State Rep. Jason Isaac, the Republican incumbent, went head to head with Democrat challenger John Adams Oct. 18 at Hays High School at a debate sponsored by the PTAs from Negley and Elm Grove elementary schools. About 60 attendees were in the audience to hear the candidates speak.
Cyndy Slovak-Barton, publisher of the Hays Free Press, moderated the debate. In full disclosure, Slovak-Barton’s husband made a financial contribution to the John Adams campaign. The debate questions were written and provided by the event organizers.
Jason Isaac’s opening remarks
Cyndy, thank you very much. Michelle, thank you for putting this together. Ryan, thank you for the introduction. My name is Jason Isaac, State Representative for House District 45 that currently serves, Hays, Blanco and Caldwell counties. With redistricting, we lost Caldwell County in House District 45 so I’m running for my first election in the newly drawn House District 45 which is just Blanco and Hays counties.
I work in the trucking industry and have for about 16 years. I market natural gas, as Ryan said, to trucking companies. Clean, cheap and domestic natural gas is produced right here in the state of Texas and has been the golden egg that the goose has been laying all over this state for years now, creating $25 billion in economic opportunity in south Texas. Creating over 200,000 jobs in north Texas. Contributing to our economy. So I’m proud to be a small, very small piece of that, but it’s an exciting opportunity. I’m also a youth coach. I’ve coached youth sports since I got out of college, volunteered my time. I think it’s important that we give back to our community. I’ve always wanted to give back to children and build them up in a positive environment. I believe if you encourage one another, you build each other up; that’s why I’ve always tried to be a positive role model for children. I use excessive praise in my coaching and it seems to have worked well. And it’s something I have really enjoyed. It’s stress relieving for me and its good exercise so I can try to keep up with my wife a little bit. I’ve done that for about 16 years, as I mentioned and I’ve only coached my boys for about four or five years now so hopefully I’m setting good examples for them so they’ll know when they get out of high school and when they get out of college that it’s important for them to give back to their communities as well.
I run a youth sports nonprofit that covers from Waco to San Antonio and for the first time this year, our nonprofit held a tournament right here in Hays County. There’s not many lacrosse programs in Hays County but as a leader of this nonprofit I saw an opportunity to bring economic development to Hays County, the county I represent. So right down the street at Five Mile Dam, we did a tournament with over 30 teams coming from out of town, bringing their dollars right here to Hays County, because that’s what it’s about. That’s why most of my contributors come from Hays County. That’s why I spend most of my money right here in Hays County that you contribute to my campaign is spent right here. If I can’t spend it in Hays County, I look to spend it in the Austin area, right in Central Texas to have a small economic impact. Tonight we’re going to talk a lot about education and I’m looking forward to having that conversation with you. Prior to my election, the Legislature spent $53.7 billion on education. During my session, we spent $53.8 billion dollars. If you do the math, it’s a $125 million increase. My opponent will use $5.5 billion in cuts repeatedly. On Monday night [at another debate], we stopped counting at nine times. But if my cable bill goes from $53.70 to $53.80, that’s not a cut, that’s an increase. I’m going to show you tonight how I’ve been focused on education and how I’m going to continue to be focused on education. Thank you.
