Donna Garner- Barry Smitherman a Man who will “Stand”



Texas Representative Dan Branch is a Speaker Straus Lieutenant  


“No – Not Rep. Dan Branch for TAG”

By Donna Garner


Texas voters must not allow themselves to be fooled by Dan Branch’s campaign ads for Texas Attorney General.  Dan Branch is no conservative!

To set the record straight, here is what voters need to know about Dan Branch:




How did Joe Straus become Speaker in 2009?  Joe Straus entered the Legislature in 2005 when Gov. Rick Perry appointed Rep. Elizabeth Ames Jones (R-San Antonio) to be on the Railroad Commission. In a quickly scheduled election, Joe Straus, using his tens of thousands of dollars from his family’s horse racing business, managed to win Jones’ seat. 

Joe Straus was a Texas House member for a short time, but he does have a voting record.  This record aligns him with Planned Parenthood, homosexuals, gambling, horse racing, casinos, and the alcohol industry.  If Dan Branch thinks Straus is a moderate, I wonder what Branch thinks a liberal is? 


By 2009 the Crew of 11 Republicans plotted together to make Joe Straus the Speaker and dump Tom Craddick. Dan Branch threw his support behind Straus which influenced other members to give Straus the 76 votes he needed to become Speaker:


1.6.09 – Austin American-Statesman – by Jason Embry:


Joe Straus’s fast rise to the top of the House was complete by Monday evening. Lobbyists and staffers filled the Capitol Rotunda and watched from the second and third floors above as Straus claimed victory at his press conference. Lawmakers surrounding him included Republicans Jim Pitts of Waxahachie, Dan Branch of Dallas, Brian McCall of Plano, plus Democrats Donna Howard of Austin, Joe Deshotel of Beaumont and Mike Villarreal of San Antonio


1.5.09 – Dallas Morning News – Karen Brooks and Christy Hoppe:


Straus’ list of supporters included Dallas-area Republicans Dan Branch, Brian McCall, Jim Pitts, Todd Smith and Charlie Geren…Branch said Straus is a ‘lifelong friend’ from his adolescence in San Antonio and the two families are close. Branch’s mother, in fact, block-walked for Straus during his first campaign.


Also, Dan Branch said, Straus has impeccable Republican credentials and ‘he and his family helped create the Republican Party in Texas…Straus is from an urban county, similar to the heart of Dallas – my district – and understands those issues…The voters are looking for Republicans who can reach across the aisle and solve real problems for real Texans.’


During that 2009 Legislative Session, voter-ID legislation along with illegal immigration and pro-life bills were not allowed to go forward; but Dan Branch did not care because he got what he wanted.  Straus made him chair of the Higher Education Committee. In that position, Dan Branch was rated by YCT with a 61 – certainly not a conservative rating.  In this last Legislative Session, Dan Branch was rated by YCT with a 68.  An authentic conservative should be at least in the upper 80’s or 90’s.   




On 12.18.08, I provided Rep. Dan Branch and the legislature with a summary of the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot (TIP) in which the U. S. Dept. of Ed. had spent $20 Million to immerse Texas students in laptops. The findings after four years of solid research indicated that there were no statistically significant effects of academic achievement from students immersed in laptops:


In 2009, Dan Branch ignored the TIP findings, undercut the authority of the elected State Board of Education members, and became the primary author of HB 4294. When it passed, HB 4294 led the way for school districts to use the permanent school fund (PSF) to purchase technological equipment and electronic textbooks which no longer had to be chosen from the SBOE-adopted list.   

HB 4294 also put into place a Commissioner’s list (a separate list from the Texas State Board of Education list of duly adopted textbooks that had gone through the public review process), and school districts could use the PSF to purchase textbooks (instructional materials — IM’s) from the Commissioner’s list.

HB 4294 was followed by SB 6 (2011) which totally paved the way for school districts to use state taxpayers’ public funds (PSF) to purchase CSCOPE/Common Core and other instructional materials that are not aligned with the SBOE-approved-and-mandated TEKS. Under SB 6, the IM’s only have to cover 50% of the TEKS (even though school districts by law are required to cover 100% of the TEKS).


