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Trump Taps Perry, Miller to Advise on Agriculture

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has tapped several Texans to advise him on agriculture policy as he campaigns for the White House. He announced his new Agriculture Advisory Committee Tuesday. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller had already made public his position with Trump’s agriculture team. But this is the first time we’ve heard former Governor Rick Perry will be part of it. The 64-member team also includes several other prominent Texans.


In a news release, the Trump campaign said the committee “will provide pioneering new ideas to strengthen our nation’s agricultural industry as well as provide support to our rural communities.”

“The members of my agricultural advisory committee represent the best that America can offer to help serve agricultural communities,” Trump said in a statement. “Many of these officials have been elected by their communities to solve the issues that impact our rural areas every day. I’m very proud to stand with these men and women, and look forward to serving those who serve all Americans from the White House.”


Here’s the complete list of Trump’s agriculture team (* indicates Texans on panel):


Charles Herbster – National Chairman of the Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee for the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President

Sam Clovis – National Chief Policy Advisor for the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President

Rebeckah Adcock –CropLife, Senior Director, Government Affairs

Robert Aderholt – Congressman from Alabama; Chairman, Subcommittee on Agriculture

Jay Armstrong – Kansas Wheat Commission; Chairman, Farm Foundation

Gary Black – Commissioner Agriculture, Georgia

John Block – Former Sec. of USDA

*Mike Brandenburg – State Legislator, North Dakota

Terry Branstad – Governor of Iowa

Sam Brownback – Governor of Kansas

Chuck Conner – CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

Mike Conaway – House Agriculture Chairman

Jack Dalrymple – Governor of North Dakota

Dennis Daugaard – Governor of South Dakota

Rodney Davis – Congressman from Illinois; House Agriculture committee and Subcommittee Chair of Bio Tech

Mary Fallin – Governor of Oklahoma

Eddie Fields – Senator, Oklahoma; Chair Senate Ag and Rural Development

Steve Foglesong – Former President National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Jim Gilmore – Former Governor Virginia; Chairman of Report on Terrorism and Agro-Terrorism

Bob Goodale – Former CEO of Harris Teeter

Bob Goodlatte – Congressman, Virginia; Former Chairman House Agriculture Committee

Mike Green – State Senator, Michigan; Appropriations Agriculture Chair; Senate Agriculture Committee Vice Chair

*Helen Groves – Rancher; daughter of Robert Kleberg (King Ranch); Well known in TX/ranching world

Ron Heck – Iowa farmer and Past President of the American Soybean Assoc.

Dave Heineman – Former Gov. Nebraska

Hans Hunts – State Legislator, Wyoming; Wyoming House Ag Committee; Rancher

Cindy Hyde – Smith – Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Mississippi

Brent Jackson – State Senator, North Carolina

A.G. Kawamura – Former Sec. Food & Agriculture, California

John Kautz – California wine producer; CEO Ironstone Vineyards

Charlotte Kelly – Tennessee cotton grower along with her husband (14,000 acres) plus operating a cotton gin processing 30,000 plus bales and a leader in the cotton industry

Mark Killian – Commissioner of Agriculture, Arizona; Farmer and rancher AZ

Brian Klippenstein – Protect the Harvest

Tsosie Lewis – Former CEO of Navaho Nation’s Agricultural Products Industries

Forrest Lucas – CEO Lucas Oil; Protect the Harvest

Mike McCloskey – CEO Fair Oaks Farms- one of largest dairies in U.S.

Beau McCoy – State Senator; Nebraska Nat. Chr. Council State Govts

Ted McKinney – Former Director of Global Corp. Affairs for Elanco Animal Health

*Sid Miller – Commissioner of Agriculture, Texas

Jim Moseley – Former consultant on agriculture at EPA; Former Deputy Secretary of USDA

Brian Munzlinger – Chairman Missouri Senate Ag Committee

Casey Murdock – State Senator, Oklahoma

Tom Nassif – President Western Growers; Former Ambassador

Garry Niemeyer – Former President National Corn Growers

Bill Northy – Secretary of Ag, Iowa

Sonny Perdue – Former Gov. Georgia

*Rick Perry – Former Gov. Texas

Ryan Quarles – Commissioner of Agriculture, Kentucky

Bruce Rastetter – Summit Ag Group of Alden, Iowa; Hosted first Republican Presidential debate

Jim Reese – Secretary of Agriculture for Gov. Mary Fallin of OK

Larry Rhoden – Senator South Dakota; House Majority Leader and Sen Majority Whip; Chair Senate Ag Committee

Pete Ricketts –Governor of Nebraska

Pat Roberts – U.S. Senator Kansas

Marcus Rust – CEO Rose Acre Farms- second largest egg producer in U.S.

Leslie Rutledge – Attorney General, Arkansas; Co-Chair of the National Association of Attorney General Agriculture Committee and is married to a soybean producer

David Spears – Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Dole Ag Advisor; Senior Vice President, Mid-Kansas Cooperative, Inc.

Dr. Mike Strain – Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, Louisiana

*Red Steagall – Official Cowboy Poet of Texas

Annette Sweeney – Former Iowa House Agriculture, Chair; Farmer; Agriculture Advocate

Kip Tom – CEO, Tom Farms LLC-Largest Agri-Business farm operator in Indiana; Operates farms in South America

*Johnny Trotter – CEO of BarG- 125,000 feedlot operation and farms 10,0000 acres in TX

Steve Wellman – Former President of the American Soybean Association

Walt Whitcomb – Ag Commissioner, Maine

John Wilkinson – Chairman, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Georgia State Senate

Sen. Cornyn Talks Trump, Police Protection and Presses AG Lynch

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn says he’s concerned about what the top of the ticket could mean for down ballot races.


The Texas senior senator was in Austin Friday pushing for police protection. He highlighted his Police Act legislation that was signed into law last month. It would allow local law enforcement and first responders to use federal grant funding for active shooter response training.


But Cornyn was also asked about his party’s nominee Donald Trump. While Cornyn says he supports him, he told reporters the rhetoric on both sides needs to change.

“Instead it’s been a battle of personalities which I don’t think has served the American people very well,” Cornyn said. “I would like to hear both from Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump on how they would govern if elected and we’ve been given more of a personality clashing contest than a real policy discussion, which I’d like to see.”


Meanwhile, Cornyn is also asking the US Attorney General for answers on why the Department of Justice didn’t open a case on the Clinton Foundation.

Cornyn sent a letter to AG Loretta Lynch Friday with a series of questions stemming from a CNN report this week.

That report showed FBI officers approached the DOJ about opening a case on the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.


“This kind of conduct is unacceptable, and reflects the worst concerns harbored by the public about the abuse of government office to benefit the powerful at the expense of the American people,” Sen. Cornyn wrote. “It violates the commitment Secretary Clinton made to Congress and the Executive Branch following her nomination to be Secretary of State. That and her proven record of extreme carelessness with national security warrant a careful examination of Secretary Clinton’s other conduct, and that of her staff.”


Below is Sen. Cornyn’s full letter:


The Honorable Loretta Lynch

Attorney General

United States Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20530


Dear Attorney General Lynch:


Last month, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James B. Comey publicly announced his recommendation to the Department of Justice (the Department) that it not pursue a criminal indictment of former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, for her decision to conduct her email while in office on a private, unsecured and secret server. Mr. Comey described Secretary Clinton’s extreme carelessness and the fact that she put our national security at risk. You followed the FBI’s recommendation and decided not to press charges.


On August 9th, CNN reported that, earlier this year, the FBI asked the Department to open a case and support a criminal investigation into the Clinton Foundation and its related entities. As the press have reported widely and emails released over the past few days confirmed, representatives of the Foundation repeatedly sought special treatment for its donors and associates from senior officials at the State Department. These matters were attended to by Secretary Clinton’s inner circle of advisors, including Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin. (Ms. Abedin was reportedly also paid simultaneously by the State Department and an entity closely linked to the Foundation.)


This kind of conduct is unacceptable, and reflects the worst concerns harbored by the public about the abuse of government office to benefit the powerful at the expense of the American people. It violates the commitment Secretary Clinton made to Congress and the Executive Branch following her nomination to be Secretary of State. That and her proven record of extreme carelessness with national security warrant a careful examination of Secretary Clinton’s other conduct, and that of her staff.