John Adams’s opening remarks
My name is John Adams. I’m running for House Representative in House District 45. I’m going to repeat the bio a bit because a lot of you haven’t seen or heard me before. I’m not the incumbent. So I have to get out and introduce myself. [My wife] Sharon and I moved here 17 plus years ago. We chose this area to raise our children. We liked what we saw out in Dripping Springs; in particular, we liked the schools. I had been working for IBM for a number of years and we finally actually got a chance to move to Central Texas. That had been a plan for a long time. I worked on IBM projects including space shuttle and space station; really the coolest jobs you could imagine. That changed a little bit when I got here. I spent more than 30 years at IBM. I retired last year. Sharon said I couldn’t quit working; that’s why I’m at Xerox now. I had the opportunity about 12 years ago to start doing volunteer work with the school district and I served on a number of committees. Ultimately I was asked to run for the school board. I did, I was elected. I was re-elected. Six years is a long time. I decided to stop at that point. I really chose to get into this race because we did, in fact, cut…the Legislature cut $5.4 billion from our education budget last year. And I understand why they might have quit counting at nine because if you do the math, it is 5.4 billion. There isn’t any other way of looking at it. This state created a structural deficit and they won’t do anything about it. The “they” I’m talking about is the state Legislature. It’s their responsibility under our Constitution to adequately fund our school system. And it’s not being done. The reason I’m running for State Representative is because Mr. Isaac did cut $5.4 billion from our education budget. Statewide that resulted in a loss of 25,000 jobs, 8,000 overcrowded classrooms, and a number of other problems. He also cut women’s healthcare. There are 250,000 women in Texas who don’t have access to affordable healthcare basics like cancer screening. These are the reasons I’m running. I’m running because it’s time the people of this district had a representative in Austin who is going to represent the needs and focus on the issues that concern the people in this district and not a partisan political agenda. Thank you.
Q. Would you be in favor of creating a system such as vouchers in which parents could opt to pull their kids from public schools and be able to use that money towards other educational options?
Adams: Absolutely not; I’m opposed to vouchers. If you think there’s a problem with public schools – and I don’t, other than they are inadequately funded – pulling money out isn’t the solution. There aren’t enough other schools (private, charter, home) to take the number of children that we have to educate. We’ve got to make sure public schools are equitably and adequately funded so that the state lives up to its obligation under the (state) constitution. You cannot solve the problem with vouchers. It is a way of bleeding off money and putting it into private industry. Education is not a government function to be privatized.
Isaac: I don’t support vouchers for House District 45; we don’t have any failing schools in this district. There are inner city, urban children getting left behind because of funding, and we just throw more money at the problem. Those people need to take their tax dollars out of those schools and put it into another school. And if it is going into a private venture, then we need to make sure we’re holding them to standards as well, just not blindly giving them money. He’s bashing the Obama administration for taking stimulus dollars from us.
Adams: It was $5.4 billion. The state Legislature in 2006 froze our per student spending; they forced local school districts to reduce their tax rate because they don’t really care about local control, but they promised to replace that money and the Legislature chose to replace that money with stimulus dollars instead of state dollars, which they should have been doing. When the (U.S.) congress in 2010, not the Obama administration, eliminated those stimulus dollars, the (Texas) Legislature was caught with their pants down because they chose to rely on that money instead of funding it locally in Texas, like they were supposed to. You can’t say, ‘I promise to plug that hole’ and then plug it with somebody else’s money and then blame the other party when that money disappears.
Isaac: I’ll agree with my opponent about the state freezing spending in 2006. Why didn’t you run against my predecessor (Democrat Patrick Rose)? Because he supported that measure and you continued to financially support him. Before that decision and after that decision you continued to support him. So, why? Why didn’t you run against him? That’s just a question I have. Maybe we’ll get to that question in a little bit. The fact is, the state increased their share of spending $1.6 billion dollars. The overall spending increased $125.2 million dollars. You can’t deny the math. I think it’s great that we’re here in a school because this is clearly a math lesson. When you add $125.2 million dollars, it is not a cut. We did reduce spending per student, but overall the appropriations … there was never a vote that I took that said I cut spending $5.4 billion dollars. This is his number, this is his funny math. The Obama administration took the one-time stimulus that school districts like my opponent was leading and spent it on hiring staff and giving people raises… Those are reoccurring expenses.
Moderator to Isaac:
Q. There have been recent reports about your plan to increase money in the classrooms by increasing teacher pay. However, these ideas seem to run counter to what your party did while in control last Legislature. Can you explain exactly what your plan will look like in terms of what it would do, how much it would cost and how you would pay for it?
