Blake Farenthold, and John Carter all drew primary opponents. Neugebauer, just to pick on someone, will face the Lubbock County GOP chairman, Chris Winn, in that primary.

Three of the four open seats in the Texas Senate — seats that are currently occupied by Republicans — will be contested in the GOP primary and a couple of other contests could be interesting if the challengers have the money to make contests of them. Two shape up immediately as knock-down-drag-out fights: The SD-9 race in Tarrant County, featuring Republican Reps. Kelly Hancock and Todd Smith; and the SD-25 race in Central Texas, where Sen. Jeff Wentworth is besieged by Elizabeth Ames Jones and Donna Campbell.  The race to replace Steve Ogden has two candidates in it — Rep. Charles Schwertner and perennial candidate Ben Bius — and the contest to replace Mike Jackson has three, including Rep. Larry Taylor, who'll face a deputy sheriff and a fellow insurance agent.

The House, with a mix of open seats, rematches, grudge matches, and challenges, has more than two dozen contests of interest on the GOP side. Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts drew three opponents. So did freshman Rep. Jim Landtroop. Rep. Chuck Hopson drew two, as did Charles "Doc" Anderson, Sid Miller, and freshly minted Republican J.M. Lozano. Five candidates will vie for Jim Jackson's seat in north Dallas County.

The Democrats have four candidates for president, and four candidates for U.S. Senate.

U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa ended up with four primary challengers. Silvestre Reyes got three. The race to face Republican Francisco "Quico" Canseco has three people in it, including a former congressman, Ciro Rodriguez, a longtime state representative in Pete Gallego, and John Bustamante, the son of a former congressman.

Four Democrats signed up to run for the right to face Farenthold or whoever wins the GOP primary for his seat. Eddie Bernice Johnson has two challengers, and the nearby race for the new CD-33 has 11 candidates in it. Odds are good that someone is going to be trying to win a July 31 runoff in that one. CD-34, another new open seat (in South Texas), drew eight candidates. And Doggett, squeezed out of his home district by Republican mapmakers, will face two candidates in the newly drawn CD-35, including Maria Luisa Alvarado and Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Sylvia Romo.

This next one is weird, so we'll drag it out: There are no contested primaries for Texas Senate on the Democratic ballot. Not one.

In the House, open seats and rematches promise the most drama. Where the GOP ballot has nearly 30 potentially hot races, we count only about a dozen on the Democratic side. Paula Pierson Hightower and Chris Turner, former state representatives turned out by voters in 2010, will face each other — along with Vickie Barnett — in an HD-101 primary. Three candidates are trying to succeed in Chente Quintanilla in an El Paso County seat. Three others are after an open seat in Bexar County, four in Harris County's HD-137.

And there's the rematch of rematches: Al Edwards vs. Borris Miles in Houston. It was Edwards' seat, then Miles', then Edwards', and now Miles.

Campaign Chatter

Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams announces U.S. Senate candidacy at TribLive on January 27, 2011.
Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams announces U.S. Senate candidacy at TribLive on January 27, 2011.

Federal income tax returns aren't even due to the IRS yet, but Republican Michael Williams, a candidate for his party's nomination in Congressional District 25, has posted his 2011 returns online and called on his primary opponents to do the same. According to the returns, Williams and his wife, Donna, paid $64,357 in federal taxes on $337,346 in adjusted gross income in 2011. They gave $36,551 to charity.

Former state Rep. Domingo Garcia, a Dallas Democrat trying to win a new open congressional district in Dallas and Tarrant counties, won endorsements from a group of local officials that includes state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas.

Kesha Rogers has an unusual handicap in her Democratic primary fight with KP George — the Fort Bend County Democratic Party has endorsed him. Rogers is a Lyndon LaRouche supporter and activist; her local party took her petitions, but doesn't want to send her to Congress in CD-22. [Editor's note: An earlier version said Rogers paid a filing fee; she got on the ballot with petitions instead.]

Democrat Keith Hampton is still on the ballot after a challenge by Sharon Keller, the incumbent presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Hampton didn't have enough petition signatures, but Keller made her official complaint before the filing deadline; he got the signatures he needed before the bell rang.

