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Texas Scorecard sits down to discuss current events, politics, and all things Texas with news makers, politicians, and activists.
Oct 14, 2021
Uncut: A Conversation With Don Huffines
In this interview, Texas Scorecard sits down with former state senator and current gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines. The gubernatorial candidate gives his behind-the-scenes perspective of why conservative legislation often fails to pass and what he would do about it if he is elected governor. A Brief Biography A fifth-generation Texan and self-described “God-fearing patriot,” former State Sen.Don Huffines was raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Huffines ran for the Texas Senate in 2013 after “getting tired of yelling at [his] TV,” following a career in real estate development. In 2018, as part of the Democrat sweep of Dallas County, Huffines lost his seat. A consistent critic of Gov. Greg Abbott, who he called “an elitist know-it-all,” Huffines announced his gubernatorial run in May of this year. COVID-19 Response Huffines criticized Abbott’s executive overreach during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the shutdown that cost many Texans their jobs and businesses. He said that thanking Abbott for removing the mask mandate was like “thanking a thief for bringing your stolen goods back.” Huffines added that the shutdown and mask mandates were outside the realm of the governor’s constitutional authority. When asked how he would have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic if he had been governor in March 2020, Huffines acknowledged that while the government does have a role in informing the public and encouraging proper precautions (such as handwashing and distancing), he would never require masks, nor does he believe that the government has a role in closing schools or businesses. According to Huffines, the purpose of government is “defending your God-given liberties.” Since U.S. officials swear allegiance to the Constitution, Huffines said “the fundamental role of government is to defend us from government.” Regarding vaccine mandates being handed down from the federal government as well as employers, Huffines said he would “never let employers in Texas do that,” adding that there is “no reason why the state shouldn’t push back on the federal government.” Huffines says he welcomes a fight with the federal government on many fronts, including in the culture wars, adding that he is “committed to putting prayer back in schools.” “I dare the federal government to come in and send the prayer police in.” Border Security In regards to the invasion of illegal aliens through Texas’ southern border, Huffines promises to finish Trump’s wall and deploy the Texas military to secure the border if he is elected. “The federal government will never secure the border,” said Huffines, adding that he would “never ask permission from the federal government to secure the border.” By using the language of Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides the states the right to defend themselves against an invasion if the federal government fails to aid them, Huffines intends to secure the border despite any pushback from the Biden administration. Huffines also intends to force Mexico to secure their side of the border by returning “all illegals to the Mexican side of the river.” Another economic incentive for Mexico’s compliance would be Huffines' plan to halt all commercial traffic coming over the Rio Grande. Abortion When asked how he would advance pro-life legislation through Texas, building on the Heartbeat Act, Huffines said, “I won’t rest until I knew that there were no more abortions.” Huffines, who has advocated for abortion abolition, made clear his belief in life “from conception to natural death, with no exceptions,” adding that “a person is still a person” whether they are at 6 months gestation or 60 years old. Property Taxes Texas has one of the highest property tax burdens in the nation. According to Huffines, “Texans are tired of renting their property from the government,” especially when “the rent just keeps going up and up.” “It’s a bad way to fund government,” he added. Huffines' plan for tax relief involves capping state spending in order to provide property tax relief while phasing out the use of property taxes over the course of eight years. Huffines said he plans to do so by utilizing a constitutional amendment so that "when we cut the head off the snake, it can’t come back.” He also indicated he would be in favor of gradually swapping property taxes with an increased consumption tax. The Path Ahead When asked how he intends to compete as a challenger against Abbott’s campaign war chest, Huffines said he continues to raise plenty of funds. “I’ve already raised more money for a statewide challenger than any statewide challenger in the last 15 years in a Republican primary.” In regards to how Huffines feels about competing against Chad Prather, Allen West, and Abbott, Huffines said he thinks the company draws attention to the race as a whole. “I think it draws a lot of attention that we have to get rid of Abbott.” No matter the challenger, Huffines said he is “in this to win.” “We have a chance to save the U.S.A. We are the cavalry. We’re 911 and the call’s been made. We all have to step up and do something.” Huffines promised, “I’m gonna prove to the whole world what it means to be sovereign. We won’t bend a knee, because this is Texas.” Interview summary written by Sydnie Henry.
