AUSTIN – Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and I spoke by phone for a few minutes Friday afternoon. He said “I was very dedicated” to getting HB2 passed, and even warned the Democratic Party’s leaders during negotiations that they were making a mistake in casting up so much resistance to the bill. In the end, the bill passed and has become law with the support of a majority of Texans, while the Democrats are left to pick up the pieces. Some of their protesters were caught trying to smuggle jars of feces into the capitol the night the Senate passed the bill.
The pro-life Dewhurst also specified why the new law is an important protection for women in Texas.
“The reason that abortion clinics should be similar to hospitals is simple,” he said. “Safety. For instance, electric power.” Dewhurst said that while hospitals must have back-up generators to kick in and provide power to medical equipment in the case of a power failure, abortion clinics were under no such requirement prior to the passage of HB2.
Dewhurst, who like everything else in Texas is bigger (taller) than any other lieutenant governor around the country, also said that between the filibuster that killed the bill in the first special session and the beginning of the special session, he and his team prepared to deal with “mob rule.”
How? By lining up the largest Department of Public Safety Officers in the state, some of which were “so big they made me look small,” the 6’5″ Dewhurst said, to make sure that no one got out of hand. The quiet but sizable show of force worked. Demonstrations in and around the capitol often got loud but mostly stayed in the realm of speech while the legislative process continued uninterrupted, thanks to DPS.
Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is running for a fourth term in what is constitutionally Texas’ most powerful office. The lieutenant governor presides over the Texas Senate, where the office is invested with great power over legislation. The Air Force veteran turned CIA field agent turned rancher and entrepreneur has presided over a time of GOP strength in Texas, but faces opposition in the Republican primary from state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
In our brief conversation, a buoyant Dewhurst talked about topics from his military career to his conservative beliefs. Dewhurst also talked about the Texas record that has been building while he has been its lieutenant governor.
“Texas is number one in just about every business category,” he said, adding that it’s no accident: Conservative policies of small government and lower taxes have vaulted the state to the top of the rankings. He cited statistics on unemployment, business and individual migration, and why the Texas model is working. His pledge: “I’m gonna keep cutting taxes to keep Texas irresistible to business, because it’s good for Texans.”