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Texas Educators Turn to Lani Popp as Last Hope to Preserve SBOE Integrity

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PolitiFix - Lani Popp

by Millie A. Palmer

 

The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) is dangerously close to becoming the biggest joke in the country. The Republican Party will only have themselves to blame if this happens. The reason is the voters in District 5 of the SBOE voted Robert Morrow into the runoff election. Morrow for many reasons related to the utter vulgarity, has no business around children, much less deciding on their curriculum in public schools.

Thank goodness for Lani Popp. She is not riding a white stallion with rose petals being tossed in her path, although for what she is saving Texas from, she very much deserves it. What Lani brings in her campaign is a love for children, a strong work ethic, and a passion for teachers. Popp has the background and education that will serve the students, parents, teachers, and voters well. It is doubtful that in the history of School Board Elections in Texas or any other state has it been this important that a candidate in the runoff win – but, in Lani Popp’s case, it is.

In a voter guide prepared by the League of Women Voters, Morrow, who is often seen wearing a Jesters hat, said he would eliminate a major source of public schools funding and among other things, thinks high school senior girls should have classes on pole dancing and twerking.

SBOE Place 5 with Ken Mercer, who decided not to seek re-election stated that from the moment she entered the race, he knew Popp was the best choice. Mercer added that he hoped either Popp would win outright or if a runoff had occurred that it would have been with Inga Cotton, who finished third in the race but was the only other candidate with the credentials to serve on the SBOE.

“Lani was the obvious choice for me from the moment she announced, said Mercer. “Her background in education makes her the most logical choice. She would be a great asset to the students and teachers in the classroom as she is a strong advocate for both.”

Mercer continued, “Cotton would have been the next possible choice and would have been an asset. If there was going to be a runoff. It would have been best if it had been between those two candidates, since both have the background and the character to serve.”

When discussing the election with Lani Popp, she indicated that her focus is entirely on what she can bring to the SBOE rather than what her opponent may or may not do. Popp has many endorsements from key leaders in all of the counties that comprise SBOE-5, as well as the endorsement of every Republican currently on the Texas SBOE.

“Unlike Robert Morrow, Lani has actual experience in education and a platform for improving education and the State Board of Education for the benefit of all students,” said Popp’s campaign consultant Matt Mackowiak. “As an educator herself, Lani understands the challenges that teachers face every day. She will work in a spirit of cooperation to help make their jobs easier, not harder.”

Matt Long, who serves as President of the Fredericksburg Tea Party is another long-time supporter of Popp. He stated that he first learned about Lani Popp from retiring SBOE Place 5 member Ken Mercer who Long said made it a point to promote Popp. “When we heard that Ken Mercer was stepping down as our State Board of Education, seat number five representative, he immediately came down and recommended Lani Popp” said Long. “That was enough to put me on her team just to start. Ken Mercer was one of our very best SBOE board members, very conservative and we were very proud of him. If he recommended her, then that was a very good starting place.”

Long went on to explain that the process did not stop there. He said there are very important questions that must be addressed by the candidates involved before they endorsed a candidate. As terrible a candidate as Morrow was, Inga Cotton, the other candidate in the race was very impressive, and very qualified.

“As a Tea Party, our steering committee had been vetting candidates for a very long time, so we had been researching, asking questions and we began the process real early,” said Long. “With Lani, I was impressed with her, we invited her over to come speak to the Fredericksburg Tea Party a couple of times, and she was right there for us.  We began doing our endorsement with her, which included an hour and a half interview with the steering committee. She impressed everyone.”

Long said he was very satisfied with the vetting process and, “I am really proud to endorse her. I am proud that we went through the rigorous process that we went through, not only with Lani, but with all the candidates we were able to get with.”

The parents of school age children in the State of Texas who are familiar with the Republican Primary race for State Board of Education Place 5 (SBOE-PL5) runoff between Lani Popp and Robert Morrow have to be shaking their head that this is even in a runoff based on Popp’s credentials.

