Sarah Grady

Sarah has been with the YNN family since 2004. She is a native New Yorker and graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications with a BS in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Sarah joined YNN Austin in August of 2009 and helped launch YNN's nightly political show, Capital Tonight, in 2011. When she’s not in the control room or updating the website, Sarah enjoys being in the field. Some highlights included producing the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and the Presidential Inauguration, as well as YNN’s “9/11 Ten Years Later” special one hour show from New York City.


Posts by Sarah Grady

New Dewhurst ad targets Patrick’s troubled financial past

Updated to include Sen. Patrick response.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is out with a new television attack ad today. The new 30-second spot is highly critical of Sen. Dan Patrick’s financial history. Patrick filed for personal bankruptcy in the 1980s, when fallout from the oil bust forced him close a chain of sports bars he co-owned. Many have been critical of the fact that he never paid back more than $800,000 in debts.

Patrick has defended his bankruptcy, saying he never tried to hide his troubled financial past. Patrick has used his history as an example of how Texans can overcome hardship, and attributes his success as a businessman to lessons learned from his past failures. “I learned from that. It made me the fiscal conservative that I am because I am 63 today, I was 35 then,” he said in an online interview. 

You can watch the full Dewhurst ad here:

UPDATE:

Patrick was quick to respond to Dewhurst’s attack, calling the negative ad a “string of lies, half truths, and a rehash of events from 30 years ago.” Below is a statement from Patrick campaign strategist Allen Blakemore.

“Six weeks before the Runoff Election and during Holy Week, David Dewhurst takes his campaign straight to the gutter.  Over the next seven days, he is spending over $1,000,000 polluting the airwaves, spewing raw sewage, and personally attacking Dan Patrick.  Mr. Dewhurst’s ad offers no excuse for his own record of failure to secure the border, failure to address property taxes that are driving people from their homes, and a failure to deliver a fiscally responsible budget.

Mr. Dewhurst’s negative campaign of personal attacks will fail.  The voters know David Dewhurst and his record, and over 70% have already rejected his message and are looking for an authentic conservative like Dan Patrick to lead as our next Lieutenant Governor.”

 

 

Republicans hold double digit lead in statewide races

Republican Greg Abbott continues to hold a double digit lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for Texas Governor, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

The poll puts Abbott at 51 percent, to Davis’ 37 percent. Those numbers are similar to the last PPP poll, conducted in November.
In fact, Republicans hold a double digit lead in every statewide 2014 race.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte trails regardless of who her potential Republican opponent might be. Senator Dan Patrick, who came out ahead in the Republican primary, leads Van de Putte by a 16 point margin. A match-up with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst puts Van de Putte 18 points behind.

Van de Putte’s Republican opponent will be determined in the May 27 runoff election.

 

Abbott blasts Davis’ private meeting with Obama

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is criticizing his democratic opponent’s private meeting with President Barack Obama today.

As was first reported here on Capital Roundup, Sen. Wendy Davis and President Obama met during his visit to the LBJ Library for the Civil Rights Summit. According to the campaign, “President Obama and Senator Davis briefly discussed the importance of the Voting Rights Act and its legacy in Texas.”

The Abbott campaign was quick to pounce on the closed-press nature of the discussion. Shortly after the President’s departure, the campaign manager Matt Hirsch released this statement:

“Sen. Davis stated last month that she would not shy away from President Obama’s visit to Texas, yet in another flip-flop, she instead decided to meet with him in secret – away from the public and refusing to mention what they discussed. We can only assume President Obama and Sen. Davis bonded over their shared support of ObamaCare and limiting Second Amendment rights. Texans want a governor who shares there values, not someone who wants to bring Obama’s big government agenda and failed liberal values to our great state.”

The White House has not commented on what the two talked about.

