Allison Sandza

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Posts by Allison Sandza

Statesman’s Embry to be Straus’ Press Secretary

Courtesy: Austin American-Statesman

Austin American-Statesman Capitol Bureau Chief Jason Embry will be Speaker Joe Straus’ new Press Secretary.

“Jason’s insights into the legislative process and knowledge of both the issues and the Members themselves will serve not only my office, but also the State of Texas, well," Straus said in a statement.

“I am honored to join Speaker Straus’s team,” Embry said in the same statement. “I look forward to helping the Speaker communicate his vision of a fiscally responsible state government that promotes opportunity for all Texans. I have been privileged to cover the Capitol alongside talented, dedicated journalists from around the state, and I am eager to work with those journalists, as well as the members of the Texas House, in this new capacity."

Embry was a reporter at the Statesman for nine years. He created the First Reading blog three years ago. Before moving to Austin he worked at the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Gov. Perry thanks Scott for ‘raising the bar’ in Texas schools

Gov. Perry released a statement Tuesday, in which he called Education Commissioner Robert Scott "an integral part of raising the bar for scholastic achievement in Texas." Perry appointed Scott five years ago.

“Robert Scott has served this state and its school children tremendously during his tenure, always remaining committed to the principle that all children should graduate, and do so college and career ready. Robert has been an integral part of raising the bar for scholastic achievement in Texas, successfully implementing the state’s new accountability system and working with the State Board of Education to revamp Texas’ curriculum standards.

“His leadership was also fundamental in creating the Texas High School Project, a public-private partnership that created Texas’ first STEM academies and Early College High Schools. Robert’s experience and dedication have left a lasting imprint on our state’s education system and countless Texas children, ensuring a top-notch education for our students and their preparation for success in and out of school. I’m thankful for his service and wish him all the best in the future.”

Republican leaders applaud appeals court decision

Republicans are pleased with an appeals court’s decision to reverse the injunction won by Planned Parenthood yesterday.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst released the following statement after the appeal was announced.

"Texas can continue to provide the basic preventative health care 130,000 women depend on without sacrificing our values, and I’m confident that at the end of the day, the courts will uphold our states’ rights and Texas’ commitment to protecting the unborn."

Stephanie Goodman from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission sent us this response.

""The stay issued this morning allows the state to fully enforce state law today and exclude abortion providers from the Women’s Health Program. Women who need help finding a new WHP provider can call 1-800-335-8957."


The governor’s office reiterated their statement from last night. They say they are confident in Attorney General Abbott’s appeal "to defend the will of Texans and our state law" and they will "continue to work with the Attorney General to pursue all available legal options."

Cruz responds to Dewhurst attack ads, calls Lt. Gov. scared

Ted Cruz responded Friday to an attack ad from the Dewhurst For Texas campaign which says Cruz defended a Chinese company in a lawsuit against an American manufacturer.

"As most of y’all are aware in the last two weeks, David Dewhurst has spent $2 million running saturation attack ads against me on the issue of China. You can’t turn on your television set without hearing that I’m a quote ‘red Chinese communist," Cruz said at a Tea Party U.S. Senate forum Friday. "Why is he doing this? Because he’s scared, and he’s scared because conservatives have united behind this campaign."

You can hear from Cruz for yourself below.

Perry formally endorses Romney

Gov. Perry formally endorsed Mitt Romney Thursday, a day after news broke that Newt Gingrich would be dropping out of the race next week. Perry endorsed Gingrich when he withdrew from the race in January.

Perry said Romney "earned his status" as the likely GOP nominee, "through hard work, a strong organization and disciplined message." There was no mention of whether or not Perry would be campaigning for Romney.

"Mitt Romney has earned the Republican Presidential nomination through hard-work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration," said Governor Perry. "So today I join the many conservative Republicans across the nation in endorsing Mitt Romney for President and pledge to him, my constituents and the Republican Party that I will continue to work hard to help defeat President Obama. American jobs, economic stability and national security depend on electing a new president. Mitt ‘s vision and record of private sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cruz gets a boost from Tea Party voters in new poll

Ted Cruz is catching up to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a new Public Policy Polling survey out today, most of it thanks to the Tea Party. If the election were held today, 38 percent of voters say they would vote for Dewhurst for U.S. Senate, 26 percent say they would vote for Cruz, a former state solicitor general. Tom Leppert, a former Dallas mayor, receives 8 percent of the vote. Former ESPN sports analyst Craig James is right behind him with 7 percent.