Ted Cruz won the endorsement of the Gun Owners of America's Political Victory Fund in his bid for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

Jim Herblin's list of endorsees now includes Cooke County Sheriff Michael Compton and the mayors of Prosper and Gunter, and the former mayor of Josephine. Herblin, who's from Prosper, is challenging state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, in the GOP primary for SD-30.

House Speaker Joe Straus is doing a fundraiser for Rep. James White, R-Hillister, in a couple of weeks. White is in a primary with incumbent state Rep. Tuffy Hamilton of Mauriceville.

The Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed J.M. Lozano, R-Edinburg, in HD-43. Two years ago, he defeated an incumbent backed by TLR in the Democratic primary. Everything is changed: He's now a Republican, and they're on his side this time.

Vy Nguyen, a Democrat running for the House in HD-26, picked up the support of U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston. She'll face one of several Republicans in the general election.

Bennett Ratliff, one of several Republicans chasing the nomination in HD-115, won an endorsement from the Texas Civil Justice League.

Jeff Leach, a Republican running for the House in HD-67, got the endorsement of the political arm of the Texas Association of Realtors. That same PAC endorsed Scott Sanford, a Republican, in HD-70, and Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, in HD-57. Ashby is challenging incumbent Rep. Marva Beck of Centerville, in the primary.

Magnolia Republican Cecil Bell Jr., running for the Texas House in HD-3, won the endorsement of state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville. In another race, Nichols endorsed Randy Stevenson, who's challenging State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff in the GOP primary.

Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman endorsed state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, in HD-7's Republican primary. Simpson also got a nod from Tom Pauken, the chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission and a former chairman of the Texas GOP.

The Texas Home School Coalition PAC endorsed Stuart Spitzer, a Republican challenging Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Terrell, in HD-4.

Republican Susan Todd picked up an endorsement from the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association in her bid for the HD-97 seat in Tarrant County.

Ron Simmons, running for the Texas House in Denton County's HD-65, says he's got endorsements from a list of local officeholders headlined by County Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell.

Rep. Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, got an endorsement from the political action committee of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He's running for reelection in HD-11.

"Obamacare" on Center Stage

March 6th, 2012: Protest against Texas lawmakers decision regarding changed to the  the Women's Health Program. the federal government is expected to cut funding for the program because Texas improperly excluded Planned Parenthood from its list of providers
March 6th, 2012: Protest against Texas lawmakers decision regarding changed to the the Women's Health Program. the federal government is expected to cut funding for the program because Texas improperly excluded Planned Parenthood from its list of providers

The drama over the Women’s Health Program — and the fight between the state and the feds over Planned Parenthood funding — has dominated the health care headlines in recent weeks. But it’s not over yet. Gov. Rick Perry has directed Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to find money in that agency’s budget — up to $40 million a year — to run the contraception and cancer-screening program without federal help.

Without new revenue or raiding the Rainy Day Fund, and with an already hefty Medicaid shortfall, that money will have to be made up in unexpected savings or siphoned from other programs, which could be politically difficult. Perry staffers are expecting a proposal from HHSC within a few weeks.

After that, the agency will write a transition plan — from a joint state-federal program to a purely state-run one — and the Obama administration will have to sign off on it. That plan is due to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by April 16.

Other health care developments to watch during the next month: 

  • On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin an extraordinary three-day review of federal health care reform — known not so lovingly by Republicans as "Obamacare." Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s on the litigation team's executive committee, will be in attendance, but he won't be arguing before the high court. Meanwhile, Texas-based supporters of the law have launched their own media blitz, suggesting that the state — where more than a quarter of the population is uninsured — has been one of the biggest winners under the reforms.  
  • Physician groups are beating the drum to try to reverse state cuts to co-payments for patients eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. Doctors who treat them — many of them in impoverished communities along the Texas-Mexico border — have been hit particularly hard. The Texas Medical Association is taking a lead role, hosting rallies and town hall meetings around the state.
  • The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is preparing to release a report lawmakers commissioned last session on the state’s graduate medical education. The study is expected to confirm that by 2014, Texas will have too few residency slots for the medical students graduating from its schools, a troubling trend given the state’s current physician shortfall.
  • HHSC is in the midst of a robust statewide tour to lay out the details of the so-called 1115 waiver, a federal agreement that allows Texas to expand managed care throughout the state and form regional health care partnerships to seek efficiency and cost savings. A meeting in Austin is set for today; there’s another in Harlingen on Wednesday. But behind the scenes, a hospital fight is brewing. Private hospitals say the regional health care partnerships are going to give a major financial advantage to the public hospitals that anchor them. And they’re worried that a new funding mechanism to cover uncompensated care will end up benefiting public hospitals at the expense of private ones. 