Isaac: Education is a three-legged stool. Parents, teachers and students. There was a bill last session, Senate Bill 8. My opponent wrote a letter to Chairman Shapiro supporting this bill so he could cut teacher pay to balance the budget. It was a temporary solution. He said he only wanted to do this for two years. I’ve never supported cutting teacher pay. I supported this particular bill because it eliminated the salary schedule. If you look between 2000 and 2010, teachers made the least gains compared to other professions. That’s unacceptable to me. We need to remove the salary schedule and that’s why I supported removing the salary schedule. I didn’t think districts would come in and lobby in favor of this bill to support cutting teacher pay there on the floor (of the Legislature). Did not think that would happen. But I thought there would be an opportunity where school districts would start to pay their good teachers more and not give raises to the bad teachers, like they’re required to by this minimum salary schedule. They’re the only ones that are inhibited by this salary schedule; the teaching profession is the only one. So they get rid of the glass ceiling and teachers can truly break through that ceiling and make more money. And we find that money by reducing over seven pages of single-space, single-line type of unfunded mandates that the state places on school districts. I worked last session to reduce some of those mandates so that districts can have more money so they can reduce their costs – because if you reduce the cost to a school district, it’s the same as putting more money into the system. They’ll use that more money to get competitive and hire and pay good teachers so they keep them. And that’s what I really want to focus on – spending more money on classroom instruction, in the classroom, including teacher pay.
Moderator to Adams:
Q. Explain what you would do about teacher pay statewide?
Adams: I’m glad this (debate) is at a school venue. Because I’ll say it again: Last year was a train wreck for education in the Legislature. We did cut $5.4 billion. If the state had added money to the education budget, the board members from HCISD wouldn’t have been making do with more than $15 million less. Every school district in Texas ended up with less money from the state. I don’t know how you accomplish that if the state increased the school budgets. They absolutely did not. Every single school district lost approximately 15 percent for the biennium. You cannot give teachers raises if the state doesn’t do their job. The Legislature cut that.
Yes, I testified on behalf of Senate Bill 8. It was a set of measures that school boards could use. I said, ‘Just give it to us for two years, put a sunset provision in there.’ I didn’t get to vote for it. Only one person in here got to vote for it; it was Mr. Isaac. And I do not remember his amendment requiring us to not use SB8 to cut teacher salaries. If he was so opposed to that, he had ample opportunity to submit that amendment. The issue here is not what he didn’t get passed, but what he did pass. And he voted to cut education $5.4 billion. Ask your local school board trustees if they ended up with more money from the state.
Isaac: My opponent talks a lot about cutting dollars to education and he should look in the mirror. He said in a debate on Monday, ‘It’s preposterous. In Dripping Springs, we didn’t cut the budget until the state cut $5.4 billion out of public education.’ But in fact, if you go back and look at the minutes of the Dripping Springs ISD board meeting on June 17, 2010, almost seven months before I’m in office… I haven’t even been elected yet, I’m still campaigning… He cut the budget by $1.3 million dollars. Not only did he vote for it, he made the motion to adopt it. And the reason is because spending was rampant before that. For the four years before that, they (DSISD board) were spending over 30 percent increases. Every year. And the enrollment was below 20 percent increases every year. And that’s what we’ve done over the last 10 years. Our spending has increased 98 percent; enrollment only increased 23 percent during those same 10 years. It’s guys like this that have run roughshod over our budgets.
Adams: Clearly Mr. Isaac doesn’t get it. The people of Dripping Springs, realizing it’s a fast growth district, and our schools were filling up, knew that we needed a construction project. The people of Dripping Springs voted to approve bond money. Bonds were sold. Money was appropriated from those. And we had construction projects. He likes to add that construction money into a factoid that he creates that says how much money we were spending per student. You can’t mix bond money with the money you spend in the classroom, mainly because it’s illegal. But fiscally, it doesn’t make sense. Ask a CPA. The fact is, when we cut budgets at the local school level, it’s in reaction to the $5.4 billion that the state cut from us. Again, ask a teacher, ask a school administrator, ask a school board trustee – why did you cut the budget when the state magically improved the budget? It’s because they didn’t. They cut.
