Monday, December 19, 2011

Paul Sadler to run for US Senate

Just two days after fellow Democrat Ric Sanchez dropped out of the race, state Rep. Paul Sadler of Henderson has filed to run for U.S. Senate. [...]

Two Democrats have filed: Sean Hubbard and Daniel Boone. But the big name until last week was Sanchez, a retired lieutenant general who once led U.S. forces in Iraq. His campaign never got traction. That and personal troubles — his home burned down over the Thanksgiving holiday — prompted him to get out.

Sadler, in a brief telephone interview, said he has been thinking about the race since Hutchison announced her decision. Sanchez's announcement last week tipped the scales, and he filed with the Texas Democratic Party this afternoon.

Sadler was elected to the House in 1990 and served through 2002, ending his tenure with three terms as chairman of the Public Education committee. While George W. Bush was governor, Sadler chaired the special committee that worked on the tax bill Bush proposed as a remedy for public education problems. He lost a runoff election in 2004 to Republican Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, in a race for the Texas Senate.

Sadler has a solid background in both business and politics.

Sadler is the Executive Director of The Wind Coalition. The Wind Coalition is a non-profit association formed to encourage the development of the vast wind energy resources of the south central United States. The Wind Coalition is active in two particular regions: ERCOT and SPP. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the electric transmission grid covering most of Texas. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) grid covers all or parts of seven unique states: Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana. As the Executive Director, Paul is responsible for the policy and regulatory development concerning wind energy in eight states. [...]

(He) served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1991 - 2003. During his tenure in the Texas House of Representatives, he served on numerous committees including Education, Judiciary, Pensions and Investments, Health and Human Services, Calendars and was one of eight members designated to the Legislative Budget Board. His most significant committee work, however, was in the area of education. Sadler served on the House Public Education Committee from 1993 - 2003 (serving as Chairman of the committee from 1995 - 2003), chairman of the Select Committee on State Revenue and Public School Finance in 1997, and chairman of the Select Committee on Public School Employee Health Insurance in 2001. Paul was the only house member to serve as chair of more than one committee in the same session; he had dual chairmanships in two sessions in 1999 & 2001. His accomplishments include the re-write of the Education Code in 1995 (known as the 'Ratliff-Sadler Act'); enactment of public school employee health insurance for the first time in the history of the state; passage of a $3.8 billion education package, which at the time included the largest property tax cut in the history of the state; provided teacher pay raises for three consecutive sessions for the first time in the history of the state; established critical need programs for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten; the ninth grade initiative targeting students at risk of drop-out; and increased funding for public school facilities.

This part is interesting:

As then-Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry stated, "What the Legislature is all about (is) competing interests coming together and splitting differences. Unless it's education -- then you do everything that Paul wants." Sadler has received numerous awards for his legislative work. He was singled out by Texas Monthly during each of his legislative terms, being named to the Ten Best List in 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001.

Here's more from Sadler on the prospects of wind energy. And here's more from him on the past legislative session's education woes. And here's what he said about working with George W. Bush when he was governor:

Long before Bush wrote his book (Decision Points), former state Rep. Paul Sadler wondered aloud how his friend would handle the consequential choices to come.

Sadler, an East Texas Democrat who worked with Bush on education, had an early impression of the governor's management style. As governor, Bush was particularly susceptible to a small coterie of advisers around him, what Sadler calls "the voices in the room.''

"He surrounds himself with people who were largely likeminded," Sadler said. "Look for the dominant personality in the room. He will trust that dominant personality." [...]

Sadler believes the decision to invade Iraq was a mistake, driven by a circle of single-minded advocates. And he said Bush, following Rove's hard-nose politics, abandoned his promise to stem the hyper-partisanship of Washington.

"The ultimate responsibility has to rest with him," Sadler said, but he wonders whether history - and the Bush legacy - might have been different had he been less susceptible to the dominant voices in the room.

"I still consider him a personal friend and I hesitate to criticize him," Sadler said. "But those of us who were friends and who are friends, over the years we have said many times, who hijacked our friend? Who hijacked him?"

Can't say I'm thrilled about the part in bold.

Sadler sounds like the perfect TDP establishment candidate: East Texas conservaDem, good record in the Lege (especially if you consider that part about the property tax reduction good), been in the renewable-energy business since losing his last election.

No excuse why he can't raise all the money he needs to win from the Texas Democratic lawyers, unlike Chris Bell and even Bill White. Right?

Update: The Chron has this...

"We have a reputation as a state for business. We have a senator who's good for business. It's time for us to have a senator that's good for the people of this state," Sadler said. "That's what I'm going to be doing."

Update II: From the end of the filing day yesterday comes word that Jason Gibson of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and Eric Roberson, who ran previously for Congress in the 32nd District (Plano area) in 2008 and aborted a campaign for the statehouse in 2010, have also filed for this race.

Update III: Roberson clarifies that he is actually running for a seat on the Fifth District (Dallas) Court of Appeals, Place 11.

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