This evening Senator Dan Patrick responded to Patti Hart’s post of yesterday with the following comment:
I don’t normally respond to blog posts, but I felt Patricia’s comments needed some clarification. I’m surely not mad with her. She has a job to do and has her opinion, but let’s at least get the facts correct.
I believe this is the third anti-Patrick piece in a month from Patricia. That doesn’t bother me. However, we are starting to see a pattern.
She didn’t like my incentive plan to prevent possible abortions and save lives. I respect her right to disagree but when she questioned my reasons and sincerity for suggesting this bill, I felt that was over the line.
She then wrote a completely false story about me being the only Senator not on the floor during the Iman prayer. The truth was that 7 senators, one third of the republican party, were not on the floor. She either refused to print the truth or simply did a poor job of reporting the story by not checking her facts. The story is much different if it reads one third of republicans skip prayer as opposed to one senator. Was she trying to single me out? She also said I was outraged before the prayer. That was simply false. I am not anti Muslim or anti Islam. I am simply a Christian who did not want to be in a position of breaking the first commandment.
Now she attacks me for simply standing up for the people I represent and my principles. The budget is over 150 billion and impacts 23 million Texans. If other republicans choose not to offer debate I respect their decision. However, I have a right and I believe a duty to represent my views and speak for others. Are we going to spend 150 billion and not ask any questions. Those 16 senators like me not on finance have very little say on the budget. This was the time to ask questions. We had only gotten the budget about 48 hours before the vote. Then to somehow compare me to McCarthy is absolutely absurd.
My staff and others outside of the capitol looked for possible savings in the budget. You can agree or disagree on those savings cut ideas, but we did our homework. I received it just prior to the session. There was not time to pass it out. As I mentioned about getting this budget at the last moment, she surely remembers last month when we busted the spending cap,that that information was given to all senators about 30 minutes before the vote. Even if I had the information earlier it would not have changed the outcome. The votes were in the can. They were not going to delay the vote another day.
The reason I distributed it to the media was to show where we might begin to cut dollars. I wanted to back up my claim that at least 3 billion could be found and begin the flow of ideas. I did not even refer to it other than I found the cuts until Sentor Whitmire challenged me to show him my information. She says I waved it around as if I was grandstanding on the issue. I was answering a challenge after I had finished speaking and she knows that. I believe we can find much more. If one assumes that at least 5% of the budget is waste that is over 7 billion. My point is that every dollar counts. Let’s not spend money in some areas that are not a priority. Our dollars have to count.
Our budget has grown from over 30 billion in only 4 years. I am very concerned that we continue to spend money and still seem to have problems concerning our roads, education, health care, border. public safety and other key issues.
I am quite sure some Senators do not like a freshman speaking out as I do. It is not the tradition. However, I did not get elected to sit quietly on the sidelines. I was elected to help bring about change.
I have great respect for my fellow members. I have helped them on their agendas and they have helped me. A few may not like the fact that I’m here, but the vast majority, from both parties, have been extremely helpful including Senator Whitmire and Lucio who debated me yesterday. As to her charge of attacking one senator, I was not attacking one Senator, but rather his comments and the mantra that the property tax cuts are for the rich. I am tired of hearing that argument. Most people who will get tax relief are just hard working homeowners. They need relief. They are not rich. Every time I have taken the floor or spoken off the floor I have been repectful of others while at the same time standing up for what I believe.
Whether Patricia agrees with me or not is not important. However, you would think that she would welcome debate in the senate. You would think she would welcome someone who is willing to ask questions and challenge the system at times. We have a lot of talented and smart Senators from both parties in the Senate who work long hours trying their best to solve problems. At the same time our problems continue to grow as does our budget. I want to be sure we explore all possibilities in how we govern. We cannot continue to go down the same path we have been on. I think both liberals and conservatives would agree some change is due. I don’t have all the answers, nor pretend to have them, but I do have questions. Patrica apparently doesn’t think I should ask them.