Q. Give us two major differences you see between yourself and your opponent
Adams: I’m pro-education. Based on his record, Mr. Isaac is not. He had plenty of opportunity as a state legislator to stand up and fight for our priorities. He chose instead to take a pledge to a Washington lobbyist and promise not to raise fees, not to raise taxes, and consequently cut the state’s budget to the local school districts. State money is a significant fraction for many school districts. So that’s probably the biggest difference between us. The second biggest difference is the Legislature last year also voted to cut women’s health care. There are over 250,000 women today in Texas who lost access to valued health care services. Those are the two biggest differences between us.
Isaac: It’s fiscal responsibility I think that’s the biggest difference between us. When I was elected less than two years ago, I had made a pledge to the taxpayers, the hardworking taxpayers that I represent in House District 45, that I would not support a measure that raises your taxes. 70 percent of households in America are living paycheck to paycheck. Many here in District 45 are on fixed incomes and can’t afford tax increases like my opponent supported and worked to pass in Dripping Springs of 12 and a half percent. So taxing is the biggest one. I fought for reduced government spending. The first thing I did was cut 10 percent out of our budget, worked with the other members of the House to do the same thing, and next thing you know, it’s the second or third vote we take on the House floor is to reduce everybody’s budget by 10 percent. That saves taxpayers $150,000 of our money every single month. Fiscal responsibility and lower taxes are the two biggest differences that I see between us.
Adams: I think he’s right. I agree that fiscal responsibility is a big difference between us. And I’ll tell you right now that when you cut education, you’re being fiscally irresponsible.
Every dollar we put into higher ed. comes back in our future economy 5.5 times. When you cut higher ed., you cut our economy in the future. You cannot balance a budget today on the backs of women and children and seniors. This is one time when women and children should not be first. It’s fiscally irresponsible to cut education because it always pays off in the future. The latest study I saw three weeks ago – five and a half times. Every dollar we invest in higher ed. comes back in the economy.
Isaac: I couldn’t agree more about the women’s health program. But first, I want to talk about Dripping Springs ISD. In a letter to the editor he wrote announcing his candidacy, he said there was a $500 impact per student that they had to cut from Dripping Springs. Out of $15,910 that was spent per student. And he says, ‘Oh, you can’t combine these things.’ I don’t know about you, but when I do my budget, I include my mortgage payment. The total they’re spending per student is $15,910. You ask us for 12 and a half percent more. Are you kidding me? That is not fiscally responsible. Asking us for 12-and-a-half percent more while he’s trying to build a $1.3 million dollar softball stadium, while he’s trying to cut the budget, and while he’s taking taxpayer funded trips to the tune of $10,000 over the time that he served on the board. I have not used a single dime of taxpayer dollars to take legislative trips, and I’ve been on several. I responsibly use my money or my campaign dollars to do that. We need to demand fiscal responsibility out of our politicians, and I’m leading by example. And that is the kind of responsibility we are demanding out of our elected officials. I hope you’ll do the same.
Moderator to Isaac: What question do you want to ask John?
Q. What specifically would you do to put more money into education to restore funding?
Adams: The first thing, I insist that the Legislature not change the rules which is exactly what they did last year when they were obligated to replace the money that they had taken away from local school districts that they covered up with stimulus dollars. When they realized that the margins tax wasn’t doing what they had promised, they simply went in and changed the law. You get to do that if you’re the Legislature. You get to change the rules in the middle of the game. So I would say, look at what the Lege said it would do. And if the funding mechanism they thought was going to work isn’t going to work, then find another mechanism. But it’s the Legislature that got us into this situation. They need to own up to it, take responsibility and not wait for six lawsuits to wind its way through the court system, which this state will lose because of inaction by the Lege. Take some responsibility.
Moderator to Adams: What question do you want to ask Jason?