Oct 13, 2021
Uncut: A Conversation With Chad Prather
In this interview, Texas Scorecard sits down with media personality-turned-gubernatorial candidate Chad Prather. From years in the media as a talk show host to his stance on border security, Texas Scorecard shares the conversation. A Brief Biography Chad Prather, a Texas humorist and entertainer, is approaching the Republican primary for governor from a distinct corner of the political arena. Having never served in a publicly elected office, Prather throws caution to the wind to humorously expose inconsistencies in the ideology of his political opponents. He spent 20 years in radio and television, from the cab of his truck to the studio of The Blaze TV. COVID-19 Response Prather cites how Gov. Abbott’s coronavirus mandates motivated him to challenge the incumbent. “We were at a dinner there in the Black Hills of South Dakota on July 2, 2020. Donald Trump Jr. was there, and a news notification came in on my phone that said that there was another mandate, another shutdown in the State of Texas, that was issued by Governor Abbott. He was deeming more businesses and more people non-essential. I just kind of had it at that point. I jokingly [said], ‘I don’t know if it was the glass of wine I was drinking or because I was with a Trump, but I took to Twitter and said I’m gonna run for governor in 2022.’” “At the end of the day, I believe that as Texans, you’re still free and you will make the best decisions you need to make,” said Prather condemning Abbott’s 2020 lockdowns. “I don't believe the Constitution was written to keep us healthy or keep us safe; it was written to keep us free.” Prather says he rejects the emotional argument that getting vaccinated or wearing a mask is necessary to protect others. “When Hurricane Harvey hit, we didn’t have to be mandated to load our trucks up and take supplies south,” said Prather. “We did it because we’re Texans, and we love our neighbor, and we take care of each other.” Prather furthered his argument against centralized government bureaucracy in Texas. “We’ve made little tyrants out of a lot of folks, whether it’s local school boards, city councils, elected judges, various municipal officials, superintendents, etc. We’ve got to make it harder for people to abuse the power that they have.” In response to President Joe Biden’s recently announced vaccine mandate, Prather said he is strongly opposed. “At the end of the day, we’re talking about the violation of people’s human bodies. There’s got to be a line drawn in the sand that says you can’t mandate that. These are the things that are getting farcical in terms of what we’re calling freedom. That’s not freedom, that’s coercion.” Border Security When it comes to border security, Prather is unapologetic. “We’ve got to detect, we’ve got to deter, we’ve got to detain, we’ve got to deport. And at all costs, we’ve got to defend.” “We have got to enable the citizens of Texas to protect their lands, protect their borders, protect their properties. We’re in Texas and we’re not going to put up with invasion. This is a constitutional right that the governor has ... in the case of an invasion when the federal government doesn't defend the state, we have a right to defend our own.” Prather also defended mounted Border Patrol agents in Del Rio. “When those border agents were being accused the other week, let me tell you, as governor of Texas, I would've been the first guy down there on horseback defending those border agents.” Property Taxes Prather blames Greg Abbott and excessive spending for out-of-control property taxes in Texas. “It starts at the top. We have got to cut spending. Spending in the State of Texas has increased by $48 billion in the last two terms of Greg Abbott. That's untenable.” “When God promised the land to his people in the Old Testament, he said it’s not gonna be taxed because the land was the promise. These days, we’ve got seventh-generation ranchers wanting to pass their land on to their children, and that promise is being taken from them because they can’t afford the property taxes. We’re disinheriting the next generation of Texas, and that's unfortunate.” Although opposed to rising property taxes in Texas, Prather stopped short of specifics on a plan to abolish them. “It’s a complex issue. That's going to take complex models to be able to do that. But at the end of the day, it is also a conviction of mine.” Abortion “For me, the Heartbeat Bill is a step in the right direction, but I believe in the abolition of abortion. Controversial as that may sound, I don’t believe calling it 'abortion' cleans up the act of murder in any way, shape, or form,” Prather said of the recent Heartbeat