"I was actually born in Freer, Texas down by Corpus Christi and moved almost immediately to Corpus Christi. Freer is kind of a famous county, the Duvall county of Texas. Then I moved out here to Kermit--Kermit Yellowjackets--my dad worked for an oil and gas company so we moved around quite a bit. From Kermit we moved up to the Panhandle and Pampa and went to school at Baylor University and Baylor Law School, and then raised our family in East Texas in a small town called Henderson. I was there until I ran for state legislature in 1991."
"I'm the only candidate that has legislative experience, and that's important. This is the highest legislative office in our state. I am the only candidate that's held elected office.
I served as chair of public education from 1995 - 2003 and I had an $80 billion budget I was responsible for and all of our children in this state, every school district. I'm the co-author of the education code, it's called the Ratliff-Sadler Act, and I'm Sadler. I passed three consecutive pay raises for teachers for the first time in the history of our state. The largest property tax cut in the history of our state. I passed for the first time in the history of our state the insurance for public school employees that included maintenance workers, cafeteria workers and teachers....
I have a legislative record that's bipartisan, that's a record of accomplishment, and in my opinion I'm the only person that's qualified for the office. My opponent has never been elected at the city level, state level, or county level. Has never passed a bill, never sat in the legislature, and this is the highest legislative office. It would be like going from elementary school to the NFL."
"I'm not a career politician. I served 12 years, I left when my youngest son was in an accident. Texas has a part-time legislature and we make $600 a month. Believe me, it's not a career politician role and it's not someone... you have to maintain your day job or you'll starve to death and your family will to.
What I do have is a record of accomplishment that's bipartisan. In Texas we don't want a bigger government, but we want an effective, efficient government. We want a government that works, because what we're seeing in Washington, D.C. today is a government that doesn't work, and it's hurting us. It's hurting you and me, our families, our schools, our communities. We're not getting jobs because we're not having a government that works effectively. Those people that just want to stand outside and throw bombs at the federal government are not helping us...they're not helping us at all.
So it's not a matter of being anti-experience, because experience does matter, it is important. You don't want to send someone to the U.S. Senate that has no idea how legislature works, and no idea how to pass legislation, and doesn't understand the dynamics, and doesn't understand how to balance the different parts of our state. This is a hugely diverse state. There are very many different interests, and it takes quite a bit of effort to balance those interests and move us forward, and I have experience doing that with our education system that affects every single community, city, town in the state. I've done that... I've been there."
"There's actually two parts to it because of the position that Mr. Cruz is taking. He's been on national television saying he wants to abolish the Department of Education. Abolish it. That takes away almost $6 billion from our state's public school system. That's incredibly reckless. That's your early childhood development program. That's your student loan program. This is an incredibly damaging position for him to take, and it's just not responsible at all.
Your federal government contributes money to our system... almost $6 billion. It's early childhood development--some teacher quality programs, the student loan program. It also is No Child Left Behind.
We have become fixated in this state over a single test, over a series of standardized testing, and that model was taken to Washington from the Bush administration and it became No Child Left Behind. That is not what we envisioned when we wrote the code in 1995. When we wrote the code we envisioned a simple system that simply assessed a child's progress at the grade level--that was all. It has been stretched into something so much more where there's so much stress on the test, so much emphasis on teaching to the test, so much drilling for the test and No Child Left Behind emphasizes that.
So it's time to move away from that, back to the original structure, and I believe that answers in technology. I think we can assess early on in a child's school year where that child is and where that child needs to go and develop without much intrusion and without much stress, and we ought to be developing that system. Not this continued emphasis on this single test end of course, end of year exam that is destroying our education system.
I believe the public has lost confidence in No Child Left Behind -- our educators have lost confidence in it. We need to put it aside and redo things, start over. Really, it's the role of the federal government to encourage innovation. We became so captivated with the testing system, and the punitive measures of the testing system, and that's where we lost sight. It wasn't what we originally envisioned when we put the code together.