When the FBI recommended that you not pursue a criminal indictment of Secretary Clinton for her emails, you followed their recommendation. Yet, according to the CNN report, the Department’s Public Integrity Unit refused to open a case and pursue criminal charges regarding the Clinton Foundation when the FBI recommended doing so. The practice is not clear, but the outcome in both cases favors Secretary Clinton.


This contrast does little to instill faith in the Department, part of why I called for an appointment of the Special Counsel in the email matter. But greater clarity for the public on the basis for your decision may. With that in mind, please respond to the following questions by August 25, 2016:
Is the CNN report accurate?


When did the FBI recommend that the Department open a case and pursue criminal charges related to the Clinton Foundation?


Why did the FBI recommend that the Department open a case on the Clinton Foundation?


Which Department employees, in the Public Integrity Unit or elsewhere, were involved in the decision not to open a case on the Clinton Foundation?


In the earlier reported investigation by the Department, which violations of criminal law were considered? And why did the Department decide not to open a case?


In your recent private meeting with former President Bill Clinton, did you discuss anything regarding the Clinton Foundation? If so, please indicate what was discussed.


Congressman Castro on Sen. Cruz: “He Freaked Out”

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro will take the main stage on the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. First, he spoke to Texas delegates at their morning breakfast.


Castro made headlines earlier this week when he more definitively said he was looking into running for US Senate in 2018 against Sen. Ted Cruz. Thursday morning he told reporters Cruz has made Washington worse.

“Ted Cruz said he’d go to Washington and change Washington and he has. He’s made it worse, much worse,” Castro said.


Cruz sent out a fundraising email earlier this week after Castro mentioned he’s looking at running against him. Castro responded, “He freaked out. He freaked out when he read that. That’s what I would expect from someone who hasn’t spent any time working for the people of Texas.”


In that email to supporters Cruz said the Castro brothers have the support of the mainstream media and Washington establishment.

“This November, it is critical we elect conservatives up and down the ballot in order to prevent a liberal takeover of Washington, DC,” Cruz said.



Castro said he’d make a decision on running for Senate in the next several months.


The Texas Congressman also gave some insight into his speech tonight. He told reporters he’s going to talk about the difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and the fact that she will build opportunity in America and if he’s elected, he’s going to tear down opportunity.


Joaquin’s brother Julian also made headlines this week. His name had been thrown around about taking over as DNC chair. On Capital Tonight’s Wednesday show he told anchor Karina Kling, he’s not interested.


Watch the interview here.




Sanders Gets Warm Texas Welcome, Warns of Trump

Sen. Bernie Sanders stopped by the Texas delegate breakfast Wednesday morning. His visit came the day after a tense exchange between his Texas backers and Hillary Clinton supporters. During Tuesday’s breakfast, a call for unity from Sanders’ camp quickly turned ugly when one of the delegates said he condemned Clinton as the nominee. While he later apologized, that scene has been the norm during the Democratic National Convention.

Sanders has tried to calm his followers down, and continued that work during the Texas breakfast.

He walked in to loud applause and a standing ovation. He then told the crowd that the movement continues.

“The function of an election is not just to win,” Sanders said. “The function of an election is to transform this country.”

Sanders then went on to warn the delegates of Donald Trump and why they must vote for Clinton in November.

“Donald Trump is the worst candidate in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said.

He added, “The cornerstone of his campaign is not economics. The cornerstone of his campaign is bigotry.”

Sanders also touted how he has teamed up with Clinton to make the Democratic Party more progressive.

He lost Texas to Clinton by more than 30 points and acknowledged that in his remarks saying, “I know we didn’t do great in Texas.”

But he listed off some fond memories of his time campaigning there and thanked the delegates who worked so hard to get him elected and who continued the movement.


Photos by Karina Kling

bern crierhat dude

bern and delegate

(Youngest delegate in the nation, Clarissa Rodriguez, gives Sanders a sign with his Texas supporters signatures)

Texas Delegates Spar Over Sanders, Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders delegates clashed over their candidates at their breakfast Tuesday morning. Sanders supporters got up on stage to try to unite in moving forward and spoke hopefully of dialogue with Clinton supporters. But then one of the Sanders delegates took a turn against the presumptive nominee.

“We want to be clear,” Russel Lytle said. “We are currently condemning our current presumptive nominee.”


Clinton backers quickly started shouting “shame” and “get off the stage.”


The two chairs of Clinton and Sanders Texas campaigns tried to calm the crowd down and urged unity.


