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TEXAS POLITICS: The Governor's Race
Medina aims to offer GOP 
voters a 'true conservative'
By Dave Mundy

Debra Medina says it’s time Texas politicians started listening to what their constituents are saying.

And, she says, she’s been getting an earful.

“What we’re seeing is these congressmen at town halls saying, ‘You’re angry, and I’m out of here.’ They’re not listening to the people,” says Medina, 47, who has filed to challenge for the Republican nomination for Governor in the 2010 elections. 

Medina, the chair of the Wharton County Republican Party, is a supporter of former presidential candidate Ron Paul and brings both libertarian and conservative credentials to her campaign. She’s known for butting heads with the party leadership.

In taking on incumbent Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Medina said it’s time Texas voters get a true conservative to vote for.

“I think that neither one of them … reflect the conservative ideals of the Republican Party,” she said in a telephone interview. “Perry, in particular, lies to us in every campaign. We’ve doubled our (state) deficit from $12 billion to $27.8 billion, but he’s out there telling us that everything’s fine, not to worry.”

On the issue of primary concern to members of the Texas Nationalist Movement, Medina says she does not necessarily support secession, but allows that such a move may become necessary. She calls Perry’s very public stances on state sovereignty little more than posturing.

“It ought to make us all angry that the Governor is raising the red secessionist flag,” she says. “Name one time he’s made a stand for sovereignty.

“States have two ways to limit the power of the federal government,” she adds. “One is for the legislature to nullify federal law, as happened in Montana. The other is for the state executive to lead the charge by refusing federal programs. (Perry) has made bold statements, then caved in.

“Will it come to secession? I hope not,” she says. “Which issue is the one to fight? In every area, the federal government is over-stepping its authority.” 

The Beeville native, a registered nurse and businesswoman who home-schooled her children, says that while health care and cap-and-trade are drawing a lot of attention nationally at the moment, two key issues are extremely important to the Texans she’s spoken with: border security and public education.

“Two sessions ago the Legislature got a mandate from the (federal) court to put a different funding mechanism in place (for Texas public schools), but they didn’t fix it,” she says. “All of us are tired of seeing money thrown at it and nothing improving.”

Medina says Texas needs to look both at new ways of funding education, and creating greater opportunities beyond a system run by the state.

“I think we’ve got to be talking about the dropout rate,” she says. “The dropout rate is unsustainable. If you’ve got a workforce with an eighth-grade education, the dropout rate is unsustainable.

“A lot of our ‘independent school districts,’ they’re independent all right – independent of the parents,” she says. “I think we need more competition in education. I’d like to offer more substantive ideas as the campaign develops.”

One substantive idea Medina is championing is elimination of the property tax – the primary funding mechanism for schools in the state. She favors using a revenue-neutral state sales tax to provide for education funding.

“I want to completely eliminate the property tax,” she says. “The two essential elements of freedom are personal property and gun ownership. The property tax steals your freedom.”

Medina cites a study done by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation supports her position that eliminating the property tax would be a huge economic boon for Texans.

“(The TPPF study) shows that if you eliminate the state property tax, the first year you would see an increase in personal income for Texans of more than $3 billion,” she says. “Over five years, you’d create from 127,000 to 312,000 jobs and increase personal income from $21-52 billion.”

She says that the other candidates in the Governor’s race have also failed to heed what voters are saying on another hot-button issue: border security. The federal government has failed in its constitutional duty to protect the border, she says, and it may be up to the state to do something.

“I’m starting to get pressed real hard on illegal immigration,” she says. “There is a lot of hostility on this issue.”

She admits she hasn’t come up with a hard and fast solution – but is working with watchdog groups like US Border Watch to determine the best way to address the problem.

“They’ve done a very good job of documenting the problem,” she says. “I’m working real hard on finding a solution to that problem.”

She compared the public’s mood on that issue to the outcry which arose over  the Trans-Texas Corridor plan championed by Perry, which met with such widespread public opposition the program was eventually dropped.

“I attended one hearing in Katy, and there were people actually threatening armed rebellion over the Trans-Texas Corridor,” she says. “These were people you wouldn’t expect to say things like that … but they said in no uncertain terms they would do that unless they dropped the TTC.

“I spoke with (a TxDOT official), and she told me she was really worried about the hostility,” Medina adds.

“I think the Tea Parties and the town hall meetings on the health-care plan, we’re seeing a lot of that same thing … controlled anger.”

Medina says that her role as Governor would be to ensure that everyday Texans have an influence over what is going on in Austin.

“The citizens of Texas are ensured equal justice under the law,” she says. “We need to work on equal application of the law. We’re not going to have the money people controlling what is happening.”

She says it will take an informed, active electorate to restore accountability.

“We have to have the courage to elect people that don’t look like ‘electable’ candidates. I want to see that restored.”

To view Medina’s campaign site, visit

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