The goal is to know is your child at grade level. That's what we want to know. Is your child progressing at the same level as everyone else should be. That's what we're trying to assess, and is our school system at the same level as everyone else around the country and world. We can do that without horrible end of course and end of year exams, we just need to set our mind to it.."
"We rail against the federal government, and we don't want the federal government involved in our lives, etc. But the honest truth is that you and I know, there are certain roles of government. Building our infrastructure is one of them, either through the state government or in partnership with the federal government which is what we do with our highway system.
One of the things that we have to realize is that the more antagonistic we get with Washington, the less cooperative Washington gets with us. So we don't get the federal dollars that flow to Texas, and sometimes that's sometimes our own fault. The U.S. Senator from Texas has great influence upon how highway dollars are allocated and what parts of the state its allocated too.
I know in East Texas, and I lived out here too, we feel left out. We feel like everyone's forgotten that we even exist out here, and all the highway dollars go down I-35 or on I-45, but they don't come here where we need them. It's a matter of having someone who's a U.S. Senator who understands the region, understands the needs, and then works to get as much of that money allocated towards us.
Now these aren't earmarks. These are federal dollars that are going to be spent on the highway system somewhere. And it brings up a good point.
Why in the world do we continue to think that it's smart for us as the State of Texas to have two Republican Senators or two Democratic Senators? Doesn't it make sense that we would have one in the room with the Democrats and one in the room with the Republicans both working for the good of Texas? Wouldn't we be stronger that way? I don't understand why we get hung up on this party labeling stuff. Because we've moved way beyond what's Republican and Democrat here.
The agenda of the Tea Party that's been professed by Mr. Cruz, which is not mainstream Republican, is way beyond party labeling. We need to start work together, we've always been stronger together, and we need to start working together for the good of our state."
On Political Parties in Texas:
"I think most people sit around their tables or their living rooms and say I'm going to vote for the best person. Most people say, I'm not as much a party person, I'm going to vote for the best individual. Well, if you vote for the best individual here, I'm the person with the qualifying record, I'm the person who understands the government and understands how it works.
Texas will be a democratic state, the demographics assess that it's going to happen. Whether it's this time, or next session or down the road. But remember that most of the people listening to this broadcast voted Democrat sometime in their life because for 165 years the Democrats were the majority party. We were the party of Laney in Hale Center, Rob Junell from San Angelo, John Montford. These were people that were conservative Democrats, rural Democrats, where I'm from.
I am a conservative, rural Democrat from East Texas--part of that governing group that built the business community, built the infrastructure of this state. You don't have to be afraid of the Democratic Party, not as long as I'm the U.S. Senator. There are good things we can do for this state, but we have to get past this labeling stuff because it's not helping us. We need to learn to move together towards our future and accomplishing the things that matter to our families."
On the lack of bipartisanship in Washington.
"That very obstructionist approach is exactly why Washington isn't working today, and honestly is shows a naivety about government. There's a certain level of maturity we expect from the U.S. Senate level. There are only 100 from the entire country, 2 from this state. There's a certain level of understanding in government, and in life. You cannot accomplish much in life if you stand with your arms folded, rigid against the wall, against the world. You're going to be excluded, you're going to be marginalized, you're going to be forgotten. That's the position Mr. Cruz is in.
That's not good for our state, it's not good for you or your family or me. We have an amazingly diverse state and we are strong for it. We have the valley in El Paso, we have East Texas behind the Piney Woods. We have the inner city of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. We have the plains of West Texas. All of these are very diverse groups, we have to learn to live together, and we have to learn to find common ground. You cannot do that with your first clenched and your arms folded.
That's the difference between the two of us. It's not a matter of not having morals or character of faith or anything else. It's a matter of understanding that people deserve respect and dignity. And with respect and dignity you can move forward and solve the problems of this great country. That's why I'm trying to offer to people."
On Oil and Gas:
" I have a hard time with labels like conservative or liberal because it's conservative or liberal compared to what. I don't know how energy policy can be conservative or liberal. Energy policy is energy policy.
