Lt. Gov. candidates debate issues

Texans won't be deciding on our next lieutenant governor will be until next year, but the race is already underway.

The current lineup includes incumbent David Dewhurst, Senator Dan Patrick of Houston, Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples, and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. And two of those candidates stopped in Amarillo on Saturday (Oct. 26) for a public forum.

Senator Dan Patrick of Houston and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples outlined their platforms and addressed several key issues in a forum hosted by the Amarillo Tea Party Patriots.

Both candidates expressed strongly conservative views on border security, immigration reform, property rights, education, and fiscal responsibility within the government.

Senator Patrick pointed to his experience in education and finance, and also mentioned his attendance and voting record - he's only been absent one day in four legislative sessions.

"I've cast 16,000 votes, I've kept 'in God We Trust' in the Texas Senate, 'under God' in our pledge," said Sen. Patrick, "I've passed the Sonogram Bill, which helped save 12,000 lives, I've followed the Senate floor against the Democrats. You know how I'm going to lead, how Republicans are going to lead ... I'm ready for education, I'm ready for Washington, I'm ready to reduce your property taxes, I'm ready to do the job from day one."

And Commissioner Staples touted his consistent rating as one of the top conservatives in Texas, with endorsements from the NRA and several pro-life groups.

"I know that our rights come from God - not man - and that our rights were inscribed in the Constitution as the responsibility of each generation to protect and defend those rights," said Staples. "I'm going to be the kind of lieutenant governor that stands up and does that with you and for you, and stand up before the legislative session and afterwards."

The lieutenant governor is actually one of the most powerful positions in state government, as he or she appoints committees in the Senate, who in turn shape state policy. The lieutenant governor also serves as chairman of the Legislative Budget Board and the Legislative Council. He or she is also vice-chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee and the Legislative Education Board. The position is a four-year term.

The primaries will be held March 4th, 2014, and the election will take place November 4th of the same year.

You can find more information on all four candidates at the links attached to this story.