My most recent pick for the “Got to Go” list is Republican Allan Ritter, Texas House of Representatives incumbent District 21. Before his sudden announcement that he was switching parties to Republican, Ritter represented the district as a Democrat. Wikipedia online defines three main reasons a politician might choose to switch:
- Ethical obligation—the person feels their views are no longer aligned with those of their current party.
- To gain power and influence. The incumbent may be a member of the minority party in a legislature and would like to gain the advantages of being in the major party.
- Simply to get elected. This may be the primary reason when the opposing party’s base in a constituency is reaching a size that threatens the safe reelection of the incumbent.
KFDM interviewed Ritter and here is the reason he gave for switching:
“District 21…has changed in the last six to eight years from a solid Democratic district to a solid Republican district. I’ve always prided myself on representing the district with an independent stance but reflective of the majority of constituents I represent.
Ritter could have said something along the lines of “I find that as I am getting older, my values are becoming more and more conservative. After much thought and prayer, I’ve made the difficult decision to switch parties. I know that some of my fellow Democrats may be unhappy with my decision, but I have to go with my convictions and do what is right for Texas and District 21. My values have become more closely linked to the conservative values of the Republican party. If you vote for me, I promise that my voting record next session will be reflective these conservative values” But then his voting record would have to back it up.
- 2005 – 36%
- 2007 – 56%
- 2009 – 20%
- 2011 – 28%
Fiscal conservative? Yeah…not so much. Below are 5 of the most important bills presented last session and how Ritter voted on them.
- SB 23 (RV #1172) which would have removed state funds from Planned Parenthood.
- SB 1811 (RV #1214) an amendment which would have allowed Texas to take back control of managing our environment from the federal government.
- SB2 (RV #58) to spend the Rainy Day Fund rather than cut spending.
- HD 150 (RV #590) the redistricting map that failed to protect conservative districts and targeted conservatives who voted to replace Joe Straus.
- HB 397 (RV# 1331) to set up a Bureau for Economic Development of the Border Region which would create more bureaucracy.
Let’s break it down. Ritter wants the state to fund Planned Parenthood (liberal), he is probably a Straus supporter (don’t have the space but…bad, really bad), he wants to spend the Rainy Day Fund money rather than cut spending (liberal), he wants the federal government to be in control of things the state should be like managing our environment (messes with my liberty), and wants A Bureau for Economic Development of the Border Region (big government) which would end up being a lot of money spent trying to come up with a solution to our border issues in the most expensive and inefficient manner possible.
According to The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, “Within the Republican party, Aaron Pena stands out far and away as the delegation’s most moderate (liberal) member, followed by Allan Ritter, Chuck Hopson, John Davis and Rob Eissler.
One way to better understand why a politician might vote the way he/she does is to follow the money trail. At FollowTheMoney.org, I found that in 2010 the top 3 contributors to Ritter’s campaign were from the sectors of Energy & Natural Resources at 20.99%, Finance, Insurance & Real Estate at 20.61% and Lawyers & Lobbyists at 12.60% . A whopping 91.9% of his contributions came from Institutions and only 7.7% from Individuals. Ritter was Chairman for Texas House Natural Resources in 2010. You catch that? Chairman of Texas House NATURAL RESOURCES the same year the ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCE Sector was his largest contributor. Drawing no conclusions… just saying.
I recently attended a debate for the Jefferson County Republican Party. What I took away from the party-switching politician’s speech was that
- he didn’t have much to say because the candidate who spoke before him already said it (blah, blah, blah)
- that he considers himself “a fiscal conservative” (nope)
- that he’s proud that the house balanced the budget while he’s been in office 3 out of 7 times (that’s 42.9% …big, fat f)
- that he’s just like me. That’s right. Not once, but several times. We are JUST ALIKE. Yeah…I don’t THINK SO.
The bottom line is this: What Ritter says and what he does don’t coincide. Along with many of our Texas House Reps, he needs to go. Led by Speaker Straus, they are pro big government, cater to lobbyist, and legislate for bureaucracy. They are negatively effecting my liberty and pursuit of happiness and I don’t LIKE it when legislators negatively effects my liberty or my pursuit of happiness. In fact, it makes me downright mad and they NEED TO GO. “We the people” need to make sure they do.
Texas needs strong, honest people in Austin for the 83rd session. People who are conservative, people who want to cut our taxes – not raise them, people who want to make government smaller and more responsive to us. People who don’t want to spend the Rainy Day fund, just because it’s there. We need people who won’t cave to Big Industry lobbyists, people with the courage to tell the federal government to stay out of our business and out of our lives. We need people who will tell the government to stay out of our bedrooms, living rooms and yards – that we don’t need our morality legislated. We need people who have read, know and understand the tenets of the Constitution of the United States and The Texas Bill of Rights. We need people who ascribe to these tenets and will do their very best to protect them.
The 2012 elections are crucial. Our rights are steadily being stolen by an unwieldy, out-of-control federal government. People in countries around the world are questioning their governments and desiring to be free to live happy, peaceful lives without constant intrusion. Organizations like the UN, NATO and EU are making us wonder whether governments or many countries are coming together to try and create a one-world system. We are taxed to death, we are over-legislated and many are blind to the fact that we are being desensitized by the slow stripping away of our rights starting as a trickle that is quickly becoming a deluge.
I would love to believe that all people are good but it’s not true. There is always the ones who are so greedy and power-hungry that they are never satisfied. That’s the history of our race. This campaign season, we are fortunate to have some great grassroots candidates working hard across the state in an effort to Take Back Texas and put it where it belongs – in the hands of “we the people.”
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of them face to face and others I know through networking. These are not politicians, guys. They are the first-responders who have been quick to rise up against the tyranny and are doing everything they can to help steer Texas in a better direction. For the first time in a long time we have the opportunity to have good, moral people in our state government with our values. I urge you to find these people within your district, get behind them and do everything you can to help get them elected. My question to you is this: Will you make the commitment of politically accountability? Our very freedom depends on it.
To watch Ritter debate Daniel Miller click here. For a enlightening look at Ritter in The Dallas Morning News click here. To see why Austin American Statesman gave Ritter Half-True on The Truth-O-Meter click here.
If you’re just becoming aware of the importance of truly conservative governmental leadership and are interested in finding out in what direction this country is headed and how we can create change, a great reference book is “It Is Dangerous To Be Right When The Government Is Wrong: The Case For Personal Freedom” by Andrew P. Napolitano. Concise and well-written, it is in terms the layman can understand. For a great review of this book and spot-on political blogging, connect to freedombytheway.