San Antonio, TX -- In front of a room that was two thirds full, and an establishment leaning crowd, the campaigns for Texas House district 121 made their final pitch. Matt Beebe spoke to the myriad shortcomings of the Texas House under current Republican leadership. Standing in for speaker Joe Straus, Representative Lyle Larson (last seen embarrassing himself at the Wallace Hall impeachment hearing) made a number of far-fetched claims.
Larson opened by lauding Straus for "balancing three straight budgets unlike Washington D.C." In doing so, Larson ignored the fact that the Texas constitution requires a balanced budget. Larson lauded Straus for not raising taxes, which is a low bar for a Republican in Texas to clear. In the most telling line, Larson called Straus a "Five decade Republican in Bexar County." Of course, it was exactly five decades ago that George Bush 41 first ran for the United States Senate.
Beebe opened by quoting the Wall St. Journal about profligacy in the 83rd Texas Legislature. He disputed Team Straus' ex post facto celebration of last summer's abortion legislation, describing how the law passed in spite of Straus. Beebe also illustrated how Straus hasn't led on school finance.
In the Q and A section on education, Beebe called for greater local control and a "student centered funding model." Larson promoted HB 5, a dubious bill the legislature passed in 2013. Larson also claimed condescendingly that Beebe "doesn't understand local government."
During the section on immigration, Larson cited state level efforts. Beebe discussed recent favorable comments Straus has made regarding Paul Ryan and immigration. Beebe called for an end to illegal immigration magnets like in-state tuition.
The candidates also discussed transportation. Beebe called himself "absolutely anti-toll road" and cited an old Larson campaign mailer to prove his point. Larson was speechless.
Today's forum highlighted the well known differences between Matt Beebe and Joe Straus. Unlike Joe Straus, Matt Beebe isn't beholden to Democrats. From the state budget, to school finance, to transportation, the choice for conservative leadership in Texas House district 121 is clear.
Read our endorsement for Matt here; donate to his campaign here.