Representative Debbie Riddle (R-District 150) is the kind of leader Texas needs. In spite of tremendous obstacles and media pressure to cave on issues of vital importance to Texas voters, Debbie has stayed the course, repeatedly demonstrating her unreserved commitment to Texas, placing public interests over private interests.
America is in crisis. Our nation’s economic and political foundations are under consistent assault by forces in Washington seeking power at the expense of American wealth and preeminence.
In the midst of the present storm, Texas stands as a symbol of what makes America the greatest nation on Earth: limited government, entrepreneurial spirit, individual liberty, and unquenchable patriotism. Texas unemployment is among the lowest in the country.
But despite its success, Texas faces significant challenges that threaten to undermine the very things that make Texas the attraction of freedom-seekers nation-wide. What is needed to meet these pressing challenges are leaders who possess an uncompromising, unwavering devotion to tried and tested principles cherished by Texans. Representative Debbie Riddle is such a leader, and she knows what needs to be done.
Rampant illegal immigration impacting local infrastructure, and the ballooning deficits resulting from it, are just two of the challenges facing Texas. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that the annual cost to Texas taxpayers to incarcerate, educate and provide welfare and related forms of assistance to illegal aliens stands at $4.7 billion. The Texas budget gap, substantially affected by this dynamic, is among the highest shortfalls in the nation, at $15 billion.
Even though Debbie has faced innumerable bureaucratic hurdles in advancing her common-sense policy proposals, her persistence in pursuing the priorities of Texans has resulted in key victories. In a show of dedication to her constituents, Debbie camped out for two nights at the Capitol, sleeping on the lobby floor, in order to get six momentous bills filed ahead of other legislation. In recent memory, no other state representative has demonstrated such an intense devotion to the people she serves.
HB 16, initially filed by Debbie, proposed requiring proof of citizenship when going to the polls. Illegal voting has been a problem in the state of Texas, contributing to potentially inaccurate election results. Estimates based on Census data place the number of non-citizen voters in the state of Texas at anywhere between 100,000 to 300,000. Presidential elections have been separated by margins far more narrow than this. SB 14 succeeded HB 16, and was sponsored in the House by Representative Patricia Harless (R-District 126). SB 14 is now law.
HB 17 would have made illegal immigration a separate criminal offense under Texas law, known as “criminal trespass.” If stopped for additional offenses, officers would have been allowed to check immigrant status upon reasonable suspicion. This piece of legislation died in committee, and was denied reexamination by Governor Perry in the special session.
HB 18 would have refused state funds to so-called “sanctuary cities,” prohibiting any ordinance, rule or policy requiring local entities to ignore federal immigration statutes. Sadly, this bill died in the Senate. Partisan politics played a role in the bill’s failure.
Debbie’s other key proposed legislation included a reporting requirement for state agencies with the goal of ascertaining the fiscal cost of illegal immigration for the state of Texas, as well as a bill making driving without a license a Class B misdemeanor if the driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident. Numerous cases of Texans injured or killed by illegal resident drivers prompted this last item of legislation.
In addition to introducing legislation to address the sizable problem of illegal immigration, a focus of District 150 constituents, Debbie won legislative battles more generally increasing the safety of Texas citizens. HB 1065, for example, increased to 10 years the age at which murder of a child is considered a capital offense. In Debbie’s view, every child’s life is sacred, and not only those under age six, where the previous ceiling was set. The Patriot Statesman supports this stance.
Debbie also worked to prevent a decline in education spending, and fought for a budget with no tax increases. Like Colonel Travis at the Alamo, Debbie drew a line in the sand.
Representative Riddle didn’t win every one of her battles in the last session. The political realities of House leadership, combined with Democrat numerical strength in the Senate, has mitigated thus far against sweeping reforms. But progress is a game of perseverance, and Debbie embodies this quality. What Debbie did accomplish is significant. In fact, much of what Debbie introduced would not even have been considered in previous sessions. Texans should observe Representative Riddle’s actions, actions that speak loudly in favor of everything Texans care about.
With primaries approaching, it is crucial to recognize who our friends really are. Debbie’s record speaks for itself: the damaging effects of illegal immigration have been addressed, the budget gap has been reduced with consideration given to education, and Texans have been made safer.
A vote for Debbie is a vote for Texas.