I’m not certain what to say about the Texas primary election results (and little that hasn’t already been said). The top of the ticket was already decided — only the margin of victory mattered.
There were other surprises up and down the ballot.
Mid-ballot, we kept some good legislators and lost many intelligent and knowledgeable representatives involved and experienced in education issues. The Public Education and Higher Education Committees will be filled with newcomers. With the school finance case(s) confronting the state, we can only hope those from both parties facing no general election opponent are boning up on education-related issues. I don’t think a thorough understanding of Texas public education operations, standards, finances, the role of the State Board of Education, et cetera can be achieved in two or three months — between the election and first day at the Capitol — but it’s better than being the blind (wo)man to education’s elephant. We can also only hope they hire staffers with significant knowledge and experience (like me!) in education-related issues.
Which brings me to the saddening defeat of my friend Joe Madden. Recall he was running for state representative in a district in Houston — a district currently held by the retiring state Rep. Scott Hochberg, the legislator who best understood the nuances of education policy.
Joe, given his experience, is a natural to fill those huge shoes. Instead, his voters chose a prosecutor with no legislative experience and another staffer, who will face one another in a run-off election. I don’t know either of them, but I would bet Joe is the most experienced to start the first day of session without needing to catch up, unlike others.
But that’s how the voters voted. Many, many of the great candidates and incumbents I supported lost or retired, but Joe’s loss hit me hardest. Not only because he’s a friend and a good guy, but because the state will lack his expertise and equanimity on the House floor. We could use more of both.
Hopefully, we’ll get to work together again behind the scenes at the Capitol.
Addendum: Gov. Perry should come out in support of public and higher education by exempting the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and other education-related agencies from his demand for ten percent in budget cuts at all state agencies.