Lytle apologized in a statement and also voluntarily withdrew his credentials.


The divide was evident on day one of the convention when Sanders supporters constantly booed while speakers took the main stage. Sanders told the audience in his primetime speech Monday night they needed to unite behind Clinton to beat Donald Trump. Sanders will speak at the Texas delegate breakfast Wednesday morning.

Join us on Capital Tonight at 7 for more reaction to the day’s events.



Day 1 DNC Recap: Convention Floor Chaos, Sanders, FLOTUS, Warren Keynote

Day one of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia kicked off with quite a bit of chaos. But it ended with a call for unity.

That call came from Bernie Sanders, who’s supporters had been booing and shouting throughout the day on the convention floor.

Sanders spoke during primetime Monday night and walked out to loud applause. He said no one is more disappointed than he is that he’s not the nominee. He then listed off a number of his proposals that have been pushed front and center – because he says he was in the race. But while many remain disappointed he’s not the nominee, Sanders urged his supporters to unite behind Clinton.

“In these stressful times for our country, this election must be about bringing our people together, not dividing us up. While Donald Trump is busy insulting one group after another, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths,” Sanders said.


First Lady Michelle Obama also took the stage on the first day of the convention. She took a jab at the Republican nominee saying she wants a president who knows issues “cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.”

She also praised Clinton saying she’s advancing the cause for women.

“And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States,” Obama said.


Meanwhile, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren urged Democrats to unite behind Clinton to beat Donald Trump. She said Trump only cares about himself, and democrats are stronger together.

“When we turn on each other we can’t unite to fight back against a rigged system. Well, I’ve got news for Donald Trump, the American people are not falling for it,” Warren said.





Cruz Confronted by Texas Delegates

  1. Ted Cruz took some heat from his home state delegates Thursday morning. The night before, he was booed during his primetime speech on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The convention crowd erupting in chants of “endorse Trump.” Cruz never made it official but congratulated Trump at the beginning of his speech. Trump walked into the hall at the end of Cruz’s speech to applause so loud, it drowned out the Texas senator’s final comments.

    On the final morning of the RNC, Cruz spoke at the Texas delegate breakfast. He was greeted with a standing ovation, but some in the crowd quickly started calling him out. Cruz took questions from the audience. One delegate spoke out saying when she first met Cruz, she asked if he was a man of his word? She noted that Cruz and Trump had some bad blood between them and Cruz acknowledged he didn’t want to endorse someone who attacked his wife and father. The delegate then added, “It’s not about Heidi, Rafael, it’s about the United State of America.”

    Cruz said, “I wasn’t elected to do the convenient thing, I was elected to do what’s right and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

    Another delegate shouted out, “Get over it, it’s politics.” Cruz responded, “This is not a game. This is not politics.”

    Cruz also told the supporters in the crowd that he’s not encouraging any of them to write his name in.

    When asked if Cruz was going to vote for Donald Trump, one delegate shouted out, “His vote is private.”

    A delegate from Houston talked about Cruz’s speech last night. “It was horrible to the end where he didn’t endorse. Thought it was tasteless and disrespectful,” he said.

    Photos by Karina Kling

    guy cruz IMG_2038 IMG_2043 IMG_2035 IMG_1989 (1)

Cruz Thanks Supporters as Trump’s Plane Flies Overhead

IMG_1994 IMG_1989 (1)

photos by Karina Kling


Sen. Ted Cruz held a Cleveland event Wednesday to thank the people who supported him during his presidential campaign. He didn’t mention his former rival Donald Trump by name, but when he told the crowd they have a nominee, Trump’s plane flew over the event. The crowd booed loudly. Cruz responded with a laugh said, “Alright, that was pretty well orchestrated. Jeff, did you email them to fly the plane right when I said that?”

Jeff Roe is Cruz’s campaign manager.

Cruz also recalled the end of his campaign and said his biggest regret was not individually thanking every volunteer who worked for him. He admitted he didn’t do it because he didn’t want to break down in front of reporters following his devastating loss in the Indiana primary.

“I wasn’t going to let those SOBs turn Lyin’ Ted into Cryin’ Ted.” Lyin’ Ted was the nickname Trump gave the Texas senator.  




