Confessions of an Appaholic

 By Bethany Jarrell, Guest Writer and current Texas Eagle Forum intern.

Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

What would you do if you took a month to completely unplug? No screens. Not a movie, a TV episode, a quick Facebook scroll or an Insta-story. For a solid month. Could you do it?

For as long as I can remember, my family has made it a point to do exactly that during the month of August. Growing up, my friends mourned with me as August approached. As an adult, most look at me strangely when I attempt to explain why I disappear from social media for so long. 

Even as I write this, I am on day 14 of our month turned off. And it is glorious.

The first week is torture.

I delete all of my apps that would tempt me to distract myself and I find my thumb hovering over a spot where an icon should be. After those first days, I start to notice a few more details in my interactions that amuse me and I find I am no longer looking for a way to phrase my “noticings” to humor the few hundred followers I have accumulated on Instagram.

Halfway through, I might check into Facebook to make sure I hadn’t missed a message, only to realize that the noise and clamor of political posts, those weird quizzes to find out what herb you are, and videos of people trying to smear lipstick all over their faces no longer holds as much entertainment as it did a few weeks before. (No offence, lippies. I’m sure your product is still fabulous.)

It is in this time I reflect on the changes in my life since deleting my apps, turning off my notifications, and generally avoiding the mindless distraction that is so readily available.

And here is what I found:

  1. I feel infinitely more creative – Given back the time no longer wasted away on my phone, I am looking for more outlets of productivity. I built a bookcase, bought a set of watercolors, and have actually written more like I said I would ‘if only I had more time’.
  2. I am more focused – Not at first. The initial struggle of not falling into old habits is a tedious battle. The weekends are even harder. No Netflix binging or Twitter Trolling for this girl. Instead, I sit to read the book I bought at the beginning of the year and organize my planner for the upcoming semester of grad school.
  3. I am more intentional with my friendships – I may not know what they ate for lunch or what funny little thing their toddler said. I might miss an engagement announcement or an occasional invitation. But the connections that bring me life are given the opportunity to be poured into and shaped into something no Facebook post could accomplish. The other night, I had an hour-long conversation with my fourteen and twelve year old brothers about leadership and bravery. We got out the book of Joshua and counted the number of times the Lord told Joshua to be strong and courageous.
  4. I pray more – There is nothing I love more by the end of August than paying attention to the little changes in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Inevitably, He uses this time to help me process the previous months and prepare for those ahead. I spend more time reading and memorizing scripture and watching it impact my decisions and relationships. My prayers are less drive-thru demanding and more five-course dine-in satisfying.

And all of those changes are what make September so hard. As long as it is August, I have a compelling reason to stay “disconnected”. But the first days of September are a tussle between the side of me that wants to pull a Kuzco and boom-baby my way back onto social media and the side that is desperate to hold onto what August brought me.

By the end of the month my life is not extraordinarily different. Only exceptionally fuller, purposed, and peaceful.

I promised myself I would not end this with a challenge for you to do the same thing I do. You wouldn’t have the exact same experience anyway. But I will attempt to summarize my thoughts with this:

Our world is full and the noise can be overwhelming, and the stillness we long to have even briefly is harder than ever to find. Tragedy, celebration, and victory will all come in waves but fighting to clear the air and settle our souls is a worthy endeavor.

Appropriately paraphrased in The Message, Psalm 46:10 says:

“Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, Bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee. ‘Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.’”

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The Top 5 – May 15, 2017

This week’s top 5 is again a bit different, lengthy, but so important.  Please prayerfully read #1, watch the video, and then you will find 4 more action items to work through.

#1 – We Must Have the Knowledge of the Truth – Last week was one of many twists and turns and I look forward to sharing the truth as to what played out. I hope by now those of you that know and follow Texas Eagle Forum, and those that know me, realize I want truth based in facts. We all have opinion and styles, but at the end of the day – truth bares itself out.
We started this week last Saturday as my youngest daughter and I waited in the gallery to hear HB 45 what many refer to as ALAC (American Laws for American Courts) pass a third reading with 135 votes. HB 45 has since made its way to State Affairs in the Senate but more on that later (#2 below).

As I have been sitting in the gallery many days, I was witness to some interesting turn of events including one Representative taking it upon himself to bring back a dead bill that he was not even the author of.  It was brought in the debate using an unusual move that has never happened in the history of the Texas State Legislature. Was this a life bill? No! Was this bill about education or better roads?  NO and NO. The bill had more to do with chasing federal dollars and adding more regulations on citizens.  We must wonder, what was the point of all of it?

As the week went on, the Democrats were able to chub daily at the microphone and the strong conservative delegation could get NOT one bill put on this general calendar – this covered the ENTIRE session. Yes, you read that correctly – not one bill out of hundreds! (Another little known fact is the current member that has had the most legislation passed this session is a Democrat.)  So where is all this heading?

Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right for Life sums it up well:

This 85th Session of the Texas Legislature has been dominated by the political games and personal attacks on the conservative members, many of whom belong to the House Freedom Caucus, orchestrated by the leadership cabal of moderate Republicans and pro-abortion Democrats of the Texas House of Representatives.

With Thursday’s midnight deadline looming for the passage of House bills, House leadership once again did not disappoint, again singling out and punishing members for no other reason than their conservative voting records and proclivity to expose the vindictive tactics of House Leadership.  In order to achieve an important legislative goal and left with no other recourse after respectfully enduring months of abuse and the thwarting of conservative legislation, the Freedom Caucus successfully organized and executed an effort that killed scores of bills anointed by House leadership.

The open disdain of the speaker and his chairmen toward the mainstream Republican House members already had tensions rising.  The majority of House members, including some Democrats, support conservative reforms for Texas, real reforms that impact Life, faith, freedoms, the protection of our women and daughters, fairness in education, family equality, and other measures.  These measures would all pass 90-60 if a vote on the House floor was ever allowed.  But House leadership has systematically stalled all such legislative proposals while prioritizing bills that are antithetical to the conservative movement.

Pre-born children are being torn limb from limb in the womb while House leadership ceaselessly claims to be Pro-Life.  Yet with only three weeks left in the session, not one single bill that reduces the 55,000 annual Texas abortions has been heard on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.

On Thursday, May 11, in another coercive procedural maneuver, House leadership suspended the rules of the House to schedule votes on 200+ bills on the Local and Consent Calendar for the following day.  Historically, the Local and Consent Calendar includes bills that are non-controversial, unopposed, and apply to limited jurisdictions (such as a new local library or naming a building).  But under the current progressive House leadership, the Local and Consent Calendar has become a tool to ram through questionable measures that would otherwise be debated and defeated.  As such, House members have often selectively killed specific bills on the Local and Consent Calendar on the basis of principled, studied objections.  The main objection Thursday night was the quantity; properly vetting and reading 120+ bills would have been impossible after working until midnight and then needing to be on the House floor at 10:00 a.m.

However, after conservatives and members of the Freedom Caucus objected to the rules suspension for the Local and Consent Calendar, dozens of their bills were removed from the Local and Consent Calendar—a blatant act of political retribution ensuring the death of the conservatives’ bills.  This attack from leadership was personal and severe.

Subsequently, the Freedom Caucus called a press conference to shed light on the ever-changing rules of the House. Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano) described the move as “another direct shot at the conservative members of this House” by leadership. Representative Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) elaborated, “Our bills have been targeted for weeks…for conservative legislators, their bills have been targeted because of the voting record of those legislators. If you are too conservative, you cannot represent your district.”

After the press conference, the Freedom Caucus masterfully used parliamentary procedures and debate tactics to break free from the suffocating hands of House leadership. The Freedom Caucus spent time at the back microphone of the House, methodically deliberating the policies before the full House, and thereby burning the clock with protracted debate (called “chubbing”).  In doing so, the Freedom Caucus killed bills that House leadership wanted to pass by the midnight deadline. Leadership was given a lethal dose of their own bitter medicine Thursday night.

Once the Freedom Caucus achieved the goal of killing those House bills, similar proposals that are still viable in the Senate will likely emerge as much stronger policy reforms, e.g., the Sunset bills that reauthorize state agencies. In sessions past, Pro-Life amendments have been successfully added to Sunset bills related to health and medical agencies.  The Sunset bills under consideration in the State Senate reflect more conservative policy, which is a main reason the Freedom Caucus wanted to kill the limp versions scheduled on the House calendar Thursday night.

The process of writing Sunset bills is another example of draconian leadership.  The House versions of these measures have been so watered-down that no substantial reforms or reorganizations are offered in the Sunset bills.  House leadership demanded that the meaningful provisions of the Sunset bills be removed so that Pro-Life amendments would be rendered non-germane, thus squashing another opportunity for Pro-Life dialogue and victories.  Conservative, Pro-Life members had no choice Thursday night but to take dramatic and drastic action to kill the remaining bills, clearing the way for these Senate bills.

More importantly, House leadership controls the pace of the session.  They are responsible for killing their own bills AND also for killing Pro-Life bills that they intentionally set at the end of the calendar for Thursday. Leadership could have used the time since January to prioritize and pass not only their bills, but also important bills that reflect the Texas Republican Party Platform, like the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, which received overwhelming grassroots support.  The blame and responsibility of Thursday’s events in the Texas House of Representatives ultimately lies solely with House leadership who not only set the pace and the calendars, but also the tone and the collaboration—for better or worse.

Yours For Life,

Elizabeth Graham

Please watch the Texas Freedom Caucus Press Conference here – it is eye opening.

 

I share all this with you because I cannot know all of this and in good faith watch the lies and distortions that are being passed off as the truth. I have to speak up!  I have been keeping files and files on votes, press releases and various moves on the floor (video clips etc.) on folks that stand for liberty and for those that are obstructionists.   I want the facts and will always search for the truth.

So how can you make an impact and help support conservative legislation?


#2 – Thank the Texas Freedom Caucus
– Please reach out to the Texas Freedom Caucus by sending them an email at info@freedomfortexas.com to encourage them and thank them for having the courage required to speak up and require the rules to be observed in the House. www.freedomfortexas.com

#3 – American Laws for American Courts – HB 45 – which has been called ALAC is now in the Senate State Affairs Committee and we need your action today.  We need you to please email or call the Chairwoman Joan Huffman, if you have not already and POLITELY request a hearing as soon as possible.

Please call the State Affairs Committee Members and your own Senator to ask for his or her support.  We pray that we will be on the floor for a vote by next week.

#4 – The Fight for LIFEPlease take a moment and read this article from Texas Right to Life. Please pray that the Dismemberment Abortion Ban is amended onto a bill this week.  You can always reach out to your state Representative and let them know your concerns on this issue. We need this ban.

#5 – Securing our Grid – PLEASE pray for the Securing our Grid legislation. There is a lot of developments there and we will update you soon. As you know SB 83 is Senator Hall’s legislation and it is so important for the State of Texas. You can read about what has been happening on this issue here.

We have so many great Women Wednesday blogs on our website that we highlight on social media each week. Check them all out here.

Thank you so much for helping us get the word out on these important issues and being a part of Texas Eagle Forum. Together – we can make a difference.

Trayce Bradford – President


May 2017 – From The Desk Of Trayce Bradford

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The Torch – May 2017

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The Top 5 is the Top 10 this Week – May 1, 2017

Happy Monday!  Usually we do Top 5 each week but from here on out, we may have more like the Top 7 or 11, so bear with us as we go into the final stretch of the Texas Legislative Session.

I don’t know how many of you were watching the House Floor debate on the Sanctuary City bill SB 4 but it was an interesting time, to say the least.  Thank you to those that stood strong, especially Rep. Matt Schaefer and Rep. Matt Rinaldi that put up amendments that were adopted to put some teeth back in this legislation. Here is a great article from Empower Texans about what happened.

