Thomas Ratliff

Ratliff may seek Jackson’s seat

Jul 16, 2011 By Paul Burka

Not Bill. Not Thomas. Bennett Ratliff, the eldest son of the former lieutenant governor, is contemplating entering the race for District 115, the seat being vacated by former Dallas County commissioner Jim Jackson. As is likely to be the case in many districts that are up for grabs, there are…

SBOE’s Ratliff defends the public schools

Jun 14, 2011 By Paul Burka

One of the most dismal aspects about this most dismal of regular sessions was the lack of support for public education among Republicans. Indeed, the infamous Michael Quinn Sullivan went so far as to run TV spots mocking educators--one showed an administrator throwing darts at a board to decide which teachers to fire--in an effort to argue against using the Rainy Day Fund to ease the pain of education cuts.  That's what I want to do when I grow up. I want to do my part to destroy the future of the state and make sure that we cut the budget as much as possible to ensure that kids grow up ignorant. I'd feel so good about myself. I digress from my purpose. Thomas Ratliff, R-Mt. Pleasant, who won a seat on the State Board of Education in 2010 by defeating former chairman Don McLeroy, distributed some numbers about public education yesterday. I was among those who received his work. The same data can be found in the Quorum Report's press release section; it was also sent to the Statesman and may appear there. Now, let's get on with the stats. What Ratliff has done is focus on the difficulties schools have faced as the number of students as grown but the revenue available to schools hasn't. The 2006 target revenue scheme is a starve-the-beast policy that froze school district revenue, starting in 2006, without making accommodation for enrollment growth, while tying districts' hands when it came to raising local revenue. This was, in my opinion, the beginning of the end of Republicans' commitment to public education. From Ratliff:

Bad day for conservatives: the anger that wasn’t there

Mar 3, 2010 By Paul Burka

This was supposed to be an unpredictable election due to the tea parties and the Medina candidacy. It was supposed to be an election in which angry conservatives rose up and smote incumbents. Nothing remotely like that occurred. Republican congressional candidates, who might have been tainted by Washingtonitis, won with ease; the closest race was Ralph Hall's 57% victory. In fact, this was a bad election for conservatives, with one exception--Rick Perry. He was a ten-year incumbent in an election cycle that was supposed to be terrible for incumbents, but his keen political instincts enabled him to get out in front of the tea party movement early and become its champion instead of its victim. One of the undercurrents in this election was that conservatives disgruntled by Joe Straus's defeat of Tom Craddick in the 2009 speaker's race saw an opportunity to destabilize him by running hard-right Republicans against moderates on his team. Todd Smith was assailed for holding up Voter ID; he won with surprising ease. Vicki Truitt was assailed for offering a local option gasoline tax; she dispatched three opponents without needing a runoff. Burt Solomons had an unexpectedly close race but prevailed. Chuck Hopson, who switched from Democrat to Republican, infuriated Republicans in his district by announcing that he would continue to vote as he had in the past--and smashed his two opponents. Most of the opposition didn't come from the grass roots; it came from self-appointed kingmakers like Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Michael Quinn Sullivan. Incumbency proved to be mightier than ideology. The voter anger never materialized; it metamorphosized into a brief infatuation with Medina and faded away after she self-destructed on the Glen Beck radio show. A bonus for Straus: One Republican he surely didn't want to see in the House was former Legislative Council director Milton Rister, a longtime Republican operative and hatchet man who is close to Craddick and Dewhurst. Rister was running for the Gattis open seat, but Dr. Charles Schwertner won that four-person race without a runoff. In the end, only five incumbent legislators lost, three Democrats (Al Edwards, Dora Olivo, Tara Rios Ybarra) and two Republicans (Betty Brown and Tommy Merritt), and none of the losses could be blamed on voter anger or ideology. Rios Ybarra could not overcome issues in her personal life that became public, and the others lost for the typical reason why legislators lose: They stayed too long and had too little to show for it. Brown could also attribute her loss to the suburbanization of her district.

Center of Gravity

Mar 1, 2010 By Paul Burka

Who can challenge Republicans on the State Board of Education? A different kind of Republican.

Dispatches from the evolution wars

Feb 17, 2010 By Paul Burka

This is my transcript of a portion of a radio debate that took place in Bryan last week between State Board of Education candidates Don McLeroy, the incumbent, and Thomas Ratliff in the Republican primary race for SBOE district 9. The district runs north from the Bryan-College Station…

Ratliff will challenge McLeroy for SBOE post

Jun 2, 2009 By Paul Burka

Not former lieutenant governor Bill Ratliff. His son, Thomas. Ratliff says that the general release is timed for 8:30 a.m. but that it may be released any time this morning before that. It's 12:50 a.m. Here's the text of the release: AUSTIN - On the heels of a legislative session that saw 15 bills filed by Republican and Democrat legislators to curtail some or all of the responsibilities of the State Board of Education, Thomas Ratliff has filed the necessary paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission to run for the District 9 seat. The incumbent is Dr. Don McLeroy, whose nomination for chairman of the SBOE was recently rejected by the Texas Senate. Mr. Ratliff said, “First, I want to thank Dr. McLeroy for his 10 years of service on the SBOE. I just simply have a different approach to working for the parents and schoolchildren of Texas. I am running because I want to work with educators and the other SBOE members to provide leadership for Texas’ neighborhood schools, help mend the fractured relationship with the Texas legislature and restore the public’s confidence in the State Board of Education.”