Texas’ gubernatorial race gains more firepower

01/19/2014 8:39 PM

01/19/2014 8:41 PM

Fort Worth Democrat Wendy Davis is bringing in the big guns.

The state senator hoping to win the governor’s race has hired Joel Benenson, President Barack Obama’s chief pollster, recent media reports show.

Davis and Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the probable front-runners for their party nominations, are expected to face each other in the Nov. 4 general election battle that will determine Texas’ next governor.

A new perspective

Former President George W. Bush wants to be known for more than just being the country’s 43rd president.

That’s why he began painting, he told a crowd recently in Sarasota. “I didn’t want the presidency to define my life,” he said during a Town Hall meeting there, according to the Sarasota Magazine. “I want to keep living.

“Painting has changed my life,” he said. “It’s changed my perspective on everything.”

Senatorial shout-outs

During a recent Freedom Rally with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in Allen, the state’s junior senator sent a shout-out to several local activists.

At the top of his list was U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, who threw his support behind Cruz during his campaign for Senate in 2012.

“Back during the Senate campaign, when nobody in their right mind said we had a prayer, Michael stuck his neck out and endorsed our campaign,” Cruz said. “He said we needed to do something different.”

Cruz also praised Konni Burton, a longtime supporter and now a Republican candidate for the open Senate District 10 seat.

“My friend Konni Burton inspires me,” Cruz said. “Konni Burton wakes up every day fighting for liberty and fighting for every Texan. God bless you.”

Other GOP candidates in the Senate District 10 race include Republicans Arlington school Trustee Tony Pompa, Colleyville chiropractor Jon Schweitzer, former state Rep. Mark Shelton of Fort Worth and Mark Skinner of Colleyville. Democrats include Mike Martinez, a local energy executive, and Libby Willis, a longtime neighborhood leader.

Remember the Alamo

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has announced that the United States is nominating the San Antonio Missions and the Alamo to be a World Heritage site — a coup to be on the list of the best cultural and natural sites on earth.

It may, however, be a tall order: not because the Alamo isn’t significant but because of international tensions.

“World Heritage Sites represent an incredible opportunity for the United States to tell the world the whole story of America and the remarkable diversity of our people and beauty of our land,” Jewell said in a statement.

The nomination will be considered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in the summer of 2015 and, if approved by the World Heritage Committee, would join the 21 sites in the U.S.

But it’s a complicated international situation — it’s UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural arm, that determines those sites, and right now, the U.S. is not a part of the organization. Why? The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization admitted Palestine as a voting member in 2011 and the U.S., a supporter of Israel, has refused to pay dues ever since.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, has been trying to smooth the process by proposing that the U.S. only pay its dues for the World Heritage Program — $700,000 this year, something the U.S. has done in the past.

But Congress was not in a giving mood last week and did not include the amount in the omnibus bill members just passed.

“I am disappointed that funding for the World Heritage program was not included in the omnibus bill that funds government agencies this fiscal year,” Castro said. “However, I am encouraged to know that we are on the right track for the San Antonio Missions by the bipartisan support we received for the World Heritage program in the U.S. House.”

So Castro will try again in the next budget.

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