By the time this column is published, everyone who cares to know will know the results of Saturday’s election and who will continue to be or who will become mayor of Brownwood.
I hope the election winner accepts his victory with dignity and the man who is defeated accepts the voters’ choice with grace. I have not lived in Brownwood for almost six years – and therefore didn’t/don’t really have a say in the fight, but I know and respect both the incumbent mayor, Stephen Haynes, and Mike Tittle, who opposed him. Both men have the education and experience to do well what needs to be done for a small city/great place community like Brownwood. Both have a proven desire to serve the citizens of the community.
While we can argue about much in politics, I don’t think we can argue the pundit, “All politics is local.” In this case, it couldn’t be much more local than the mayor’s race. Bottom line is that what is best fiscally, physically and with the community-as-a-whole in mind must continue to be a priority. I don’t think there’s a debate about that, though exactly what’s best – and for who – may certainly be the question.
Because I care about Brownwood, I began following the Brownwood mayoral race weeks ago. It so happens that both candidates are Facebook friends of mine. I assumed eight-year incumbent Haynes would run for reelection. I was surprised – and maybe if I still lived in Brownwood, I wouldn’t have been – that Tittle had thrown his hat in the ring, but I knew he’d retired, and thought, “Well, OK. Way to be involved.”
But then, reading the April 17 online edition of the Brownwood Bulletin, I gasped. Tittle, I learned, had the endorsement of Empower Texans – a group I had first found out about through my research and support of public education. Yes, Empower Texans is behind the election of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who, at the bid of the group’s very wealthy founders and supporters is pushing for school vouchers, which literally robs already underfunded school districts of taxpayer money to give to private schools.
The Bulletin article, by Steve Nash, quotes Tittle, after he was asked about the ET endorsement, as saying, at first he didn’t know what Empower Texans was when citizens asked him. In fact, its echo group, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility was the funding source for Tittle’s radio ads.
Tittle said, “…but I researched it since then. Empower Texans stands for God, faith, family, lower government, less taxes, less government waste, that life begins at conception the way God Almighty planned it.”
Yeah. That’s the line of all Empower Texans, each time indicating that none of the rest of us are for those things and are therefore not only stupid and not Christian – but heaven forbid – “Democrats in Republican clothing.” Standard operating procedure for the group is to take bits of truth out of context and exaggerate them so they appear ridiculous. It’s all a quest of the rich to gain control, and power, centralized in Austin. Taking away from communities the right of making best local decisions.
I’ve become an avid reader of Jon Mark Beilue, an Amarillo Globe-News columnist, who’s a watch dog of Empower Texans and its affiliate groups – Texas Right to Life, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Home School Coalition and Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Beilue’s Feb. 17 column quoted former state Rep. Jim Keffer, who for 10 terms represented the district that includes Brownwood, as saying, “They want total control, and they want robots in Austin doing 100 percent of the work...
“It’s all a means to an end. They don’t care about lying and making someone into something they’re not. They use mom, apple pie and Christian outlets to talk their junk and people who don’t know any better believe it.”
Beilue asserts money is not an issue with the ET group. They are able to spend $1 million or more on a rural race to get their guy in place. They have and they will.
See, it’s the pesky rural folk stepping on ET’s plan for getting control because it is the rural communities that have the most to lose – their local, independent school districts first and foremost.
I hope without qualification the best man for the job was elected mayor on Saturday. I hope the results aren’t a pure unadulterated case of money talks and only the very rich matter, because, good people, it should never be that way.
Editor’s note: Candace Cooksey Fulton, formerly of Brownwood, is a freelance writer now living in San Angelo. She writes weekly columns for the Brownwood Bulletin and the San Angelo Standard-Times, each unique to the particular paper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.