EPA vs. Texas: The Cross-State Rule

Steam rises from the stacks at the Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tatum, TX March 30, 2011.
Steam rises from the stacks at the Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tatum, TX March 30, 2011.

The controversial federal cross-state air pollution rule will get its day in court on April 13. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington will hear arguments on the legality of the rule, which seeks to reduce pollution from Texas power plants. The state of Texas and Energy Future Holdings, the umbrella corporation that includes Luminant, have big concerns about the rule, which was stayed by the court late last year before it could take effect. 

As summer approaches, the question of how to get more capacity onto the electric grid will be a big topic. The court date for the cross-state rule will bring that back into play, and the Public Utility Commission will doubtless continue to discuss it in open meetings. The PUC will hold an energy efficiency workshop on March 29. The Gulf Coast Power Association will have grid self-sufficiency on its agenda in its spring meeting in Houston (April 3-4). Intriguing: Gov. Rick Perry has lately shown an interest in ERCOT, touring its facilities in Taylor and tweeting about the grid. 

Also of note in the energy and environment world:

  • The PUC is holding a hearing on prepaid electricity on April 15.
  • Waste Control Specialists, the Harold Simmons-controlled company, will start accepting low-level radioactive waste into its new Andrews County repository in April, The Associated Press reports. Thanks to changes from the last Legislature, the dump can accept waste from lots of states, not just the original two, Texas and Vermont.
  • The Sierra Club will be watching the health of Texas rivers on March 28, when the TCEQ takes a look at adoption of environmental flow standards for the Guadalupe/San Antonio River Basins and San Antonio Bay and for the Colorado/Lavaca River Basins and Matagorda Bay.
  • Speaking of water, West Texas is still in drought, but tighter water restrictions take effect April 1 in Lubbock, where lawn watering will be allowed one day a week, and in Midland. And the House Natural Resources Committee may hold more water hearings, per its interim charges to examine drought issues.
  • Is an appointment to the empty seat on the Railroad Commission imminent? The buzz centers on Buddy Garcia, a TCEQ commissioner. Meanwhile, the Railroad Commission will continue its hearings on a proposed controversial coal mine in Maverick County. The commission is still months away from deciding about whether to issue a permit to the Mexican company that wants to operate the mine.

Conferences abound, as always. Some to note:

  • Energy: The Texas Tribune is hosting a conference on energy at the University of Houston on April 13. Speakers include Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Railroad Commission. The University of Texas is holding an electricity conference in early April, featuring a few panels on renewables. Upcoming speakers at the university's Energy Institute Symposium series include Dr. Charles Macal, senior systems engineer at the Argonne National Laboratory, on March 29; Andrew McAllister, managing director at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, on April 5; and Ashmeet Sidana, general partner of Foundation Capital, on April 12 (topic: Taking Green Technologies from Innovation to the Market: A VC’s Perspective).
  • Water: The CleanTX Foundation's water forum will be held in Austin on April 4; speakers include Tom Mason, former general manager of the LCRA.
  • Lubbock is hosting a conference on water conservation on April 20; it's called "Spring Into Green" and will feature talks from the likes of Aubrey Spear, the city's water director, and Ed Archuletta, president of the El Paso Water Utility. The LCRA is hosting a  Central Texas Water Efficiency Network Symposium at the LCRA Montopolis Center in Austin on March 30. On April 3, the U.S. Committee on Irrigation & Drainage conference is holding a conference on the future of irrigated agriculture, in Austin.

And, of course, there's Earth Day on April 22. Dallas will mark it with a two-day festival.

Texas Weekly Newsreel: Texas Primary Races

Take One! This is our introduction to something new: The Texas Weekly Newsreel, starting with an intro to some of the races to watch in the upcoming Texas primary.

Inside Intelligence: About Economic Development...

This week, we hit our insiders with questions about the state's economy and economic development, starting with a big question: What's the biggest infrastructure challenge facing the state?

