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General Election Endorsement for Governor

Pursuant to Texas Ethics Commission rules and statutes, Grassroots America – We the People is registered as a General Purpose Political Action Committee; GAWTP has also filed as a 527 with the Internal Revenue Service.  GAWTP has met the necessary legal requirements to endorse candidates at all levels of government and to take positions on legislation and ballot measures.

Endorsement of a candidate is a serious matter.  To paraphrase Samuel Adams’ warning regarding the seriousness of voting, we do not consider an endorsement to be ‘making a present or a compliment to please an individual’ or to appease interested groups.  We do not endorse for the sake of compliance with conventional wisdom regarding the odds of winning, nor do we submit to party expediency; therefore, it is with a great sense of responsibility that we announce endorsements.  In the race for governor, our endorsement narrative includes the strengths of the candidate we endorse as well as our concerns regarding his track record. Our purpose is to spotlight areas for vigilant watch and corrective action – not cover them up with an endorsement. We will do everything we can to ensure the candidates we endorse are successful; and if successful, we will also do everything we can to hold them accountable for the oath they take to uphold the Constitution and for the way they conduct the People’s business.

General Election Endorsement for Governor

October 13, 2010 Smith County, Texas – Grassroots America – We the People, the largest constitutional conservative group in East Texas, announces its endorsement of Governor Rick Perry for re-election.

We cannot afford a governor who supports the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Plan to expand the federal government.  We cannot afford a man who thumbs his nose at the rule of law and sets up a sanctuary city to support those who break and subvert our immigration laws.  We cannot afford to take a chance on a man whose campaign ads make him look like a conservative, while his actual track record proves otherwise.  Bill White is a Democrat.  Bill White supports the Democratic Party platform.  Today, the Democratic Party platform and its actions do not represent the Founding Principles of Freedom and Liberty, but instead represents Big Government.   We cannot trust a Big Government supporter like Bill White to cut spending, lead the state through the redistricting process, or keep the federal government out of our state’s business.

We know Rick Perry. After ten years, we know Rick Perry is not perfect.  In fact, sometimes he makes us mad, but we know Rick Perry will never support Obama/Pelosi/Reid Big Government Health Care or more federal takeover of education.  We know Rick Perry understands what makes Texas a great place to live, work, raise a family, and grow a business – and that is individual freedom and the free market.

At a time when the federal government has put us over $13 trillion in debt with out-of-control spending, has taken over huge segments of the private sector, shoved big government programs down our throats, and trampled the Constitution, we need a strong defender of state sovereignty and freedom at the helm of state government.  We encourage voters to re-elect Rick Perry Governor of the Great Sovereign State of Texas.

A summary of Governor Rick Perry’s conservative strengths:

Opposes abortion and legalization of gay marriage;

Upholds Second Amendment Gun Rights:  A+ rating, endorsed by Texas Rifle Association PAC

Led the successful effort for tort reform, making Texas a friendly environment for the medical profession which improves access to quality health care;

Opposes federal education mandates;

Pro-active in coalition-building with other governors and state attorneys general to assert the constitutional rights of states as guaranteed under the 10th Amendment to push back against “one size fits all,” socialized medicine/federal health care legislation and accompanying unfunded mandates;

Supports amicus brief filed by state attorneys general, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, in the U.S. v. State of Arizona case, which states that Arizona has the right to provide for the public safety and security of their citizens.

Leading legal challenge to EPA rulings that greenhouse gasses in the state are a health threat; this is a strong push back from the Governor as it relates to federal government overreach with Cap and Trade and federal agency edicts;

Supports initiative for Texas Taxpayer Bill of Rights –  a set of taxpayer protections, including a call for constitutional amendments for spending caps and supermajority approval for any tax increase (we wish he’d done this years ago);

Signed Texas Conservative Coalition pledge to:  balance the budget without raising taxes; limit federal intrusion into state affairs; improve election integrity; cut taxes; secure the Texas border.

Vowed to ask the legislature in January to take “emergency action to abolish sanctuary cities,” when receiving the endorsement of the Houston Police Officers’ Union.  Former Houston Mayor Bill White is known across Texas as a sanctuary city mayor.

