Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Low sparks, even more tame dialogue follows issues

Senate District 22 hopefuls debate at Toastmasters event

David Sibley laid it out short and sweet for voters at a
Burleson debate Tuesday night.

"My life was pretty good until about a week after filing
deadline," he recalled after the lone Democratic candidate,
Baylor political science Professor Gayle Avant made the
remark that of the four candidates vying to fill the
unexpired term of Senator Kip Averitt, he was the one who
had sacrificed the most to take his place in the election

That was the week that was, when Senator Kip Averitt
announced he was "a walking heart attack" and in no
condition to stand for re-election.

Immediately, Mr. Sibley and Waco attorney Chris DeCluitt,
board chairman of the Brazos River Authority, launched a
"Keep Kip" movement in which the Senator was nominated by
Republican voters as the candidate for re-election.

A former city councilman, Mayor of Waco, state legislator
and State Senator, Mr. Sibley gave up a very lucrative
public policy practice of law lobbying the legislature for
such concerns as State Farm, numerous power companies, the
Brazos River Authority, P. Lorillard Tobacco, and trial
lawyers associations. He told the very small crowd of about
50 people in the massive Burleson High School Auditorium
that if elected, he will come back to the Senate with 11
years of seniority, the 13th ranking member in seniority in
that chamber.

He would have his choice of committee assignments.

He was narrowly defeated - by one vote - in a contest to
replace the Lt. Governor during his earlier tenure. If
Governor Rick Perry should move on to greener pastures and
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst steps into the Governor's
office, he would have as good a chance as anyone to become
the next most powerful member of the Legislature, the Lt.
Governor, President of the State Senate.

Mr. Sibley fended off criticism from candidates Darren Yancy
and Professor Avant concerning his efforts in deregulating
electrical power, insurance and telephone services.

"I took the power away from a monopoly," he recalled.

At the time, electricity cost about a dime a kilowatt hour,
he recalled. Now he pays .08 per kilowatt hour.

He responded to Professor Avant's complaints about .13 per
kw hour electrical power by saying "If your electricity
costs you more, it's because you're not shopping."

All candidates including Col. Brian Birdwell, a disfigured
burn victim of the 9/11/2001 attack on the Pentagon, agreed
that in the future, painful cuts in the budgets are coming.

As to unfunded mandates and other federal encroachment on
states' rights, he said he recalls and cherishes his oath as
a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.

Voter photo ID?

"Does anyone here not have a photo ID in their pocket?" Mr.
Sibley asked the crowd. "I'll do everything I can to make
sure that thing passes."

Unfunded mandates.

"That too often is the easy way out" for Congress and the
Legislature, said Dr. Avant.

Nullification of the Obama Care bill?

"I doubt if anyone stormed Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima for
nullification," said Mr. Sibley.

Burleson insurance and real estate broker Darren Yancy
persisted in his criticism of the massive program of
deregulation carried out in the House of Representative by
then Representative Kip Averitt, legislation co-sponsored by
Mr. Sibley in the State Senate and signed into law by then
Governor George W. Bush.

He said he foresees trouble in the $35 billion state water
plan. "I'm not sure all the research is being properly
applied...I'm not sure that all the numbers have been

Everyone agreed that redistricting would be a disaster if
counties like McLennan and Johnson are split.

"I think it's abhorrent you're splitting communities of
interest," Mr. Sibley declared.

How would he fight the federal government if it chooses to
impose unconstitutional taxes, or force the purchase of
goods and services?

Mr. Sibley said a balanced budget would to the job.

Professor Avant said the first entity to take an interest in
the matter would be the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This is not a federal race," Mr. Yancy said. "This is a
state race."

He recalled numerous state laws, bills that originated in
the Texas Legislature, that usurped the power from the
people and put it in the hands of corporations.

But the worst of all, he said, was the one that gave in-
state tuition privileges to illegal aliens at state-
supported colleges and universities.

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