Lawmakers respond to Fort Hood shooting

Fourteen people are injured and several are reportedly dead, following a shooting on Fort Hood this afternoon. Details are still coming in, but Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul says four people were killed when a gunman opened fire on post. Officials say the gunman, who has not been identified, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Lawmakers are responding to today’s events. Here is a collection of the statements released so far, tonight:

Gov. Rick Perry

“Today, Ft. Hood was once again stricken by tragedy. As Texans, our first priority must be caring for the victims and their families. Ft. Hood has proven its resilience before, and will again. Texas will support those efforts in any way we can, with any resources necessary. The thoughts and prayers of all Texans are with everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Sen. John Cornyn

“Tonight, Texans’ hearts are once again very heavy. The scenes coming from Ft. Hood today are sadly too familiar and still too fresh in our memories.  No community should have to go through this horrific violence once, let alone twice. I ask that all Americans join Sandy and me in praying for the victims, their families and the entire Ft. Hood community.”

Sen. Wendy Davis

“Texans are united in deep sorrow at this terrible tragedy.  Our prayers are with the families and all those who serve at Fort Hood.”

 

 

Perry critical of latest Obamacare deadline extension

Gov. Rick Perry is taking the Obama administration to task, after the White House announced yet another Affordable Care Act deadline extension. The open enrollment deadline is Friday. This latest extension gives customers who have already started the enrollment process more time to finish it.

There have already been several Obamacare deadline extensions. Notably, the Obama administration took similar action in late last year, when they relaxed the deadline to secure coverage by Jan. 1. “As was the case for the December deadline, we’re going to want to make sure that people who are already in line can finish their enrollment,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Republicans already highly critical of the president’s health care plan are pointing to this latest extension as another failure for the Obama administration. In a statement, Gov. Rick Perry said:

“Whether it’s deadlines or red lines, it’s clear we can’t trust President Obama to back up what he says, from adhering to his own disastrous health care policy to standing up to those who threaten democracy and freedom in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Crimea and elsewhere around the world.

In every policy decision he makes we see a feckless, meandering and muddled strategy that ultimately leaves the administration, and increasingly the United States, embarrassed by the lack of conviction and discipline we expect and deserve from the leader of the free world.”

Abbott clears the air on fair pay legislation stance

UPDATED to include clarification from the Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office

Weeks after first being asked the question, Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is taking a stand on a Texas version of the Lilly Ledbetter Act. He told the Associated Press today he would not sign a Texas version into law. The question was first posed to Abbott during an interview with WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics. Democrats began attacking his position on fair pay when he declined to take a firm position on the issue.

Campaign spokesman Matt Hirsch told the AP:

“Because wage discrimination is already against the law and because legal avenues already exist for victims of discrimination, Greg Abbott would have not signed this law.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis authored the Texas Fair Pay Act, which extended the statute of limitations for bringing lawsuits against employers accused of pay discrimination. The legislation garnered bipartisan support in the House and Senate, but was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry.

The issue moved front and center in the Governor’s race, when two high profile Republican woman stumbled in response to questions over the party’s position on fair pay. In one instance, Republican Party of Texas Executive Director Beth Cubriel told Capital Tonight that equal pay legislation was unnecessary. Instead, she said, ”Men are better negotiators and I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”

The Davis campaign was quick to respond to Abbott’s declaration. The campaign pointed to a San Antonio Express News report that the Attorney General’s office pays female assistant attorneys general less than male ones. In a statement, campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said:

“On the day that Texans discover Greg Abbott pays women less than men in his office, he announces he would veto equal pay legislation that would help his employees address this discrimination. Texans are tired of business as usual from Greg Abbott and support Wendy Davis’ fight on economic fairness for all hardworking Texans.”

UPDATED

In an email to Capital Tonight, the Attorney General’s office said there are various reasons for pay discrepancies that are not gender related. According to the AG’s office, there are seven different AAG classifications and 50 unique job titles with “variety of job duties, experience and qualifications.”  Abbott’s office says some discrepancies in pay can be attributed to varying years of service and experience as a licensed attorney. Assistant Attorneys General also work in different legal practice areas which are “subject to different labor market forces, which means that salaries within an AAG classification will inevitably differ.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Abbott campaign distances itself from RPT equal pay remarks

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is responding to controversial comments regarding pay equality by a top Republican Party of Texas official.