Building and maintaining a friendly business climate – led successful charge with the state legislature to keep state government regulations to a minimum and taxes low to attract and keep new businesses coming to Texas; Texas has the second lowest tax burden in the nation (The Economist, June 2009).  This makes for a family-friendly, opportunity-rich environment for entrepreneurs.  It has also shielded our state from the very severe economic contractions and job losses experienced in many other states; however, the budget challenges ahead are significant and will be difficult to manage.

Our Concerns – Areas for Corrective Action

1. Governor Perry’s on-again, off-again love affair with federal funds: In January of this year, he refused $700 million in federal stimulus funds for education because he opposes federal education mandates; however, he recently pursued over $830 million in federal aid through the Education Jobs Fund. On Sept. 9, the U.S. Department of Education denied Texas’ application because the Governor correctly refused to pledge a certain level of state funding to public schools for the next three years due to state constitutional limits.  The Governor’s Office has since filed a lawsuit against the DOE to secure these funds for Texas.  We frankly have a hard time following Governor Perry’s position on federal funds, and since the federal government has put us over 13 trillion in debt, we really think it is time to stop asking for money from the federal trough and time to tell the feds to butt out of education, period.

2. Need to end employment magnets for illegal aliens. In the (primary) Belo debate, Governor Perry discounted the use of E-verify to screen out illegal aliens for employment, “E-Verify would not make a hill of beans’ difference when it comes to what’s happening in America today. You secure the border first, and then you can talk about how to identify individuals in an immigration situation.”  Border enforcement is important, but how about some interior enforcement?  And if E-verify won’t work, what is the solution, Governor?  We have too many Texans out of work and too many students looking for work to give any jobs to people who are here illegally.  As conservatives and supporters of the rule of law, the word “illegal” really means something.  We’d like to see the law enforced.

3. Need to end in-state tuition breaks for illegal aliens. Perhaps the most frustrating element of Perry’s stance on benefits for illegal aliens is the issue of in-state tuition breaks.  The best analysis comes from The Lone Star Report: Per LSR’s William Lutz: “At tonight’s debate, KHOU’s Len Cannon asked Gov. Rick Perry an excellent question. Noting that U.S. Citizens from other states cannot get in-state tuition at Texas universities, Cannon asked whether it is fair that Texas grants in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. A law signed by Governor Rick Perry in 2001 granted illegal immigrant graduates of Texas high schools in-state tuition at state universities and colleges.”

Lutz continues: “First, many categories of LEGAL immigrants are ineligible for in-state tuition, including student visas.  That’s right — foreign students who obey the law pay more than illegal immigrants whose parents broke the law.

The Texas Administrative Code has a specific section on the types of visas that one can use to establish domicile in Texas for tuition purposes. The citation is 19 TAC, Rule 21.24. The regulations include a chart which states exactly which types of visas are eligible for in-state tuition and which ones are not.

Second, Gov. Rick Perry’s claim that the Texas Education Agency follows up on whether illegal immigrant recipients of in-state tuition actually file for permanent residency is just plain false. The Texas Education Agency has no authority over higher education or determination of residency status for tuition purposes. The Higher Education Coordinating Board is the agency that makes rules on Texas residency for tuition purposes.

The law does not require illegal immigrants who get in-state tuition to apply for legal status. It requires illegal immigrants to sign an affidavit claiming they will apply when they become eligible. For example an illegal immigrant who will never become eligible for permanent residency can honestly sign the affidavit, since no obligation attaches until a person becomes eligible to apply for legal status.

The law in this area is Texas Education Code, Section 54.053(3)(B): if the person is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, an affidavit [shall be filed] stating that the person will apply to become a permanent resident of the United States as soon as the person becomes eligible to apply.

No regulation, law, or policy requires any university or the coordinating board to follow up on whether the application for legal status mentioned in the Education Code is ever filed. In short, in-state tuition for illegal immigrants discriminates not only against citizens from other states — as stated in the debate. It also discriminates against certain types of legal immigrants.” [End of Lutz analysis]

This is an issue of interior enforcement of the rule of law as it applies to immigration.  This benefit encourages law-breaking and further discourages citizens who struggle to pay for a government that we can no longer afford!

Once Governor Perry is re-elected, Grassroots America – We the People will network with conservative groups around the state to put pressure on the Texas legislature, our Governor, and Lt. Governor to take corrective action on these three areas of concern.