Tuesday night, a candidate forum for Texas Lt Governor was held at the Trini Mendenhall Sosa Community Center. A packed room with a crowd of 300 listened to all four Republicans running for the office make their case to voters. United Republicans of Harris County and Texas Federation of Republican Women hosted the event. Channel 11's senior political reporter, Doug Miller, served as the moderator.
I can offer little to the well written blog post from David Jennings on his Big Jolly Politics blog. So, I will just include a few personal observations. With FULL DISCLOSURE, I state that I am a member of the Board of Directors for United Republicans of Harris County and I am a member of Texas Federation of Republican Women. I am not endorsing any of the candidates and encourage everyone to go to events to hear from the candidates in person. Get a feel for them up close and listen to them. Make a decision for yourself.
I think all of the candidates had a good night. United Republicans of Harris County has a well-deserved reputation for treating candidates fairly and with respect. The time limits and rotation system used was designed to keep the forum moving while covering major issues without allowing any one candidate to go into campaign speech mode. This forum allowed voters to see the candidates think on their feet and make their points in a controlled format.
Last week I heard Commissioner Jerry Patterson speak at the September meeting with Tomball Republican Women. I found him to be engaging and in possession of a quick sense of humor. He seemed to be enjoying himself and the audience responded well to him. He recounted his authorship of the concealed weapons legislation as well as his insistence that border security takes an all of the above approach - boots on the ground, electronic surveillance, a guest worker program, etc.
I heard Lt Gov Dewhurst speak about two weeks ago at the September meeting of Texas Tea Party Republican Women and he was also well-received. He spoke of his dedication to social conservatism and keeping Texas a fiscally conservative state. He spoke of the chaos brought on by those who were supporting the filibuster and of not allowing the disrupters a victory in the end.
I have heard Sen Dan Patrick speak in the past and most recently in person a few months back when he was part of a forum on school choice and charter schools. He excels when he speaks on education reform. He mentioned that if he is elected Lt Governor, he will continue to speak on the radio and listeners can call in and speak with him about their concerns.
Commissioner Todd Staples was the participant I am least familiar with, at this point. He is young, energetic, and going full steam ahead. He has a distinctive East Texas twang and projects being comfortable in his own skin. I enjoyed his promoting his own book with humor and suggesting it as a holiday gift. Humor and laughs from the audience broke up the seriousness of the evening frequently - a welcome relief.
I noted that all four men are comfortable making fun of themselves and secure enough to show they are only human, as are we all. Most of all, it was refreshing to watch a panel of politicians treating each other with civility.