Texas is different. It stands out, in more ways than one, on how we do things, how we act, how our state government is run, and the list goes on. One of the things that is different from us than any of the other states is the duties and responsibilities of our Lieutenant Governor. The sad reality is, not a lot of people really know how important this office is; it is vital that we have the right person as Lt. Governor because of the vast power this office holds.
My How Things Change
Texas has not been this Republican powerhouse that we see today. Texas began to transition into Republican dominance as recently as the early 2000s! Texas did not have a Republican as governor for over 100 years, and we had a Democrat as Lt. Governor from 1873 until 1999 when, now Governor, Rick Perry was sworn in. The current Lt. Governor is David Dewhurst who was elected in 2003… notice how things began to dramatically get better and better in Texas ever since then? I hope you do, because it has! This is not by chance that all the success we see today, there is a lot of work put in by David Dewhurst while he’s been Lt. Governor. There are many things that have happened, that would not have happened without him; proof lies in the power that the Lt. Governor of Texas holds.
Where Did All This Power Come From?
Critics, who are trying to win elections, my try to say Dewhurst grabbed all this power during his tenure!!… not so fast. That is not true, it never could be true. The power of the Lt. Governor dates back loooooong before David Dewhurst was born.
History lesson time!
I trust we all know what happened during the Civil War. We know Texas was part of the Confederacy, and we know that that side lost the war. Due to the Confederacy losing the war, the United States decided that it was time to get those states in check! Due to the Second Reconstruction Act, Confederacy supporters lost their right to vote and lost the right to hold office. When the new Republicans came into power, especially the Governor, they began to expand the role of government (a sin to the majority of Texans, even then). Taxation increased (property taxes, sales taxes, etc.), spending on railroads and infrastructure, and public school, all of these were things that Texans hated but could do nothing about because the Democrats were out of power and held out of power until 1872 the Democrats took back the Legislature, the Lt. Governor in 1873 and Governor in 1974.
There are many places you could read up on all of this in detail but the point is to show that Texans, upset by the expansion of the state government from the Governor’s office, called for a state constitutional convention were a new constitution was written. This constitution was written in specific detail, to make sure that the tyranny they experienced did not happen again, and for that reason our state constitution is one of the longest of all the states! It was here, that the office of the governor was striped of great power and why it has lead to a very powerful (even more powerful than all other states, that have one) Lt. Governor.
What Does the Lieutenant Governor of Texas Do?
It is probably due to the fact that the Lt. Governor is often referred to as the “second-highest” executive office in Texas, that people get confused if they hear that it is more powerful than the governor. It also could be that many see the Lt. Governor as the vice president of the state and the governor as the president, and we all know the president is an extremely powerful office and much more so than the vice president. In actuality, the Lt. Governor is not like the vice president of the United State other then the fact that they both are presiding officers of the senate. In reality, the Lt. Governor is has more power in the state than the vice president has in the US.
Interesting fact: the Lt. Governor is both an officer of the executive and the legislative branch of our state government!
When it comes to his legislative duties one of which he has great power as he assigns the committee chairs. This is very important, as the committee chairs are also vital in the decision-making process of what bills should come to the floor. Now, I say should because here is were the Lt. Governor comes in again, as he decides which bills come to the floor and decides how the debate on all the bills should be run… sounds a lot like the Speaker of the House doesn’t it? While it is not formally stated that the Lt. Governor has duties just as the Speaker of the House, it is true that many find it to be inaccurate to label the Lt. Governor as the “vice president of the state,” I personally have always seen his duties to be more like the “Speaker” of the state Senate.
His executive powers are also very substantial! Not only does he take over if the governor has to be out of state (an example of the great leadership you’d see from Dewhurst when this happened, in the previous blog), he would also become governor if the current governor is impeach, resigns, or dies while in office. The main executive power that pretty much no one knows, or of those who do know try to hide it because they are trying to win a campaign against our current Lt. Governor *cough-cough*, is that he holds considerable power and influence over our state budget!
The Legislative Budget Board
Not a lot of people know this, our budget is written, and balanced by the actions taken from the Legislative Budget Board. The Lt. Governor is Chair of this very important committee. Once the LBB proposes the budget, it goes to the Legislature (in comes the Lt. Governor again to be sure an pass the budget he just proposed). After the budget passes both chambers, it goes to the governor. The governor then, of course, can veto anything he deems necessary.
Many think the whole process belongs to the governor but this is not the case. It is true, however, that the governor sends recommendations (many of which are heard during his State of the State) but the Legislative Budget Board does not have to follow any of them.
Now For My Comments!
Not one person can find anything I have written about the Lt. Governor to be untrue. It’s not because I’m special, it’s because I’ve studies these things and this is in fact how our state government works.
It is because of these facts that show David Dewhurst should be re-elected in 2014! I purposefully put at the end of the LBB segment that there is nothing that says the LBB has to follow the recommendations of the governor, but guess what? Due to David Dewhurst and Rick Perry’s close friendship, but more importantly, because the two men are true conservative leaders, many of Governor Perry’s recommendations became and will continue to become a reality!
Something that was extremely unfortunate during the Texas Senate race, among many, was that there were people that actually said that David Dewhurst was “running for Senate based on Rick Perry’s record.” This is totally false! Why do you think Rick Perry was one of David Dewhurst’s strongest supporters for the Senate race? Was it because:
a) He and David Dewhurst are, as he said here (it is at the beginning):
personal and professional friends? Not really, although I wouldn’t be surprised if that were a factor.
b) Did he hate Ted Cruz, or Tom Leppert, or Craig James, etc.? No
c) Was it because, being that he WAS Lt. Governor at one time, he knows damn well that it is a very powerful job that has a huge impact on Texans and our future, and that through David Dewhurst’s hard work in this very powerful position that it PROVED he was the man that was key in ushering in the Texas Miracle and therefore was the conservative leader that DC could use? *ding-ding, WE HAVE A WINNER!
Rick Perry is an honorable man, he’s an honest man, and he knew that he would be denying Texas’s great success over the last decade and he’d be damning himself in the process, if he did not support David Dewhurst in that or any other race. It will be no surprise when he supports him again this time!
Trying to take away credit where credit is most certainly due is one of the most horrible things that could happen. Unfortunately that’s exactly what his opponents in the Texas Senate race in 2012, with Cruz being the worst offender of this (sorry guys, but this is a reality), tried to do. It was wrong, and it still is. However, it can be made right! Please, support David Dewhurst early and often for Lt. Governor in 2014! Texas can remain a beacon of conservatism, limited government, balanced budgets, surpluses big enough to give taxpayers some of their money back, prosperity can continue, taxes can remain lower, and the Texas Miracle can continue! President Obama certainly could not tell David Dewhurst that he “didn’t build that.”
Be sure to support, and vote, for the tall fella! Dewhurst for Lt. Governor in 2014!