Jerry Patterson comes to town

Jerry Patterson

Jerry Patterson

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, now running for Lt. Governor, made a couple of stops in Houston this week. Because of the importance of the race, I made it a point to be at both of Mr. Patterson’s appearances. I wanted to see how Mr. Patterson “performed” in front of two very different audiences: the Clear Lake Area Republicans and the Houston Professional Republican Women.

CLAR is my home club (lifetime member!) and also happens to be in Senate District 11, which was Mr. Patterson’s first elected office. As such, he had a lot of old friends there but because the club is morphing into a hybrid Republican/Tea Party club, there were a smattering of “activists” in attendance. And as usual, there were a few office holders and candidates in the crowd, which I’d guesstimate to be around fifty-five. About twenty people stood up identified themselves as precinct chairs.

I had never been to a meeting of the HPRW so I didn’t know what to expect. This was a smaller group, I think I counted a total of fifteen people. I was a bit surprised to hear so much enthusiasm from their members in support of the Second Amendment – I mean, I guess I’m old fashioned but “professional women” and “gun totin’ enthusiasts” don’t really go together!

Mr. Patterson’s speech at the CLAR meeting was brief, touching a bit on his personal history in the district, his service in the Marine Corps, his legislative successes, and his work in the General Land Office.  He emphasized that what Texas needs is somebody that is bold, fearless, and doesn’t care what editorial boards or bloggers say. He stated that he would be like Bob Bullock – Bullock knew that this was his last office and he didn’t care what anybody said – Patterson then said he’s already that way.

This got him in trouble with one questioner, who argued with him that he should listen to “citizen journalists” because they aren’t the mainstream media, using Brietbart and something called the Black Sphere to make his point. Patterson reminded me of Ted Cruz when he argued with the guy and refused to change his position. Listen to the exchange:

Jerry Patterson on Term Limits

I like that Patterson stood up to the questioner and didn’t back down. Too many times I’ve seen politicians try to placate someone that could not be placated, no matter how hard they tried.

Mr. Patterson’s speech at the HPRW meeting was much longer, looser, and downright funny. If you haven’t heard of Peg Leg yet, I get the feeling that you will because Patterson is a Texas history buff and a great storyteller – that combination is entertaining at the same time it is informative. We were truly laughing out loud as Patterson talked about Peg Leg – here is a link to a book about Peg Leg. Downright hilarious.

He didn’t use his knowledge of Texas history just to humor us. He also used it to educate, especially on immigration, talking about the Mexicans sending a note to Stephen F. Austin , warning him to be on the lookout for illegal border crossers – crossing the Sabine. He also made mention of a headline in the Galveston Daily News in 1885 championing the need for a guest worker program – again, from the other side of the Sabine, not the Rio Grande. He said that he felt like a pioneer last summer when he was the only statewide office holder to stand before the RPT convention and fight for a guest worker plank.

He discussed his work at the land office in greater detail, noting that the Permanent School Fund, which he manages, has earned more under his leadership than ever before and at the same time has become more diversified to withstand economic uncertainty. He also told us that the reason our school districts enjoy the lowest interest rates in the country is because their bonds are backed by the PSF, acknowledging that the decisions of our forefathers are still paying off today.

He talked about improving the Veterans Program, making it the best of all 50 states. I admit that I didn’t know we had eight long term veterans health facilities around the state.

And he criticized the all Republican Supreme Court for their 5-4 decision to gut the Open Beaches Act, saying it undermined 150 years of guaranteeing public access to one of Texas’ best resources. He wants to reverse that decision in the legislature.

As for policy, this is what I gleaned from both speeches:

  • He passed the original concealed carry act and wants to extend it to include schools and universities.
  • He passed a bill giving homeowners access to the equity in their homes – as he said, why not let adults be adults?
  • He’d like to replace the “blocker bill” in the Senate but isn’t sure what the best mechanism would be. He mentioned a Calendars committee such as the House has but noted that would have its own problems. One audience member asked him about moving the barrier from 2/3 to 60% and he seemed to like that idea.
  • He is positively against term limits.
  • He is positively for the Second Amendment and against any further limitations.
  • He supports initiative and referendum.
  • He is in favor of a guest worker program and thinks that citizenship should be discussed separately.
  • He is against birthright citizenship.
  • He is against bi-lingual ballots. As Gov. Ma Ferguson said, “if English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for me”.
  • He wants to segment the illegal population between those that want to work and those that want to commit crimes, focusing on the latter group. This will reduce the target population that law enforcement focuses on, making them more efficient.
  • He thinks we need someone in the position that has the cojones to tell the people of Texas what they need to hear.

It is that last one that might get him in trouble with some of the loudest groups out there because typically that means to say that we need to raise taxes. He didn’t come out in favor of raising the gas tax but came darn close, saying that the current tax hasn’t been “adjusted” and the way we are financing our roads with bonds must end. It’ll be interesting how his opponents use that information.

Speaking of opponents, it still remains unclear whether incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is going to run again. He’s told me at least three times that he is but all the professional prognosticators seem to discount that and say that he will not run. If he does run, I hope that his campaign team improves quickly. As I was heading out the door to hear Mr. Patterson, I received a Twitter Direct Message from Team Dewhurst hoping I’d listen in on a tele-conference they were having in one hour and forty-seven minutes. That ain’t gonna cut it guys – a little planning never hurt anyone.

Mr. Patterson did talk about his loss to Mr. Dewhurst back in 1998, saying that he was outspent 10-1 at the time and Mr. Dewhurst managed to only get 51.2% of the vote.

With his easy going style, excellent legislative record, superb storytelling ability, an entirely different media world, and a changed Republican Primary electorate, Mr. Patterson is definitely going to be a player in the upcoming Lt. Gov. race, regardless of his opponent(s).

(Note: if you live in the Houston area, you can catch Mr. Patterson next Tuesday at the Greater Houston Pachyderm Club’s regular meeting.)

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Jerry Patterson speaking to the Houston Professional Republican Women
Jerry Patterson speaking to the Houston Professional Republican Women
Jerry Patterson handing out bumper stickers after speaking to the Houston Professional Republican Women
Jerry Patterson handing out bumper stickers after speaking to the Houston Professional Republican Women
Jerry Patterson at the Clear Lake Area Republicans
Jerry Patterson at the Clear Lake Area Republicans
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson

 

Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    This guy doesn’t get my vote. For someone who flat out didn’t have one single reason why he should replace Dewhurst and couldn’t explain what he would do better (because he can’t) than Dewhurst, he isn’t getting my vote. Ever.

  2. John says

    Both Dewhurst and Patterson have lengthy records for evaluation. I prefer Jerry Patterson over David Dewhurst based on past history and what he has done for Texas in the positions he as held. Based on his record I know that if ‘promoted’ to Lt. Gov. he will continue to do an excellent job and will be the more conservative of the two. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst doesn’t own the job and doesn’t have an ‘entitlement’ to it just because he is there now. The question is ‘what can Dewhurst do to justify getting my vote over Patterson’? I haven’t seen anything, yet.