It is the use of the PSF that has helped these Type #2 products (e.g., CSCOPE/Common Core) to proliferate across our state’s public schools using our tax dollars. (Chart to Type #1 and Type #2 — )



These Type #2 products are the ones that can now be purchased without having to go through the SBOE-adoption process which involves extensive scrutiny of the curriculum materials for factual errors and numerous public hearings:



*Definition of “instructional materials” – “The term includes a book, supplementary materials, a combination of a book, workbook, and supplementary materials, computer software, magnetic media, DVD, CD-ROM, computer courseware, on-line services, or an electronic medium, or other means of conveying information to the student or otherwise contributing to the learning process through electronic means, including open-source instructional material. (Texas Education Code, Title 2. Public Education, Subtitle F. Curriculum, Programs, and Services, Chapter 31. Instructional Materials, Subchapter A. General Provisions, Sec. 31.002, Definitions, Instructional Material — 





In the 82nd Legislative Session (2011), Dan Branch was a part of the committee that redistricted some of our most conservative members of the House (e.g., Wayne Christian, Jim Landtroop, Erwin Cain) and of the Texas State Board of Education (e.g., Gail Lowe, Don McLeroy, Charlie Garza, Terri Leo) to disadvantage them and/or drive them out of office.

On 5.4.11, a group of us from across Texas drove hundreds of miles at our own expense and on our own time to meet with elected Texas political leaders to present a petition containing 3,500 signatures gathered in only 6 days.  This petition was to protest the ruthless redistricting process of which Dan Branch was a part. 




In this last legislative session (83rd), Rep. Dan Branch (R) was a joint-author of HB 2103 with Democrat Mike Villarreal.  Villarreal is one of the most liberal members of the Texas House with a career rating by YCT of 15.  

Ken Paxton also voted repeatedly for HB 2103 which is a field day for hackers!  All of our personally identifiable data from the Texas Education Agency, Texas Workforce Commission, and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board can be shared among various agencies in Texas and in other states. The data shared can go back 20 years.  This would include all PEIMS data collected on students, teachers, and families over the last 20 years; data collected on employees/employers over the last 20 years; and data collected on all students, educators, and Texas colleges/universities for 20 years back.  In essence, almost every Texan would fall into these categories of data collection that can now be shared with third-parties outside Texas. 



Dan Branch colluded together as a joint author with Bennett Ratliff (Thomas Ratliff’s brother) to get HB 2824 passed. Ken Paxton also supported HB 2824 in the Senate along with Wendy Davis who presented the bill to the Senate Education Committee.

HB 2824, if not vetoed by Gov. Perry, would have allowed a consortium (already established under SB 1557 in the 82nd Legislative Session) to continue its  “revisioning,” 21st Century, digitized curriculum push.  This consortium of so-called “high performance districts” would have been allowed to get off the hook in terms of curriculum, testing, and accountability.  They would have been freed up to teach/learn to whatever goals and standards they chose (i.e., Type #2) instead of being required to follow state law which says schools must teach the Texas State Board of Education-adopted Type #1 TEKS to prepare students to do well on the STAAR/EOC’s.  



Here is the problem for us conservatives:  As reported by Mark P. Jones (Chair, Dept. of Political Science at Rice U.) in a Texas Tribune article dated 6.18.13, Texas votes “red” but ends up governing “purple.”  The few Democrats who win in the Texas Legislature form an alliance with the moderate/centrist conservative bloc led by Speaker Joe Straus. This alliance makes it possible for a “relatively cohesive and disciplined Democratic delegation to block the passage of most legislation opposed by its members…This alliance produced predominantly purple legislation that was frequently opposed by the House and Senate’s more conservative Republicans.”


The way to break out of this cycle is for us to elect truly conservative candidates – not left-leaners like Dan Branch.  Barry Smitherman is not a left-leaner.  He will not compromise under the “glare of the spotlight.” He will not quit under fire. He will not allow the Obama administration to run unrestrained over our Texas laws.  Texas needs that type of leadership for us to remain a “red” state.   





2.20.14 — Episode #2 of House of Straus:  The keen differences between a legislator and a prosecutor — why it is so absolutely imperative to have the right person elected as the next Texas Attorney General — 


2.18.14 – Episode #1 — House of


2.17.14 – “Voting for Courage vs. Cowardice – Tex. Att. Gen.” – by Donna Garner —


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