Sorry That We Just Don't Get It

RECEIVED Tue., Feb. 19, 2008

Letter to The Austin Chronicle editor,
    I'm dismayed that you endorsed a Craddick Democrat [Dawnna Dukes] who, by your own words, "too often seems to take her supporters, if not her constituents, for granted" and "struck a devil's bargain" to support Republican Speaker Tom Craddick ["'Chronicle' Endorsements," News, Feb. 15].
    The Craddick Democrats, including Ms. Dukes, who you credit with being "tactical," actually put in place the primary roadblock – Republican Speaker Tom Craddick – to fully funding the Children's Health Insurance Program. They kept in power the very man who led the charge to cut more than 200,000 kids from CHIP in 2003.
    The truth is that Republican members went to Craddick and told him they had to put more kids back on the CHIP because they were getting killed back in their districts. The vote to fully fund CHIP was the precise moment when Democratic members should have been fighting tooth and nail to provide every child with health care, not settling for a deal Republicans had to pass to save their own hides from an angry electorate. It was not Craddick Democrats who secured the proverbial half-loaf (more like a quarter-loaf) for CHIP; it was scared Republicans.
    More than 150,000 Texas kids who had health insurance in September 2003 still do not have it today. And your publication wants to credit a Craddick D with a "tactical" vote to put more kids back on CHIP when she voted against the very amendment that would have provided full funding?
    Dawnna's indefensible votes are not limited to voting against fully funding CHIP. Time and time again, I offered pro-environment amendments on the House floor – like the amendment to clean up dirty school buses for our kids – that Dawnna voted against because she votes with Craddick's lobby interests (who are funding her campaign) rather than voting for the best interests of her constituents (Dawnna has more asthmatic kids in her district than any other district in Travis County).
    This election is real simple. I'm sorry you don't get it. This election is about changing speakers. Ms. Dukes, as one of Craddick's core supporters, stands in the way of that change. Brian Thompson represents real change for the people of District 46.
Lon Burnam
State representative District 90
Fort Worth
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