Parent PAChyderms
Fri March 30, 2007 11:41 am

Remember last year when the Texas Parent PAC made such a splash in the elections with a bipartisan slate of candidates who vowed to support public schools and the goals of the education community? Last night, on the first major education vote of the session--Noriega's proposed teacher pay raise--campaign promise ran up against the reality of a contested vote. All of the seven Democrats endorsed by Parent PAC (Garcia, Bolton, Heflin, Vaught, Farias, Cohen, D. Howard) voted against Kolkhorst's motion to table the pay raise, but the five Republicans (Aycock, S. King, Darby, Patrick, Latham) might as well have been Kent Grusendorf clones.

Here's how the Parent PAC Rs voted:
On the motion to table (failed 65-82): Aycock Yes, S. King Yes, Drew Darby Yes, Diane Patrick Yes, Thomas Latham Yes
On adoption of the pay raise: Aycock No, S. King absent, Darby Yes, Patrick Yes, Latham No.

Two votes out of a possible ten could not have been what Parent PAC was hoping for. At the same time, I recognize that this was a complicated situation. Regardless of which party or faction is in the majority, members of that group are expected to defend the appropriations bill against the opposition. Furthermore, the proposal was not just for a pay raise; it was also to take the entire appropriation earmarked for merit pay to fund it. And they had to go against the speaker. Still, the saying "dance with the one who brung you" means a lot in politics, and the one who brung them wasn't Tom Craddick.

This was an interesting vote that involved a lot of crossing of party lines. Here are some lists you may find intriguing:

Thirteen Republicans voted against the motion to table the Noriega amendment, around half of whom are ABCs: Bonnen, Elkins, Haggerty, Hamilton, Jones, Kuempel, McCall, Merritt, Phillips, T. Smith, Solomons, Truitt, West.

Only two of this group, Solomons and Truitt, switched back to vote against the amendment after voting not to table.

All eleven Democrats on the Appropriations committee broke ranks with Chisum and voted no on the motion to table the Noriega amendment: Allen, Chavez, Dukes, Guillen, Hopson, Lucio, McClendon, McReynolds, Menendez, Noriega, Turner. Two of these, Chavez and Turner, voted against the adoption of the amendment; all of the remaining 67 Democrats voted for the amendment.

Nine Republicans voted to table the amendment, then voted for its adoption: England, Geren, Hartnett, Krusee, Orr, Otto, Pitts, Swinford, Van Arsdale.

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