draws over 300 TEA Party organizers to Austin
AUSTIN – The TEA Party Caucus
has been very active since coming together just a few weeks ago. The
caucus, third largest in the legislature with 57 members, held an orientation
for TEA Party groups from all across Texas. Over 300 TEA Party organizers,
representing hundreds of thousands of voters, came to Austin to participate
in a nearly four hour overview covering the legislative process, an
outline of the budget, healthcare, redistricting, and a question and
answer session with members of the caucus. “The idea was to have a
first ever citizens’ orientation similar to what newly elected legislators
receive before session," explained caucus vice-chair Rep. Phil
"From the beginning, one
of the goals of our caucus was to help citizens become more empowered
by learning the legislative process," stated caucus founder Senator
Dan Patrick. "The more knowledge the people have about how government
works, the better government will be."
was a great opportunity for those of us around the state to learn more
about the legislative process from our elected officials,” stated
Leslie Haight, TEA Party Caucus Advisory Committee. “The information
regarding the budgeting challenges we face this session was especially
eye-opening.” Dean Wright, TEA Party organizer agreed, "This
enlightening presentation provided valuable insight to the legislative
process that can be used by the grassroots attendees to impact legislation
much more effectively."
In addition to the orientation,
over the past month the caucus has met with many TEA Party organizers
from around the state. The purpose was to listen to what they believe
are the major issues they want the legislature to address this session.
Topping the list was balancing the budget without raising taxes. "Those
who think the TEA Parties from across the State are going to go away
are sadly mistaken. The citizens of Texas have had enough. They
will hold us accountable for our votes and actions and they will be
a major driving force in 2012 and beyond," stated Flynn.
Last week the caucus met to
discuss the issues presented to them by the TEA Party groups. The caucus
has set an agenda for the session that reflects their support for the
issues supported by the TEA Party. With one exception, the agenda does
not support specific legislation, but broad principles. With many bills
filed on the same issues supported by the TEA Party, the caucus decided
it was too soon to get behind specific legislation. "The committees
need to hear testimony and members need to study and discuss the various
bills that have been filed," said caucus board member Rep. Allen
Fletcher. "While the list of issues the caucus will support focuses
on the major ones presented to us, they are by no means the only issues
presented to us," clarified caucus board member Rep. Dan Flynn.
Texas Legislative TEA Party
Caucus Statement of Principle
It is the purpose and intent
of the members of the Texas Legislative TEA Party Caucus to promote
• a balanced budget without
• a secure Texas border and
an end to illegal immigration;
• the reassertion of the
10th Amendment and repeal of all federal laws in contradiction thereof;
• election integrity, including
passage of voter identification legislation;
• advancement of Texans'
2nd Amendment rights.
"These issues were the
top five issues presented to us," remarked caucus vice-chair Rep.
Beverly Woolley. The one specific bill the caucus did agree to support
was House Joint Resolution 50, by Rep Creighton, and the companion legislation,
Senate Joint Resolution 14, by Senator Patrick. These bills affirm the
sovereign rights of Texas under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Rep. Creighton passed this measure with almost unanimous support in
the House in 2009. So far, all 19 Republicans have co-authored SJT 14
in the Senate.
The Senate has already passed
a photo voter I.D. bill. The House is expected to take up the legislation
in the very near future. "We are off to a quick start on the issues
brought to us by the TEA Party," noted Senator Patrick. "But,
we are just beginning."