Q. At what point are you ready to admit that $5.4 billion dollars was cut by the state by changing the law and the formula funding rules so that you didn’t have to own up to the obligation that the Legislature assumed in 2006?
Isaac: I guess when I see the appropriations budget that shows that we reduced spending by $5.4 billion dollars. I can’t even keep up with the numbers. When we spend 43.3 percent of our entire state’s budget on public education, we are clearly making it a priority. When other states on average spend 30.9? Forty-three percent in Texas is spent on public education. That is a significant commitment to education. But what we have got to do is reduce the cost and put the ‘independent’ back in independent school districts. And the federal government has taken too much time and effort into putting all these regulations on us. And then the state does the same thing. And so I agree with you that the bill that was created in 2005-2006, it created a mess. And we’ve got to fix that. That’s what got me into the race – because I didn’t like the margins tax. We saw 10 percent of the small businesses in Texas see a 500 percent increase. That’s not right; that’s not how you grow jobs and grow the economy.
Q. A statewide property tax is prohibited by a Texas Constitutional amendment passed in 1982…. Sen. Robert Duncan of Lubbock has promised he’s going to return it to the Lege in January. Where do you stand on this proposal and why?
Adams: I find it interesting that a Republican senator would introduce this. I can only assume he didn’t sign a pledge to Washington lobbyist Grover Norquist. That’s an interesting proposal, but I don’t think we have to go there yet. I think there are plenty of other avenues to look at for providing additional funding for education. So, while it might be worth looking at, I’m not interested in that yet. I would instead look at whether or not we should sunset certain corporate tax loopholes that are being used by very large, very profitable corporations to keep from paying their fair share, which then reduces the amount of money we have for education. So while that’s an interesting proposal, I’m not interested in looking at that right now.
Isaac: The first time I ever heard about Grover Norquist was when (Adams) came into my office and started screaming at me (about) why wouldn’t I raise his taxes. And he said, ‘You signed some pledge with some guy named Grover Norquist.’ I signed a pledge with a group called ‘Texans for Fiscal Responsibility,’ because I wanted to be a fiscal leader and take all of the tools out of the toolbox that involve raising taxes. We can’t afford any more. Our government does an inefficient job of spending our money and we’ve got to demand accountability and responsibility from our elected leaders. I would not support a statewide property tax. Absolutely not. That’s just taking our property rights away from us. We already rent our property from the state as it is. If we don’t pay our property taxes, the state will come in and take our property. That’s a terrible thing for property rights. We need to be able to own our property outright without having to worry about the state coming in and taking it away because we have a bad couple years and can’t pay our property taxes. So I would not support that whatsoever.
Question from audience:
Q. Now Mr. Isaac, you voted against using the Rainy Day Fund (RDF) that could have saved thousands of jobs, kept classes manageable and allowed our students to have access to the resources they needed. Given that the fund is expected to climb to $8.1 billion, would you now be willing to commit to using that to restore dollars that were previously taken away from education and to create permanent earmarks dedicated toward children and their education?
Isaac: Thank you for the question Ms. Orosco. There’s a good opportunity that we’re going to back in this legislative session and have an $8 billion dollar stimulus. You’ll have to go back and look at your records, because I did actually vote to use the Rainy Day Fund last Lege session. It’s there, in the record. We had gaps in our previous budget that we had to fill. And that’s what the Rainy Day Fund is there for: one time, non-reoccurring expenses. So this next session, we’ll have a $2.3 billion gap to public education. This is a measure that I actually worked to avoid, passed an amendment on the House floor that said if our revenue exceeds our expenses, we will pay that $2.3 billion on time. Unfortunately, my amendment got stripped out of conference committee time after time after time. Extremely frustrating to me. A good, fiscally responsible amendment that I was leading the charge and the House overwhelmingly supported. So we will come back hopefully with a surplus and yes, I will vote to use the Rainy Day Fund to fill the $2.3 billion dollars that we pushed into the next biennium.