On Monday’s Capital Tonight, Executive Director Beth Cubriel said equal pay laws were unnecessary and the solution for pay discrimination lies outside of legislation. ”Men are better negotiators and I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”

Those remarks drew a swift response from the Wendy Davis campaign and other Democratic groups, including the Lone Star Project, Battleground Texas and the Texas Democratic Party. They have been firing shots at Abbott over the issue since last week, when Abbott declined to say if he would have supported the Texas Equal Pay Act.

In a statement to Capital Tonight Tuesday afternoon, the Abbott campaign distanced itself from Cubriel’s remarks. Spokesman Matt Hirsch said: 

“Greg Abbott supports equal pay, and he supports Texas and federal law that provides legal avenues for victims of discrimination. The Texas Constitution and both state and federal law guarantee a woman’s right to equal pay in Texas. Equal pay is the law in Texas, and as Governor, Greg Abbott will continue to ensure it’s enforced.

Greg Abbott believes it’s inappropriate to ever blame the victim of discrimination, and he remains focused on ensuring greater prosperity and opportunity for all women and Texans. As a father of a teenage daughter and a husband to a former teacher, Greg Abbott will ensure that growing prosperity in Texas touches all families.”

Lawmakers passed a Texas version of the Lilly Ledbetter Act during the 2013 legislative session. The law allowed a discrimination suit to be filed when the wrong-doing is discovered. Under current law in Texas, there is a 180-day time frame to file such a lawsuit.

Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the legislation, saying it was unnecessary since a federal version already exists. Supporters of the bill, however, say the law would have allowed women to sue in state court, rather than federal court, which is easier and cheaper.

 

 

Davis campaign hires new communications director

Sen. Wendy Davis’ campaign is bringing in some outside help to run its communications operation. The campaign announced today Zac Petkanas will be the new communications director.

In February, the campaign said it would take action to correct its course, following some dust-ups with the Capitol press corps. Davis’ team was criticized after only select members of the media were allowed into a Travis County Democratic Party fundraiser in January. Davis took that opportunity to set the record straight over reports that she blurred some of the details of her personal story on the campaign trail.

At that time, the campaign said it would bring in an outsider to “right the ship” in the communications department. Other additions are being made to the communications staff as well. Sources close to the campaign say they’re trying to bring on board the best team possible to move the campaign forward and to help get Davis’ message out across the state. Petkanas has worked for Senate majority leader Harry Reid as well as the Nevada Democratic party.

Patrick ad touts border security amid undocumented worker dust-up

Sen. Dan Patrick is releasing a new statewide ad touting his stance on border security, on the same day a Dallas Morning News article is raising questions over undocumented workers once employed at one of his sports bars.

A private investigator hired by Patrick’s opponent Jerry Patterson located 48-year-old Miguel Andrade. Andrade told the paper that he and three other undocumented workers from Mexico worked one of Patrick’s Houston-area sports bars in the 1980s. He told the paper that while Patrick did not hire him personally, he was aware he was living in the country illegally and that “Patrick wrote him a letter of recommendation to help him establish temporary residency after a 1986 federal law offered amnesty for undocumented immigrants.”

Patrick, who is one of four Republicans vying for lieutenant governor, has been outspoken about the need to end illegal immigration across the Mexico border. Other parts of his platform include doing away with sanctuary cities, ending in-state tuition for undocumented students and prohibiting employers from knowingly employing undocumented workers.

He denies knowledge of Andrade’s status and is accusing his opponents of playing dirty politics. “They found a former employee of ours, out of hundreds, who says a manager, not me, hired him around 1984 as a dishwasher,” he said in a Facebook post. “The worker admits when required to fill out W4 employment forms he supplied false documents & social security number.” Patrick says the worker is also lying about other allegations, including that he offered to help Andrade visit Mexico.

You can watch Patrick’s new ad, below.