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The Evening Brief: Sept. 18, 2012

Your evening reading: Texas Democrats slam Romney as he visits Dallas for fundraiser; Hancock scores Huckabee endorsement; National Guard aiding search for missing radioactive device in Texas

U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk speaking at the state Democratic convention on June 8, 2012.

Culled:

•   Ron Kirk and Marc Veasey blast Mitt Romney as GOP nominee heads to Dallas for fundraiser (The Dallas Morning News): "U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk said Tuesday he was 'stunned' by Mitt Romney’s comments that 47 percent of the country had a victim mentality and dependent on government. …  'This is a man who has a disdain for middle and working class families,' Kirk said during a conference call produced by the Democratic National Committee. 'What we need is a president who will stand up for all Americans, whether they support him or not.' Romney is in town today for a fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. His wife, Ann, will join him at the event. Ann Romney is also at a fundraising luncheon at the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush."

•   State Rep. Kelly Hancock picks up Huckabee endorsment (Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "State Rep. Kelly Hancock on Tuesday picked up a new endorsement in the race for Texas Senate District 9. Hancock, who faces Democrat Pete Martinez and Libertarian Dave 'Mac' McElwee in the race to replace retiring Republican Chris Harris, has gained endorsements from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Huck PAC. 'Kelly Hancock is a shining example of what elected leaders can accomplish through hard work, determination and a willingness to work with others toward solutions,' Huckabee said."

•   National Guard aids Halliburton in search for missing radioactive rod (Christian Science Monitor): "ThNational Guard has been asked by Halliburton Co. to help in the hunt for a seven inch radioactive rod used in the drilling of natural gas wells, after they lost the device earlier this week somewhere in a 130 mile stretch of south western Texas, between Pecos, and Odessa."

•   Michael Williams was suggested for top TEA job a decade ago to fight "pseudo-science" and liberal textbook bias (The Dallas Morning News): "Michael L. Williams, the new chief of the Texas Education Agency, received a glowing recommendation for the job — back in 2002. TEA’s commissioner at the time, Jim Nelson, had just announced his resignation. So state Rep. Charlie F. Howard wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, urging him to appoint 'a true conservative.' Howard, a Republican from Sugar Land, wrote: 'We need someone who will support the teaching of phonics, ensure that our textbooks are free of liberal bias and green pseudo-science, and see to it that we have an assessment test that really tests our students’ knowledge.'"

•   Legislators’ retirement heavily subsidized by state workers (Austin American-Statesman): "It might seem pretty obvious that Texas legislators don’t pull their weight when it comes to their own state retirement. They contribute only a small chunk of their $7,200 salary but get a monthly pension check after retirement that is based on the $125,000 salary of a district court judge. But as lawmakers mull making substantial changes to the state’s guaranteed pension plans next legislative session, it is worth noting how much state workers subsidize the retirement of the elected class."

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Dem Judge Candidate Seeking GOP Votes: "Democrat Keith Hampton is focusing his campaign to lead the state’s top criminal court on winning over Republicans. That is the key, he says, to defeating controversial Judge Sharon Keller and becoming the first Democrat to win a statewide election since 1994. At least one judicial election watcher says Hampton's got a steep hill to conquer."

•   Analysts Say Concerns Over Mexican Presidential Transition Are Overblown: "Worries about the new presidential government in Mexico are overblown, says San Antonio native Nelson Balido, the president of the Border Trade Alliance, who recently met with the president-elect’s transition team in Mexico City."

•   Inside Intelligence: About the General Election...: "For this week's nonscientific survey of political and governmental insiders, we asked horse race questions about competitive races for the state's top criminal court, Congress and the state Senate."

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