Act, which has stopped thousands of abortions in Texas in just over a month. He also pointed out inconsistencies in the pro-abortion argument. “[After conception], the DNA of a human being is immediately imprinted on that person; that DNA is there for the rest of their life. If we were to discover that on ... Mars, we would spend tens of trillions of dollars trying to protect that life.” Prather specified that he does not believe exceptions for rape are beneficial for women. “I don’t think we can continue to expect God’s blessing or providence if we defend such a thing. ... Look, the guilt of murder on top of the ignominy of rape does not help a woman.” “I believe protection of that innocent life is what’s most important,” he added. The Fight Ahead Prather acknowledges the hefty opposition he faces. “What I remind people [of] is that when Greg Abbott raised $18.7 million in the 10 days following the initial general session, that's not mom-and-pop money. I hope he spends every dime of it, but at the end of the day, that doesn't represent the blue-collar working person, the average Texan.” “I think it’s time we have an Austin tea party. It’s time to realize that we’re not being represented in Austin anymore. That’s the problem, right there: Austin’s not like Texas. It’s time to make a change on that.” Interview summary written by Griffin White.
Oct 12, 2021
Uncut: A Conversation With Allen West
In this interview, Brandon Waltens, managing editor for Texas Scorecard, is joined by Lt. Colonel Allen West, candidate for Texas governor. From West's experiences as chairman of the Texas GOP to his stance on abortion, Texas Scorecard shares the conversation. A Brief Biography Born into a career military family in Atlanta, Georgia, West’s fate as a G.I. was sealed when he joined the United States Army in 1982. He graduated from the University of Tennessee and holds two master's degrees from Kansas State University and the Command and General Staff Officer College, respectively. After retiring from the armed forces in 2004, West pursued a career in policy, first running for Congress in 2008. He eventually served as the representative for Florida’s 22nd Congressional District from 2011 to 2013. In 2015 West and his family relocated to Garland, Texas. In 2019 West ran for chairman of the Texas Republican Party, where he served for one year before resigning and announcing his campaign for governor. COVID-19 Response “We’re not a constitutional monarchy. We don’t live by edicts and orders. Unfortunately, the governor opened up Pandora’s box last year,” said West on the issue of COVID-19. When asked about employer vaccine mandates, West said, “I think the citizens should have the type of leadership that would stand and say, ‘I’m aligning myself with the liberty and freedom of the citizens of Texas, and not the corporate interests out there.’” West also pointed to Florida, saying, “Governor [Ron] DeSantis is even saying, 'You don’t get to come in here if you’re going to mandate people to have the vaccine.'” “That’s what I think we should have here in Texas,” he added. Border Security West expressed his position that Gov. Greg Abbott could be doing more to secure the southern border. In reference to Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star,” West said the effort “falls way short.” “I’ve been down there on the border, and I see the National Guard of Texas just standing there observing. ... In some cases, we’ve seen them helping people come across the river into the State of Texas.” West cited his military experience for potential solutions to the border crisis, claiming that only a fraction of our available manpower is being utilized to secure the border. “I sat down with some former Army officers who were military planners, and we did a mission analysis; we’ve got 26,000 total in our Texas Military Department. So you’ve got to have the boots on the ground to provide that deterrent force along with integrated systems like ground sensors and aerial surveillance systems.” In addition to manpower, West believes a well-rounded approach to securing the border involves going after organized crime. “I think the other thing you have to do is go after the cartels, designate them as transnational narco criminal or terrorist organizations. Find their assets. Freeze their assets. Seize those assets. The cartels have money in banks in the state of Texas.” West also discussed a remittance tax. “Another thing that we need to talk about is taxing the remittances of illegal immigrants that are flowing out of the State of Texas back to Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. Let’s say that we did that at 10 percent on these wire transfers. Think