It's water, according to 60 percent of the respondents, followed by transportation.

Should the state be spending economic development money to attract an Apple Corp. expansion in Austin while that company is in the news for its historic cash balances? The insiders split right down the middle, with half saying that shouldn't be a consideration and about as many (48 percent) saying it should.

The battles between Texas and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been raging for months and months, and 49 percent of the insiders say the EPA's regulations have a negative effect on the state economy. Another 13 percent say the impact is positive, and 29 percent say there hasn't been an impact.

Our follow-up question: Who's right? Texas, according to 40 percent; the EPA, according to 32 percent. Another 17 percent say it's a tossup.

As always, we asked the insiders for comments and the full set of verbatim answers is attached. Here is a sampling:


Which part of the of the state's infrastructure — either because of its capacity or its condition — presents the greatest threat to the Texas economy?

• "Water is the biggest long term issue, but power supply comes in close behind.  Power shortages will impact a greater part of the population sooner than water will."

• "We are building toll roads to ease some of the transportation issues.  But, water projects take 25 to 30 years to yield anything.  We are way behind."

• "W/o water and delivery systems for it, we won't have to worry about providing infrastructure for future population growth; there won't be any population growth."

• "We have to upgrade our roads and add high capacity, efficient, mass transit to stay economically competitive."

• "It is not just one... it is all three. Capacity and condition are issues now and will continue to be in the future."

• "If there are not any new electricity generation units built in Texas it will be difficult to maintain today's growth."

• "Transportation is the most immediate concern, while over the mid-range of the next few decades water will become increasingly critical."

• "Oil and gas and agriculture still drive the Texas economy and those industries, like humans, cannot survive without water."

• "Transportation today -- water tomorrow."

• "If we have enough electric power, we can create any amount of water from brackish and sea water."

• "Always water"

• "Public education. With only 22% of eighth graders graduating in six years, nothing else is nearly as troubling. Nothing."

• "No water, no electrical generation. Without those, the crumbling highways won't matter much."


Should Apple's huge cash reserves be a factor in whether Texas gives financial aid to that company to encourage it to expand operations here?

• "Texas needs to get out of the socialist mindset of choosing particular businesses and industries to fawn cash upon. Spend precious tax dollars on a limited number of public needs, such as schools and roads, instead of private interests."

• "It isn't about helping Apple, it is about getting those jobs located in Texas."

• "What they have is not the issue.  What other states are willing to offer to attract the company is the issue and we need to be 'in the ball park'"

• "EVERY company should pay its own way. TX financial 'aid' is a an abuse of taxpayer funds."

• "Apple will do more for Texas' business friendly image than any other company that has benefited from our financial aid. We cannot buy that type of press. Plus, it'll be fun to read about how Texas has scoreboard over California."

• "Will the deal make Texans more prosperous?  Which Texans?  The decision ought to be about the benefit we get."

• "Use all of the tools at hand and make the best deal possible that works for Texas."

• "Unfortunately, to compete with other states, you have to play the game.  It's table stakes."


Do you believe recent regulatory actions of the Environmental Protection Agency have negatively or positively affected the Texas energy business and the Texas economy?

• "It won't help the Texas energy business and the Texas economy if the Houston ship channel floods out because of rising sea levels caused by greenhouse gas emissions from Texas."

• "For all the bluster, the Texas energy business is doing just fine, making more money than ever."

• "The popular perception is that the EPA has hurt energy development; but the numbers in the Texas economic picture don't support that."

• "It is clear the Obama administration is trying to destroy Texas.  Partly because they hate the Governor and partly because they hate the free market.  Texans seem to always find a way to overcome."

• "How can more restrictions and regulations have a positive effect on a competitive energy market?"

• "The EPA needs to be reined in. It is tragic that the Supreme Court gave them the right to control greenhouse gases. I hope another case can overturn that bad decision."

• "Until the state of Texas gets over this never-ending state's rights temper tantrum, the full positive effects of the EPA's actions will not be realized."

• "The amount of wasted state resources (man-hours and money) fighting the EPA will never be recovered."


Who's right? Texas or the EPA?

• "I know that I'm a bit unusual in this respect, but I really enjoy breathing."

• "We need to strike a careful balance between continuing economic development and protecting public health."