As this session has poked along, we have seen a number of bills that Texas Eagle Forum has either asked for in the past or asked for this session- that are quietly moving through both houses. These bills pertain to fighting the heinous work of human traffickers and legislation concerning our relationship with Israel as a trade partner and taking a stand against countries that back state-sponsored terrorism such as Iran and Sudan. These have been passing both houses with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

Below is a list of priorities that must move this week. It is painfully clear when you check the daily floor calendars for the next week that strong religious liberty bills, pro-life bill and our “securing our grid” bill are nowhere to be found. You also won’t find many of the more conservative members with legislation listed on these calendars. It is sad – because I know for a fact that the legislation I have had the blessing to work on – brought some of the nation’s most incredible experts on the subject matters to help craft these bills. This along with our top-notch legislators that have worked long and hard with humility to do what was best to get this legislation through the process. For some of them, it meant taking their names off the bill so the Speaker and the Committee Chairs will move it through the process.

Something that TEF is so very grateful for is the coalition of grassroots groups working together this session.  As you will see in the action items listed we each have particular bills we have taken the lead on. We are working together to support those that Texas Right to Life support and letting them take the strategy part. Texas Eagle Forum is thrilled to dovetail in with these groups and not try to recreate the wheel.  That is why this session has been a bit different in our calls to action.  We have not forgotten you and how valuable your voice is but we have had to be very strategic when to call upon you. The time is NOW.

We now NEED for you all to start calling and sending emails to try to move this legislation. Today is the day. This week is the week!  Many of these bills are just getting into calendars and that is why you have not been asked to call prior to this.

Here are the action items we need your help on as well as please pass this email along to get others involved! We need you!

***1) HB45 Texas Foreign Law Policy Act – What in the past has been referred to as ALAC is now known as HB 45.  It is still focused on keeping foreign law out of Texas courtrooms – where that law encroaches on our constitutional rights. This session the approach was a little different than before. After the interim hearing on ALAC last summer, we feel the information that was presented shined light on this issue and the legislators started to see the validity in this piece of legislation. It was voted out of the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee 9-0 last week. Chairman Dan Flynn is the author of the bill.

It landed in Calendars this week and this is where you all come in!

We would like you to call the committee members (see numbers at the end of this email) and ask them to please get Chairman Flynn’s bill HB 45 pertaining to foreign law in Texas Courts to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible. Remind them that bill was voted out of committee 9-0 and is one that needs a chance to be heard on the floor.

Remember to please be brief and courteous. If they ask for more information just say the efforts of several legislators deciding to unify behind Chairman Flynn and working with others concerned with the wording of this bill has brought about a good piece of legislation and good faith effort on all involved.  Keep it simple and just encourage them to give the body a chance to vote.

2) Securing the Texas Grid – Several pieces of legislation pertaining to the Texas grid are moving and we hope to see that continue!  HB 787 authored by Rep. Tan Parker was voted out of the State Affairs Committee 10-0.  We need to call and ask for that important piece of legislation to be moved to the floor quickly for a vote.  You will again be calling the Calendar Committee. (see numbers at the end of the email)

As for the Senate Bill – Senator Hall’s bill SB 83 passed out of Business and Commerce this week 8-0. We need to call Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office and please ask that bill be brought to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. His numbers are: 512-463-5342, 512-463-0001 or email LTGConstituent.Affairs@ltgov.texas.gov

There is also a letter attached to this email that you are free to send Lt. Gov. Patrick with your signature.

3) PRO-LIFE legislation is being held hostage in the State Affairs committee and it is inexcusable.  Please read this excellent article from Texas Right to Life to get the latest as well as action items. https://www.texasrighttolife.com/house-inexcusably-delays-dismemberment-abortion-ban/

4) Privacy Act (SB 6 and the House bill 2899) – One would have to be living under a rock to have not heard about this issue.  Please read this press release from Texas Values and follow the action steps provided.  Notice the obstructionist in these important issues.

From Texas Values:

BREAKING: Coppell ISD, Home District of House Privacy Bill Author, Allows Boys in Girls’ Bathrooms

While the leadership of the Texas House, including State Affairs Chair Byron Cook, sits on privacy legislation (such as HB 2899), battles over “gender identity” continue to be waged in our public-school restrooms, costing taxpayers time and resources, as well as putting our schoolchildren at risk.

The most recent example of this unfortunate (and avoidable) trend is occurring in the Coppell ISD, a school district located in the suburbs north of Dallas. The CISD includes a portion of the legislative district for Rep. Ron Simmons, author of the House privacy act, HB 2899. CISD Students have reportedly been allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with at the moment, as long as school administrators agree.
The CISD’s employee and student handbooks contain several “gender identity” provisions (see attached). Local media picked up on this after it was brought to light by several parents and a school board candidate who have reported hearing stories of a boy dressed as a girl exposing himself to others. One report says that the CISD Superintendent is relying on President Barack Obama’s 2016 bathroom directive, which was struck down by a Texas federal court judge and was later rescinded by President Donald Trump.

This latest example of local school districts making a mess of the bathroom and locker room privacy issue is more evidence of why the Texas Legislature must enact a statewide consistent law on this issue now,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values. “Hiding information from parents and shutting the public out of the process of drafting these rules are putting children at all ages at risk. If the Texas Legislature does not address this major issue now, it is only going to get worse. Situations like with Fort Worth ISD, Dripping Springs ISD, and now Coppell ISD will replicate themselves all over Texas in both small and large districts.

According to Star Local Media (which owns several community newspapers in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth), the Coppell ISD is not responding to media replies, citing possible privacy law violations such as FERPA (Federal Education Rights & Privacy Act).
It’s ironic that the school district only cares about the privacy of the identity of some students but not the bathroom and locker room privacy of everyone else. Laws designed to prevent discrimination should not be interpreted in a way that puts children in harm’s way,” Saenz continued.

You simply cannot put a price on this important issue. It’s time for State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook to take a vote on HB 2899, and for Speaker Joe Straus to assign SB 6 to a committee. It’s becoming apparent that our local school districts are unable to withstand the tremendous amount of pressure put on them by special interests from the LGBT left. Our legislative leaders are needed to stand in the gap in order to protect privacy.

A list of privacy violation incidents from across Texas may be read at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/SB6Texasincidents (PDF).
More information:
·         Six Essential Facts About Senate Bill 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6Facts
·         List of businesses and organizations which support SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6businesses
·         Testimonial videos in support of SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6videos
Texas Values is a nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org.

5) – Texas HOME Act SB 892

For over 100 years, Texas churches and faith based organizations have placed thousands of Texas children in loving homes. Now, their future is threatened by lawsuits seeking to restrict their First Amendment right to practice their faith when placing children in those loving homes. Faith based providers have stopped operating entirely in other states after being sued and some have already closed their doors in Houston and San Antonio.

SB 892 by Senator Charles Perry would provide faith based providers – who comprise 25% of all adoption providers in Texas – with the protection they need to keep operating and helping Texas children.

But radical, left wing groups are making wild claims that protecting the basic first amendment rights of faith based providers and churches would lead to discrimination or child abuse. These radical groups want to further their own agenda at the expense of following well respected national and Texas based providers that have helped Texas children for decades such as: Buckner International, Children’s Home of Lubbock, The Catholic Conference, Baptists Children’s Homes, and many, many more.
A hearing was held on Wednesday, April 19th in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  Please call the members as soon as possible, and let them know you expect Texas to protect our children and our religious liberty by passing SB 892.  Please thank Senator Charles Perry for authoring the bill and Senator Charles Schwertner for hearing it in his committee.

***6) – Church Security Bill

From our Coalition Partners at Concerned Women for America

The Church Security Protection Act, House Bill 421 by Rep. Matt Rinaldi, will allow churches and other places of worship to utilize volunteer security teams. Many churches in Texas aren’t aware that the The Texas Occupations Code currently prohibits houses of worship from having volunteer security unless the people providing security are licensed as a private security company. Under the current law, churches and their volunteers who violate this law could be fined up to $10,000 and face criminal charges. HB 421 would make a small change to the Texas Occupations Code exempting churches and other places of worship from this troublesome code. House Bill 421 currently has 37 joint/co-authors and has been in the House Calendars Committee since April 10th.

Another similar church security bill, House Bill 981 by Rep. John Wray, was heard in the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, April 25th and voted out of that committee the same day. This bill is much more narrow and specific than House Bill 421, but would do pretty much the same thing for churches and places of worship.
House Bill 981 currently has 3 joint authors and no co-authors and is on its was to the House Calendars Committee.

Since so many churches have now been made aware of the guidelines set forth by the Texas Occupations Code through the promoting of these two bills, we need the Texas Legislature to act now more than ever before. With the current climate of violence against churches, we need to give churches the tools they need to freely protect themselves and their property.

Please contact the House Calendars Committee and ask them to vote HB 421 or HB 981 out of committee and to the floor for a vote. While HB 421 is the favored bill given the number of current co-authors and the strength of the bill language, we would still be pleased to see HB 981 voted out of Calendars and sent to the floor.

7) – Texas Sovereignty Act HB 2338 and the similar Senate Bill 2015 

This legislation will support tenth amendment enforcement in Texas and protects us from unconstitutional acts of the federal government. It basically defines a new joint legislative committee that reviews federal decisions whether judicial or congressional and provides determination on it Constitutionality based on US Constitution original intent and Texas Constitutionality. Basically, it allows for Texas to nullify federal overreach and give sovereignty back to Texas according to 10th Amendment SB 2015 has been referred to the State Affairs Committee and needs a hearing and HB 2338 is left pending in committee. Please call the members of the State and Federal Power & Responsibility Committee and ask them to please vote this bill out of committee this week. The chair of the committee is Rep. Drew Darby and the Vice Chair is Rep. Andrew S. Murr, so please call them.

Chair Drew Darby – (512) 463-0331
Vice Chair Andrew Murr – (512) 463-0542

Rep. Cecil Bell says about this legislation “Statewide elected officers in those separate states must formally affirm where they stand regarding this egregious erosion of state sovereignty and of the sovereignty of the people of the separate states.”

8) Toll Roads

From Terri –TexasTurf.org

We have made significant progress in the Senate, but like most conservative legislation, our pro-taxpayer, anti-toll bills are being stymied in the House.

1) Ask the Chair of the House Transportation Committee, Geanie Morrison, to call for swift hearings to vote out our anti-toll bills coming over from the Senate (SB 399 by Kolkhorst to prevent the conversion of free lanes to toll lanes. More bills are coming).

Chairwoman Geanie Morrison – (512) 463-0456

2) Call your House member and ask them to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861 and HB 1589 to hand our Texas highways to foreign toll operators in 50 year sweetheart deals that put taxpayers on the hook for the private company’s losses, which amounts to corporate welfare. Toll rates can exceed 75 cents a mile and commuters in the Metroplex report having to pay $30-$40/day to use such foreign-operated toll lanes. (For more, read here.)

We expect one or both of these BAD bills to come to the House floor for a vote this week.

Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)

3) Call your state senator and ask him/her to support our anti-toll bills (SB 812, SB 637, SB 1437, SB 740). Two will be up for a vote Monday and the others are expected later in the week.

Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)

Background on the bills:
SB 812 (Kolkhorst) – This requires toll entities to repay any funds they receive from TxDOT. Currently, TxDOT grants billions in our gasoline taxes to subsidize toll roads that can’t pay for themselves. Over $10 billion in your gasoline taxes have gone to prop-up loser toll projects already. SB 812 would prevent this double taxation and require the taxpayers to be repaid.
SB 637 (Huffines) – To authorize the State Auditor to conduct audits of the Regional Mobility Authorities. These are unelected, unaccountable toll authorities that are rife with ethics problems, conflicts of interest, and delivering projects late and over budget.
SB 1437 (Schwertner) – Reforms toll collection procedures, making them more fair and transparent to consumers and forces toll entities to promptly refund drivers for erroneous toll bills.
SB 740 (Kolkhorst) – Reforms many eminent domain abuses and gives landowners more rights in eminent domain proceedings.

4) Call these members of the Senate Finance Committee to support swift passage of Senator Bob Hall’s SB 84 to help fund major road projects without raising taxes. SB 84 is up for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee Monday morning. It offers a way to prevent our Texas roadways from being handed to these private toll operators. TxDOT is trying to blackmail our legislators into passing HB 2861 and HB 1589 saying it’s the ‘only’ way to fund these big projects (the price tag exceeds $20 billion). Sen. Hall’s bill, SB 84, is another way to get these big projects funded without tolls, without raising taxes, and it needs to be voted out of committee Monday! 

(Note: We’re not having you call the more conservative members of the committee since they already support the bill.)

Chair – Jane Nelson (512) 463-0112
Vice Chair – Juan Chuy Hinojosa (512) 463-0120
Sen. Robert Nichols (512) 463-0103
Sen. Joan Huffman (512) 463-0117
Sen. Kel Seliger (512) 463-0131
Sen. Larry Taylor (512) 463-0111
Sen. Carlos Uresti (512) 463-0119
Sen. Royce West (512) 463-0123
Sen. Kirk Watson (512) 463-0114
Sen. John Whitmire (512) 463-0115

Other more conservative members if you have time to call:
Sen. Kelly Hancock (512) 463-0109
Sen. Paul Bettencourt (512) 463-0107
Sen.Brian Birdwell (512) 463-0122
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (512) 463-0118
Sen. Charles Schwertner (512) 463-0105

9) SB 1415 Protect Families from Unjust CPS Investigations.
This is from our friends at Texas Homeschool Coalition. SB 1415 is currently pending in the Health and Human Services Committee.  Please consider emailing the committee and asking them to please move it out of committee this week.

***10) See Something Say Something HB2069 – This short bill will help protect those that report suspicious behavior pertaining to terrorism or human trafficking in good faith from being sued. This is an important bill for the State of Texas and we encourage you to call or email the Calendar Committee to send this bill to the floor for a full vote.

Pray and Stay – Please pray diligently for the rest of session and that strategy is given to these law makers that are fighting for the things that are good, noble and principled.

Please stay engaged, your voice must be heard and this takes all of us staying plugged in to the end.

Please remember you are not trying to convert these folks or train them on these subjects.  Many of them are very familiar with these issues.  They just need to hear from us.  Here are the phone numbers.

Calendar Committee contact info is here:

  • Chairman Todd Hunter todd.hunter@house.texas.gov 512 463-0672
  • Donna Howard donna.howard@house.texas.gov 512 463-0631
  • Roberto R. Alonzo roberto.alonzo@house.texas.gov 512 463-0408
  • Trent Ashby trent.ashby@house.texas.gov 512 463-0508
  • Byron Cook byron.cook@house.texas.gov 512 463-0730
  • Sarah Davis sarah.davis@house.texas.gov 512 463-0389
  • Charlie Geren charlie.geren@house.texas.gov 512 463-0610
  • Helen Giddings helen.giddings@house.texas.gov 512 463-0953
  • Kyle J. Kacal kyle.kacal@house.texas.gov 512 463-0412
  • Ken King ken.king@house.texas.gov 512 463-0736
  • Linda Koop linda.koop@house.texas.gov 512 463-0454
  • Poncho Nevárez poncho.nevarez@house.texas.gov 512 463-0566
  • Chris Paddie chris.paddie@house.texas.gov 512 463-0556
  • Dade Phelan dade.phelan@house.texas.gov 512 463-0706
  • Toni Rose toni.rose@house.texas.gov 512 463-0664

Thank you so much!!!!! God Bless You and God Bless Texas!

Trayce Bradford

President of Texas Eagle Forum


Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly: How I Got to Here

By Emily Horne (Guest Writer – From Texas Right for Life)


Like many others, I often find myself in the craziness of everyday life without having looked up in a while. Without having taken the time to thank God for where he has placed me, and the work he has given me. I work full-time in the Pro-Life movement lobbying for Pro-Life policy, and in many ways, landed here unexpectedly. But if I am honest when I look back, I can see the building blocks had been laid my entire life while I was making other plans, and I thank God now that he knew what he was doing. Trayce asked me to write about what led me to where I am now, so this is my best attempt to explain God’s path for my life thus far and to thank him for all the times he has persistently directed me back to that path.

I always assumed I would spend my life as my mother did, raising a lot of kids. I’m one of nine children, and no, we were not Catholic or Mormon as we were frequently asked – my Dad loved to embarrass us in front of strangers by saying we were “passionate Protestants.” I loved being a part of a big family and still do, I’m forever thankful my mother chose to pour her life into raising us. Faithfully living out her calling to give us a Christ-centered foundation.

Perhaps it was having three older brothers and having to fight to be heard, but I found my voice early and had a strong sense of justice as a child. I would like to think I used it to stick up for my younger siblings, but I think my Dad would say I used my argumentative skills to my own benefit most of the time. I knew what was right, and even if you disagreed with me, you would have to listen to me loudly argue my case before I let any matter rest. There are lingering accusations that I was the most stubborn child of the nine, but it is hard to prove these things. My favorite bible story (my Dad read this to me at my request countless times before I finally started reading it myself) was Esther. I was in awe of her courage to do what was right at the risk of her life, crusading for the lives of her people.

When I was 15, I vividly remember the Scott Peterson case that dominated the news. He was suspected, then convicted of murdering his wife Laci who was 8 months pregnant at the time. What made this case so unique, as many of you remember, is that Laci and her son Connor’s bodies were found separately, leading Scott to be tried and convicted of two murders. This later led to the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act which punished anyone injuring or murdering an unborn child, also known as the Laci and Connor Peterson Act. This was the first time since Roe v. Wade that unborn children had ever formally been recognized as persons worthy of protection. At 15, many of the deeper levels were lost on me, but my sense of justice had been awakened. I thought I knew my life plan. I wanted to go to law school to become a prosecutor, to achieve justice by fighting for vulnerable people like Laci and Connor, and bring due punishment to murderers like Scott. I thought I knew the specific plan for my life. Thank God that was settled.

My high school graduation verse was Psalm 96:10, Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.” (NKJV) No Jeremiah 29:11 for me, I didn’t need to be assured of God’s plan, I already knew what it was! Psalm 96:10 told me that God was in this justice thing with me, that I was firmly established with God bringing justice to the world. I had a plan.

Perhaps it’s wise now to contrast this verse with a more widely known verse about justice, Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness [or mercy], and to walk humbly with your God? (NASB)

Justice is a concept invented by Christ. He was establishing justice for the most vulnerable (orphans and widows) in the very first written law, in Exodus. Why then, does he couple justice with mercy and humility when he instructs us on what he requires of us? Could it be that our human sense of justice without mercy and humility is an incomplete and poor reflection of his idea of justice? I shudder to think of where we would be if we justly paid the price for our sins. But for his mercy and humility, justice would be a dark concept. And yet, our earthly understanding of justice can often lead us to shed mercy and humility when executing earthly justice, or what we understand it to be. Our sense of justice can leave us blind to other perspectives, blind to the possibility that we don’t have all the answers, because crusading for justice means we are on the right side, pay no mind to the naysayers! At least this was my high school self – I had little patience for other perspectives, and knew that I was right most of the time. Mercy and humility were not the most apparent traits in my life at the time.

Source from http://blackchristiannews.com

I’m thankful God began the long process of changing and softening my heart before I landed in the Pro-Life movement. Because you do need that sense of right and wrong, the conviction that can carry you through fierce battles, but this is not all you need. Ask anyone in the Pro-Life movement what the most important character component is that you’ll need and they will say compassion, or that sense of mercy for the women most deeply affected by abortion and unplanned pregnancies. You’ll need the humility to shut up and realize your words and sense of justice do not matter to a scared young woman in crisis. She needs kindness and a listening ear before she can hear anything you might have to say.

Throughout college, God began to open my heart towards children and motherhood, leading me to question if I wanted to put myself in debt and three more years of school before starting my career path. I had the vague idea that I didn’t want to be paying off law school if I was going to be raising kids just a couple of short years later. There were some clear moments of direction that led me to slowly move away from my plans of law school, but those moments did not clearly lay out my direction following graduation. By the time I graduated Texas A&M with a business degree, I was fairly certain I wanted to work for a non-profit. Again, not because I had a clear vision, but because I knew I wanted to be working for a cause, something bigger than myself. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a category on the job search engine. So, I worked a year for my Dad’s small business, unsure of what would follow.

Less than a year later, Texas Right to Life, an organization my parents had supported for many years, announced they were looking for an additional person to join their lobby team working to pass Pro-Life laws. Thankfully my Dad realized this was the cause I had been seeking, the place for my passion. And thankfully Texas Right to Life was willing to give me a chance, someone that knew nothing about Texas politics and even less about public policy.

Now in my fourth legislative session, I’ve come to love studying and influencing policy, and fighting for the unborn. Living without that law school debt doesn’t hurt either! I’ve been blessed to be part of the team lobbying for the Sonogram law, the defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas, and the 2013 Pro-Life omnibus bill HB 2. I recently began to wonder why it was God had changed my course from law school, thinking I would be parenting young children, since God has still not called me to marriage and motherhood. God gently pointed out that had he not changed my course, I would have been in law school or paying off law school during all those great gains made for Life in Texas – the 2011 Sonogram law, and all that followed.

God has continuously shown me his plan for me despite my stubborn attempts to chart out my own path. I’ve grown more and more thankful for that, knowing that I am not owed even the roadmap he has shown me thus far. I do my best to approach my life with unclenched fists and an open heart to his path, knowing now that even if my heart isn’t open, he will eventually place me where he wants me despite my best efforts. Thank God for his mercy in caring for us despite our self-destructive efforts! So that’s how I got to where I am now, and I face my path forward with joyous anticipation.


The Top 5 – April 24, 2017

After spending only 5 days’ home of the last 22 – President Trayce Bradford – wants to remind us that things are not always as they seem.  Please keep this in mind if-and-when you decide to send some friendly fire toward someone that is fighting for us and stands with principled, godly conservative values, but they have a vote or two you dislike.  Let’s keep in mind the whole body of someone’s legislative work as we head into a week where MAYBE something that we can cheer for makes it to the floor. Make sure you get all the facts before shooting off at someone. These issues can be contentious – but we don’t have to be contentious.

#1 – Senator Bob Hall’s Protecting our Grid Bill – SB 83 needs to move out of committee. Please reach out again to the Business and Commerce Committee and ask them to vote it out this week and allow the floor vote.  The Grid bill in the House – HB 787 – did get voted out of State Affairs 9-0 last week.  Please call the head of the calendars committee, Chairman Todd Hunter, and ask that it be added quickly to the floor calendar.

#2 – Bills dealing with the privacy issues for victims – SB 256 and HB 2222 are moving at a good pace through the House and the Senate.  These bills deal with the privacy issue for victims of sexual abuse, trafficking and stalking.  It helps shore up some loop holes when it comes to keeping personal privacy for these individuals intact.  This is an important bill for many including children in those abusive situations. Please tell your Senators and House Members to support these bills.

#3 – Senator Perry’s HOME Act – SB 892 (Hope for Orphans and Minors Expansion Act) relates to the protection of the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.

Please call Chairman Schwertner and thank him for giving it a hearing and then ask him and those on the Health and Human Services Committee to please vote this bill out this week.

#4 – Sanctuary Cities, ethics reform, religious liberties – so much going on. Currently, there are 4 identical pieces of legislation that are serving as companions with SB 4 – Sanctuary cities. As of the online status today, all for have been referred to the State Affairs Committee and are awaiting to be scheduled for a hearing. Please call the Chair of the Committee – Chairman Byron Cook and ask that these bills be heard ASAP!!

To read Senator Van Taylor’s Ethic Reform bill – see the full text here and guess what – it was voted out of committee 9-0, voted out of the senate and is currently sitting in the House unassigned.  This is one of the Governor’s priority items. Tell your Senator to please support it.

It would take pages and pages to lay out all the twists and turns on religious liberty legislation or the lack thereof passing in the House at this time.  The best action now is to contact your state legislator and state senator and ask them – “Where are you supporting religious liberty?” Saying they will vote on whatever makes it to the floor is NOT a good answer.  Please ask them what they are personally doing to forward this issue.  There are some stalwarts out there and they are working hard but we need everyone on this.

#5- Anti-toll roads legislation – for updates on these important subject, we want to give you the full information from Terri Hall – Founder/Director of Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (www.texasturf.org) Priority bills from Terri are here:

Help us stop HB 2861 authorizing 18 Texas roads to come under the control of a private, foreign toll operator

Call your House member to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861 (by Larry Phillips) that would hand 18 Texas highways to a private, foreign toll operator in sweetheart deals that last for a half century. Foreign control of our infrastructure cedes our state’s sovereignty over critical roadways to a private, for-profit entity. These deals use billions in taxpayer subsidies, putting taxpayers on the hook for the private corporation’s losses. It’s corporate welfare on a massive scale. By granting a government-sanctioned monopoly to a single entity for over 50 years, these toll contracts are designed to extract the highest possible toll rates from the traveling public, making Texans pay a premium to drive and causing everything we buy to cost more. Commuters in the Metroplex report having to pay $30-$40/day to take two such privately operated toll lanes. Keep Texas roads in Texans’ hands and help us stop HB 2861 in the House!

>Ask your State Representative to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861. We expect a floor vote this week or next. 

1) To protect the highway fund from being raided for toll roads.
If a road is built with tax money, it should be a freeway not a tollway, otherwise, it’s double taxation. We’re just asking for the same protection as was put on Prop 1 and Prop 7 funds.

  1. A) Huffines/Campbell– HJR 35/SB 639/SB 1909/Leach– HJR 65/HB 1518

Status:
None of these bills have even had a hearing! However, Leach offered this as an amendment to the budget. It got thrown into Article 11.

>Ask budget conferees to keep Leach Amendment #257 in the final budget.

B) Kolkhorst/Pickett – SB 812/HB 303 – A compromise bill that would at least require a toll entity to repay any money it received from the highway fund. This would keep TxDOT from simply ‘granting’ money to toll projects (which is double taxation) and allowing the roads to built with state funds and allow local toll entities to pocket all the revenues. The taxpayers should, at the very least, get their money back!

Status:
SB 812 is up for a hearing this week in the Senate Transportation Committee Wednesday (if you’re at the Capitol Wednesday, come register in favor of this bill). Pickett also offered this as an amendment to the budget. If the Leach Amendment above is not adopted, Pickett’s Amendment #258 & #259 should be included in the final budget.

>Ask your senator to support the swift passage of SB 812!

2) To make the toll come off the road when the debt is paid for.

Kolkhorst/Shaheen – SB 668/HB 1282

Status:
None of these bills have gotten a hearing.

3) To prevent the conversion of free lanes or HOV lanes into toll lanes, making you pay twice to use a road you’ve already paid for — which is double taxation.

Kolkhorst/Hall/Taylor, V. – SB 399/SB 1127/SB 1143/SB 891/Sanford – HB 1311

Status:
SB 399 and SB 1143 had a hearing last week. SB 399 got voted out, but SB 1143 is still pending. Toll agencies are trying to water down the SB 399 to wiggle around this protection. They want to toll your highway main lanes and downgrade your free option to a frontage road.

>Ask your senator to support SB 399 AS FILED, and NOT amend it to make toll agencies happy (which effectively guts the bill). 

PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY! Yes, we mean pray that much and when you are done please pray some more. Please pass on the word how much we need prayer covering everything that is going on in Austin. We are not a weak and apathetic people and we serve a mighty and righteous God.  Let us go boldly before His throne and ask for His strategy and wisdom on behalf of our leaders. Cry out for protection and provision for them as well. Thank you for being the answer in so many ways to our prayers.


Books, Reading, and Political Activism

Written by Cindi Castilla (President of Dallas Eagle Forum)


I fell in love with reading quite young. My mind would create pictures of the landscapes and people and I would sometimes imagine myself in the situations the story explored. When reading Johnny Tremain, I wondered if I would be willing to risk capture and maybe even death to spread pamphlets about the Revolution? Yes!

Reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, I promised myself that I too would hide Jews if I lived in Germany. I would have been part of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation.

I would endure hardship, live on the prairie and help do the hard work to survive! I would help slaves along the underground railroad! If I lost use of my hand and legs, I would write with my mouth (like Joni E. Tada and several others!) Books helped me not want to miss any worthy opportunity.

How in the world did reading lead me to politics?

My parents were always supporting people for office while I was growing up. We would collate flyers for distribution at polling places as a family. Long car rides became discussions of political issues. I became a Christian in High School and transferred to a private school where I began to understand God’s amazing design for man and for me.  I had a standout government teacher in 12th grade who introduced me to Adam Smith, Milton Freedman, our amazing Constitution and the fact that Time Magazine was liberal!

There was a moment when I realized I could make a difference… I wanted to live out the novel or the biography. I could dive into issues and politics and do something rather than only read about how others made a difference.

I joined conservative groups at college, made calls for trusted candidates, handed out material at the polls. I got my friends to register to vote. When we were a young couple, my husband and I offered to help our precinct chairman. I became my precinct chair. We joined a republican club. I became an officer in that club. We got elected to attend the state convention over and over. I was asked to serve on committees at the Senatorial district and State level. All I had to do was step up and say, Yes!

I joined Texas Eagle Forum and other groups to educate me on issues. Just knowing a little bit about people representing us or running for office –  while also understanding some issues has allowed me to educate my children, friends and neighbors. They now look forward to my endorsements of good people who will represent their conservative values in office.

I won’t go on to be a heroine in a book or to star in a movie, but I do know that I will leave a small footprint of effort on the future of my state and nation. I just want to write my own story and help our good leaders write theirs – in any way that I can.


Politics – My Ministry Not My Identity

Written by Jennie Krause (Guest Writer & wife of State Representative Matt Krause – HD 93)


When I imagined my life many years ago, my dreams did not involve politics in any capacity.  I didn’t give much thought to my husband’s career except that I knew I wanted him to be home as much as possible.  Just a regular, average job that paid the bills, but ended at five every day and never carried over into evenings or weekends.  That’s not too much to hope for, right?!  Apparently, God had bigger plans for my husband, Matt, and I needed to get on board quickly.  After just two years of marriage, we moved across the country so Matt could attend law school.  Law school required the majority of his time, but I stayed busy with work and my own education and I knew this was only temporary.  In reality, this was merely the beginning!  I knew God had planted the seed in Matt’s heart many years prior to become involved in politics, but I didn’t have a clear picture of what that life would look like.  In 2010, Matt pursued political office for the very first time.  After a long campaign season, he lost that first race.  I was very sorry for him, but a little relieved at the same time.  I simply wasn’t sure a political life was right for us, especially with babies, babies, and more babies!  I thought maybe once our kids were older (and even out of the house), it would be a more appropriate time.  Matt sought God’s will for the next months and years and strongly believed he should run again.  In 2012, he won his 3 way race outright.  I knew only God could have orchestrated this sequence of events.   A man with barely any name recognition, very little money in the campaign account, and no extensive political background was headed to Austin!  I was thrilled to see the Lord move in our lives so clearly, but also unsure how to keep our family strong with Matt away so often.

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.”  (Ephesians 3:20 KJV)  

Fast forward to the present… we are in the midst of his third session.  Although there have been some challenging seasons, God has been faithful every step of the way to give me grace for the moment.

“…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  (2 Corinthians 12:9a KJV)

I still think at times I would be able to better partner with Matt if this political life would have started in about 20 years.  Nevertheless I trust God’s plan and timing.  I am humbled and grateful to report that our family is strong, my love and respect for Matt grows daily, and we are a solid team.  I believe the key to our success in this area is knowing Who is in control.  Matt is free to make decisions based on right motives rather than political moves to get ahead.  The stress of re-election or future political endeavors is non-existent as we have complete faith that God will direct our path and open or close doors as He sees fit.

“And He changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:” (Daniel 2:21)  

This perspective has led me to the realization that this “political thing” is our Kingdom work.  It is our ministry, not our identity.  God has positioned us to be salt which will hopefully bring some encouragement and change to a lost world.

“Ye are the salt of the earth…  Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5: 14a, 16 KJV)

We are in desperate need of a revival in Texas and in America.  My heart’s desire is to say “Yes” to the Lord and be in a state of readiness to serve Him.  Revival begins with inner examination and conviction.  We need local and statewide leaders who refuse to compromise when the pressure intensifies.  With eternity in mind, it becomes clearer and easier to have the right priorities.  People are more important than issues and that’s why we must find common ground with others to show love and compassion while not giving into the middle ground/tolerance movement.  

I previously believed there were only one or two political issues that actually affected my personal life.  I thought we could merely keep to ourselves and the government would never intrude on my faith as a Christian woman or as a Christian mom raising my children with a Biblical Worldview.  As our culture is rapidly changing, I find it difficult to view any political issue without seeing how it may shape my life and the future of my children.  The only people our society seems unwilling to stand up for and protect are vulnerable women and children.  This is why we desperately need elected officials like my husband in the Capitol making these important decisions.  I joyfully make sacrifices wherever necessary to support and encourage Matt in his endeavors.  This is my political ministry… to pray for Matt, to encourage and support him, to share wisdom, to give him a happy home where he can return.

This has also been an amazing opportunity to educate my children in government and current issues.  It is incredible to see them think critically about an issue and come to their own conclusion based on their Biblical Worldview.  This reminds me how clear right and wrong, good and evil are to children (and should be to all of us).  It is the handiwork of sin, corruption, and sometimes a political agenda that desensitizes people to immorality over time.  One of the practical ways I engage my children in the political process is watching the proceedings of the Texas House live online.  They are thrilled to see “Daddy” on the computer and it also affords a time for us to discuss the issues being debated and laws being voted on.  For example, it is mind-blowing to my children to think that someone wants to allow men in women’s restrooms or a boy to use the same shower as a girl.  It is also unfathomable to them that it is legal in our country for a mother to choose to end the life of her baby.  The list goes on and on.  

“Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;”  (Romans 2:15 KJV)   

I don’t have a list of awards or achievements; I’ve not authored books or blogs; I am not a sought after orator or performer, but I do know God has positioned me perfectly to be a homeschooling mom of 5, wife to a lawyer and politician, and a student of God’s Word.  I am proud to be a Christian stay-at-home homeschool mom and wife!  I look forward to continuing to be involved in politics in whatever capacity God allows. After all, it is vitally important to our present life and future.  Will the next revival begin in the halls of our Capitol in Austin?  Maybe!  I want to be ready to serve where God is working and I bet you do too!  Thank you for supporting my husband and family with your prayers, love and encouragement.  God bless each of you!


The Top 5 – April 10, 2017

This last week was exciting as we had some important hearings and the budget debate on the House Floor.  Trayce Bradford watched about 14 hours of the 15 hour debate and it was full of drama, strategy, frustration (sometimes maddening) a few laughs, boos and even prayer.  The process is something we encourage everyone to watch and learn more about.  In the midst of that debate, the US sent tomahawk missiles into Syria and Rep. Matt Schaefer asked for the members in the House to stop and pray for those involved – which they did.

Please keep all of our leaders in Austin in your prayers and also please pray that we have wisdom on the issues we need to strategy on.

#1 –  Potentially Dangerous Legislation –  Read this insightful article from Texas Right to Life. House Bill 3958 is currently sitting in the Public Health Committee.  If this bill moves, we will ask for your help reaching out to legislators, but for now, we wanted to be sure and draw this to your attention.

Source from Abilene Reporter Neews(Image Source from Abilene Reporter News)
#2 – Budget Bill – Here is a good summary of the budget battle. We will add that Rep. Matt Krause amended an amendment (yes, that does happen!) by Rep. Schofield and added $20 million dollars toward funding alternatives to abortions and Rep. Jeff Leach added an amendment to Rep. Shaheen’s amendment to wipe out funding to Texas Film Commission and monies (around $10 million) which would now go to core government services like the Healthy Texas Women’s program that provides women’s healthcare along with focusing on abortion alternatives. Rep. Jonathan Stickland gave a strongly worded speech using a personal privilege as a Member of the House. He said he had never done that in his three terms but felt that he needed to speak out against maneuvers being used on the floor to obstruct the process. The 15 hour debate came to an abrupt end (of course, as Trayce had stepped away for that particular 20 seconds) when all the remaining amendments (over 150) were added by a vote to Article 11, which we learned is the wish list/graveyard for those amendments, and it will be decided upon in the conference committee. The budget process is an experience and the battle is not over yet.

 

#3 – Protection for Faith Based Adoption/Foster Care Providers – Please call Senate State Affairs Chair Joan Huffman (512-463-0117), and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (512-463-5342) and tell them we want a hearing on Senator Charles Perry’s Senate Bill 892 relating to protection of the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.  This bill would ensure that the government cannot discriminate against faith-based adoption and foster care providers in licensing, contracting, or funding for 1) facilitating child welfare services in accord with sincere religious beliefs, 2) providing children with a religious education, or 3) declining to facilitate abortions or provide abortifacient drugs or devices.  The House had a hearing last session and this session regarding these protections, and it is inexcusable for the Senate to not have had a hearing on this bill.

 

#4 – Protecting our Electric Grid – Senator Bob Hall’s Protecting the Texas Electric Grid legislation SB83 will have a hearing Tuesday morning in the Business and Commerce Committee.  We are very thankful to get this hearing and there will be a number of subject matter experts that will be testifying.  We encourage you to pray for this hearing. If you are in the area, please sign in to support the bill.  We are not asking people to testify as they have a hefty team ready to do that, however signing in support of the bill is helpful.  Finally, call your Senator and let them know you support this piece of legislation – that it is an investment in our states’ future. When Texas is the only state to have its own grid takes steps to protect that grid from cyber, natural or other threats, Texas will be even more appealing to business, that is good news for Texas and good news for Texas business.

 

#5 – PLEASE PRAY!  There have been a number of situations that have been impacting legislators and their families, the most recent was Chairman Phil King being hospitalized not long after speaking on the House Floor.  Please pray for their staff, family members and the activists who are working hard on the issues that we care about. Please ask others to join you in praying.

Please pass our Freedom Friday quotes along like the latest from Senator Van Taylor.

We still want to hear from you and why you fight for liberty. Hit reply to this email and let us know.

Please share our Women Wednesday blogs like this week’s by Bunni Pounds and be on the lookout for some video updates in the near future on social media.

Please consider a contribution to Texas Eagle Forum. Your support is so important to us.

You can share this top 5 straight from our website here.

Thank you so much for everything you do and keeping informed through Texas Eagle Forum. We are fighting for you.


April 2017 – From The Desk Of Trayce Bradford

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The Torch – April 2017

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So How Did I Get Involved In Politics?

Written by Marnie Freeman (Guest Writer)


So, How Did I Get Involved in The Political Arena?

The simple answer is . . . I married into it. That’s it!  End of story.  Sort of.  I mean I could not have told you who the vice president was when I got married!

NO, SADLY I AM NOT JOKING! You know those videos with Watters and “this is his world,” where he is making fun of the undereducated in the political, historical, and news arenas? He would have had a field day interviewing me! And my video, with billions of “views,” would most assuredly have gone so viral I would have ended up on the Ellen Show! Which makes me wonder about my husband’s mental clarity for asking my hand in marriage and asking me to join him in all his political adventures.

Kevin’s been politically involved since birth! I came from the “we-don’t-really-talk-about-the-issues-or-who-we-voted-for-because-it-is-a-private-matter-time-period.” Fortunately, he pulled me along to almost EVERY meeting for oh, say the last 18 years! And I have grown to love it (Most days!) You get to be part of the incredible, the good, the bad and the really ugly!  You too can be involved! Join me!

After only a few weeks of wedded bliss, I went to my first political meeting with top conservatives and unbeknownst to me at the time, very famous from the political, religious, and business arenas.  They gathered (still do) several times a year to discuss policy, government, culture, national security, family, education, religious liberty and more. I did not know about these issues, much less who these people were! I was a lowly political neophyte whose job was graphic design and marketing. Kevin could not understand why I did not get overly excited about meeting the likes of Phyllis Schlafly, Steve Forbes, Beverly and Tim LaHaye, Foster Friess, James Dobson. Okay I had heard of him because my parents, seeking a solution, attended a seminar of his about the strong-willed child. Hmmmmm, what does that say about me?

These conservatives all seemed very nice and way smarter than me, but I figured they put their pants on the same way I do so I chose not to fear their political prowess. At my first dinner, we were seated with Mike Farris. I was unaware that he is a guru, with demigod-like status in the homeschooling community, and founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Literally, first thing he says to me is, “You are newlyweds, sooooooooo how many children do you plan on having?” I’m thinking that information was none of his business! Sadly, I was not even sure I wanted kids. I was a young, naïve, and a hurt lady, being healed over time by my Heavenly Father. So I answered, “I am not sure I want to have children” to Michael Farris, father of ten! He responded with another question: “So how many of God’s blessings are you willing to turn down?”

What????!!! Who does this guy think he is?? I was tiffed! In a couple of years we had our first child and introduced our new little one to Mike. He grabbed her and went around the same very large political group, showing her off, saying, “Look! I am responsible for this!” Yep, that can start rumors! We had such a laugh! My husband had to “correct” Mike.  He rephrased and began to tell people the influence he had on our family. He did and so did Phyllis Schlafly and many others.

Over time, I came to realize through connecting, listening, and learning from these amazing people and their groups, the importance of ALL the issues before us. I realized what conservative leaders were talking about and why they were fighting so hard!

My second education came when I started homeschooling my kids. Wow, where was I during history, government, civics, economics, math, speech, grammar, okay all the subjects? I didn’t remember any of this stuff! I have relearned what I missed (mainly truth), plus going to school in your pajamas is fabulous, having a crush on the Principal really works for me as well, and to see the light bulb go on in my kid’s eyes and how they learn to critically think – is beyond thrilling! I got involved politically right there by educating the next generation! I even started bringing my kids to all the meetings and getting behind candidates, making phone calls, hosting events, and designing campaign materials as well.

I even did a Christmas painting every year and designed a Christmas card around it for anyone or any organization who wants to send a true Jesus-is-the-only-reason Christmas card to their friends, family, and clients.

So, how did I get involved in the political arena? Ahhhh, now I remember… I had prayed a prayer, before I was ever married, a prayer so deep, heart wrenching, as I was seeking God in the middle of chaos (feminism really) and more than a few bad choices. I was begging, with hot tears streaming, that if God delivered me, I would serve him. I begged him to let me do something big for His glory through art, which I had left behind several years earlier in college in favor of graphic design. I wanted to make an impact in culture, ministry, really anywhere. I also wanted to earn a living and learned that graphic design was the way to do that, and as much as I love my parents, I did not want to live with them the rest of my life!

I was ready and this amazing Jesus delivered me from my own craziness and sin! Trust me. He’s still got plenty of work to do, but He’s real and He’s relational, people!  However, I DID NOT see the political arena as being a place for my creative talents!

But, interestingly that is where He has put me! I was an artist – how can I possibly do anything in this arena as an artist? Well, it turns out quite a bit! Seek Him and he will direct your paths!

Let me give you only a few examples, of many, how God has used the talents he gave me to get involved:

I had a client, a gentleman running for State Senate of Oklahoma. He was relatively unknown, but my friend, who helped run his campaign, assured me that he would be a great person to help lead Oklahoma. She knew the political landscape, so I dove in and designed his first logo and campaign materials. Over the years he has gone on to do great things and risen to the top. His name is Scott Pruitt. He served as a state senator, Attorney General of Oklahoma, and recently chosen to head the Environmental Protection Agency. I got to play a small part in that!

Another time, my husband and I were asked to join with a few others to host a coffee, at a national meeting, for an up and coming conservative star, a state senator that was running for Congress. We agreed and I was delighted to help by designing the invitation. Michele Bachmann has since become a friend, held a seat in Congress and then retired, accomplishing a lot while there.

Or a painting I had done, “And Justice for All,” went to support a group, Consource.  Their website was used to help defend the Second Amendment in Washington DC. I was privileged to meet Justice Scalia and present him this painting that he chose to hang in his chambers. It now remains in the Supreme Court’s permanent art collection.

With David Barton and Bill Federer’s help, I painted a scene with Thomas Jefferson on horseback, riding to the U.S. Capitol, to attend church services titled “Church in the Capitol.” We are hoping that will hang in the U.S. Capitol someday to help dispel the misinterpretation behind “a wall of separation between Church and State.” This painting was presented to the current church that meets in the Capitol, The Jefferson Gathering.

I have since become known as the “Artist of Liberty.” ™ We have liberty as God sacrificed all for us. We have the same in our country because men and women sacrificed for us to be free. I am gripped by love for our Creator, His people, and our country and currently spend my time capturing moments in history, inspirational and biblical stories through art, that is then used to support groups, issues, or people in various ways.

Another key turning point for me wanting to get more involved was Terri Schiavo, a brain damaged woman that came to the national spotlight in Florida. Her husband starved her to death “legally,” even though her parents begged for her life and would have happily taken care of her, including all financial responsibility. I sat in front of the television bawling my eyes out, while painting a painting titled “One Nation Under God.” The juxtaposition of the painting and this dying woman and the state our country was in became too overwhelming! How could we as humans let this happen?  The level of anger and deep sadness was palpable.  I felt that the Lord was telling me, “Marnie, you can make a difference and have a voice if you stay in obedience to My calling by doing your art.” That has held true ever since.

What am I working on now? Well, I am glad you asked!  For the first time, I am doing a painting that will be “commissioned by the people” titled “March of the Deplorables.” It will depict a large group of supporters praying for and marching alongside President Trump and Vice President Pence, including other key figures, on their journey to the White House. By opening this up to the public (crowdfunding) more people can participate in this historic painting. The idea from Lt. Colonel E. Ray Moore, a retired Air Force Chaplain, wanted to honor the men and women who made the victory happen. I am hoping to present it to President Trump and Vice President Pence this summer and that it will become part of the White House permanent art collection and capture a moment in history. If you desire to be a part of this campaign you can visit www.MarnieFreeman.com and look for the link to “March of the Deplorables.”

My husband had more mental clarity and foresight than I understood. He pulled me to hundreds of meetings through the years, I have been the recipient of an amazing life, family, and a desire to affect the world for the better, in part, because of it.

 

Maybe art is not your specialty, but you have talents, desires, giftings, abilities, and interests where you CAN make a difference. You can jump in headfirst or just step in occasionally to make phone calls to legislators, letting them know you appreciate them or that you do not support a particular bill! Or jump into a campaign full on, or work with a particular group that deals with life, abortion, or human trafficking, the electric grid, economics, pastors, It’s endless. As someone who knew NOTHING about the political arena, you can do this! You can rise up and bring Godly truth, influence, and wisdom to the public arena. Fight the good fight!

You can be salt and light to a hurting world and working with amazing people like Trayce Bradford and Texas Eagle Forum!  

So how did I get involved in the political arena? I married into it, I prayed myself unknowingly into it, somehow stumbled into it. Eventually, prayerfully, and purposefully, I chose it! You can choose it too. Join me!


Marnie is a full on believer in Jesus Christ and her highest calling and honor are as a wife, mother, daughter, and friend. Earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Oklahoma State University, she sits on the Texas Eagle Forum Advisory board and the Tarrant County Eagle Forum Board. She hopes to impact the world for better through painting, illustration, a timely word, a slogan, an idea, a dream, a laugh, a phone call, a text, an email, or a connection. Her husband Kevin is a best-selling author, an expert on economic terrorism, and the host of a new television show, Economic War Room airing on TheBlaze primetime Fridays, starting this summer.


The Top 5 – March 27, 2017

Thank you for all you do and those of you who rallied with us on Faith and Family Day – again we are so thankful.

This week’s top 5 action points include contacting your Texas house representatives’ office on several important issues.  If you aren’t sure who your state rep is go here:
http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

Before we move on, because of the uncertainty in the Texas House, we are moving our event on April 12th with Brad Stine and Crystal Yates to the fall. We will get back with you on that. Thank you for your understanding!

Also before we get to the list, please pray for your legislators. There is so much to get done in so little time.  We would also encourage you to pray for their staff who work so hard to keep up with all of the bits and pieces as well as an ever changing schedule.

Trayce Bradford, our President, has only been to Austin 3 sessions but this session has been a bit odd, and a bit off rhythm so to speak.  She has seen some really incredible acts of humility and kindness as well as some disturbing and unprofessional behavior. Overall, there are a number of men and women trying to make a difference and for our part we are willing to give the benefit of the doubt and trust but verify.  This is what she had to say, “As I get in my car each week to drive home from Austin, I always tell myself how much I can get done by making calls etc.  Instead as I drive away anxious to see my family, I start praying for all those folks up there all session, their families and what is going to happen to impact our great state!” We have to keep praying for them. Also please continue to pray for our Attorney General and his family and team.  This is a big week for them and it would be a tremendous blessing to have them lifted in prayer.

And with that here are your five action points for the week:

1. Please read this article from Texas Right to Life and ask your state representative to co-author HB 844 and turn your Senators to SB 415.
Read Now ->

2. Let your representative know the budget matters to you and your family and tapping  the rainy day fund is not a preferred option!  If there are less funds available for discretionary spending,  then let’s make the cuts we need to within the budget.

3. Take a moment and listen to Rep. Matt Rinaldi here on his Facebook page. He is speaking to the need for strong legislation that prevents local governments from providing sanctuary for illegal immigrants who have committed violent crimes. He and other conservative legislators are going to resist any efforts to weaken the bill and make sure the citizens voices are heard and represented on this issue of sanctuary cities.

Let your legislator know you want the Sanctuary City legislation kept healthy and not watered down – basically removing the enforcement teeth of the bill.
Go to Facebook Page ->

4. Rep. Cecil Bell and Senator Brandon Creighton have authored companions bills- HB2338 and SB2015 respectfully – The Texas Sovereignty Act. HB 2438 is in the State and Federal Power & Responsibility Comm. and SB 2015 was filed in the Senate March 10th. Please let your legislators know that you support this legislation!

5. Rep. Matt Shaheen and Sen. Van Taylor have filed HB 2069  and SB 1789-  The See Something Say Something Act.  This is applicable to not just concerns around terrorist activity but all human trafficking as well.  HB 2069 has a hearing this Tuesday in the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee in the House. Please pray for this to go well and again, let your legislators know this is on YOUR radar and even encourage them to co-author it.

We know this top 5 has been legislatively heavy this week but that is the season we are in. Thank you so much for helping us push good conservative legislation in the Texas Legislature.

Please consider a contribution to Texas Eagle Forum. Your support is so important to us. Thank you so much!


Duty is ours, Results are God’s

Written by Kara Green (Guest Writer)


I was only 24 years old when my husband was first elected to the Texas Legislature in 1998. He unseated the Democrat incumbent and then served two terms in a Democrat controlled House. We got married, had our first son, our second son was on the way, and he ran for office in the first four years of our marriage. Maybe we didn’t think that through enough! I look back on that time and laugh at how young and naïve we were. No one gave me a “How To” manual on how to survive the fast paced, often-nasty world of politics, but often times we learn best by being thrown in head first!

I have learned so much over the years and continue to learn from other strong women in this arena:

1) Keep perspective even when the negativity wears you down. I’ve learned to not let the big picture get clouded by the loud negativity toward Christian conservatives that seems to permeate in today’s culture. If I truly trust God’s plan, then I have to trust that He is working in all situations, even political, and even when it is not visible to us.

2) It is not about me. The older I get, the more I understand the importance of looking at solutions generationally. I’m going to be a first time grandmother this summer, and man, does it hit home now more than ever that I must not get complacent. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option!

3) God calls us to be involved in different ways for each season of our life. Every woman is not going to have the same talents, time, or influence. In my younger years, although I was up to my eyeballs in politics, I was honestly just trying to survive it. We eventually had 4 kids under the age of seven and we homeschooled all those years. Juggling home life and political life was a huge challenge, but I would do it all over again because that journey is what shaped our marriage and our kids and I wouldn’t change that a bit! Now that I’m in a different season of life, my political influence and interests are expanding because I have more time to devote to causes important to our family.

4) We can’t be experts on every political issue or be involved in every political battle. Find a cause that stirs your heart and that you are passionate about and focus on it. For some, it is a social issue. For others, it is an economic issue. Financially support the groups who are at the capitol every day engaging in those political battles for us, like Texas Eagle Forum. My husband and I have a passion for educating and equipping the youth of today to become leaders with a conviction in conservative principles. We knew this was an area where God was opening doors for us to dive in, and over 15 years ago we founded www.PatriotAcademy.com. We have seen God multiply our efforts abundantly over the years and it has resulted in expanding the program into six additional states besides Texas and seeing Patriot Academy alumni become influential in Texas politics at all levels.

4) We have many favorite family quotes, but the one we say almost daily in our house is “Duty is ours, Results are God’s!” John Quincy Adams had the right perspective after he had been fighting for 17 years in Congress to end slavery without making any visible progress. A reporter asked him why he was wasting his time fighting for a cause that was going nowhere, and he gave the reporter this famous quote. In our family, when we feel like we are not making a difference, we continually remind each other to just do our duty and leave the results up to God.

Truly, we can all have a hand in shaping the state and nation that we love. I am so thankful that as a woman, I can be a mom, wife, business owner, and get to be a part of influencing our culture, and I’m even more thankful for the other women in my life who I can learn from, lean on, vent too, and be a part of the solutions with!


Seeking Value, Finding Purpose

Written by Glyn Wright McKay (Guest Writer)


Abortion. Birth control. Glass ceilings. Feminism. Marching for equality. Skipping work to prove your value. If you only read headlines and social media, you might think this is all there is to womanhood. It seems that if the government doesn’t pay for your contraceptives, and society doesn’t reward you with preferential treatment, then you’re a victim of an oppressive, patriarchal society. Aren’t we made for more than this?

I just want the madness to stop. American women are the most fortunate women in the world, why can’t we embrace it and use that freedom to lift others up? When I was asked to write this blog, I struggled for weeks because all I really wanted was to publicly rant about the above-mentioned “women’s movement.”

But, there was something inside of me that kept saying, “Stop. This issue is so much bigger than youyour convictions, and your opinions.” It occurred to me that it has never been about shattering glass ceilings, fighting sexism, or marching for reproductive rights. Rather, this struggle is more about lostness than the labels and platitudes that dominate the conversation.

Though we seem divided, if we’re honest, we all want the same things: meaning and purpose; to live beyond ourselves; a legacy that outlasts the here and now; to leave the world better, safer, and more whole.

I wrote and rewrote this piece in a struggle to find balance between the spiritual and secular. Yet, again, that still, small voice kept saying, “You can’t.” If the issue is lostness, then the only hope is the Truth.

The Creator and God of the Universe has written a marvelous story for a depraved humanity that ends with reconciling those who belong to Him to an eternity with Him. All He asks is that we recognize our brokenness and commit our lives to Him. The truth is, He didn’t just arbitrarily decide to give you life – no, His Word says He knew us before we were born, and if you belong to Him, He has given you hope and a future. He promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Unfortunately, the finding part is a tiresome struggle in a world that is constantly pulling us in a million different directions and in a time where truth seems relative.

When I was fresh out of college, the plans I had made for myself kept getting in the way of the plans God had for me. I struggled with the notion of finding “God’s will” and my “calling.” I could see God working and moving but struggled to know where I should go. Ultimately, I realized that God is constantly moving and working in me, and He would use me wherever I ended up.

At the time, I was studying the story of Queen Esther. She was simply faithful where she was with what she had, and God used her to save an entire nation. She, too, struggled with her calling, and finding it took someone else, her uncle, imploring her to rise to the occasion: “…Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14, HCSB)

So much of my personal understanding of purpose and calling began when I started to work for Phyllis Schlafly. I knew of her from the history books and because of my grandmother, but I soon grew a deeper respect and understanding for her well-defined positions, fearless nature, and unencumbered grit.

In her story, I found inspiration and encouragement – always grounded in moral truth, she took on the issues of her day, doing what she could with what she had. She is remembered as a great communicator, brilliant strategist, and a disciplined warrior for traditional values and the family. Through her leadership, she led an entire movement to ensure our freedom as American women to live as we please and to make the choices that we feel are best for ourselves and our families.

When she began, she didn’t know she would become a national icon– in fact, she began her work organizing at her kitchen table with her husband and children. She was simply faithful to God and to her mission, and through it all, she enabled and mobilized tens of thousands of people who faithfully continue her work today.

While I certainly don’t have it all figured out, of one thing I am sure, God has something for you too. He may not ask you to lead a national movement or to save an entire people group, but He has asked you to seek him where you will find him and to be faithful where you are in all you do.

Who knows why you’re in this particular job. Who knows why you lost your job. Who knows why God moved you. Who knows why He has kept you still. Who knows why you became pregnant “too soon.” Who knows why you are unable to conceive. Who knows why you met this person or that one. Who knows why you have experienced great loss. Who knows why you find yourself where you are in this moment.

Who knows, perhaps you have come to ___________________ for such a time as this!

The One who knows is the One who created you with purpose. The One who knew the world needed you. The One who simply asks that you follow Him. I am a testament to God taking unforeseen circumstances, upsetting situations, and even loss, and making something very good out of it. His promises and His Word are true. Believe Him.