Rather than focus on the questionable character of her opponent, Popp keeps her campaign focus on what is best for the teachers and students in the state of Texas. The qualifications of the board member on SBOE is very important as they are help decide what millions of Texas public school children are taught each year.

“I am a 28-year educator, I have worked both in private and public schools. I am a speech-language pathologist. I have a certification in special education. I would be able to represent the students of Texas because I understand how education works. I know what we have to do to make improvements, and what we should do and what we need to reinforce,” said Popp. “I am a parent. Four of my children are public school teachers. Three of them are speech-language pathologists and one is a high school physics teacher. My firstborn child is an oral surgeon in the U.S. Air Force.”

“This race is important because the previous member was a conservative voice on the State Board. He fought for historical and scientific accuracy and he made our conservative values known.” Said Popp. “I am a conservative, I am a Christian, I am a lover of education, but I want our kids to know what is historically accurate. There are some ugly things in our history, but we need to include all of them.”

Popp continued, “we need to include them from a historical standpoint, because at that time, this is what was going on in the world. Not try to compare them with our current lives, because at that time, some people were doing things that we find absolutely repugnant now. Back in those days, that’s what people were doing. It is a part of history and should be taught so we know it happened at that time in our country,”

In discussing with Popp about the importance of choosing educational materials for Texas schools, she said we need to talk about what gives us our liberty. She stated that our forefathers had liberty bestowed upon them based on their religious liberty.

“They felt that nobody should keep anybody from being able to practice their religion the way they wanted to,” said Popp. “They fought to exercise their freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and other freedoms which are in our Constitution and those rights are very important and should be guarded in our daily life and in our schools. Knowing our full history is very important because it teaches us what we did wrong and what we did right.”

“If we don’t look at things like slavery, if we don’t look at things like the holocaust, even the way handicapped people were treated how can we learn?” asked Popp. “The SBOE has had to fight to keep Helen Keller in the curriculum because they wanted to talk about what a novel thing it was for what Annie Sullivan, her teacher, was able to do with her and then the kind of life she had. It’s such a wonderful example for kids who are handicapped to understand that handicap does not mean you are not capable. You have to overcome things, but you can still absolutely be a contributing member of society.”

According to the Texas Education Agency Website the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) sets policies and standards for Texas public schools. The SBOE sets curriculum standards, reviews and adopts instructional materials, establishes graduation requirements and oversees the Texas Permanent School Fund. The SBOW also appoints board members to military reservation and special school districts and provides final review of rules proposed by the State Board for Educator Certifications. Finally, the SBOE reviews the commissioner’s proposed award of new charter schools and has the authority to veto a recommended applicant.

“It is very clear in our Texas Family Code that states parents have the right to the religious and moral upbringing of their children.  Sex education is a moral issue and people have different views of it. From a morality that is beliefs in abstinence, to morality that anybody can have sex with anybody at any time, its different standards. We cannot accept a standard that will violate the morals of any parent.

Right now, the SBOE is looking at the health standards in curriculum. Due to COVID-19 they will most likely table these discussions until next January of 2021; thus, it is important that somebody with high moral values is setting the curriculum. Popp said she believes in equality in teaching, but her perception of this is different that what the liberal definition is.

“What inclusion is in schools means to me is we teach everybody the same. We are not teaching a lifestyle. We have Christian kids in school. If we were teaching Christianity, then we would be violating the rights of parents who are not Christians. We’ve been made very clear that nobody wants us to do that,” said Popp. “We have to honor the rights of the parents who have very different standards.”

Popp continued that she does not worry about what her opponent does. She is focused on the skillsets and abilities she brings to the table. She did state that she had hoped Cotton had been the opponent because both had a background in education and a heart to serve the children, parents, and teachers of the state.

“We all need to realize that races for school boards have consequences. We have to be cognizant of who is running. We should never vote for somebody based on a name,” said Popp. “This is a non-paying job. I have no intention of using it as a stepping stool to become a representative or serve in any other office. I just want to serve the students and teachers and mostly our parents. I am a parent. I know you have to advocate for children.”

“I have also been a teacher,” said Lani, who throughout the interview was very clear on the importance of teachers in this process. “Most teachers are really sacrificial and if you see what they are doing right now to adapt to this Coronavirus pandemic, it is kind of amazing. I will tell you we are all working over 40 hours a week at our jobs right now making sure our kids have stuff online. The teachers are going one on one with students. It is incredible what teachers do. They are just amazing wonderful people.”

Inga Cotton, who finished third in the Republican Party Primary for SBOE, PL-5 suspected that this would be a tough race with Morrow in it. She knew he had a good ballot name and some name ID from previous political races he had entered. She hoped that people had researched him or were familiar with his character enough to make him a non-factor.

“I thought some of the people who were aware of him would be knowledgeable of the negative things he had done,” said Cotton who shared her concerns about Morrow in the primary as well as a personal experience that involved Popp’s runoff opponent. “Clearly, he does not have experience related to education. He wants to spread theories about history that are not backed up by facts.”

“I have never met Robert (Morrow), I do know that when Lani (Popp) and I were going to meet with the (San Antonio) Express News Editorial Board, that they had actually uninvited Robert because his communications with the members of the Editorial Board – I think the word they used was vulgar. They just did not want to meet him,” said Cotton. “They actually uninvited him, that says something about what he is like.  Reporters are usually pretty thick skinned, actually, so it must have been pretty bad. Lani and I are both female, and especially vulnerable with the type of gross stuff that he tries to share. So, we were glad he wasn’t there. Politics is politics but what he does is beyond acceptable.”

“I think Lani’s greatest strength is that she has many years of experience working in education. I think her background is as a speech language pathologist. I have two kids. One is my son, who is on the Autism spectrum. Over the years he really benefitted from services from speech language pathologists,” said Cotton. “Lani has experience in education, and she understands special needs students because that is an area of great need. There has been a pattern of special needs students that have not been identified enough. Lani has a heart for that, she truly understands those children.”

“My issue, my primary driver, was making sure that parents are heard, that parents have a voice. I support parent choice in education. Whether they choose a neighborhood school, a charter school or homeschooling, I want the family feels like they can take the path of whatever works for them,” said Cotton. “She (Popp) has worked in traditional public schools. She has worked in private education. She seems willing to learn about what charter schools can offer and what that would mean for the charter authorizing process.”

“To me that is one of the most important things that the State Board of Education does. To oversee which applicants should get new charters in the state of Texas, it’s a really important job. Once a school gets a charter they are being entrusted with children. They have to do a good job. They are getting state money and being paid to educate children. They have to do a good job,” Cotton said. “If Robert Morrow wins, we are going to have somebody that doesn’t understand education and is just going to make Texas look ridiculous to the world.”

Teachers and parents of school age children in SBOE PL-5 need to mark their calendars for these dates: June 29 through July 10, which is the early voting period for the run-off election; and, July 14, which is election day. This Texas SBOE Republican Primary Runoff race is now among the most important races for Republicans in Texas and the voters should be getting the message out. Robert Morrow is like a monkey with a hand full of poo for the Republican Party, and he is flinging his poo at the Republican Party and everyone involved with education in Texas. Maybe Lani Popp should be riding in on a white horse through a trail of rose petals. She is, after all, the only person who can save the Republican Party of Texas and the SBOE from being the laughingstock of the country.

 

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Texas Politics

Meet TX Congressional Candidate: Fabian Cordova Vasquez

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PolitiFix - Fabian Cordova Vasquez

by EMMA JIMENEZ

Fabian Cordova Vasquez is a Texas native and third generation Hispanic American. He is running for election to the U.S. House to represent Texas’ 33rd Congressional District. He is on the ballot in the general election on November 3, 2020 and is running against incumbent Democrat Marc Veasey. Veasey’s current term ends on January 3, 2021. Vasquez identifies himself as a God fearing, conservative Christian not controlled by special interests, compelled by a higher calling to serve. He is running on a conservative platform of faith, family and freedom.

Vasquez has gained recognition for his charitable work with his local community through actively serving the homeless through his local church, Refuge Church Fort Worth, TX. The Vasquez campaign committee stands by their campaign motto, “We Get To Serve!”

Vasquez shared with Politifix news how government dependency is currently an issue plaguing Americans today. To him government dependency programs take away from an individual’s potential to thrive on their own merits.

“It is our responsibility as Christians to be generous and to want to help others. It is not the government’s responsibility to force us to be generous to help others. This is what liberals get wrong,” stated Vasquez.

Vasquez expressed with Politifix News how Christianity is currently under attack and that the very survival of Christianity today will depend on the spiritual strength of “true-believers.”

“We live in a hostile and chaotic culture that glorifies sin. Christians should fight as hard for religious liberty as they do for political expression” expressed Vasquez.

Abortion is a controversial topic amongst Republicans and Democrats. Vasquez stated that abortion itself is “diabolical,” and should not be encouraged.

 

“It’s murder! Plain and simple.” exclaimed Vasquez.

 

To Vasquez the life of an innocent child should be protected at all costs. Although, Vazquez is sympathetic to cases in which rape and incest are involved, he stated they make up approximately 1% of reasons listed for getting an abortion in the U.S. and should not be the to go argument to justify the “slaughter,” of the other 99% of abortion cases.

“Abortion is not the pathway to the healing process and it should not be encouraged. Rape survivors need compassion and support not abortion” stated Vasquez.

“As a country that stands for freedom for all, Christians should not have to continue to be told to keep their personal convictions silent. If you’re not willing to stand up and fight for what you believe in then you’re only inviting more persecution and amplifying evil,” expressed Vasquez.

Vasquez shared the following bible verse with Politifix News:

 

1 Timothy 6:12 ESV

 

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

 

For more information on Fabian Cordova Vasquez visit his webpage

 

www.fcv2020.com

 

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Texas Politics

Congressional Candidate Juan M. Hidalgo: “No Such Thing as an Ex-Marine”

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PolitiFix - Juan M. Hidalgo Jr

By Emma Jimenez

 

Sergeant Major Juan M. Hidalgo Jr. is a retired Marine running for election to the U.S. House to represent California’s 51st Congressional District. He is on the ballot in the general election on November 3, 2020.

Hidalgo was born and raised in the San Diego, CA area community. He currently resides there with his wife and their three children. He is active in San Diego, Imperial and other California communities. Just one month after retiring from the Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Hidalgo decided to continue serving his country by running for United States Congress.

Hidalgo’s core platforms are jobs, education and public safety. He cites the fact that before the COVID-19 pandemic, the 51st district had an 11% unemployment rate when the national average was at 3.2%. He stated that this is unacceptable and the result of too many people in congress who are not “job creators” but instead are “job exporters.” Hidalgo shared with Politifix news that he knows the people of the 51st district- “they want jobs not handouts.”

Hidalgo furthered expressed his frustration with the education system, citing the graduation rate for the 51st is only 68% compared to a national average of 84%. He believes the students are being “pushed through” more than being educated and he seeks to change that by retaining the best educators that are truly devoted to the education of today’s youth.

On the topic of public safety, Hidalgo was critical of the failure of leaders to stop the sewage spill at Imperial Beach which has been going on for years. The sewage is coming from Mexico across the border causing residents to endure a foul smell, beach closure, and polluting San Diego waters.

PolitiFix - Juan M. Hidalgo Jr

Hidalgo describes himself as a “non-politician,” but a proven leader. To Hidalgo there’s “no such thing as an ex-marine,” The expression, “once a marine, always a marine,” is something he takes to heart. He’s committed to fighting, and winning for conservative values and for the people of his district.

“You don’t just instantly forget everything you’ve learned and experienced over the past few years once you’re a civilian,” My district currently lacks a leader and I’m ready to take on that role,” stated Hidalgo.