• "Sadly, TCEQ and Lege leadership have never provided environmental safeguards necessary to ensure clean air and water. Their abysmal record of refusing to provide these safeguards will hurt the economy in the long-run."

• "If you take away the extreme rhetoric from us Texans, the actual facts favor Texas.  However, I guess we find it more fun to talk about the 10th Amendment."

• "Texas is normally right when fighting the feds.  See e.g., the tidelands issue."

• "The Obama EPA is being too aggressive in their administration of the laws, but most of the laws were passed under Bush I and ordered by Court action under Bush II, largely by Judges put on the Bench by Reagan and Bush I."

• "At first blush I thought it was the EPA, but the more I learn of the details the harder it is to see any merit behind the new EPA cross state rule."

• "Neither. But Texas officials have irresponsibly escalated the conflict into a partisan battle that we all lose"

• "It is doubtful either one is right."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Clyde Alexander, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Walt Baum, Don Baylor, Eric Bearse, Leland Beatty, Dave Beckwith, Amy Beneski, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Hugh Brady, Steve Bresnen, Chris Britton, Andy Brown, Jay Brown, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Thure Cannon, Snapper Carr, Janis Carter, William Chapman, Elna Christopher, George Cofer, Rick Cofer, John Colyandro, Harold Cook, Randy Cubriel, Hector De Leon, Eva De Luna-Castro, June Deadrick, Tom Duffy, Jeff Eller, Jon Fisher, Terry Frakes, Wil Galloway, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Scott Gilmore, Eric Glenn, Daniel Gonzalez, Thomas Graham, John Greytok, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Adam Haynes, Jim Henson, Ken Hodges, Billy Howe, Laura Huffman, Shanna Igo, Cal Jillson, Jason Johnson, Mark Jones, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Donald Lee, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Richard Levy, Ruben Longoria, Homero Lucero, Matt Mackowiak, Phillip Martin, Parker McCollough, Scott McCown, Mike McKinney, Robert Miller, Bee Moorhead, Steve Murdock, Craig Murphy, Keir Murray, Pat Nugent, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, John Pitts, Kraege Polan, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Andrea Rado, Bill Ratliff, Tim Reeves, Luis Saenz, Mark Sanders, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Steve Scurlock, Bradford Shields, Patricia Shipton, Dee Simpson, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Glenn Smith, Todd Smith, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sherry Sylvester, Jay Thompson, Russ Tidwell, Trent Townsend, Trey Trainor, Ware Wendell, Ken Whalen, Darren Whitehurst, Ellen Williams, Michael Wilt, Seth Winick, Lee Woods, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.


The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Bowing to pressure from groups both inside and outside the state, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced that it is suspending the killing of wild burros in Big Bend Ranch State Park. The department will work with the Humane Society of the United States to find other ways to control the burro population, which it says threatens the purity of the park’s water sources and destroys native plants. Since the policy was instituted in 2007, about 130 burros have been killed. The agencies will conduct a study of the size and location of the population and then consult on strategies for removing the burros.

A federal judge ruled against the state’s housing agency in a case that alleged discrimination in the placement of low-income housing. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, which oversees tax credits to the tune of about $55 million this year, was accused of using race as a factor in making decisions about where to locate low-cost housing in the Dallas area. Although the lawsuit was specific to Dallas, it could have statewide implications. The agency was given 60 days to submit a plan to fix the problem and responded that it is considering all of its options, presumably including an appeal of the ruling.

The threat of litigation prompted Texas and IBM to come to an agreement ending their 2006 contract that was supposed to result in two streamlined data centers. IBM had agreed to merge the data of 28 separate state agencies into two upgraded facilities but was unable to complete the project. The state will pay IBM about $35 million for the services and equipment in addition to the $758 million it has already paid under the contract. IBM is forgiving $26 million in billings and will transfer equipment to the state valued at $15 million to $20 million. Work will continue on the project through two new companies, a Dallas-based unit of Xerox and Paris-based Capgemini, which will assume responsibility July 1.

Six Molotov cocktails were thrown at Sen. Wendy Davis’ office on Tuesday as two staff members worked inside. One of the staffers quickly put out the resulting fire with an extinguisher, and no injuries were reported. Police arrested a 40-year old man, Cedric Steele, who was characterized as mentally unstable. Steele had visited the office on two recent occasions, asking to speak to Davis.

