Texas won't be deciding who our next attorney general will be for almost a year, but the race is already underway. And two of those candidates made Amarillo a stop on their campaign trail this afternoon (Nov. 16) at a public forum downtown.
The attorney general is one of the most powerful positions in Texas politics - essentially, the attorney general is tasked with upholding the state's constitution, representing the state in litigation and bond issues, and acting as legal counsel to all state boards and agencies.
The current lineup of candidates for the upcoming term includes Representative Dan Branch (R-Dallas), Senator Ken Paxton (R-Dallas), Republican Barry Smitherman, Democrat Sam Houston, and Libertarian Todd Glass. Greg Abbott has held that position since 2002, and this afternoon, I had the opportunity to meet two of the candidates he'll be up against on Election Day.
Republican Senator Ken Paxton and Libertarian candidate Tom Glass addressed a forum hosted by the Amarillo Tea Party Patriots and answered a series of questions ranging from fiscal reform and illegal immigration to states' rights and abortion. Both candidates expressed concern over expanding federal power and its influence over state governments.
Senator Paxton has represented the Dallas area since 2002, and he says in his eleven years in office, the biggest hindrances to prosperity in Texas are federal mandates like Obamacare and voter ID laws.
"As soon as Obama came in, we've been dealing with lawsuits related to our oil and gas industry, our coal industry, our fishing industry, our farming," said Paxton, "and we've also dealt with them on a political level - our voter ID law, them [the federal government] trying to stop us from implementing that, even though it works perfectly -- nearly perfectly. And so, the issues that I'm going to have to deal with are a lot of federal issues, a lot of Tenth Amendment issues, and stopping the federal government from intruding into our state's rights and our sovereignty."
Todd Glass is the Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas, and he says as long as the U.S. Supreme Court is accepted as the supreme law of the land, Texas' autonomy as a state is in danger.
"In all ways, the federal government is killing us, and we've got to push back effectively," said Glass. "What differentiates me from the others is that I will not surrender Texas' sovereignty to the Supreme Court. I don't let them make the final decision about their own power."
The Texas attorney general is elected for a four-year term. The election will take place November 4th next year.
If you'd like to learn more about the candidates, you can follow the links attached to this story.