From the Chair: What’s Important to You?
On February 16, Governor Abbott delivered his State of the State Address. He came up with seven emergencies that lawmakers can vote on immediately. Maybe I don’t remember my civics class, but this seems to me to be interfering in the way laws are supposed to be passed, and why we have an elected legislature. Abbott’s seven things the legislature could vote on immediately included: cutting property taxes, making schools safer, and securing the state’s border with Mexico.
The property tax cut would come from the budget surplus. Never mind that there are several bills already on how that surplus should be spent. One of which is a nice pay raise for classroom teachers. Abbott’s not interested in that. He wants to greatly increase the amount of money for school vouchers. The vouchers would be used for private schools to the detriment of public schools, and to “root out woke agendas in the classroom.” This has been greatly criticized by both rural and large city schools alike, and isn’t supported by rural Republicans. Taking money from public schools would, hurt children in already underserved schools.
His emergency of school safety calls for the “safest standard” and more mental health professionals. What’s missing? Any kind of gun restrictions. Since that terrible day, Uvalde parents have been begging Abbott to institute commonsense gun safety laws, like raising the age from 18 to 21 to be able to buy a weapon of war. What’s missing is any empathy for those families. In doing nothing, that tragedy will surely happen again.
Of course, Abbott included his favorite: protecting us from the invasion of migrants. To do this, he advocated spending 4.6 billion dollars in additional funds. This money would go to expand border protection; raise jail terms to ten years for people caught smuggling undocumented migrants; prosecute fentanyl deaths as murders; and increase the supply of Narcan, the life-saving overdose drug. Abbott has already spent billions on his crusade to “make the border safe.” Maybe he should put some money into solving the problem instead of fighting it. The amount of money he allotted for Narcan would not begin to touch the problem nor provide the longer care needed for those people using fentanyl.
If you haven’t watched the Democratic response, you can find it at texasdemocrats.org. They made a video with ordinary people talking about issues important to them. It’s a very powerful video in which state legislators promise to continue to fight for common people and democracy. And that’s what I want us to do as well. I’d like to see us continue to reach out to everyone in Blanco County. We can do this by having meetings with speakers on topics that are important to everyone — possibly ways to be more prepared for the next storm or how we can help lower income families in our area. What’s important to you?
It’s depressing to comprehend how much Abbott and Dan Patrick are enmeshed in hate and fear. The only way I know to not let them win is to find a cause that’s important to you and go to work! I propose this be a conversation at the BCD meeting on March 7. Let’s see what we can create!
I am so honored to have been asked to be the interim chair of the Blanco County Democratic Party. I will give my best to fulfill my duties.
- Maggie Goodman