December 15, 2005
SD7 notes

Couple notes on the one open seat State Senate race, SD7 here in Harris County. First, Anne Linehan has made some progress in determining where the four Republican contenders stand on the issue of the Grand Parkway extension that would cut through Spring.

So, here's the current scorecard: Peggy Hamric apparently favors the F2 segment being built through Tomball and Spring; Mark Ellis opposes it; Dan Patrick is still studying it (I assume, since I haven't heard anything more from his campaign); and I have no idea where Joe Nixon stands on the issue.

The post was prompted by her receiving a response from the Ellis campaign. I think it's a smart move by Ellis to oppose this. I believe he won't have much company with that stance, so it will therefore give him something other than immigrant-bashing as a distinguishing characteristic, and it's an inroad into a group of voters who are historically not that favorably inclined to hopefuls from the City of Houston.

As for Joe Nixon, he's found a cause to champion: Getting rid of the State Senate's blocker bill tradition, which forces a requirement that all bills get the approval of 21 Senators before coming to the floor for a vote. From a recent press release:

I want to thank the members of the State Republican Executive Committee who voted today for the resolution calling for an end to the so-called 'blocker bil'' in the Texas Senate. My fellow conservatives and I in the Texas House have repeatedly passed strong legislation to help keep Texas moving in the right direction, but too often we have seen our solid progress on key issues stall in the Senate - and I am running in Senate District 7 to change that. I am particularly appalled by an arcane rule in the Texas Senate - the Rosebush-Blocker bill - that essentially lets one-third of that body control what legislation gets passed. Today's SREC vote sends a positive, powerful signal that we can, and must, change the process in the Senate in order to deliver the results our fellow Texans expect and deserve from their Legislature.

I rather doubt that Nixon and the SREC would be this gung-ho for the demise of the blocker bill if the Democrats still controlled the Senate, but that's neither here nor there. I'm not going to defend the blocker bill on any philosophical or idealistic level. It is what it is - a tool that allows a minority faction, in this case the Democrats, to have an effect on what does and doesn't get passed. Whether you think it's a valid and legitimate tool will largely depend on your view of the legislation it's helped to thwart lately. Democracy in Texas certainly doesn't depend on its continued existence - one could argue to the contrary, in fact - but unless you think a more parliamentary style of governance is preferable, then the minority needs to have some tools at its disposal to ensure it has at least some influence, and it just becomes a question of what tools you'd allow. I will say this - if the blocker bill does eventually die, we'll see a lot more filibusters in the Senate, since that's the next most effective tool on the minority's utility belt.

Lastly, I've heard a whisper or two about a possible Democrat in the SD07 race. Nothing more than whispers, but at least there's something. When I know more, I'll let you know as well.

UPDATE: Joe Nixon also opposes having the F2 segment go through Spring.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 15, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack