By Ben Lane, TSB Staff
PLANO — “Today, here in front of my family, my friends, fellow Republicans, Tea Party patriots, and dedicated conservatives, I’m announcing my candidacy for Attorney General for the great state of Texas.”
With those words, McKinney’s Ken Paxton, a state senator, joined State Representative Dan Branch of Dallas and Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman of Houston in the race for attorney general.
Paxton told the crowd of hundreds gathered at the Plano Centre on Thursday evening that he’s running for Attorney General to protect Texas against the incursion of the federal government into Texas.
He told the crowd that “Washington has a `bulls-eye’ on Texas” and that “we need bold leadership to hold the line against our out of control federal government.”
Paxton’s speech to the room full of enthusiastic supporters was part campaign launch and part attack on President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Paxton called his announcement “the first step in a very exciting adventure.” He also said, “With the right leadership, our future remains bright.”
Paxton said of the race for Attorney General, “This is not a campaign for an office or a campaign of an individual. This is a campaign to preserve and defend Texas and all that we hold dear. As your Attorney General, I will preserve, protect and defend Texas as well as our right to manage our own affairs as we see fit.”
But Paxton’s message to President Obama and the federal government was quite clear. “I have a loud and clear message for Barack Obama,” Paxton said. “Mr. President, Texas will govern Texas.”
Paxton called Obama’s policies “an assault on our way of life,” and said, “We should not live in fear of our government.” Paxton also called on Texas to remain strong “by continuing to forge our own path based on liberty, freedom and respect for the Constitution.”
Paxton said he plans to be active as Texas Attorney General and told the crowd that within his first month of office, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder “will know my name.”
Paxton laid out a five-point plan of what he plans to do while Attorney General. He said that he will:
1. Fight against infringement of states’ rights.
2. Fight the federal government over the implementation of Texas’ voting laws (including voter ID).
3. Protect the Texas State Legislature’s ability to draw “fair congressional and legislative districts instead of allowing Eric Holder to redraw districts in favor of his political allies.”
4. Do everything possible to safeguard personal privacy from “government and individuals who seek to do us harm, like the IRS infringing “upon the personal privacy of our citizens.”
5. “Continue to stand in the gap doing everything I can do to prevent the implementation of Obamacare.”
Paxton also touted his record with the NRA as a defender of the rights of gun owners in Texas, saying that he was the only candidate in the race for Attorney General that has a solid “A” rating from the NRA. He also reaffirmed his position on abortion, telling the crowd, “I’ve consistently and enthusiastically supported all pro-life legislation on the floor, in committee and behind the scenes.”
Paxton said he decided to run because he senses the perilous nature of states’ rights. “We must stand firm and strong to defend our freedom and our liberty,” he said. Let me tell you how strongly I feel about this campaign. I truly believe that there is just too much at stake to play it safe; that the office of Attorney General is extremely critical to our future and our state and probably to our nation. I asked myself, if not me, who? If not now, when?”
Paxton closed his speech by drawing “a line in the sand.” He called Texas “the last great hope against complete federal intrusion and the office of Attorney General is the frontline of that defense.”
He told the crowd that “The eyes of the nation are upon Texas. And I believe, hoping and praying, that we will stand firm, stand strong and resist the oppressive hand of the federal government.”
State Representative Scott Turner, State Representative Jodie Laubenberg, and Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis all took part introducing Paxton. They each touted Paxton’s conservative record. Laubenberg specifically mentioned Paxton’s support of HB2, the abortion legislation passed recently.
State Representative Scott Sanford, State Representative Jeff Leach, Collin County Commissioner Matt Shaheen, Collin County Sheriff Terry Box, Collin County Commissioners Court Judge Keith Self, and McKinney City Councilman Randy Pogue were also among the crowd of Paxton supporters.