Court Rules Texas Voter ID Law Violates Voting Rights Act

A federal appeals court has ordered changed to Texas’ voter ID law. The court ruled the law violates the Voting Rights Act and has ordered changes before the November election. The ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals instructs a lower court to fix the “discriminatory effect” of the 2011 law before the November election, but said to do it without disrupting the process too much.


Read the statements from Texas officials on both sides of the issue (will be updated):


Governor Greg Abbott today released the following statement on the 5th Circuit Court’s Voter ID ruling:


“The 5th Circuit rightly reversed the lower court’s finding of discriminatory purpose, but wrongly concluded the law had a discriminatory effect. Voter fraud is real, and it undermines the integrity of the election process. As Attorney General I prosecuted cases against voter fraud across the State, and Texas will continue to make sure there is no illegal voting at the ballot box.”


Attorney General Ken Paxton:

“It is imperative that the State government safeguards our elections and ensures the integrity of our democratic process. Preventing voter fraud is essential to accurately reflecting the will of Texas voters during elections, and it is unfortunate that this common-sense law, providing protections against fraud, was not upheld in its entirety.”


The Texas Legislature enacted the voter ID law in 2011 through Senate Bill 14 (SB14), requiring voters to present government-issued photo ID when voting at the polls. The seven acceptable forms of photo ID included the following: a Texas Driver’s license, free Texas election identification certificate (EIC), Texas personal ID card, Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, U.S. military ID card, U.S. citizenship certificate, and U.S. passport.



Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:


“Today, is a great day for all Texas voters! The most restrictive and discriminatory Republican voter ID law in country has been struck down.


“Texas Democrats know that our nation and democracy are stronger when everyone participates in the electoral process. That is why today’s victory is so important for our families. This November, our families will decide the future of our nation, and voter ID, as we know it, will be no more.


“Texas Republican’s discriminatory Voter ID law has held some 700,000 Texans away from their right to vote for many elections now. Unfortunately, that damage by Republicans has already been done to our families. However, we can now look forward to a fairer election system, worthy of our great state.


“This is a huge win for voting rights in Texas and across our nation.


“Our legal team is reviewing the opinion and the Texas Democratic Party will have further comment at a later time.”



San Antonio, Texas – State Senator José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) issued the following statement after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Texas’ intolerable voter ID law.


The following quotes are attributable to Senator José Menéndez:


“Today the Court affirmed that voting is a founding principal of our Democracy and nothing shall abridge that right. We knew from the beginning that Texas’ voter ID law was meant to disenfranchise voters. The ruling will help the grandmother who no longer has her driver’s license exercise her right to vote. It will allow the college student, who was barred from using a student id to vote, access to their polling place. For too long, the State prioritized keeping people away from a polling location with this draconian law. The Court confirmed that this egregious law was put into place to oppress Texas voters. Laws that hinder the minority vote have no place in America.”


“The millions of dollars spent defending this unconstitutional law could have helped shore up Child Protective Services, replaced textbooks for Texas classrooms, or helped thousands of indigent seniors. I’m calling on General Paxton to stop chasing windmills and face the reality that this law discriminates against voters. It’s all money flushed down the toilet on a “solution” looking for a fictitious problem.”



Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas:

“We’re delighted that the 5th Circuit has determined — once again – that Texas’ discriminatory photo voter ID law has the effect of disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of minority voters in the Lone Star State while doing precisely nothing to prevent voter fraud. This law was nothing less than a brazen and transparent attempt to keep people of color out of the voting booth. The case now goes back to the district judge to fashion a remedy that will make it easier for qualified Texans to cast their ballots this fall and we’re hopeful the result will be more fair.”





Speaker Straus Still Not on Trump Train

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has not endorsed Donald Trump and he said he doesn’t have plans to do it.

“I don’t think endorsing, or my activity at the top of the ticket is going to matter a bit,” Speaker Straus said in a one on one interview with Capital Tonight anchor Karina Kling at the RNC in Cleveland, Ohio.

“My focus is down ballot. I have this job to do and I take it 100 percent seriously.”

Straus is the chairman of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee which works to get GOP lawmakers elected nationwide.

“There should be more focus and care and attention down ballot then ever before because of that unpredictability at the top,” Straus said.

Straus also talked about legislative priorities for the next session. Watch our full interview with him on Capital Tonight at 7pm.


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