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The Brief: January 6, 2010

KERA to Debra Medina: Come and knock on our door. We've been waiting for you…

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

KERA to Debra Medina: Come and knock on our door. We've been waiting for you…

Three will take the stage at the Dallas public television station’s Republican gubernatorial debate in Denton on Jan. 14.  KERA has invited Medina to join U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry.

"Among the factors considered regarding Debra Medina’s inclusion were whether she was conducting an active campaign and generating media and public interest," said a KERA press release. "The criteria also allows for consideration of polling data. However, because there is sparse recent polling information, polls played a minor role in the decision to include Medina."

“The voice of the people was heard and it goes to show that even against two big-government career politicians you can win if you will just fight for what is right," said Penny Langford Freeman, Medina's campaign manager, in a written statement. "And now we intend to win this primary."

Hutchison’s campaign has been vocal in its support for Medina’s inclusion. Jen Baker, Hutchison’s communications director, issued a statement saying, ““We have always welcomed Debra Medina’s participation in the debate, and we look forward to discussing Rick Perry’s failed record of toll roads, land grabs, mandated HPV vaccinations and border security shortfalls.”

"Gov. Perry has always looked forward to this debate and the opportunity to discuss his accomplishments, vision for Texas’ future and the issues important to all Texans," said Perry campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. "Participants invited to the debate [have] always been a decision for KERA to make."

The partners in The Texas Debates are KERA along with CBS 11 (KTVT-TV) and TXA 21 (KTXA-TV), Fort Worth Star-Telegram, KUVN Univision 23, the Texas Association of Broadcasters, Texas State Networks, and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.  The list used to include Texas Monthly, but a dispute caused them to drop out.

CULLED:

Good things come to those who wait. It has taken nearly a decade, but the State Preservation Board approved installation of a Texas Tejano Monument on the south lawn of the Capitol. Sculptor Armando Hinojosa has already completed the 33-foot-long monument that depicts 11 symbols of Tejano heritage. Lawmakers approved a resolution to establish the monument in 2001. In 2007, the Legislature set aside more than $1 million to complete the project, and last year, the passage of HB4114 allowed installation of the monument. The non-profit Tejano Monument Inc., also put in about $600,000 for the project. With the board's approval, the monument, which is already constructed, will be installed some time in the next two years. 

A new year, a new job for Jesse Lewis. He will be the new executive director of the Texas Republican Party, starting next week. Lewis, a former political operative at the party, replaces Eric Opiela, who left several weeks ago after Cathie Adams became chairwoman of the state GOP. Lewis previously worked for state Reps. Arlene Wohlgemuth, R-Burleson, and Sid Miller, R-Stephenville. Wayne Hamilton, a former ED at the party, has been filling in since Opiela left.

“I’m shorter than David Dewhurst.  That’s an attribute that nobody else can say they have.” — Linda Chavez-Thompson, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, on the differences between herself and her competition, like Dewhurst— the Republican incumbent who’s at least 6 foot, five inches tall.

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