I was raised in an oil and gas family. My father drilled one of the first slant wells and first horizontal wells in this country. He drilled from west Texas to the gulf coast to overseas -- I was raised in that family. I also served 5 years as executive director of the wind coalition, building commercial wind energy from Texas to Nebraska. I understand how the two can mix and exist on the same piece of property, and coexist. These are important policies. I am not against any one generation source.
I do believe that whatever we do, whatever activity we do should be done responsibly. It should be done with respect for our land and landowners, and it should be done with respect to the quality of our air and the quality of our water. And that's my concern primarily right now with what we're doing.
We only have so much fresh water in this world. We have all the fresh water we will ever have -- a lot of people don't know that. At a million gallons of water on average for a fracking well, we are using a lot of fresh water -- our most precious resource in West Texas. I want us to continue to explore this great oil and gas field we have out here, but we have to find a way to responsibly use a certain amount of water. We should have the technology to do that, we just need to focus on it, and we just need to focus our views on that.
We need to develop oil and gas, we need to develop our wind energy, because our demand in the future is going to require all of it. If we build out the grid system that we're trying to now for wind energy, bringing that much wind energy will save us 17 billion gallons of water a year -- 17 billion gallons of water a year, because we don't use water in wind energy. That's the top 8 feet of Lake Travis in Austin. That's the top 4 feet of Lake Texoma in Dallas-Fort Worth. That's every year. And in a state where water is precious we need to be doing all of these things.
So it's a matter of not promoting one over the others, but a matter of promoting all and doing it responsibly. And my concern with what's going on today in the oil and gas industry is that we're using a lot of fresh water, and once its used in the fracking process it can't be used again. So we needed to find a way to make it reusable so that we're not taking one million gallons for every single well on average and destroying our freshwater supply.
We can do this, and we should be doing it, and we need to do it for ourselves and for our children. It's just part of our future."
On Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid:
"The positions that they are taking are extraordinarily destructive and they are very reckless and they hurt people. A lot of people forget that when we started social security half or our seniors lived below poverty, and if we somehow lose social security, over half of our seniors will go back below poverty. I will not abandon the generation that paid for the generation before them, that's the way social security works. This generation of seniors paid for our parents and grandparents. I won't abandon them. Mr. Ryan and Mr. Cruz will abandon them.
Medicare is long term hospitalization care for our seniors. We simply can't abandon that obligation for our seniors. Medicaid involves uninsured children in our state-- children with disabilities. It's also 70% of our nursing home residents. That's my parents, your grandparents that happen to live in a nursing home that are dependent on Medicaid. These are issues that strike us where we live and breathe, and I will defend those policies and I will do what's necessary to keep them because I keep my promises and America keeps its promise.
We promised each other that we would grow old with dignity-- that we would provide for each other in our old age, and just because it's hard now doesn't mean that we will turn our back now. That's what the voucher system does -- it turns our back on our senior citizens, so it's a critical issue for us."
On Trusting a Candidate:
"The funny thing about running statewide is that you don't get to spend a lot of time with many people, but somehow we reach a level of trust with a candidate. And we reach a level of trust based on their record. That's why the experience level is important.
I was trusted and blessed to be trusted with the children of this state for a decade. The education at a time we led the country in reform and we led the country in mathematics and reading for our early children. I ask the people in Texas to give that trust back to me again. A lot of people don't like to talk about that but it's true. You will make a decision to vote for by who you trust to take care of your future and your children's future. I think you have to look at the record of the people involved.
I have a record in this area and it's a good record, it's a record of distinction. It's one we can all be proud of. I have mainstream values. I have lived in every single region of this state. I understand West Texas and East Texas. I have seen hurricanes on the coast and tornadoes in the Panhandle. I think that with that background that I'm the best person to represent us in the U.S. Senate.
I also have the maturity level. I have been through the devastation of a child being seriously injured. I have seen my in-laws with Alzheimer's and had to go through those lessons as well. That is something that's important so when we pass legislation we know if affects you and your family and this community we call Texas -- because we're all in this together. Together we're strong. I ask for the support of the people of Texas. Thank you."