AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took several opportunities during his speech Thursday to point out how conservatives need to unite within their party.
“There’s a new term going around,” Patrick said. “Some people want to elect a ‘responsible Republican.’ Have you heard that? A responsible Republican is a conservative Republican. That’s a responsible Republican.”
Patrick spoke during the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation event in Austin and outlined main priorities including pro-life legislation, tax reform and Second Amendment issues. He also praised Texans for coming together during Hurricane Harvey and the church shooting in Sutherland Springs several times. One piece of legislation Patrick didn’t mention, however, was the “bathroom bill,” which House Speaker Joe Straus did not support.
“As far as I’m concerned, it was enough. We will go no further. This is the right thing to do in order to protect our economy from billions of dollars in losses and more importantly to protect the safety of some very vulnerable young Texans,” Straus said in May 2017.
Patrick didn’t mention Straus or other lawmakers by name, but cited division within their party during his speech.
“So when I hear people today who criticize the conservatives who have led this state for the last 15 years, it’s one thing if they’re on the other side,” Patrick said. “I get it. But sometimes if it comes from within our own team, I don’t understand.”
Scott Milder is also seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, with Mike Collier and Michael Cooper seeking the Democratic nomination for the position. Collier held a press conference the same afternoon, citing issues with public school funding. He said Texas currently relies too much on property taxes and there are loopholes contributing to poor school funding.
“For those that say the problem with property taxes are school districts that spend too much money, school districts are holding the line on spending,” he said. “And in fact, they’re spending less and I can’t emphasize that enough. If you’re mad about property taxes, I’m mad about property taxes, don’t get mad at your school district. You should get mad at the state. They’re the ones doing this.”
Early voting for the Texas primary elections begins Feb. 20 and Election Day is March 6.