To Hidalgo, a marine is more than just bearing the title, it is a representation of all that he endured and sacrificed for. Although retired, Hidalgo still possesses all the traits that define a marine today; courage, honor, and commitment. All marines are expected to fight, and all are expected to lead. The values of courage, honor and integrity that were instilled in him in the military will surely lead his district to victory.

Hidalgo is still committed to live up to the highest standards upheld while in uniform. He has served valiantly, honorably, and without fear. He has served and fought for this great country of ours on foreign soil and is now ready to continue fighting for this country in Washington DC.

 

For more information on Juan M. Hidalgo Jr. and to support his campaign, please visit www.hidalgoforcongress.com

 

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Politics

Mauro Garza – David vs Goliath

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PolitiFix - Mauro Garza - David vs Goliath

by MELINDA RIVERA

 

Texas House District 20

When I first met Mauro Garza, as he walked away, I noticed that he treated everyone with the same warmth and respect that he showed me. I thought to myself… if he wins this race, his first year out of the gate in Congress will be a game-changer – you can’t help but like him. The more time I have spent around Mauro, the more certain I am of that assertion.

Mauro Garza, the Republican candidate for United States Congress in Texas House District 20, is a man of many hats… father, businessman, community activist, political candidate and gentleman. Mauro does a very good job endearing himself to others because he’s genuinely interested in them and goes the extra mile with everyone he meets. Mauro makes the effort to walk over to everyone, greet them, engage in conversation and make each individual feel as if they are the most important person in the room. Mauro earns respect because he gives respect, doing so with regularity.

The subject of many water cooler conversation across the San Antonio-Bexar County area and the state, the Congressional candidate has become a household name in his District, having almost as much name ID as the Democrat Incumbent. One thing is certain… if Republicans want to win this seat, they will need Mauro Garza to win his primary runoff.

Voters who subscribe to the theory “if you want something done right ask a busy person” will truly appreciate Mauro Garza. He has proven to be highly successful in all his endeavours, successfully juggling the responsibilities of his businesses, as well as the organizations he serves on. Mauro currently serves as President/CEO of M. Garza Enterprises as well as Manager of Everett Holdings, LLC. He has previously served as an Adjunct Professor of San Antonio College, Director of Grants & Contracts for Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Training Specialist for the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Mauro is also a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Texas Latino GOP Pac among his many organizations.

To illustrate his point, Mauro personalized the problem at a homeowner level. “I have always taken national problems and compared them to my house, my home. Even my friends will knock on the door and ask to be let in. I can decide who I allow in. Do you want your friends or even people you don’t know to just walk in your door or come through your window and walk freely into your house and expect you to not only be okay with this, but expect you to feed them and clothe them and sit idly by as they use your car and your house as they wish? Or worse yet, allow them to commit harmful acts against your family?” Mauro asks, with conviction before he answers. “Well nobody would be okay with that. Yet, we are doing this with the people from other countries who enter our country illegally at a national level. We are being exploited, this is not just our country, its our home, where we should feel safe and protected. We have a home with a door and our country does also, it’s called a border and we need to enforce it and defend it in much the same way we defend our home.” Mauro gets another check on the checklist, and a star for driving home the point. There is no doubt where this candidate stands on immigration.

There are many pressing issues in our country, from protecting our oil and gas industry, which Mauro believes should be protected, to the importance of the 2nd Amendment, to the importance of never allowing Democrat Socialists to take office. Mauro is well versed in just about any issue involving Congress. It is obvious that Mauro, if elected, will be an effective leader… and in the Republican Party Run-Off Election, the consensus is that he is the only candidate that has a chance to win in the General Election. Many believe he will win in November if he makes it past the run-off. Mauro does admit he has one thing in common with Joaquin Castro. He laughs as he states, “neither of us has ever passed a bill.” Mauro will take that check now, and for good measure, he will take your vote, too, if in his words, “you will be so kind…”

 

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