|By Dave Mundy
Debra Medina says it’s
time Texas politicians started listening to what their constituents are
And, she says, she’s
been getting an earful.
“What we’re seeing
is these congressmen at town halls saying, ‘You’re angry, and I’m out of
here.’ They’re not listening to the people,” says Medina, 47, who has filed
to challenge for the Republican nomination for Governor in the 2010 elections.
Medina, the chair of
the Wharton County Republican Party, is a supporter of former presidential
candidate Ron Paul and brings both libertarian and conservative credentials
to her campaign. She’s known for butting heads with the party leadership.
In taking on incumbent
Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Medina said it’s time Texas voters
get a true conservative to vote for.
“I think that neither
one of them … reflect the conservative ideals of the Republican Party,”
she said in a telephone interview. “Perry, in particular, lies to us in
every campaign. We’ve doubled our (state) deficit from $12 billion to $27.8
billion, but he’s out there telling us that everything’s fine, not to worry.”
On the issue of primary
concern to members of the Texas Nationalist Movement, Medina says she does
not necessarily support secession, but allows that such a move may become
necessary. She calls Perry’s very public stances on state sovereignty little
more than posturing.
“It ought to make us
all angry that the Governor is raising the red secessionist flag,” she
says. “Name one time he’s made a stand for sovereignty.
“States have two ways
to limit the power of the federal government,” she adds. “One is for the
legislature to nullify federal law, as happened in Montana. The other is
for the state executive to lead the charge by refusing federal programs.
(Perry) has made bold statements, then caved in.
“Will it come to secession?
I hope not,” she says. “Which issue is the one to fight? In every area,
the federal government is over-stepping its authority.”
The Beeville native,
a registered nurse and businesswoman who home-schooled her children, says
that while health care and cap-and-trade are drawing a lot of attention
nationally at the moment, two key issues are extremely important to the
Texans she’s spoken with: border security and public education.
“Two sessions ago the
Legislature got a mandate from the (federal) court to put a different funding
mechanism in place (for Texas public schools), but they didn’t fix it,”
she says. “All of us are tired of seeing money thrown at it and nothing
Medina says Texas needs
to look both at new ways of funding education, and creating greater opportunities
beyond a system run by the state.
“I think we’ve got
to be talking about the dropout rate,” she says. “The dropout rate is unsustainable.
If you’ve got a workforce with an eighth-grade education, the dropout rate
“A lot of our ‘independent
school districts,’ they’re independent all right – independent of the parents,”
she says. “I think we need more competition in education. I’d like to offer
more substantive ideas as the campaign develops.”
One substantive idea
Medina is championing is elimination of the property tax – the primary
funding mechanism for schools in the state. She favors using a revenue-neutral
state sales tax to provide for education funding.
“I want to completely
eliminate the property tax,” she says. “The two essential elements of freedom
are personal property and gun ownership. The property tax steals your freedom.”
Medina cites a study
done by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation supports her position
that eliminating the property tax would be a huge economic boon for Texans.
“(The TPPF study) shows
that if you eliminate the state property tax, the first year you would
see an increase in personal income for Texans of more than $3 billion,”
she says. “Over five years, you’d create from 127,000 to 312,000 jobs and
increase personal income from $21-52 billion.”
She says that the other
candidates in the Governor’s race have also failed to heed what voters
are saying on another hot-button issue: border security. The federal government
has failed in its constitutional duty to protect the border, she says,
and it may be up to the state to do something.
“I’m starting to get
pressed real hard on illegal immigration,” she says. “There is a lot of
hostility on this issue.”
She admits she hasn’t
come up with a hard and fast solution – but is working with watchdog groups
like US Border Watch to determine the best way to address the problem.
“They’ve done a very
good job of documenting the problem,” she says. “I’m working real hard
on finding a solution to that problem.”
She compared the public’s
mood on that issue to the outcry which arose over the Trans-Texas
Corridor plan championed by Perry, which met with such widespread public
opposition the program was eventually dropped.
“I attended one hearing
in Katy, and there were people actually threatening armed rebellion over
the Trans-Texas Corridor,” she says. “These were people you wouldn’t expect
to say things like that … but they said in no uncertain terms they would
do that unless they dropped the TTC.
“I spoke with (a TxDOT
official), and she told me she was really worried about the hostility,”
“I think the Tea Parties
and the town hall meetings on the health-care plan, we’re seeing a lot
of that same thing … controlled anger.”
Medina says that her
role as Governor would be to ensure that everyday Texans have an influence
over what is going on in Austin.
“The citizens of Texas
are ensured equal justice under the law,” she says. “We need to work on
equal application of the law. We’re not going to have the money people
controlling what is happening.”
She says it will take
an informed, active electorate to restore accountability.
“We have to have the
courage to elect people that don’t look like ‘electable’ candidates. I
want to see that restored.”
To view Medina’s
campaign site, visit http://www.medinafortexas.com/