The first proposed offshore wind farm in Texas will undergo a study by the Army Corps of Engineers, influenced by public comments it is now accepting on the project. Three areas off the South Texas coast are targeted for the installation of 200 wind turbines each by Austin-based company Barononyx Corp. The environmental study will be based on the locations for which the company has applied for permits, in state waters off South Padre Island. A public meeting will be held in Brownsville next week, and the corps will continue to accept comments on the study until May 14.

A proposed ordinance regulating the feeding of homeless people in Houston is undergoing scrutiny and revision after charitable groups protested some of its provisions. Mayor Annise Parker defended the ordinance, saying that a problem had been identified, a solution proposed and public comment received. After reviewing comments, Parker suggested changes and asked the City Council to put off its review of the revised law until she returned from a trade mission trip at the end of the month. At least five council members explicitly opposed the rules as originally proposed.

Part-time legislative staffer Allison Catalano drew more attention than her position would normally warrant when she fired off a resignation letter to her boss, Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, that was critical of the cuts to women’s health care. The 26-year-old thanked Crownover for the job opportunity but objected to the actions taken by the Legislature in slashing funds for free and low-cost health care for women and said she did not want to be associated with such cuts. The publicized letter led to an appearance at a rally and a possible job offer from Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin.

Political People and their Moves

Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, is exploring a run for comptroller in 2014, working on the assumption that Comptroller Susan Combs will be moving on. He waited to reveal his intentions until after the filing for offices for this year's elections had ended, thus keeping any eager successors at bat. He's running for another term in the Senate and didn't draw any major party opponents for either the primary or general election. And he says he intends to run for comptroller whether he draws a two-year or a four-year term after November's elections.

Hegar could end up in a primary with one of his own constituents. Former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina of Wharton has shown some interest in running for comptroller, too.

House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, is also kicking the tires in that race, but Hegar appears to be the only candidate actively in the hunt.

Kathie Glass is the new chairman of the Harris County Libertarian Party. She was that party's 2010 nominee for governor, and replaces Guy McLendon in that party post.

Doug Davis is leaving the lieutenant governor's office, where he's the resident wizard on redistricting, for the Wholesale Beer Distributors Association, where he'll be vice president. He's replacing Tom Spilman, who succeeded the late Mike McKinney.

Holly Deshields, former chief of staff to state Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, is joining the Austin lobby offices of McGuireWoods Consulting.

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Harold Jenkins of Irving to the Trinity River Authority Board of Directors. Jenkins is president of CTJ Maintenance.

The governor reappointed Francisco "Frank" Torres of Raymondville — Willacy County's emergency management coordinator — to the Texas Emergency Services Retirement System.

And he reappointed Vandy Anderson and Linda Rounds to the Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County. Anderson is a part-time captain at the Texas Seaport Museum and a former radio station owner. Rounds is a professor at the UT-Medical Branch School of Nursing. Both are from Galveston.

Quotes of the Week

Hey rick - I was wondering if you could recommend a tampon brand for me since you seem to know so much about female necessities?

Janet Juszkiewicz Daly of New York, one of many women who took to Gov. Rick Perry's Facebook page to post comments protesting his stance on women's health issues

Any of these Republicans would make a better president than that socialist, Obama. Obama is the most dangerous American alive ... because he would eliminate free enterprise in this country.

Dallas billionaire and major GOP donor Harold Simmons to The Wall Street Journal on why he continues to pour money into GOP campaigns

This is a national problem, needing a national solution.

Federal Circuit Judge Thomas Reavley in a decision that reaffirmed that the city of Farmers Branch does not have the authority to enact immigration enforcement ordinances

Those of us [Juarenses] who are not traitors, who never fled the [Juárez] battlefield, are willing to die in order to protect our trench. We are here and we are going to die here.

Ciudad Juárez Mayor Héctor "Teto" Murguía to the El Paso Times on former countrymen who have fled the violence in the border city and relocated elsewhere

Well, it’s a form of welfare. You know, you’re having the taxpayers pay to take care of somebody. I’m an ordinary citizen. I would think I should pay for my own protection.

Ron Paul to Jay Leno on why he doesn't have Secret Service protection

You suck up to the lieutenant governor.

Former Sen. Carl Parker, on how to get a major chairmanship