Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Keep King, Seliger working in Austin

Donley County’s State Senator Kel Seliger and State Representative Ken King have announced their plans to run for re-election to their respective offices, and for Texas’ sake, we hope they win.

There is probably no realistic chance for a Democrat to win the districts represented by Seliger and King. Their biggest hurdle will be fending off challenges from within their own parties.

Roger Estlack, Editor

King is being opposed by Perryton insurance salesman Jason Huddleston, and Seliger is facing Midland attorney Mike Canon and Amarillo restauranteur Victor Leal.

According to published reports, Huddleston has said King is among legislators who “run as conservatives but govern as liberals.” Canon previously ran against Seliger in 2014 and was narrowly defeated despite negative remarks that political action committees made about the senator on the Midland candidate’s behalf. Leal wants to take tough stance on property tax reform and says there is a “moral obligation” to provide public funds for private schools, and his biggest “policy” announcement so far is that he won’t be airing any more NFL games in his Mexican food restaurants.

God help Texas if people like Victor Leal unseat men like King and Seliger.

Common sense – and even common decency – were in short supply in Austin during the legislative sessions this year as flame-breathing social-religious conservatives tried to take Texas’ already conservative government and push it full tilt to the hard right. With Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pushing an ultra-conservative agenda in the Senate and very little leadership from the governor, the only thing keeping Texas focused on remaining a pro-business, pro-local control state was House Speaker Joe Straus and some sane individuals like King and Seliger.

Seliger said it best during a recent town hall in Clarendon in describing the legislative session as one “where people came out of the closet and said they didn’t really like local government.” The senator was referring to a slew of proposals that would curtail the authority of local cities, counties, and schools.

Republicans have for years held that decisions are best left to local authorities. But now, powerful ultra-conservatives no longer subscribe to that theory if local authorities enact policies that don’t fit their strict world-view.

If your city chooses to ban plastic grocery bags or install red light cameras, shouldn’t that be up to your local citizens through your elected officials? The “local control” answer would be “yes.” But today’s big government Republicans say “no.”

Likewise, if your city or county need to raise taxes by five percent to fund let’s say street improvements, emergency medical needs, or law enforcement, that also should be up to your local elected officials, but again people like Dan Patrick and busybodies like Sen. Paul Bettencourt say “no.”

Kel Seliger stood up for local control, and that is going to haunt him in the upcoming election. Common sense West Texans need to rally round him because he is the guy who votes for his district instead of just voting for what the party bosses and the lobbyist tell him to.

If Victor Leal is really worried about his property taxes, then he needs to run for county commissioner or city council… not the state senate. If he really thinks the state has a “moral obligation” to pay for his kids’ private school, then he has no business running for an office that shapes the policy of public education… which has been a cornerstone of Texas since the days of the Republic.

And if Mr. Huddleston thinks Ken King is a liberal, then we sure as heck don’t want to see his idea of a conservative.

We may not agree with all the positions taken by Mr. Seliger or Mr. King, and that’s fine. Because when the chips were down, they stood for the Panhandle and not the special interests. Let us hope that their constituents keep their wits about them as they go to the polls next spring.

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