Cruz is tied with Dewhurst at 35 percent when it comes to voters who identify themselves as Tea Party members. Those who say they are not part of the Tea Party back Dewhurst 41 percent to Cruz’s 20 percent.

The poll also puts each Republican candidate in head-to-head matchups with their potential Democratic opponents. All of the GOP hopefuls beat either Paul Sadler or Sean Hubbard in those scenarios.

Leppert calls rivals ’empty suits’ in new statewide ad

U.S. Senate candidate Tom Leppert is calling out his GOP rivals–and Pres. Obama–in the campaign’s fourth TV ad. He calls Lt. Gov. Dewhurst a "career politician backed by lobbyists" and Former Solicitor General Ted Cruz a "government lawyer." Leppert is banking on his business background and his executive experience as mayor of Dallas to set him apart from the competition.

"I’m a conservative businessman. I’ve created good jobs, balanced budgets, and cut wasteful spending in business and government," Leppert says in the ad.

It started airing statewide on cable and on broadcast networks in most of the major markets Monday.

Straus not signing Gov. Perry’s budget pledge

House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, did not sign Gov. Perry’s Texas Budget Compact this week, but he says he does support the governor’s principles.

"Speaker Straus not only agrees with the principles outlined in Governor Perry’s compact but also has delivered results on them, leading the House to balanced, no-new taxes budgets, preserving a strong Rainy Day Fund and being one of the only legislators ever to lead efforts to abolish a tax once it had served its purpose," The Speaker’s Office wrote in a press release.

Straus’ office says he has a long-standing policy of "not signing pledges," and that his pledge is to "keep his commitments to and provide quality representation" for his constituents and all Texans.

Cruz keeps focus on Dewhurst in first statewide televised debate

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst took most of the hits during the first statewide televised U.S. Senate debate Friday night in Dallas, most of them coming directly from former Solicitor General Ted Cruz. Cruz, who is right behind Dewhurst in fundraising, redirected most questions to attack Dewhurst’s record and his career in Austin.

The debate began with a question about a text message Cruz sent to Craig James. In the text message, Cruz asked James to to ask him about Dewhurst’s absence at some of the senate debates. In a press release, James accused Cruz of trying to "rig" the debate.

"There is nothing rigged at all about making a point about something I’ve said all across the state of Texas, which is for the entire course of this campaign, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has chosen to skip 32 candidate forums all over the state," Cruz said. "Lt. Gov. Dewhurst believed he didn’t have the time to go in front of Texas voters to listen to their questions and to defend his record and I think it’s perfectly acceptable to suggest to someone to make a point that he and I have both made all over the state."

In response, Dewhurst said he has campaigned all over the state, listening to Texans and their concerns.

But that wasn’t the last time Cruz called out Dewhurst by name. He seemed to use every opportunity to draw a contrast between himself and the Lieutenant Governor. When each candidate was assigned another candidate to question, Ted Cruz asked Tom Leppert a two-part question, both of which had to do with Dewhurst’s record.

Dewhurst finally engaged Cruz in the second half of the debate. Dewhurst said he sometimes gets "confused" because while he is running for the U.S. Senate, some candidates are "running against David Dewhurst." He later mentioned Cruz by name, when he asked Craig James if he, unlike Ted Cruz, would support Sen. John Cornyn for a Republican leadership position in the U.S. Senate. James said he would support Cornyn.

All candidates agreed on the major issues, all want to repeal Pres. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and most said some changes must be made to Social Security. All of the candidates said there was a need for more border patrol agents.

Ron Paul collects delegates, breaks up Fed in video game

Courtesy: Daniel Williams

Are you a liberty-loving, Ron Paul-supporting gamer who likes to play the classics like Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog? You might feel inclined to donate to a guy named Daniel Williams in Houston who created "The Road to REVOLution," an action/adventure game starring Ron Paul.

"Collect Delegates to ensure your seat as the President, collect Gold Coins to unlock branches of the Federal Reserve where you defeat bosses and progress your quest to end the Federal Reserve," Williams writes.

The game has more than 50 levels and an original soundtrack.

Williams is looking for donations. According to his page he has already surpassed his fundraising goal, with $5,783 dollars donated by 58 people.

Courtesy: Daniel Williams

According to the donation page, the game is only online now, but Williams is hoping to convert it to aps for android and i platforms.

You can see Williams’ trailer for the game here: