Pushing Back Against Media Malpractice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download Document Here

September 6, 2017

Dear Members of the Media:

We are writing to you as individuals or as representatives of organizations who are deeply troubled by several recent examples of the media’s use of data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a “hate group” label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it.

The fifth anniversary has just passed of the terrorist event for which the SPLC’s hate map and website were used to target its victims for political assassination. The following facts were established in the record of a federal court case. On August 15, 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the Family Research Council offices in Washington, D.C. and shot and badly wounded its building manager, Leo Johnson, who stopped his intended killing spree.1 According to his own statements to the FBI, Corkins intended to kill everyone in the building, and then go on to terrorize additional organizations.

That day, Corkins carried both the means to carry out this act of terrorism and a list of additional targets. The U.S. Attorney stated in federal court that Corkins targeted FRC and the additional targets by using the SPLC website’s “Hate Map.” On February 6, 2013, Corkins pleaded guilty to three felonies, and became the first person convicted of violating the District of Columbia’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002.2

We believe the media outlets that have cited the SPLC in recent days have not intended to target mainstream political groups for violent attack, but by recklessly linking the Charlottesville melee to the mainstream groups named on the SPLC website – those that advocate in the courts, the halls of Congress, and the press for the protection of conventional, Judeo-Christian values – we are left to wonder if another Floyd Lee Corkins will soon be incited to violence by this incendiary information.

The SPLC is an attack dog of the political left. Having evolved from laudable origins battling the Klan in the 1970’s, the SPLC has realized the profitability of defamation, churning out fundraising letters, and publishing “hit pieces” on conservatives to promote its agenda and pad its substantial endowment (of $319 million). Anyone who opposes them, including many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and traditional conservatives is slandered and slapped with the “extremist” label or even worse, their “hate group” designation.3 At one point, the SPLC even added Dr. Ben Carson to its “extremist” list because of his biblical views (and only took him off the list after public outcry).

To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and represents the height of irresponsible journalism. All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC’s descriptions of individuals and organizations based on its obvious political prejudices.

Laird Wilcox, one of America’s foremost genuine experts on political extremist organizations, has said of the SPLC: “What they do is a kind of bullying and stalking. They pick people who are vulnerable in terms of public opinion and simply destroy them.” Comparing his research to the SPLC group lists, Wilcox concluded that SPLC’s work was completely unreliable.4

Writing at Harper’s, journalist Ken Silverstein also noted how fast and loose the SPLC plays with derogatory labels like “hate” and “extremism:” “In doing so, the SPLC shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used on behalf of poor people.” 5

There are many others who agree with this determination and have raised questions about the SPLC. On October 18, 2013, the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, a former member of the House of Representatives, disassociated his service from the use of SPLC materials on two occasions. He wrote that “[m]edia accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information of material that is inaccurate, objectionable and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy.” 6 Furthermore, in March 2014, the FBI removed the SPLC as a “trusted resource” from its Hate Crimes resources page.7 For years, experts and journalists have cast doubt on the integrity of the SPLC’s methodology and the motives of its founder, Morris Dees.8

Finally, we will leave you with the observations of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel who had a great deal to say about the SPLC at an event in December, 2016. The SPLC attacked numerous critics of radical Islam in one of its recent publications, “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” but the seventh profile was particularly disturbing.9In it, the SPLC slandered human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who has experienced the violent and misogynistic side of Islam firsthand. The first sentence of the two-page section defaming her stated, “Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born activist who says she endured female genital mutilation and fled civil wars and an arranged marriage in Africa.”

Ambassador Dermer was appalled by the attack launched upon Hirsi Ali by the SPLC.10He made these observations about the SPLC at the end of a longer address to the Center for Security Policy on December 13, 2016 in New York City:11

But the biggest shock of all came when I saw a name on that [SPLC] list of someone I regard as a hero – Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
For those of you who do not know Ayaan, she was the Dutch parliamentarian who in 2004 produced a film with Theo Van Gogh called Submission, which focused on the oppression of women in the Muslim world.
Because of that film, Van Gogh was assassinated by a fanatic Muslim and Ayaan was forced into hiding. She has had to live with death threats and under constant protection ever since.

Yet rather than cower in anonymity, Ayaan writes books, publishes articles, makes speeches and fights for her ideas – in particular the need for sweeping reform in the Muslim world.
Today, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the world’s great champions of freedom, pluralism and tolerance.
And every self-respecting group that claims to value any of those things should be defending her not defaming her.
Yet in an Orwellian inversion of reality, a woman whose life is threatened every day by extremist Muslims is labeled by the SPLC an anti-Muslim extremist.
Have those who put Ayaan on that list no shame? Have they no decency?
The SPLC and others who asked me not to come here tonight claim to support free and open debate. But in reality, they seem to want to stifle debate….
Unfortunately, some have amended that famous Voltairian dictum to be “I hate what you say and I will never defend your right to say it.”
I will defame you as an extremist. I will label you a racist and a bigot. I will put you on the blackest of lists that should be reserved for Nazis, for the Klan, and for the true enemies of mankind.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t stand with the defamers and the blacklisters. I stand with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. We all should stand with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
For if we do not stand with her, then the values she champions – the same values we cherish – will be under threat and the dangers we face will only grow.
We must not let the defamers and blacklisters succeed….

We wonder how the media would react if a corresponding situation arose on the center-right of the political spectrum. For example, let’s assume that congressional debate were raging as to whether or not taxpayers should continue to fund Planned Parenthood, which receives about $500 million a year from Congress. If a national pro-life advocacy organization were to release a map with caricatures of abortionists and title it, “Here’s Where the Baby Killers are Located in Your State,” would the media run the story? Would it reprint the map and discuss the location of these “pro-death” doctors throughout the news day? Clearly, it would not.

Given the above points, and most alarmingly that the SPLC’s “hate group” propaganda has been linked to two terrorist shootings in the D.C. area, we respectfully request that you cease using the SPLC’s data and its various lists and maps in your reporting.

Sincerely,

L. Brent Bozell III
President
Media Research Center

1 More recently, James Hodgkinson, the attempted political assassin of House Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise and many other Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate, was discovered by the public to have “liked” the SPLC on Facebook. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, “Support for Southern Poverty Law Center Links Scalise, Family Research Council Shooters” (June 14, 2017). Scalise had for years been the subject of the SPLC’s vitriol. Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media, “CNN Goes Full ‘Fake News’” (Aug. 18, 2017) (https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/08/18/cnn-adopts-far-left-hate-list-from-terror-linkedorganization/).

2 If Corkins had been successful, his killing spree could have rivaled that of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. See: Cratty, Carol and Michael Pearson, CNN, “DC shooter wanted to kill as many as possible, prosecutors say” (February 7, 2013) (http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/06/justice/dc-familyresearch-council-shooting/index.html). Corkins was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The crime was so significant that the former National Museum of Crime and Punishment, located in Washington, D.C., has opened a multi-year exhibit on this act of domestic terrorism. Penny Starr, CNS News, “Domestic Terror Attack on Family Research Council in New Exhibit at National Crime Museum” (March 20, 2015).

3 Ben Carson had the unfortunate distinction of making the SPLC’s list in 2014, though the criticisms from the public were so vehement that the SPLC was pressured into removing him. Fox News staff article, “Southern Poverty Law Center Apologizes to Ben Carson, Takes Him off ‘Extremist’ List” (Feb. 12, 2015) (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/02/12/southern-poverty-law-center-apologizes-to-ben-carsontakes-him-off-extremist.html).

4 Laird Wilcox, Social Contract, “An Expert on Fringe Political Movements Reflects on the SPLC’s Political Agenda” (Spring 2010) (http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF17H34.pdf): 182-191.

5 Ken Silverstein, Harpers, “‘Hate,’ Immigration, and the Southern Poverty Law Center” (March 22, 2010) (https://harpers.org/blog/2010/03/hate-immigration-and-the-southern-poverty-law-center/).

6 Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, Department of the Army, Memo for Distribution, “Standardization of Equal Opportunity Training with the Army,” October 18, 2013 (http://downloads.frc.org/ EF/EF13J55.pdf).

7 Paul Bedard, “‘Shocked’ Anti-Defamation League Slaps FBI ‘Diss’ on Hate Crimes,” Washington Examiner (March 26, 2014).

8 A number significant articles on the SPLC: Mark Pulliam, City Journal, “Demagogic Bully,” (July 27, 2017) (https://www.city-journal.org/html/demagogic-bully-15370.html); Ben Schreckinger, Politico Magazine, “Has a Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way?” (July/August 2017) (http:// www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/28/morris-dees-splc-trump-southern-poverty-law-center- 215312); Karl Zinsmeister, Philanthropy Roundtable, “Some People Love to Call Names” (April 2017) (https://archive.is/lpQ5k); Charlotte Allen, Weekly Standard, “King of Fearmongers” (April 15, 2013): 18-25 (http://www.weeklystandard.com/king-of-fearmongers/article/714573); J.M. Berger, Foreign Policy, “The Hate List” (Mar. 3, 2013).

9 “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” Southern Poverty Law Center (Oct. 2016), at 20-21; (https://www.splcenter.org/20161025/journalists-manual-field-guide-anti-muslimextremists#ali) (emphasis added).

10 Gavin Rabinowitz, Times of Israel, “Defending Anti-Muslim Group, Israel’s Envoy to US Slams Racism Watchdog,” (Dec. 14, 2016) (http://www.timesofisrael.com/defending-anti-muslim-group-envoy-to-usslams-racism-watchdog).

11 Remarks, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, to the Center for Security Policy Gala Dinner, YouTube (New York City; Dec. 13, 2016) (begin 19:50; end 25:45) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFNQPBmMd1k).

More News Items

Conservatives Denounce Media Malpractice of Citing Southern Poverty Law Center ‘Hate List’ As
‘The Height of Irresponsible Journalism’

The Southern Poverty Law Center Has $69 Million Parked Overseas The Weekly Standard

Conservatives Urge Media Cut Ties With SPLCOver Dangerous ‘Hate Map’

 

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Help for Harvey Aftermath

ATTENTION!!!
Groups that are helping – boots on the ground.
Harvey hit land and the aftermath is unrelenting. Our Texas Eagle Forum family continues to pray for all people involved. We should also keep an eye open for opportunities to help as the shock and awe wears off and its time to clean and rebuild.
Below is some contact information for Houston-area residents as the city responds to Harvey. Please feel free to pass this along to your lists or anyone for whom you think it may be helpful.
Mayor Turner has confirmed that 9-1-1 phone system is working.  9-1-1 callers should not hang up until the call is answered. Their call will be cued and answered as soon as someone is available. 
HELPFUL PHONE NUMBERS
  1. Direct all life-threatening calls to 9-1-1.  Wet carpet or low levels of water in a house are not life-threatening.
  2. Elderly and disabled callers should call 2-1-1 for assistance.
  3. City of Houston help line is 3-1-1 and should be called for all non-life-threatening matters.
  4. Callers seeking family members should call the American Red Cross.  713-526-8300 in Houston and 409-832-1644 in Beaumont or call (866)526-8300
  5. Centerpoint Energy can be reached at 800-752-8036 or for outage: 713-207-2222 or 800-332-7143 Report Downed Power Lines: 713-207-2222
  6. City of Houston Emergency Management Number is 713-884-4500
  7. Harris County Flood Control District is 713-684-4000
  8. Houston TranStar is for transportation information and can be reached at 713-881-3000 or use their app
  9. FEMA can be reached at 800-621-3362
HELPFUL WEBSITES
  1. FEMA support for Hurricane Harvey  https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey
  2. Current City of Houston Emergency Information  www.houstonemergency.org
  3. Alert Houston Multi-Service Center Listing  http://mailchi.mp/houstonoem/alerthouston-harvey-update-7-8-27-2017?e=4bdbc85a7a
  4. Individuals and Business Owners that sustained loss can apply for FEMA assistance www.DisasterAssistance.gov
DONATE TO THOSE ON THE FRONT LINES
Texas Baptist Men www.texasbaptistmen.org

Southern Baptist of Texas Disaster Relief www.absc.org

Samaritan’s Purse www.samaritanspurse.org

Somebody Cares America, a Christian ministry with staging centers set up in the affected areas  www.SomebodyCares.org

Any heavy equipment operators along the coast who are willing to travel to the coast are needed to help clear roadways in Rockport. Please contact: skinner.randy@gmail.com


Facing Our Dunkirk

By Kevin and Marnie Freeman

Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

A new movie arriving in theaters July 21, will attempt to tell the story of some rather extraordinary events that took place in May 1940. Tragedy of the most extreme type was about to befall the British, with more than 300,000 soldiers trapped in France and surrounded by a German army more than twice their strength. Short of a miracle, these brave souls, comprising the bulk of the British army, were to be captured, killed, or starved. Yet, as any amateur historian knows, the vast majority was safely transported back to England in what is now known as “the Miracle of Dunkirk.”

Hopefully the movie from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan will tell more than the facts of the matter. The true story is that not one, but multiple miracles took place after King George VI called his nation to set aside May 26th as a National Day of Prayer. The King worshiped God at Westminster Abbey. The rest of the British Empire joined him in churches around the world crying out to the true Almighty. This heartfelt prayer certainly had an effect.

We know from the scriptures that when two or more gather in the name of the Lord, God shows up (Matthew 18:20).  We also know that the effectual, fervent (heartfelt) prayer of the righteous has great power (James 5:16). These scriptures proved true at Dunkirk. As Winston Churchill observed, “335,000 men had been carried out of the jaws of death and shame to their native land.” How that happened was indeed a miracle.

Reverend David E. Gardner wrote a trilogy on Dunkirk entitled The Trumpet Sounds for Britain. He went to be with the Lord in 2002 but MovieGuide saw fit to excerpt his work for a recent article titled History in the Movies: The Miracle of Dunkirk (https://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/history-in-the-movies.html).

Rev. Gardner explained the miracles that saved the men (quoting the Movieguide excerpts):

“The first miracle

The first was that for some reason – which has never yet been fully explained – Hitler overruled his generals and halted the advance of his armored columns at the very point when they could have proceeded to the British army’s annihilation. They were now only 10 miles away! Later, Mr. Churchill asserted in his memoirs that this was because Hitler undoubtedly believed “that his air superiority would be sufficient to prevent a large-scale evacuation by sea.” That is very significant in terms of the second miracle.

 The second miracle

A storm of unprecedented fury broke over Flanders on Tuesday, 28 May, (1940), grounding the German Luftwaffe squadrons and enabling the British army formations, now eight to twelve miles from Dunkirk, to move up on foot to the coast in the darkness of the storm and the violence of the rain, with scarcely any interruption from aircraft, which were unable to operate in such turbulent conditions. The Fuehrer had obviously not taken the weather into his reckoning, nor the One who controls the weather! And, the third miracle?

The third miracle

Despite the storm in Flanders, a great calm—such as has rarely been experienced—settled over the English Channel during the days which followed, and its waters became as still as a mill pond.

It was this quite extraordinary calm which enabled a vast armada of little ships, big ships, warships, privately owned motor-cruisers from British rivers and estuaries – in fact, almost anything that would float – to ply back and forth in a desperate bid to rescue as many of our men as possible.

The Little Ships

There were so many ships involved in the evacuation that this is the way in which Douglas Bader, the legless Spitfire fighter ace, who sped over with his squadrons from the fighter base at Martlesham, near Ipswich, to help cover the operation, described the scene in Fight for the Sky: “The sea from Dunkirk to Dover during these days of the evacuation looked like any coastal road in England on a bank holiday. It was solid with shipping. One felt one could walk across without getting one’s feet wet, or that’s what it looked like from the air. There were naval escort vessels, sailing dinghies, rowing boats, paddle-steamers, indeed every floating device known in this country. They were all taking British soldiers from Dunkirk back home. You could identify Dunkirk from the Thames estuary by the huge pall of black smoke rising straight up into a windless sky from the oil tanks which were ablaze just inside the harbor.”

Yet still, to a very large extent, the German air squadrons were unable to intervene. Certainly not in force, nor in the way Hitler had anticipated, for so many of these squadrons still remained grounded. So much so, that General Haider, Chief of the German General Staff, three days after the High Command had so proudly boasted that the British Army was about to be annihilated, was obliged to record in his diary on 30 May that “Bad weather has grounded the Luftwaffe, and now we must stand by and watch countless thousands of the enemy getting away to England right under our noses.”

A strange immunity 

Even though some squadrons did get through, it seems that yet another miracle happened. Many of the troops on the beaches were favored with a strange immunity. When about 400 men were being machine-gunned and bombed, systematically, by about sixty enemy aircraft, one man who flung himself down with the rest reported that, after the strafing was over, he was amazed to find that there was not a single casualty.

Another man, a chaplain, was likewise machine-gunned and bombed as he lay on the beach. After what seemed an eternity, he realized he had not been hit, and rose to his feet to find that the sand all around where he had been lying was pitted with bullet holes, and that his figure was outlined on the ground.”

 

There was and should be no doubt that miracles took place. In fact, it was so obvious that the British, with such deep gratitude, held a day of National Thanksgiving on June 9 with praying and the singing of Psalm 124:

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say:

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

King James Version (KJV)

Public Domain

So What Lessons Can We Learn from Dunkirk Today?

There are at least three valuable and timeless lessons to take from the Dunkirk Miracle.

First, we must recognize that miracles can still happen today. Sometimes it seems easy to relegate God’s hand of Providence to Biblical Times. And then the temptation is to relegate Biblical accounts as simply stories told as if they were Greek mythology or ancient fairy tales. There is no discounting what happened in 1940, however. That history is so well documented that it must be accepted. And that history is absolute in explaining the miracles that took place.

Oftentimes, people will question Biblical accounts because they don’t experience modern miracles. Dunkirk gives us reason to not only acknowledge the miraculous in modern times but heartens our understanding of Biblical accounts.

Think about it. We have a nation in an impossible situation. A hostile army of superior strength intent on their destruction surrounded their people. That nation cries out to God and is miraculously delivered through the sea. Sound familiar?

Kevin was recently in Egypt and had the opportunity to learn about the mummified remains of Pharaoh Ramses II. This is the Pharaoh commonly associated with Moses and the Exodus.  When the researchers unwrapped him for display at the Egyptian Museum late in the 20th Century, his arms were differently positioned from any other mummy. In fact, the museum officially states that his arms were positioned as if he were holding the reigns to a chariot with his right hand and attempting to hold back an onslaught of water with his left. In addition, x-rays suggest that he died from drowning with sea salt found inside the mummy. Other research suggests that he died around the age of 90. All of this is consistent with the Biblical account of Exodus. (http://thecairopost.youm7.com/news/142273/culture/ramses-ii-pharaoh-of-exodus-researcher-says).

 God’s deliverance is a continual theme in the Bible. Sometimes, this was personal deliverance for individuals or families, as in the case of the three Hebrew children (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Other times, it was a miracle to save a nation (such as David vs. Goliath). But the point is that the history of Dunkirk demonstrates that these are more than stories. And, the miracles did not end when the Bible was finished.

The second lesson from Dunkirk has to do with the importance of giving thanks for God’s deliverance.

It is essential to note that the deliverance of Dunkirk did not end the war. In fact, the British were still heavily outmanned and outgunned. The war was going to be taken to their homeland with the Battle of Britain that would start in the next month and last for another year. And, the completion of the war itself was five years away and the prospects remained dire. Britain was about to be tested as never before and they knew it. And yet, they paused on a Sunday in June to drop to their knees in Thanksgiving, prayer, and praise.

For us, we should be careful to give God the glory and demonstrate our own thanksgiving for any deliverance, whether large or small. We must do this even if we don’t know or see the final outcome. It is too easy to ignore the miracles we experience daily because we continue to fear the larger challenge. A good example from Exodus is how the children of Israel took manna for granted because they remained in the wilderness.

A New Testament example that shows a lack of gratitude can be seen with the ten lepers who were healed. Only one returned to give thanks. Jesus rightly questioned (Luke 17: 17), “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”

The third lesson from Dunkirk is a reminder that we ought to be crying out for deliverance. What are you going through today where you could use a touch from God? Do you need God’s miraculous help with your family, your health, or your finances? If God was able to rescue 335,000 Brits from an impossible circumstance, He is clearly able to deliver you. And, for those of us concerned about the declining culture, the economy, or national security threats, it is imperative that we purposely cry out to God now.

There are so many threats we face as Christians in America. There is the effort to stamp out religious liberty, wherein you are not allowed to demonstrate your faith in the marketplace. There is the threat of terrorism and radical jihadists who want to force Shariah law on our nation. There is human trafficking and child exploitation that hides in the shadows but threatens our children. There are potentially systemic threats to our power grid. And, of course, there are international threats from rogue nations and their leaders. The list of threats is long. Given that, shouldn’t we be crying out to God Almighty both individually and corporately?

Sometimes it seems as if God waits for His people to cry out before delivering them. So why aren’t we crying out? Oh that President Trump, accompanied by leaders in Congress, would call for a day of national prayer and fasting to ask for God’s hand of protection. Oh that each state or city’s leaders would do the same. Oh that we would be unwavering in joining together in prayer groups and Bible studies everywhere, to perpetually and persistently petition God for deliverance for our ourselves, our families, our cities, our states, and our country!

For us, the challenge of Dunkirk is to believe in God, to recognize our utter dependence on his sovereign divine hand, to cry out to him ceaselessly, and to understand that the God of the Bible is alive today and He continues to reign in the affairs of men.

Are you facing a personal Dunkirk where things seem impossible and there is no way out? Odds are, you have just emerged from a serious challenge or are about to enter one. Take comfort! The God behind the miracle of Dunkirk is alive and well, ready to help you in your time of greatest need.

If you appreciate the work of Texas Eagle Forum, please consider partnering with us in prayer and financial support.

 

 

Marnie and Kevin Freeman are full on believers in Jesus Christ. They believe their highest calling to be serving God, their families, their friends and clients, their church, and their communities at the local, state, and federal levels. Kevin, an investment manager and CFA, is an expert on financial terrorism, a NY Times bestselling author (http://secretweapon.org/) of Secret Weapon: How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the Stock Market and Why It Can Happen Again and Game Plan: How to Protect Yourself from the Coming Cyber-Economic Attack, and host of the new television show Economic War Room with Kevin Freeman (http://economicwarroom.com/).

Marnie is a full time mom, award-winning artist (http://marniefreeman.com/), teacher, volunteer, and sits on the Texas Eagle Forum Advisory board and the Tarrant County Eagle Forum Board.


LIFT America Gathering, July 30th

HEY EAGLES!  Take a moment and check out this event coming to the metroplex area July 30th.  Our own Eagle Forum member, Tammy Morgan, is coordinating this opportunity for us to give back to educators.  Thank you Tammy Morgan for you and your team putting this event together!
PLEASE pass the word about an upcoming LIFT event in the metroplex area.  Lift – Lasting Impactful Fellowship for Teachers, is a time of encouraging and uplifting our educators and their families.  We encourage you all to share the word and take a teacher you know to this event!  Please see the registration link below for more information.  Thank you for supporting our educators.

 

Trayce Bradford
President of Texas Eagle Forum


Congrats New RPT Chairman & Special Session

There sure has been a whole lot of news going on in the last several days.

Texas Eagle Forum wants to say congratulations to the new interim Chair for the RPT – James Dickey!  It’s time that we all rally together and get the work done!

We are proud of Chairman Dickey for right out of the gate emphasizing the Texas GOP platform and calling for Gov. Abbott to do everything he can to work with Texans on these issues.

Here is the list that Chairman Dickey sent out. Governor Abbott included in his call several items which relate to planks from the 2016 RPT Platform as noted:

  • Municipal annexation reform– Plank 37: Property Rights
  • Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud– Plank 59: Fair Election Procedures
  • Privacy– Plank 87: Gender Identity
  • Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers– Plank 91: Funding
  • School choice for special needs students– Plank 147: School Choice
  • Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders– Plank 100: Patient Protection
  • Property tax reform– Plank 175: Tax Burden
  • Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues– Plank 197: Right to Work
  • School finance reform commission– Plank 120: Funding
  • Caps on state and local spending– Plank 167: Spending Limitations

Speaking of work, looks like the special session will be happening as announced yesterday by Governor Abbott.

The list of Governor Abbott’s items on the call for special session to begin July 18th per Texas Tribune Patrick Svitek.

  1. Sunset legislation
  2. Teacher pay increase of $1,000
  3. Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
  4. School finance reform commisssion
  5. Shool choice for special needs students
  6. Property tax reform
  7. Caps on state and local spending
  8. Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
  9. Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
  10. Speeding up local government permitting process
  11. Municipal annexation reform
  12. Texting while driving preemption
  13. Privacy
  14. Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
  15. Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
  16. Pro-life insurance reform
  17. Strengthening abortion reportingrequirements when health complications arise
  18. Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not -resuscitate orders
  19. Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
  20. Extending maternal mortality task force

Know that Texas Eagle Forum is already working with our friends and coalition members and we will be there in Austin, July 18th.

Please pray for us.

Trayce Bradford
President of Texas Eagle Forum


After Session

 

Dear Eagles & Friends,

I am going to jump right in and say there is so much on my heart to share, some good news as well as “lessons learned” from this Texas legislative session. In order to do that justice, I am taking some time to sort through all my notes and videos to put together a letter to share the overarching theme of the session as well as inform you on a number of bills we had pass.

We will be compiling a scorecard and hoping to keep it in the spirit of those done before. Even when I was in the “pre-eagle” period of my life (many small children and homeschooling up to my eyeballs), I always looked forward to the TEF scorecard! It was very thorough and gave a great cross section list of legislation.

You all can be praying for our team of Marilyn, Bethany, Bunni, and myself as we wade through the journals, find the votes and get this all together. Cathie will be on our speed dial as well. 🙂

I went to Austin with the heart and hope to represent Texas Eagle Forum well and to represent those that support us and stand with us on so many issues. I learned a great deal, some through victories, but a number through defeats or mistakes. I am so grateful for all the backup and encouragement you all provided with emails, texts, and calls constantly. You kept me on my toes and at times filled an empty tank with your prayers.

I look forward to sharing more in the next several weeks, but for right now I am going to go celebrate 5 birthdays, a couple of anniversaries, ballet recitals, and graduations. It is good to be home.

Bless you and keep an eye out for that letter, we have some fun and exciting news to include.

Thankful for you all! It is time now to rejoice.

Trayce Bradford

President of Texas Eagle Forum

 

 


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


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!


Texas Eagle Forum is Excited to Partner with the New Texas Freedom Caucus in the Texas House.

Yesterday, it was announced that the Texas Freedom Caucus was launched in the Texas House of Representatives. Texas Eagle Forum is ecstatic about working with these lawmakers to help “amplify the voice of liberty-minded grassroots Texans”. Here is their announcement from February 14, 2017. – President Trayce Bradford

 

Freedom Caucus Formed in the Texas House to Empower Grassroots Texans


The Texas Freedom Caucus was launched today in the Texas House of Representatives.  The Texas Freedom Caucus’ mission is to amplify the voice of liberty-minded grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the bill of rights, restrain government and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in Texas.

The Texas Freedom Caucus (TFC) will be focused on first principles that are the hallmark of liberty-minded Texans.  The policies supported by the TFC will be developed thru collaboration with grassroots leaders to identify priorities that are often dismissed in Austin.

“Go five blocks in any direction from the Texas Capitol, and you will see what interests are hard wired into the Austin establishment,” Caucus Chairman Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler) said. “The mission of the Texas Freedom Caucus will be to hard wire liberty-minded grassroots into policy making in Austin.”

The TFC will engage grassroots Texans on matters before session, during session, and long after session when policies are implemented at the agency level. The caucus is committed to restoring first principles – the right to life, liberty and property that are at the core of the freedom of America and the exceptionalism of Texas. The caucus will outline a set of legislative priorities after it holds a series of discussions with grassroots representatives from all across Texas. Thereafter, the TFC will support or oppose legislation in accordance with those principles.

“We don’t want our priorities to be determined from Austin down, but from the grassroots up. That includes taking things like the Texas Republican Party platform seriously,” said Schaefer. “There are thousands of people too busy working and raising their families to embed themselves in the legislative process. Their voices matter too, and we want to make sure they are heard, and their efforts are multiplied.”

The Texas Freedom Caucus will share many policy goals with other existing conservative organizations and caucuses, and it will buttress and complement rather than compete with those groups.  The TFC will distinguish itself by providing a specific focal point for grassroots Texans interested in conservative policy-making in Austin.

The Vice Chair of the Caucus will be Rep. Bill Zedler (Arlington). The Policy Director will be Rep. Jeff Leach (Plano), caucus Grassroots Liaison will be Rep. Matt Shaheen (Plano) and the Secretary-Treasurer will be Rep. Tony Tinderholt (Arlington). Other members include representatives Kyle Biedermann (New Braunfels), Briscoe Cain (Houston), Matt Krause (Fort Worth), Mike Lang (Granbury), Rep. Matt Rinaldi (Irving), Jonathan Stickland (Bedford) and Valoree Swanson (Spring).

James Bernsen will serve as Executive Director for the Texas Freedom Caucus.

www.freedomfortexas.com


Introducing Bethany Jarrell – Our New TEF Intern

From Trayce Bradford– Texas Eagle Forum President: I have known Bethany Jarrell for over a decade and have watched her go from a bubbly pre-teen to a lovely, wise young woman.  We connected very quickly because of our love for God and government.  Bethany is a go-getter with a sharp mind and a smile for everyone.  I have seen her pursue her passion for government through Patriot Academy, getting involved at her church, and she has excelled in speech, theatre, and debate.  What I am most impressed with about Bethany is her willingness to wait on God’s direction.  I am so excited to work with her this session and I am thrilled for each of you to get to know her as well.  

Here are Bethany’s thoughts from the first day of the session:

I first found myself on the steps of our great Capitol in Austin at a young and certainly impressionable age. The awe that impacted me at age 9 has not diminished in the last decade and a half. After all these years and countless ventures to the Capitol Building, this was my first opportunity to experience the swearing in of the House and Senate. There was a hovering sense of expectation and optimism as people rushed about their duties. It seemed as though everyone knew they stood on the precipice of a new beginning, hopeful in their belief that this was not a day for politicking but one of celebration. The collection of legislators gathered to be sworn in, regardless of party lines or alliances forged over time, were in this day united in their resolute forward focus. As the families sat with their elected loved ones, I was reminded that this great state of ours, Texas, is only great because of the dedicated and steadfast spirit that brought each person to that room. The determination we Texans have to succeed in our attempts to fight for our beliefs, our families, and our friends was encapsulated in the moment the right hands were raised and the oath of office taken. Tomorrow will bring the healthy debates, the mind melting tension, as well as the subtle and not-so-subtle attempts to align oneself in a manner that will bring about the desired results, but for today, we are one. Today, we are Texas.