Image: State Senator Brandon Creighton, Republican of Conroe, speaking at the Tuesday, September 19, 2017, meeting of the Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC, said, “It’s good to be out of Austin.”
The Woodlands, September 21 – After Mark Keough, State Representative and reform candidate for Montgomery County Judge, spoke about government accountability to the packed room of citizens attending the first meeting of the Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC for the 2018 election cycle at The Woodlands Financial Group auditorium in The Woodlands on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, President Julie Turner, a brilliant psychologist, political strategist, and parent, asked the crowd to grade the public service of President Donald Trump and the United States Congress during 2017.
The overwhelming vote of the citizens at the Tea Party meeting was an “A” for President Trump. The “F” grade given to Congress was almost unanimous, particularly as Turner and others remarked how poor Congress’ accountability was to citizens at the local level.
State Senator Brandon Creighton, Republican of Conroe, and State Representative Mark Keough, Republican of The Woodlands, gave a report to the group about the 85th Texas Legislative Session. Creighton told the room, “It’s good to be out of Austin.”
Creighton discussed the numerous tragedies and challenges in his Senatorial District 4 which he described was “on the dirty side of the [Harvey] storm.” He characterized the 85th Legislature as a “very difficult legislative session.”
Creighton was particularly critical of the manner in which local governments, such as the Montgomery County government, are going with their spending and their accumulation of debt faster than ever previously. At the same time, Creighton admitted that the biennial budget for the State of Texas grew approximately 1.5%. He did note, however, “our state budget increased well below population growth and inflation.”
Disagreements between conservatives in the Senate and House on the one hand and the leadership of the Texas House under liberal Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio on the other hand created difficult negotiations over the fiscal future of public schools and ethics issues. The major property tax reform bill, Senate Bill 2, of which Creighton was a co-author, failed in the Texas House after passing the Senate.
Creighton mentioned his legislative proposal to preserve historical statues and monuments in Texas even if they relate to the history of the Confederacy.
Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch, who hosted the meeting, said, “It’s ridiculous what’s happening with effort to relocate history in the form of these statues and monuments. We’re a new community relatively here in The Woodlands. Might I suggest that we relocate the removed ones here?”
State Representative Keough remarked that it was strange that more bills were passed by democrats than Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives. Keough blamed the lack of accountability of public officials to the citizens whom they represent.
The Patriots PAC hosted a “Candidate Spotlight” in which President Turner invited a number of candidates to speak:
- Steve Toth, former State Representative and candidate of the seat Keough is vacating to run for County Judge, noted that “I’m excited for Mark as he runs for County Judge.” Toth criticized politicians whom he compared to teabags, because “when they run, everyone sounds conservative, but you don’t know what you’re really going to get until you drop them in hot water.” Both noted that the citizens of Texas have woken up the liberal Republican leadership in the Texas House.
- Mark Keough, candidate for Montgomery County Judge, assured the audience that he would address conflicts of interest, transparency problems, fiscal responsibility, tax reform, and expenses that are out of control. “I believe Montgomery County has a black eye right now,” Keough told the citizens, “as we have issues with roads, misuse of public funds, and Texas Open Meetings Act violations.”
- Greg Parker, candidate for Precinct 2 County Commissioner, told the organization about his service as a former 2-term Comal County Commissioner, his educational background, his authorship of two conservative books, his service as a veteran, and his business background. Parker has committed to cutting spending, lowering taxes, and opposing nepotism in the County government.
- Rob Harmon appeared as the surrogate for Precinct 2 County Commissioner candidate Brian Dawson. Harmon said of Dawson, “He’s wanted to be a County Commissioner since he was in college. It’s a position he feels called to…He has humility.” Dawson has opposed reform of elected official salaries, so Harmon’s comment that “It’s Biblical that we honor our public servants and pay them” was not surprising.
- Jim Clark, Precinct 4 County Commissioner, gave a very low key and genuine speech. “I sit on the Commissioners Court and it’s a challenge sometimes. I want to make good things happen for folks in my Precinct.” Clark reminded the group that he supported the 20% homestead exemption all along, opposes tollroads, and will “push to see tollroads don’t happen.” Clark said, “I lead the charge for a 5% budget reduction…We got the 5% budget reduction.” Clark mentioned the great loss he and his co-employees in Precinct 4 experienced when longtime County employee Marie Moore passed away suddenly on September 4. “She was my guide.”
- Laura Fillault, Woodlands Township Director, noted that she is opposed by an officer of the Montgomery County democratic party in the November, 2017, election. She said that the board is “doing a good job maintaining high quality services and keep taxes low.”
- Kristin Bays, the renowned Conroe attorney who is running for the 284th District Court, explained her educational and legal background and said she looked forward to discussing issues at future meetings of the Patriots PAC.
Simon Sequeira, Chief Executive Officer of Quadvest, a large groundwater producer embroiled in the litigation between the Cities of Conroe and Magnolia and the San Jacinto River Authority, told the group that the developing evidence during that litigation is revealing that Montgomery County suffers from a “regulatory-induced water shortage.”
Sequeira said he was excited that the Lone Star Groundwater Conservative District Board of Directors will become an elected board on January 1, 2019, so that it will “go to accountability.” He noted that “we sat down with Judge Craig Doyal and got nowhere with him with respect to County government appointment on the LSGCD board.”