Friday night, I was finally able to get an interview with Texas Land Commissioner and Lt. Governor candidate Jerry Patterson, which I’d been meaning to do for quite a while. Below is a pretty close transcription of the interview (or as close as I could make it with my 45 words-a-minute fingers).
Lawrence Person: What do you see as current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s biggest mistakes in office?
Jerry Patterson: His biggest mistake is not a mistake but a shortcoming, that being having no ability to lead and motivate both voters and members of the senate. We all make mistakes, but shortcomings are more serious than mistakes.
Lawrence Person: Likewise, what qualities or policies do you think separate you from Dan Patrick and Todd Staples?
Jerry Patterson: Policy-wise, there’s very little difference. Between me and Dan, my story is not going to change from day to day and venue to venue. I feel no compulsion to tell you what I think you want to hear to like me.
As for Todd, I’m a little more of a risk-taker, I’m bolder, and I’m less consultant-driven.
Lawrence Person: What, if any, procedural changes would you make in running the Texas state senate?
Jerry Patterson: The first thing I’m going to do is roll the tape of the evening Wendy Davis carried out her filibuster, and make sure all the Democrats who helped encourage that riot are not in charge of committees.
I will also make it easier for the Lt. Governor to recommit bills from one committee to another.
Lawrence Person: The Lt. Governor has tremendous influence over the composition of the Legislative Budget Board. What specific background and qualities would you seek in those you would appoint to the board?
Jerry Patterson: They need to be fiscal conservatives, and they need to be resistant to those who blow smoke into places you don’t usually see it, and they need to have those qualities on a consistent basis.
Lawrence Person: How did the Concealed Handgun bill come about, and how hard was getting that passed?
Jerry Patterson: It had been attempted several times before. I sponsored it in 1993, passed it, and Gov. [Ann] Richards vetoed it. But it wasn’t a real CHL bill, it was just a referendum on whether to pass a CHL bill. In 1995, we have a new Governor, George W. Bush, who won in part because he promised to sign a CHL bill if it came to his desk. In 1995, I was sole author of SB 60, the CHL bill. It was a difficult task. We had a lot of Democratic support, and a lot of Republican opposition. It was made more difficult when Selena [the Tejano signer] was shot and killed by a deranged woman in Corpus Christi. But I told wavering legislators I would campaign against them if they did not live up to their commitment. Then I had to deal with hostile points-of-order to kill the bill. I was the chair of the conference committee, and I hired parliamentarians with a meticulous knowledge of the rules to make sure I didn’t make any mistake that would allow opponents to overturn the bill with a point-of-order. I think the final vote in the senate was about 22-8. And that included five yeas who wanted to vote no, but knew their district wouldn’t be happy.
Lawrence Person: What do you think are the most essential actions Texas needs to take to secure the border?
Jerry Patterson: There are several. We have to first realize that this is a three-legged stool: border security, assimilation, and immigration reform. You cannot have border security without immigration reform, and you cannot have immigration reform without border security. We have to stop birthright citizenship, we have to stop this bilingual ballot nonsense. You know what my name is on the Spanish-language ballot?
Lawrence Person: No, what?
Jerry Patterson: It’s Jerry Patterson. We need to do what the GOP platform calls for: biometric ID card for non-residents, no amnesty, a guest worker program with no path to citizenship. We need to focus on coyotes, narcotraffickers, terrorists, felons. That’s where our resources should be used, not chasing kitchen help.
Lawrence Person: Any final thought or message for BattleSwarm Blog readers?
Jerry Patterson: I’ll always be honest with you, and I won’t change what I say to get your vote.
Thanks to Jerry Patterson and his staff for taking the time to do the interview.
I have another interview with Lt. Governor candidate Dan Patrick which, do to technical difficulties on my part, I’m still trying to complete. Once that’s done I’ll put that up as well.