Adams: Well, I’m glad you brought that up. I’d almost forgotten about that. Claiming to balance a budget by shoving $2 billion dollars into the next fiscal budget doesn’t strike me as fiscally responsible. And last year during the Special Session, Rep. Donna Howard introduced an amendment and I thought it was really good, outside the box thinking. It said we think the RDF is going to be here and we’re going to protect that. Anything over that amount that comes in, even though we don’t expect it, if it shows up, let’s go ahead and take it and use it with the schools. And that amendment was defeated and, as I recall, you voted against that amendment. And that would have been a great amendment because the RDF came in ahead of where they thought, and we could have been using $2.3 billion in education right now.
Isaac: We did actually put $2.3 billion back in education. We delayed the August payment from August 10 to September 10, knowing that we would come back and do this and put the money back into education. I didn’t like it. The conversations I heard on the House floor were, ‘We did this in 2003, it’s OK, no big deal.’ No, that’s not accurate. It’s not a small deal. It’s a big deal to push budget matters into the next biennium, onto the backs of other people. That’s why I passed my amendment. It was very similar to Donna’s, and being a freshman representative, sometimes these things get yanked out.
Adams: I appreciate the fact that being a freshman must be tough, but I don’t want to dwell on the things you didn’t pass. I think we need to examine the record of the things you did pass. You did cut the budget. You could have voted against that bill. If enough other people had voted against that bill, the Legislature could have been held in session until you got something that worked. You voted for SB8, you didn’t offer an amendment to take anything out. You had repeated chances to stand up and fight for the priorities of the people in this district. You chose to go with the agenda that your partisan ideology was pushing, which was to cut at all costs, and all costs meant women and children.
Question from audience:
Q. Mr. Adams, have you ever been on a taxpayer-funded trip? If so, how many times and at what cost?
Adams: The state of Texas requires school board members to obtain a certain number of continuing education credits every year. The credits you obtain are reported in public session in January of every year. So the state requires us to get education. There are two venues typically a year, conferences that we can go to. Unlike Mr. Isaac’s, school board positions are uncompensated and carry no benefits. I’m required by the state to get more education. So yes, the school district provides reimbursement for school board members to go to the conferences to get education to become better school board members, and yes, that is reimbursed. We don’t have the advantage of being compensated with a salary or benefits. I can’t tell you what the cost is right now.
Isaac: I can, because I haven’t spent a single dollar of your taxpayer dollars going to conferences so that I can become a better legislator. Because when I had this discussion with my staff in the office, I felt like, you know what? I don’t think 100 percent of the people I serve would agree with me using their hard-earned tax dollars when we’re having difficult fiscal discussions and going to conferences and staying in hotels. But I bet that people that support my campaign would support that, and I shared this information with them. And what usually happens is I get contributions right after that because they appreciate my fiscal responsibility. The easy thing to do is fill out the form and get the reimbursement. The hard thing to do would be to ask the Dripping Springs Education Foundation, which offers scholarships so that teachers can attend conferences. I contribute to that foundation and I think every single one in Hays County. So they can use those funds. That’s the hard thing. The easy thing is to just fill out the form and get the money from taxpayers. I want our politicians and our elected officials to do the hard thing.
Adams: Again, school board members have a statutory requirement to get education. We don’t have – school board members do not have – large, wealthy donors to subsidize that. However, having said that, I would gladly spend taxpayer dollars, I would gladly spend my dollars, Mr. Isaac, if I could send you someplace to become a better legislator.
Isaac: That’s evident in your record. It’s OK for you to spend other people’s tax dollars. There were three votes: In 2007 and 2008, you voted to raise our property taxes, our INS tax 45 percent in the course of two years, and in 2011 you proposed this 12-and-ahalf percent property tax so maybe you can go to a conference. You’re cutting teacher pay; you’re trying to balance the budget. I love how you get all emotional using women and children as your pawns. But you’ve cut teacher pay while you’re going to conferences and spending our dollars. And talking about wealthy contributors, why don’t you ask the trial lawyers? They’ve contributed more than $20,000 to your account. These are trial lawyers, personal injury trial lawyers that will sue police officers and firemen with making a split-second decision. That’s the problem with our society; we’re just too litigious and that’s who’s backing my opponent’s campaign – trial lawyers and unions, not the people in the district. Over 70 percent of his contributions come from outside the district. Look where he spends his money. Look where I spend mine.