Your life may not be what you dreamed, your situation not ideal – but know that He is for you. The Creator of the Universe – the same one who called on women like Queen Esther and Phyllis Schlafly—is calling you. And, He promises that if you seek, you will find. God has something for you right now, where you are at – only trust Him.

If you are searching, these promises, prayers, and Truth sustained me in my days of wandering:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him… Psalm 37:3-7

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:1-2

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my own weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And, more: Psalm 3:4-5; Psalm 27:14; Psalm 139:23-24; Psalm 51:10-12; Psalm 147:10; Proverbs 3:3-8; Proverbs 4:23-27; Proverbs 16:1-3; Isaiah 41:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Philippians 4:19


The Top 5 – March 13, 2017

Our President Trayce Bradford has been constantly down in Austin fighting for the legislation that matters to us and to you. You can follow her adventures not only on our Texas Eagle Forum page but on her personal Facebook account. Feel free to befriend her here.  She testified for Senate Bill 6 (The Texas Privacy Act) this week and it passed the Senate State Affairs committee. We are continuing to work for the passage of this bill to protect every woman and every child. Continue to speak up on this issue.

Here is our Top 5 this week. These are ACTION items – please read them and help us make a difference.  If we all spend 30 minutes and take action, we can make a great impact in this state.

Here is our Top 5 for this week:

#1 This Thursday is Faith and Family Day down in Austin. Texas Eagle Forum is one of the sponsoring organizations and we want you to be with us  Bring a car load or a bus load of friends.  Join us for a day where we make a difference together in Austin. We will share information about the legislation currently on the table during the 85th Texas Legislative Session important to our family values community. Come share your thoughts and hearts with your elected officials as we hit offices together. Register here: www.texasfaithandfamily.com

#2 This week we need to call the Business and Commerce Committee in the Texas Senate to ask them to support Senator Creighton’s anti-BDS movement bill – SB 29 – BDS is a global campaign attempting to increase political and economic pressure on Israel through boycotts, divestment of investments and international sanctions. While it isn’t officially stated by BDS, it’s believed that one of the target goals is delegitimizing the State of Israel. State Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford), is the sponsor of House Bill 89, while State Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) is sponsoring Senate Bill 29. To reach more about the bill, go hereHere are the members of this committee – please call their offices and tell them to vote for SB 29 and stand for Israel and the Jewish people.

#3 Call your Senators office and ask them to support SB 83 – the Grid Protection Bill sponsored by Senator Bob Hall – Relating to protection of energy critical infrastructure from electromagnetic, geomagnetic, terrorist, and cyber-attack threats. Please call Senator Kelly Hancock’s office and ask him to please give Senator Bob Hall’s grid security bill a hearing. Call him at 512-463-0109.

#4 Thank Senators Kelly Hancock and Paul Bettencourt for standing up for truth – While you have Senator Kelly Hancock’s office on the line (512-463-0109) – thank him not just for the incredible job he did exposing the false narrative of the Texas Association of Business on the “bathroom bill” (The Texas Privacy Act) but for also confronting other misrepresentations through other witnesses in hearings this last week. Senator Paul Bettencourt also did a fabulous job defending truth this last week. His number is 512-463-0107. Please call him and thank him as well. You can see an video of them in action here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTeZiVIu2QM

#5 Please call your Senators and let them know we want Senate Bill 2 – Relating to ad valorem taxation-  to get to the floor – As Senator Van Taylor, one of the bill’s author said,“Texas families should not fear being taxed out of their homes by an ever expanding government that continues to take more and more.  Our homes are more than just another asset for the government to tax!”  The bill has a committee hearing Tuesday March 14th in the Finance Committee. Be sure and call the committee members as well and ask for a timely vote in favor of SB 2. Here is the link to all of the committee members. Help us by calling them and encouraging this important property tax reform effort.

»» See this list on your blog so that you can easily share it »»

Other Items:
Join us for Texas Eagle Forum Family Fun Night (April 12th) with Brad Stine & Crystal Yates – You can become an underwriter or get your tickets here. Thank you for your support of Texas Eagle Forum.

Our latest #WomenWednesday blog post is hereTrayce’s latest TEF letter, and our latest March Torch Newsletter is hereCheck out our website weekly for new content that will keep you informed.

Is the effort we are making to keep you informed helping you? We hope so. We want to hear from you on what we are doing to empower the grassroots. Please reply to this email and let us know.

Please consider a contribution to Texas Eagle Forum. Your support is so important to us. Thank you so much!


March 2017 – From The Desk Of Trayce Bradford

Read this letter by clicking on the button below:

Read Letter Now

Family, Politics, and the Power of a Newsletter

Written by Teresa Beckmeyer (Guest Writer)


Growing up in the household of a small business owner, politics was always discussed around the dinner table—always.  My parents were never Democrat or Republican, they just always supported the candidate who was doing the best job in leaving them alone to live their lives in freedom.  I guess this concept rubbed off on me.

My first experience with groups that were involved in politics was when I was about a sophomore in high school.  My great aunt (you know, every family has that one person that you call during election time to see who you need to vote for) would bring over to our house newsletters that had been typed out on a typewriter and mailed from Phyllis Schlafly and Eagle Forum to an aunt.  When my aunt finished reading them, she would then give them to me to read. Those early newsletters educated me, a young curious girl, about what was happening in the world of politics beyond the cotton fields of West Texas.

I never forgot the lessons I learned from those early writings of Mrs. Schlafly and when my husband went to work in Washington, DC for the Department of Agriculture, I was able to see the problems that she addressed in full-color. From that time on, I became involved in politics. after returning home to Texas, I got involved with state politics and the rest is history.

Having been involved in party politics and national/state/local campaigns for years, I decided three sessions ago to go to Austin during session to see for myself what was happening.  The things I learned and observed have changed my life forever and have caused me to become committed even more to informing other Texans about what I have come to know and continue to see.

I am now the Executive Director of Lone Star Voice that is dedicated to engaging citizens in their government and educating them about what is happening under the pink dome in Austin.  I have been a Republican County Chairman for 13 years and I am a regional director for the Texas Republican County Chairman’s Association.  I have served on the Credentials Committee and Rules Committee for four of the last five Republican State conventions.

The most important job that God has given, though, is being a wife and home school mom of three. When all of this politicking is over, my family is where I have the most influence in my life.

When you see what is going on in our country and you think that there is nothing that you can do to make a difference, just remember this thought:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

~ Edward E. Hale

Thankful for my great aunt – the aunt who did what she could.


Check out Lone Star Voice and all of Teresa’s work:

lonestarvoiceonline.org


The Torch – March 2017

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The Top 5 – March 6, 2017

We are getting into the heart of the legislative session now – bills are getting co-sponsors and the debates are getting more heated. It is so important that we stay educated on the issues and make a difference where we can. That is why Texas Eagle Forum is here – to unite us so we can make a difference.

Our Top 5 each week are ACTION items – please read them and respond. If we all make phone calls and take action, we can make a great impact in this state.

Here is our Top 5 for this week:

#1 SB 6 – The Texas Privacy Act is one that we are championing and will continue to speak about. The hearing is Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. in State Affairs at the Texas Senate. We will be testifying. Senator Kolkhorst is the author in the senate of SB 6. You can read her thoughts on the bill here on her Facebook page.

Please call, testify, and support SB 6. Call the committee members of State Affairs and your own Senator. Please be respectful and concise when you call. They are going to be flooded with calls that day, so be one they remember for being courteous and credible. For more details on SB 6 – check out the list here by Texas Values.

#2 HB 421 authored by Rep. Matt Rinaldi – The Church Security bill has a hearing at 8:00 a.m, Tuesday March 7th as well in the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. We will be supporting this bill as well. This bill is relating to the exemption from the application of the Private Security Act of certain persons who provide security services on a volunteer basis at a place of worship. Please call your Representative and tell them to please support of HB 421.

#3 We are so thankful that Senator Perry’s Dismemberment Abortion Ban SB 415 did pass out of committee. Please contact your State Representative to support the companion bill in the House authored by Rep. Stephanie Klick – HB 844. Here is the text of this bill.

#4 Texas Eagle Forum Family Fun Night (April 12th) with Brad Stine & Crystal Yates – Come join us for a family fun night in the Austin hill country with Texas Eagle Forum on Wednesday night – April 12th. Only 30-40 minutes from Austin – Wanderin’ Star Farms is a fun get away from the hustle and bustle of Austin. Hosted by President Trayce Bradford – this night will be inspirational featuring musical guest Crystal Yates and her husband Will (Christian and Country Music songwriters and artists) along with Brad Stine – one of the best Christian comedians in the nation. We will have free coffee and desserts before and during the show.

We need underwriters of this event to support the work of Texas Eagle Forum. We would like to acknowledge you on the banner at the event and from the stage. You can become an underwriter or get your tickets here. Thank you for your support of Texas Eagle Forum.

#5 This is going to be a super charged week and we ask you to continue to pray for us and pray for these bills. Check out the latest #WomenWednesday blog post from guest writer, Debby Efurd and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for our posts to share like our #FreedomFriday highlighting a quote this last week from Senator Konni Burton. We will have much to share this week, so keep in contact.

Remember to register for Texas Faith and Family Day – March 16th – down in Austin. www.texasfaithandfamily.com

Check out the Texas Freedom Caucus’ priorities for this legislative session. We were with them at their press conference last week. Awesome!
You love what you are reading? Would you consider setting up a re-occurring monthly contribution to our cause?
WE CANNOT thank you enough for being involved. We are making a difference. Go team!


Why the Women’s March Didn’t Speak for Me

By Debby Efurd (Guest Writer)


Source from Unsplash

It’s been an action-packed five weeks since the inauguration. While the new president has been busy getting the new administration in place, there have been numerous and massive protests against him. The biggest protest, and one which I’ve been asked about the most, is the Women’s March held across the country the day following the inauguration (January 21, 2017). While I support women and their various causes, I did not support the March and here’s why.

I’ve been a woman my whole life (that’s meant to be a joke), all 65 years of it.  I have changed over the years. As a wife, mother, grandmother, speaker, author, activist, business woman, I’ve experienced a lot. When I was younger, I would have been marching and yelling right along with Madonna and Ashley Judd. You see, for years I was angry following my own abortion, and in order to justify my actions, I lashed out at any one and everyone, and that’s exactly what I saw at the Women’s March. I saw vile, nasty, angry women who are so intent on furthering their own agenda, and they left out a majority of women who don’t follow their political and ideological philosophies.

As I’ve matured, I’m now comfortable in my own skin. My reproductive organs don’t define who I am. I embrace and am grateful that I’ve been given the ability to have children, love unconditionally, nurture completely, express empathy, support my husband, enjoy healthy relationships, have strength, the ability to multi-task, be a problem solver, and not be intimidated by anyone or anything.

I love life and believe it is God-given, from the womb to the tomb, and am unashamedly pro-life. When I witness abortion supporters gleefully promoting their abortions and pushing reproduction as a right, I merely see a money making tool for a big industry that deals in death. When money is made off the sale of human body parts of our most innocent, there’s something terribly wrong in our society.

I respect authority and rule of law and strongly support free speech and peaceful demonstrations for opposing policy or opinion. I never support violence to persons or property. However, as I watched the Women’s March all I could think of were adults acting as children who were throwing temper tantrums. We have lost the ability in America to have a civil debate.

Source from Wikipedia

There was a pro-life group, New Wave Feminists, who were originally invited to be a part of the D.C. march, but once the march organizers learned they were pro-life, they were disinvited. The organizers were not all-inclusive, but were close-minded. Their total intent was a pro-abortion death march. I saw no explanation of what they were marching “for.”

