Thursday, February 08, 2007

Voucher Rally in Austin Hints at Things to Come

A rally in Austin, led by a James Leininger-backed PAC, urged legislators on Wednesday to back bills allowing pilot programs for school vouchers. The PAC, Texans for School Choice, is the same group that ran ads in the metroplex promoting vouchers during election season, using the slogan "Give Parents a Choice, Give Kids a Chance."

Leininger was in attendance at the rally.

Although he was not a speaker at the rally, Republican activist James Leininger grabbed attention just for his appearance. Leininger, of San Antonio, has spent billions of dollars in recent years backing Republican candidates who support vouchers and other conservative causes, but he has tended to keep out of the public eye.

The group delivered letters in support of vouchers.

The letters were delivered to the offices of Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, and Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth, Miller said.

Mansfield pastor Kyev Tatum, who led a bus load of supporters from Tarrant County to the rally, said the obstacle lies in minority lawmakers who won’t properly lead on the issue.

“The only way it will have a chance is if the black and brown legislators wake up.  . . .  We can’t get [state representative] Marc Veasey’s support because he can’t stop playing party politics,” Tatum said, referring to the Fort Worth Democrat.

Veasey said he has no plans of backing down on his opposition to vouchers. “I’m a proud product of the Fort Worth ISD, my wife is a proud product of the Fort Worth ISD  . . .  and my child will be also,” Veasey said.

Both Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst are signaling that vouchers will be a big push from Republicans in this legislative session. Several posts cover this today - Capitol Annex, Burnt Orange Report, Texas Kaos and Off the Kuff.

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