By Robert Vick – Democratic Candidate for Texas Senate District 22
My name is Robert Vick and I’m running for Texas Senate District 22. The District includes parts of Arlington and Grand Prairie in Tarrant County, and the counties of Bosque, Ellis, Falls, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan, Navarro and Somervell.
WHY IS THIS ONE SENATE RACE IMPORTANT?
Let’s start with what you need to know about how the Texas Senate works. The Senate has a rule called the “three-fifths” rule that was designed to empower minorities, whether of party, race or geography. The “three-fifths” rule requires 19 Senators’ (3/5 of all the Senators) assent before a bill can be brought to the floor. The rule worked for years when the split between political parties was more equal. All legislation, out of necessity, was bi-partisan. Those days, like bi-partisan bills, are long gone.
Currently the Senate has 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. The Republicans have what’s called a “super majority“. Nothing gets to the Senate floor unless the Republicans want it. Their usual process is to take whatever bill was passed by the House into a committee where it is rewritten to satisfy the “super majority”. Any hint of bi-partisanship is scrubbed from the bill. Only then will those 19 Senators advance the bill for a vote.
THE POWER OF A SINGLE SENATE SEAT
As we Democrats focus on taking control of the Texas House we need to be aware that every piece of legislation the House may pass, regardless of any bi-partisanship in the House, will die an untimely death in the Senate.
The House could finally deal with the issues of voter suppression, health care, the climate crisis, gerrymandering and fair redistricting only to find it goes nowhere because of the Senate rule.
Doesn’t that remind you of Mitch McConnell and the position our US House Democrats are in right now? Do you want or need more of this?
BREAKING THE SENATE SUPER MAJORITY
What will it take to break the republican “super majority?” Simple answer; win one Senate seat and every bill passed by a Democratic House has a chance of being heard and passed.
In January, Dan Patrick was the guest speaker at an event sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) in Austin. TPPF is an influential right-wing organization funded by Koch Industries, Tim Dunn and his Empower Texans PAC, Texans for Lawsuit Reform and his West Texas oil billionaire buddies. Who, by the way, are the same group of polluters, climate deniers, sexist, racist, homophobic backers of my opponent.
Dan lamented, if Republicans “lose one or two seats”, he may need their help in changing the rules of the Senate. Heaven forbid the Senators would become responsible to the citizens of Texas rather than the billionaire’s who put them in office!
VOTE FOR A BETTER TEXAS
Face it, if Texas is to become a better, more just state, we must win one or more Senate races. There is no Senator more worthy of being defeated than Brian Birdwell. He has routinely voted against local control, equal pay for women and has consistently attacked public education.
He sponsored and/or voted for increasing penalties for pipeline protesters, then took hundreds of thousands of dollars from gas and oil interests; Birdwell opposes gambling yet takes huge contributions from Oklahoma Casino owners; he sponsored the infamous “bathroom bill” and received massive campaign contributions from religious nationalist organizations.
My opponent was the author of “Campus Carry” and “Open Carry”, bills that provide for even more guns in public. He habitually introduces bills, under the guise of religion, allowing open discrimination of protected classes of Texans. In this way he thwarts decades of civil rights victories that protect Americans from discrimination based on their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
So for a better Texas, we must win one Senate seat…let’s make it matter…let’s win this one!
My education and experience in public service has shown me how well government can work. Unfortunately, my eyes, my lungs, and my wallet are showing me how our current poor governance doesn’t work. Our incumbent Senator has a history of making things worse.
I am running because we can do better!