Allison Sandza

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Posts by Allison Sandza

Secretary of State Hope Andrade Resigns

Secretary of State Hope Andrade resigned Tuesday, after four years as the state’s chief elections official. Her last day in office will be Friday.

Andrade’s office told the Associated Press she felt it was the "right time" to move on. She was the first Hispanic woman to hold the office, something Gov. Perry says will cement her place in Texas history.

"As the first Latina Secretary of State, Hope has a permanent place in our state’s history books and her personal commitment to making Texas a place of unlimited opportunity will leave a lasting impression on our state’s future. Her leadership was fundamental during five successful statewide elections, and we will all be blessed by her work to promote the Texas success story around the country and around the world. I’m thankful for her service and I’m proud to call her a friend. I wish her all the best as she continues to make our state a better place."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Texas secession petition racks up enough signatures to warrant White House response

Less than one week after President Obama won a second term in the White House, some Texans want out.

More than 101,000 people have signed a petition on the "We the People" section of the Obama Administration’s website for Texas to "peacefully grant the state of Texas to withdraw" from the United States and create its own new government. 25,000 signatures are needed on any petition to warrant an official response from the White House.

"The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government."

The petition, filed by Micah H from Arlington, TX on Friday, is not the only one of its kind filed since Election Day. POLITICO reports there are close to two dozen filed, including ones from New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Oregon and the Carolinas. Gov. Perry’s office sent a statement about the petition to the Dallas Morning News, stating the the governor "believes in the greatness of our Union," but also "shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government."

Sadler makes final plea in first TV ad

In his first TV ad, Paul Sadler touts his newspaper endorsements and his work in the Texas Legislature, and calls his opponent Ted Cruz extreme.

"I’ve been endorsed by newspapers in Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, San Antonio, partly because of my work for you, and partly because Ted Cruz is the most extreme Senate candidate in Texas history," Sadler says in the ad.

He also lists his accolades and awards, including winning Top Legislator, and his ability to work with Republicans.

You can see the ad for yourself here:

Mr. Sadler will be a guest on "Capital Tonight" this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Lawmakers mourn passing of Sen. Mario Gallegos, Jr.

State lawmakers are remembering a longtime state Senator who they said was firm in his beliefs and resolute in his spirit. Democratic Sen. Mario Gallegos, Jr. of Houston, who served close to 22 years in the legislature, died Tuesday from complications from a liver transplant. "Capital Tonight’s" Harold Cook, who serves as a spokesperson for the family, said Gallegos was surrounded by his family in a Houston hospital. He was 62.

Gallegos is well known for returning to the State Capitol shortly after his liver transplant in 2007 to vote against a voter ID law.

"He ignored a doctor’s call to return to Houston for treatment and remained in Austin and the Capitol, often in a hospital bed off the Senate floor, to fight and prevent legislation that would screen and suppress the votes and voices of the people Mario protected. He stopped that legislation that year, and its subsequent passage doesn’t lessen his heroism –it reinforces it," the Democratic Caucus wrote in a press release.

Republican lawmakers are also remembering Gallegos, especially his devotion to his constituents and his family.

"Senator Mario Gallegos was a devoted public servant who proudly represented the people of Senate District 6 for the last 17 years. I’ve seen with my own eyes the love and friendship lavished upon him by his family, friends and fellow firefighters. He was a friend and colleague to all the Senators and myself, and he will be dearly missed by all of us. Tricia and I send our deepest condolences to his wife, Theresa, and the entire Gallegos family. They will be in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time," Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said in a press release.

Governor Perry ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff.

"Whether serving as a firefighter, championing his beloved University of Houston or representing the interests of his constituents in the Texas Legislature, Sen. Gallegos led a life of serving the public. Anita and I send our condolences and prayers to his family and friends during this difficult time," Gov. Perry said in a statement.

Services for the Senator are pending. He will be buried in Houston. Gallegos was running against Republican R.W. Bray in the November general election. It is too late to remove his name from the ballot, and should he win a special election will be called by the governor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Houston Mayor praises gay marriage platform

The first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, Annise Parker of Houston, is celebrating the Democratic party platform which formally recognizes marriage equality for the first time.

Mayor Parker sat down with Paul Brown to discuss the platform change and why so many Texas Mayors are Democrats, despite the Republican hold on the state.

