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Public Statements

Issue Position: Setting the Record Straight

Issue Position

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Since the campaign began, my opponent has made numerous statements that are either outright false, misleading, or don't tell the whole story. Below is the list of the things he has said so far.
This list may change depending on what he says in the future. His quote is in bold, and the rest of the story follows each quote.

"My opponent supports Obama's National Curriculum Takeover."

FALSE. The theme of my first campaign, and my re-election effort has been, "Let's tell Austin and Washington we want our local schools back!" I have never, nor will I ever support more mandates from Austin OR Washington.

"My opponent doesn't support local control."

FALSE. I have constantly talked about the need for more local control. My website, campaign materials, and speeches all show my unwavering support for local control.

"My opponent voted for a Democrat to be an officer of the SBOE."

MISLEADING. Yes, I voted for a Democrat to be Secretary of the SBOE. What my opponent doesn't say is he voted for the exact same person for the exact same position when he was on the board in 1995. Second, there has been a long-standing tradition to have 2 officers from the majority party and 1 officer from the minority party. By the way, the Secretary position is largely ceremonial and has no increased clout on the board.

"My opponent is supported by unions and left-leaning groups."

MISLEADING. EVERY major professional teacher association in Texas supported my last campaign. Two of them, The Texas Teachers Association and the Texas Federation of Teachers, are affiliated with national Teacher unions. But remember, Texas DOES NOT have teacher unions. Every member of a Texas teacher association joins voluntarily. These teacher groups represent over 15,000 teachers in my district and I'm proud to have their support.

FALSE. I don't have any idea what "left-leaning" groups he is talking about, but if you will check my
campaign finance report, you will see this just isn't true.

FALSE. He even says school board unions support me. There isn't such a thing. I am supported by numerous locally elected school board members around my district because they know I support local control and I am the first member of the SBOE to reach out to them to work together to do what is best for our local schools.

"My opponent opposed an SBOE resolution that addressed the anti-Christian, pro-Muslim bias in our textbooks."

MISLEADING. Before I was elected, the SBOE passed a non-binding resolution that talked about a perceived anti-Christian bias in our textbooks. First, this was a non-binding resolution and was political grandstanding. Second, the SBOE approved those books, so if they are looking to blame someone, they should blame themselves. Third, I believe in fixing problems, not talking about them in an effort to get headlines or score political points.

"My opponent has already begun the smear campaign against me."

FALSE. If you compare our campaign materials, it's clear who's engaged in a smear campaign.

"My opponent has a conflict of interest because he is a lobbyist."

FALSE. Yes, I am a lobbyist. However, when questions about my eligibility came up, I asked the proper authorities, Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Travis County District Attorney, to look into it. Both came back and determined that I do not have a conflict because only lobbyists who work on issues related to the SBOE have a legal concern. I have NEVER represented a client at the Texas Education Agency or the SBOE. This is an attempt to scare people and make you think that all lobbyists are bad.

What my opponent doesn't say is in 2009 he represented a client in front of the SBOE trying to win a multi-million dollar bid. But he has never disclosed who that client is or whether he still represents them.

This is political rhetoric. If he had proof that I have a conflict, he could have me removed from the ballot. There is no proof because it just isn't true. He and his supporters have talked about this issue for over a year. It's time to either put up or shut up.

"My opponent says he's not conservative. Another version is, "My opponent admits he is a liberal."

FALSE. If you go to his own website, you will hear me say, "I'm not an ultra conservative. I'm not a far right member of the Republican Party. I'm a moderate Republican. I'm a conservative, I'm just not as conservative as some would like, and it's the same thing that was criticized of my father. There are just some folks in the party who don't think we're pure enough, and for that I make no apologies."

"My opponent supported a raid on the Permanent School Fund (PSF) to help pay for administrator salaries."

FALSE. I, along with a bipartisan group of 8 other SBOE members, told the legislature that we would be willing to let the voters decide on a one-time $2 billion draw from the PSF to offset the record cuts being made to our public schools. I testified in the Senate that this wasn't my first choice, but I couldn't sit on the sidelines and watch these cuts happen without offering something constructive. By the way, the Texas Legislature determines where the money is spent, not the SBOE. We wanted it to be spent on instructional materials and the Foundation School program.

"My opponent tried to take away teacher's rights to contribute to SBOE political campaigns."

FALSE. I offered a comprehensive re-write of the SBOE ethics policy and wanted to prohibit vendors who do business with the SBOE from contributing to SBOE campaigns. Unfortunately, the way it was worded, it would have affected teachers. When that was pointed out, I withdrew that part of the amendment. My opponent issued a press release the next day, almost 24 hours after I had fixed it, expressing his concern. This was his attempt to make political mileage out of an issue that we had already fixed. It was never my intent to impact teachers.

"My opponent's client, Microsoft, starting paying him more after he got elected."

FALSE. My income for Microsoft hasn't changed in 10 years. What changes is the amount of my income that is for "lobbying" services for Microsoft rather than for other services I provide for them. Texas law requires that I report the income for what the law defines as lobbying services. During the odd-numbered years, because the Texas Legislature is in session, I spend more time lobbying the legislature than during the even-numbered years when the Legislature is not in session. So, on my report to the Texas Ethics Commission, the range of income reported for Microsoft, among other clients, fluctuates in accordance with state law. If you look, you will see that my income for Microsoft, and other clients, looks like it dropped in 2012, compared to 2011. This is an accurate reflection of my income and responsibilities for my client.


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