I am a firm believer in equal pay no matter the gender. I believe women have the right to work outside the home or stay in the home to raise their children and family. What I am adamant about is that at no time should a woman be scorned because they believe life begins at conception and fails to follow the pro-abortion mantra.

Recently, someone I have never agreed with said the “future is female.” I agree with that statement, but I believe that future must include the full potential of women, not the limited view of those exhibited from this year’s Women’s March.

I’d love to hear from you.


Debby Efurd is an author, speaker, ministry leader and pro-life advocate. Her blog, The Second Mile can be followed at debbyefurd.com where she shares her perspectives on what really matters in life. Her articles have been published in national news magazines at Life News, Life Site News, The Christian Post, Charisma News, World Net Daily, and The Baptist Standard.  She is a contributing writer for Bound4LIFE as well as National Eagle Forum.  Her most recent published work is Go Tell It!, available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Christian bookstores. Find out more about her post-abortion ministry at www.initiative180.org, as well as Facebook and Twitter.


The Top 5 – February 27, 2017

Texas Eagle Forum has been hard at work this week – promoting conservative values and working with the State Legislature on bills that make a difference for Texas families.

Here is our Top 5 for this week:


#1 
Keep Praying!  Most likely you have heard about the vicious attacks against our President and Vice President. Last Friday, witches around the country “cast spells” upon them at midnight and the Christian community continues to rise up to pray and cover them. We cannot stop praying for our leaders. Here is the article by the New York Post on this evil attack on our leaders. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are not letting up and they unveiled the plan a little more this week at CPAC – the incredible speech by Vice President Mike Pence is here. We encourage you to get your news directly from the main sources of information, not from just listening to the newscasters talking points. Let’s continue to pray!


#2 
Save The Date – Texas Eagle Forum Family Fun Night (April 12th) – Come join us for a family fun night in the Austin hill country with Texas Eagle Forum on Wednesday night – April 12th. Only 30-40 minutes from Austin – Wanderin’ Star Farms is a fun get away from the hustle and bustle of Austin. Hosted by President Trayce Bradford – this night will be inspirational featuring musical guest Crystal Yates and her husband Will (Christian and Country Music songwriters and artists) along with another surprise guest that we will announcing soon. We will have free coffee and desserts before and during the show. All the details will go out this week including ticket prices and underwriter sponsorship information.

#3 Read & Support HB 2069 – by Rep. Matt Shaheen – See Something Say Something – this short bill will help protect those that report suspicious behavior pertaining to terrorism or human trafficking in good faith from being sued. This is an important bill for the State of Texas and we encourage you to call your House Members to ask them to co-author this bill with Matt. Read the full text and follow the bill here.

 

#4 Sharing TEF Social Media Posts – On Wednesdays and Fridays – we are hitting it hard on social media. Wednesdays we are releasing a new #WomenWednesdays article each week and on Fridays – we are putting out a Liberty quote on #FreedomFriday. Please share these posts and information with others. We are continuing to build our social media audiences and we thank you for sharing these with your friends.  Check out the latest article by Tammy Morgan from last Wednesday and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

#5 Join us for Texas Faith and Family Day on March 16th – we have just confirmed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Rafael Cruz both who will be speaking at this important day for the conservative movement.
Register here: www.texasfaithandfamily.com and join us as we go through the halls of the Senate and House promoting our family values. We need as many as can to join us for this important day at the State Capitol.

Check social media this week for the Freedom Caucus Press Conference that we will be a part of – Thursday at noon. We will alert you on how to tune in.

You love what you are reading? Would you consider setting up a re-occurring monthly contribution to our cause?

Thank you again for everything you do for this movement of ordinary people making a difference in our state. Keep sharing and keep speaking up! We are winning!


Are They Missing Something? Maybe some Gentleness and Meekness?

 

By Tammy Morgan (Guest Writer)

Source from Wikipedia

As I watched the images of the Woman’s March in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, I had a great sense of sadness and even a little anger because globally these women were being portrayed as role models. The women on the screen were furious and harsh, but the media lauded them as heroes. Pop star, Madonna, even claimed she’d like to blow up the White House! Even though I don’t have a daughter, I wondered how hard it would be to bring one up in this day in age. There is so much pressure on girls of all ages, to look, act, and dress a certain way. To add to the confusion, most women portrayed on television, and in movies lack the character and discretion that we would want our daughters to have.

So, what is it that these ladies of the world are lacking? The word gentleness comes to mind. One definition of gentleness claims that it is a sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior, founded on strength and prompted by love. The words of J.R. Miller describe gentleness perfectly, “Gentleness is a beautiful quality. It is essential to true character. Nobody admires un-gentleness in either man or woman. When a man is harsh, cold, unfeeling, unkind, and crude and rough in his manner- no one speaks of his fine disposition. When a woman is loud-voiced, dictatorial, and petulant, given to speaking bitter words and doing unkindly things – no person is ever heard saying of her, “What a lovely disposition she has!” She may have excellent qualities, and may do much good – but her un-gentleness mars the beauty of her character.

Source from Unsplash

Being able to display gentleness does not mean that you are not passionate about the things God has laid on your heart. Being gentle does not mean that you’re a doormat upon which others can walk. Even if we display justice, righteousness and strength, but lack gentleness, life is sadly flawed. In fact, the Bible gives us many glimpses of gentleness being an attribute of God.  In the beatitudes of Matthew 5, Jesus states, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” What did Jesus mean by “meek?” If you trace back “meek” to its Greek translation, it is translated as “gentle.” Isn’t it ironic that Jesus didn’t say blessed are the bold, strong, or pushy? The more I dive into God’s Word, the more I realize that it is so contradictory to what the world teaches.

When pondering who consistently displayed the characteristic of gentleness, Tom Landry came to mind. My pastor once served on a board with Coach Landry and he said, “Tom Landry rarely spoke during our meetings, but when he did everyone would lean in and listen very closely to every word.”  A biography about his life said that, In 1959, Tom was a 33-year-old assistant coach for the New York Giants and in the off-season, an insurance salesman. Eventually, he coached a team of his own – the Dallas Cowboys – and he led them to an unprecedented 20 consecutive winning seasons, five Super Bowl appearances and two championships. An impressive record, to say the least. What could be considered even a greater feat, however, was that he did it without raising his voice. Tom was meek in the best sense of the word. He was a reserved, soft-spoken, and a man who walked with God as he walked the sidelines. That was evident by his game-time mannerisms. Were the Cowboys up by 14 or down by 14? Tom’s demeanor provided no clue. Was it fourth and goal on the opponent’s one yard line or first and ten on their own twenty? Did the Cowboys just fumble away the game? Did the refs just blow a call? Don’t look to Tom’s expression for answers. This now-devout Christian personified gentleness and self-control.

Psalm 18:35 declares that, “Your gentleness has made you great.” I believe that it was Tom Landry’s gentleness that made him great!

It is comforting to know that we all have to learn to be gentle (Galatians 5:22). It is not a gift that God simply bestows; it takes work and it takes practice because we will have good days and bad days. As our walk with the Lord deepens, our characteristics should become a reflection of Him.

Source from Unsplash

Back to the protestors… When we look at them through the eyes of gentleness, we see souls that are lost and hurting. Perhaps they have never received a gentle answer in spite of their anger and wrath.  Throughout our days, we never know when someone may need a special touch of tenderness. It is impossible for us to know the secret burdens that others carry. Even those who have a happy disposition on their face may secretly be carrying grief. Many people may not be able to explain their need for tenderness, but it is still something they desire.

Even though we have been called to speak truth we must remember to do it in love! We are called to vigorously pursue the things God has placed upon our hearts, but we are to do all things in a spirit of gentleness. God will give us the game plan, an open door of opportunity, and allow us to accomplish things for His glory as we seek Him as an example.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have a daughter. However, I do have three sons. I desperately hope and pray that they will be blessed enough to someday find a girl who is gentle, because we know that the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth and value in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:4). May we all rise to the challenge to be gentle in everything we do!

“The Lord’s servant must be gentle towards all.” 2 Timothy 2:24

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. “  1 Timothy 6:11

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion,   kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

 


 

About Tammy:

Besides being a wife to her rancher/farmer husband, and a mother to her three teenage boys, Tammy has devoted herself to the field of education. She serves as a school administrator in a rural Texas school district. She also enjoys getting involved legislatively in promoting faith and family values. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Dallas Eagle Forum and enjoys supporting the efforts of the Texas Eagle Forum. You can check out more of her musings at: www.thereasonweteach.com.

 

Support Texas Eagle Forum:

We need your support! If you enjoy these #WomenWednesday blog posts and the other information that we are getting out to help the grassroots of Texas, please consider signing up for re-occurring monthly donations or a one time donation to support the work of TEF.


The Top 5 – February 20, 2017

So much has happened this last week, the Texas Freedom Caucus was formed in the Texas House which will hopefully increase our “grassroots voice” on the issues that we care about and the Christian community came together with one voice to stand up for religious freedom for everyone. President Trayce Bradford was so blessed to be able to stand with our fellow warriors to defend liberty and religious freedom here in Texas.

Reminder as well to continue to stand for LIFE in the womb. Trayce testified this last week in support of SB 415 to ban the performance of dismemberment abortions. Let’s continue to pray for all of these important bills working their way through the legislature right now.

We have much to do this week, so here is our TOP 5 for this week. Reminder as well to continue to stand for LIFE.


#1 
Please sign up to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram We are still building up our social media following but it is a great way to get out information fast. Invite people to LIKE our page on Facebook or retweet something on Twitter. We are posting items just on social media like this graphic from State Representative Matt Rinaldi from Friday. We need a wave of voices and footsteps to keep this movement building and to support all the good that is being done.  It can get easy to see the negative but we do have patriots working hard this session and they need prayers and action – in person and online.

#2 Speaking of Matt Rinaldi – we are 100% behind his HB 421 Church Security Bill (Relating to the exemption from application of the Private Security Act of certain persons who provide security services on a volunteer basis at a place of religious worship) which has been sent to the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee. Please call your House Member and ask them to support this bill and please call the Members on the Committee as well.

#3 Please call your State Senators in support of Senator Bob Hall’s SB 83 bill to protect our grid – (Relating to protection of energy critical infrastructure from electromagnetic, geomagnetic, terrorist, and cyber-attack threats.) Currently the bill is in the Business and Commerce committee and a hearing request has been put in. Reminder that when you call your representatives or any representatives to be cordial and kind and to give the staffer just a minute or so of why you support a bill. It can be as simple as saying “I support SB 83 to protect our energy grid. Thank you.” Be prepared to give your address, phone number, and email to the staffer.

#4 On Wednesdays – we are continuing to put out blog posts from some amazing women highlighting their thoughts on our culture and what it means to be a woman here in America currently. This last Wednesday, we featured a post from our intern Bethany Jarrell. Check it out. You can also sort blog posts by topics/tags anytime – check out everything we have written by our guest writers.

#5 Read Our Blog – So much is going on in the Texas House and our liberty-minded friends have banded together to create the Texas Freedom Caucus. Read about it on our blog and then like them on Facebook.


You love what you are reading? Would you consider setting up a re-occurring monthly contribution to our cause?

Remember Texas Faith and Family Day on March 16th – register here: www.texasfaithandfamily.com. We need as many EAGLES as we can to come out and help!

Also SAVE THE DATE for our own Texas Eagle Forum Family Fun Night in Dripping Springs, TX on Wednesday night, April 12th. All the details will be sent out sometime this week.