about the money that we could raise for our border security fund.” West reiterated that the constitutions of Texas and the U.S. grant the governor power to repel an “invasion.” “The interesting thing is that if you read Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution, it says the federal government is supposed to protect every state in the union from invasion. Article 1, Section 10 Clause No. 3, of the Constitution says what states can do when actually invaded. Article 4, Section 7 of the Texas state Constitution says specifically as the governor and the commander of the Texas military forces, you’re supposed to use the militia to repel invasions. So, I don’t know why this isn’t being done.” Property Taxes West called the current tax system in Texas “abhorrent.” He said he believes the state should be using excess funds from the annual budget to pay for operating costs of school districts, and simultaneously move away from a progressive tax system he says is founded on Marxist principles. “I find it pretty abhorrent that here in Texas, you can pay off your mortgage, but you still don’t own your home. So we need to transition away from this problem in Texas. In the interim, we need to codify into law that 70, 80, maybe 90 percent of the budget surplus that we have between these cycles gets dedicated to property tax relief.” West also believes that too much taxpayer money gets wasted on “redundant” government systems. “In 2016 I sat on The Sunset Advisory Commission. We sit there and come up with all of these recommendations for programs and agencies that need to be sunsetted because they’re ineffective, inefficient, redundant. How many of these have actually gone away? As governor, I want to sit back down and look at all of those previous Sunset Advisory Commission recommendations and start saying, ‘Why is this agency still here?’” Abortion West said he believes the recently enacted Heartbeat Act is a good start for Texas, but he added that abortion should be stopped at all stages of gestation, with one major exception. “With an incident of rape, first of all, that’s a violent crime. And I think we need to be sensitive and understanding that that’s a violation of their body,” said West. Although he said he believes victims of rape should be able to choose the option of abortion prior to the development of a fetal heartbeat—while adding that he hoped they would not—West believes Texas has a long way to go in restricting the practice. “Now, it doesn’t go far enough. It’s still civil, not a criminal offense. That’s a real personal issue for me because this has had the most detrimental effect on the black community. The second-largest facility for murdering unborn babies in the world is located in Houston, Texas. The Planned Parenthood clinic is on I-45 on the south side, in a black neighborhood, and I’ve also said I want to see that Planned Parenthood clinic closed now.” The Fight Ahead When asked about facing the hefty opposition of Abbott in a potential primary runoff, West said he is up for the challenge. “Was it too late when 183 Texans stood at the Alamo and faced 3,000 to 4,000? It’s never too late. I was a paratrooper combat veteran in the United States Army. I don’t care how much money you've got in your war chest. It’s about whether or not you're going to stand up and fight.” Interview summary written by Griffin White.
Aug 20, 2021
Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi on Mask and Vaccine Mandates
Join Texas Scorecard Senior Correspondent Jacob Asmussen for an exclusive conversation with Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi to discuss mask and vaccine mandates. The conversation focuses on Matt's expertise as an attorney with regard to the legalities of government mandates for masks and vaccines. You are sure to enjoy this insightful exclusive conversation!
Dec 16, 2020
Conversation with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar
Our Publisher Michael Quinn Sullivan sits down with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar to talk about the Rainy Day Fund and budgeting issues concerning the state.
Aug 6, 2020
Newly elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas Allen West discusses his new role and the future of the Republican Party in Texas with Texas Scorecard's managing editor Brandon Waltens.
Jul 29, 2020
Brandon Waltens chats with Texan Martin Holsome who has announced he will run as a Republican in 2022 for Texas Governor.
Jul 22, 2020
Join Texas Scorecard Managing Editor Brandon Waltens for a conversation with Chad Prather. Chad is the host of The Chad Prather Show and has announced he will run for Governor of Texas. Chad can also be seen on TheBlaze.