October 14, 2008
Endorsement watch: Jaworski and Vo

The Chron gives two more fine endorsements today:

Joe Jaworski, Texas Senate District 11: In a district that includes portions of hurricane-ravaged Galveston, constituents need a forceful and energetic senator to promote their interests in next year's legislative session. The Chronicle believes the right candidate for the job is Democratic challenger Joe Jaworski, an attorney and fourth-generation Texan from a prestigious line of litigators, including his grandfather, Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski.

The candidate lives in Galveston with his wife and two children and has already compiled a record of distinctive public service there. Jaworski served three terms on Galveston City Council, the last as mayor pro tem. He chaired the city's ethics commission and promises to push ethics reforms with high standards for public officials in Austin. Jaworski favors clamping down on rising higher education costs for reversing deregulation of tuition and expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover all eligible Texas youngsters.

Hubert Vo, State Representative District 149: After becoming the first Vietnamese-American to serve in the state Legislature, this incumbent Democrat has been a champion for fully funding CHIP and reclaiming millions of federal matching funds for the program. Revelations of Vo's failure to maintain rundown apartment complexes he owned in Houston have been a stain on his reputation. To his credit, he did react to the revelations by quickly performing city-mandated repairs. The Chronicle believes Vo has learned his lesson and deserves to continue representing his constituents.

Very nice. The Chron also endorsed incumbent Republican Rep. Gary Elkins in HD135, which wouldn't have been my preference but was my guess. Other than that one Bizarro endorsement, they've done pretty much exactly what I thought they would. The only curious thing from today is that they never mentioned environmental issues in their selection of Jaworski over Sen. Mike Jackson, which is what I thought they'd highlight. Obviously, there were so many good reasons for making this call they couldn't get to them all.

Meanwhile, the Statesman takes a remarkably strong stand in a couple of Austin-area House races.

Races for the Texas House of Representatives this year are colored by the failed Republican leadership in the lower house of the Legislature.

House Speaker Tom Craddick's disastrous handling of challenges to his leadership has heightened House races across the state, including several in Central Texas. Whether voters know it or not -- and certainly most don't -- House races on the Nov. 4 ballot are a referendum on Craddick's heavy-handed rule.


District 52

Though both candidates are strong, we believe Democrat Diana Maldonado would best represent the district. Maldonado is a former president of the Round Rock school board and was an employee in the state comptroller's office until she was forced to resigned to run for this seat.

Maldonado, 45, has a reputation as a budget hawk who understands accounting. And she can be counted on to be an effective voice for education issues and public schools. She supports the law that grants college admission to the top 10 percent of the graduating class in Texas high schools and wants to reconsider having the Legislature set college tuition rates.

Her Republican opponent is Bryan Daniel, 38, a Georgetown insurance executive who narrowly won a GOP primary runoff last spring. Daniel is a strong candidate with a good resume and an independent mind, but he is not a sure vote against the current House leadership.

Maldonado knows the district and has served as an effective leader in her five years on the Round Rock school board. She should be elected in District 52.

District 17

Democrat Donnie Dippel, from La Grange, and Republican Tim Kleinschmidt, an attorney and rancher from Lexington, are good candidates with strong community ties. But we believe Dippel would be best for the far-flung, largely rural district.

Dippel, 57, a consultant who worked for the Texas Department of Agriculture for 14 years, opposes voucher programs for schools, selling water to buyers outside the district and the Trans-Texas Corridor. He supports more vocational education and is concerned about health care, particularly in rural areas.

We would like to see Dippel show more support for requiring not-for-profit electric co-operatives, which serve rural areas, to observe the state's open records and meeting laws. He wavered on the issue, brought to light by the deposed former leadership of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which hid from scrutiny because it isn't subject to sunshine laws.

Kleinschmidt, 51, who narrowly lost to Cook in 2006, has indicated he would support a limited voucher program financed by public school dollars and is not a sure vote against the disreputable GOP leadership in the House. Dippel wins our endorsement in District 17.

Emphasis mine. I certainly couldn't give a better reason for picking one candidate over another for the Lege this year, and I'm delighted to see the Statesman do the same. Maldonado was the first TexBlog PAC endorsee, so that makes this even sweeter.

Finally, I want to point out that Phillip Martin has a fine series of analyses of the various hot House races at BOR, most of which were published today. In particular, check out his view of the Dippel, Maldonado, and Vo races.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 14, 2008 to Election 2008
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