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http://www.wacotrib.com/opinion/editori ... rises.html
EDITORIAL: David Sibley promises mature, conservative approach to state crises
Sunday May 2, 2010
If the electoral process to choose a Texas senator to succeed Kip Averitt seems long, convoluted and baffling, we share your concerns. We also urge you to stick with it and vote for David Sibley, former state senator. The increasingly dire situation in Austin, including a state budget shortfall of up to $15 billion, the possibility of another round of school finance and the crisis that redistricting will likely precipitate — demands experienced, insightful and mature leadership.
Sibley’s reluctant offer to return to the halls of power in Austin falls into the idealized concept of those Americans who leave the plow of private endeavor to undertake public service because of the challenges ahead. In this case, Sibley was among those this year pressing his onetime protege Averitt to continue on. When Averitt declined because of health problems, Sibley opted to quit his lucrative lobbying business [made over $13.5 Million in seven years] to return to the Texas Senate, if only long enough to address several major issues looming over lawmakers. For those concerned about such things, he tells us he has no intention of returning to the lobbying business once he’s done in the Senate.
That sense of duty and honor is something those of us long in Central Texas have become accustomed to. Although he routinely was praised as one of the top state lawmakers during the 1990s, back when he served with such statesmen as Bill Ratliff and John Montford, he honored his original term-limit pledge and left power after 11 years on the job. By then he had come to impress many others, including a man who became his close friend and today stands as possibly his most fervent supporter in Central Texas — George W. Bush.
We’ve heard cries from some that Sibley would be partial to Waco to the exclusion of other parts of the district. He is certainly a supporter of our endeavors at home and was mayor of Waco years ago. But if his earlier career in the Senate is any indication, he also champions rural Texas. He touts such efforts as his bill to bring Internet technology to rural stretches of Texas. He vows to fight redistricting that would put asunder any counties in our area — and not just McLennan County. Happily, he would return to the Senate with his original seniority intact.
Yes, he remains proud of his efforts to deregulate the electric industry in Texas back in 1999, even as critics harp about higher rates. He says cheaper rates are there if Texans will take the time to actually shop for them. We would respectfully suggest he help facilitate this by pushing efforts to make rates more readily understandable if he does wind up back in the Senate. Which, all things considered, is one more reason that we encourage Central Texans to vote for him on Saturday.
http://www.wacotrib.com/news/Ethics-com ... -edge.html
Ethics commission report shows Sibley with sizable fundraising edge
By Michael W. Shapiro Tribune-Herald staff writer
Tuesday May 4, 2010
The latest round of state fundraising reports shows Waco Republican David Sibley is head and shoulders above his competitors in Saturday’s four-way state Senate race.
The former state senator drew on a deep-pocketed network of donors and political action committees to raise about $453,000. That figure is nearly seven times the total of his closest competitor, Granbury Republican Brian Birdwell.
According to the reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission, Birdwell collected about $66,000.
The candidates for state Senate (from left): David Sibley, Gayle Avant, Darren Yancy and Brian Birdwell.
Democrat and Baylor University professor Gayle Avant raised almost $6,000.
Burleson Republican Darren Yancy collected $1,250 in contributions, which he supplemented with $14,000 in loans.
Sibley reported he had $200,000 in his campaign account April 28, the end of the reporting period, compared to $53,000 for Birdwell.
Some of Sibley’s cash advantage is owed to his decisive entry in the race. When the now-retired state Sen. Kip Averitt announced he would be stepping down, Sibley was quick to end his lobbying practice and announce his candidacy.
Sibley wasted little time in putting together a team of seasoned campaign operatives, many of whom cut their teeth on his first Senate campaign nearly two decades ago.
“One of the things about being an experienced candidate and former officeholder is you remember how to do it,” Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson said. “You’ve got contacts and contributors from past campaigns, so you can put it together quickly while the other guys are starting from scratch.”
In large Senate districts, money translates to advertising, and a $100,000 TV ad purchased by Sibley has gone unanswered in the Waco area.
Though Birdwell trails Sibley in cash, early voting numbers paint an encouraging picture for his campaign. The turnout rate in Hood County, where Birdwell lives, was far higher Monday than that in McLennan County.
McLennan County, home to Avant and Sibley, is the district’s population center. It has more than triple the number of registered voters than Hood County.
The latest early voting figures showed 2,223 residents had cast ballots in McLennan County, compared to 2,018 in Hood County.
One financial factor that will shape the final days of the race remains a mystery.
Birdwell’s report indicates he will have the financial backing of the Conservative Republicans of Texas PAC, which is run by conservative activist Steven Hotze of Houston.
But Monday, the ethics commission had not received a financial report from the group, and the extent of its involvement was unclear.
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