Closing remarks from John Adams
I’m running for State Representative for a number of reasons, but mostly because there is a political agenda here, there is an ideology and it’s being pushed and it’s being pushed effectively. But I do not believe that it represents the issues that the people of this district care about. I don’t believe it focuses on the issues that the people of this district care about. And it starts with our children and it starts with their education. In the 21st century, this state is going to face a number of problems. We already do. These problems are not going to be solved without a well-educated population. And right now we’re endangering that opportunity for our children to become well educated. When we cut our budgets the way we have at the local level because the Legislators at the state level balance the budget on the backs of those children. I’m running for office to fix the education budget once and for all. We’ve been through this over and over and over again. The Legislature had not done its job and it was sued in the ’90s. That’s how we got Robin Hood. When they saw that was broken, they did nothing to fix it until they got sued again. The Legislature was sued about 10 years ago and they lost again. And that’s when they created the current problem. And they didn’t address it last year. And that’s why the state Legislature is being sued again. And after it winds its way through the courts, we’re going to lose again. So I’m running to make sure we get ready and go and fix the education budget once and for all. I’m running to protect our seniors. I’m running to ensure that women have access to the basic medical necessities that they need. Two hundred and fifty thousand women no longer have access to things like cancer screenings. I know about budgets, I know about priorities, I did it at IBM, I helped manage the budget in Dripping Springs trough drastic cuts that the state Legislature had inflicted on us. The next Legislature session is going to be focused on the budget, primarily the education budget, primarily it’s going to require people who can have real, honest debate about that topic. It’s gonna require collaboration and cooperation and compromise. Thank you very much.
Closing remarks from Jason Isaac
I’m glad he talks about the women’s health program. This is a Texas program that was managed and implemented by the state of Texas. Under our tenth amendment rights, we were managing this complete program and then we made some changes to the program this last legislature so we could broaden what is covered. So a woman doesn’t just go to a doctor now and get diagnosed with having cancer. Now she can go to a doctor, a new provider, over a thousand and forty-three new providers that will not only diagnose and treat the cancer. We made the women’s health program better – more efficient use of our tax dollars. But what the feds didn’t like, the Obama administration did not like, they don’t like us exercising our 10th Amendment rights. And so when we passed a provision that said tax payer dollars could not be used to fund abortion, they came in and cut 90 percent of the funding from the women’s health program. And so the governor created the Texas women’s health program. I look forward to going back next leg session so that we can fully fund that. But our records couldn’t be different. My opponent has supported tax increases three times. I have never supported raising taxes. He supports eliminating teachers and cutting their pay while spending thousands of dollars on tax payer funded trips. Again, I’ve never taken one. While I was working hard, we balanced the budget, we cut spending for the first time in Texas in 50 years. We need to do a better job with our tax dollars. It’s not the state’s money, it’s our money. I passed legislation to assist veterans, protect ground water and small businesses from frivolous lawsuits. I fought to improve roads, assist students at Texas State with a tuition freeze bill, reduce the costly burdens of standardized testing which I’m looking forward to going back to fight for. I partnered with a Democrat because he had a better bill than I did. And I’m not partisan. And when the new commissioner of education gets appointed, I don’t blast him on Facebook. I’m want to work with Commission Williams to improve education. Two years ago, I told you I would fight for Texas and that I would fight to protect Texans. And I’m asking you for your vote so that I can back and continue to fight for Texas. Thank you very much for being here tonight. I enjoyed it, I had a great time. Thank you to my wife for putting up with me. It is an honor to serve Texas and I look forward to continuing to serve you.