Sen. Van de Putte talks Obama’s chances, school vouchers at DNC

"Capital Tonight’s" Paul Brown sat down with Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte in Charlotte, Tuesday, at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Sen. Van de Putte is taking a more relaxed role during this year’s convention, after co-chairing the DNC in 2008. Watch the video below to hear the senator talk about her experience in Charlotte, plus, her take on the fight over education funding which is on the horizon for the Texas legislature.

Williams named Education Commissioner

Even though seemingly every Texas Republican has fled to Tampa for the Republican National Convention this week, Governor Perry made the surprise announcement Monday that Michael Williams has been named the state’s newest Education Commissioner. Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds will be the chief deputy commissioner.

"High standards and accountable public schools are essential to our state’s future success, and no two people understand that better than Michael and Lizzette. Together, they will build on the improvements achieved during the tenure of Robert Scott and Todd Webster, and will ensure our children are prepared for the challenges of college and the workplace,” Gov. Perry said in a press statement. "Michael’s pioneering leadership in both public and private sectors, combined with Lizzette’s nearly two decades of public education experience guiding and implementing statewide reforms create a powerful and dynamic team that will fortify our state’s public education system."

The governor’s office writes that Williams is the former Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. He will replace Robert Scott, who resigned from the post in July. A statement from the Texas Education Agency says staff members "stand ready" to help Williams as he begins his new job on September 1.

Texas Right to Life defends Akin’s comments on abortion

Texas Right to Life, the self-proclaimed oldest and largest pro-life group in the state, is defending Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on abortion in instances of rape. Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, writes in an email that Akin is being "thrown under the bus" and that the words he "unintentionally said" are now being twisted.

"This past Sunday, Congressman Todd Akin — who is now a candidate for U.S. Senate, running against an extremist, pro-abortion liberal — reaffirmed in a televised interview that he didn’t believe that abortion should be legal in cases of rape. Akin explained that the rapist should be the one punished for the crime, not the unborn child. We need more senators like him," Graham writes.

Graham asks supporters to tell their friends, and the media, that Akin is right in his comments. Other pro-life advocates have defended Akin, including actor Kirk Cameron.

State leaders score second victory over EPA this month

Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Senator John Cornyn are all praising a court decision on an EPA rule regarding power plant pollution that crosses into neighboring states. A US Court of Appeals in Washington said the restrictions on cross-state air pollution were too strict on "up-wind" states.

Texas, along with some other states, challenged the law in court. Abbot claimed the restrictions violated federal law and intruded on Texas sovereignty.

"Texas challenged the Obama Administration’s burdensome and unlawful regulations because they jeopardized electric reliability in the state, threatened job losses for hard-working Texans, and exceeded the limits of the EPA’s authority," Abbott said in a press release. "Vindicating the state’s objections to EPA’s aggressive and lawless approach, today’s decision is an important victory for federalism and a rebuke to a federal bureaucracy run amok."

Governor Perry, who you might remember wanted to rebuild the EPA if elected president, used the court’s decision as another example of how and why he disagrees with President Obama’s administration.

"[Tuesday’s] court decision is further proof of an out-of-control and out-of-line EPA," Gov. Perry said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "On the heels of our recent flexible air permitting program victory, today’s ruling further dismantles the misguided agenda of President Obama’s activist, overreaching EPA that has no regard for the impact of its imprudent policies on states’ economies or Americans’ checkbooks. Texas will continue to pursue common sense policies that balance the priorities of protecting the environment and allowing our industries to thrive.”

The rule would have taken effect in January. Earlier this month, a circuit court decision upheld the state’s flexible permitting program. That program had been rejected by the EPA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cornyn: Todd Akin should do what’s best for party

Texas Senator John Cornyn, Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on abortion in the case of rape "wrong, offensive and indefensible." Akin said over the weekend that in the case of "legitimate rape" a woman’s body "has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Republican Sen. Scott Brown from Massachusetts and Wisconsin Tea Party-backed Sen. Ron Johnson have called on Akin to remove his name from the November ballot.

Cornyn went on to say, "I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next twenty-four hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service."

Several media outlets are reporting the NRSC and Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS have said they won’t continue to fund Akin’s race if he decides to keep running.

The congressman acknowledged he misspoke but said he is not a quitter and plans to stay in the race. According to Missouri law, he needs to decide by Tuesday in order for the Republican Party to select a candidate to replace him.

Akin won the Missouri Republican primary earlier this month. He’s now running against incumbent Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill. Republicans had hoped to pick up the seat and control of the US Senate in November. A Mitt Romney campaign spokesman said Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan disagree with Akin’s comments. The campaign said a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in cases of rape.