Vote Green in Texas state races

The Progressive Populist, after endorsing Green nominee Ralph Nader in the presidential race this year, generally advises a Democratic vote in downballot races, particularly for Congress, where a Democratic majority is needed to stop the worst excesses in case George W. Bush is elected. (See our 10/15/00 Editorial.)

We generally do not endorse in "downballot" state races, for the practical reason that it is difficult for us to make a endorsement that passes for intelligent in races we know little or nothing about besides partisan affiliation. However, in Texas we are able to endorse the Green slate in statewide races with some confidence.

In the first place, the Greens have put up four fine candidates for the US Senate, the state Supreme Court and two seats on the regulatory Railroad Commission. In the second place, state Democratic Party officials cravenly discouraged candidates for these races, for fear that challengers would give Republicans more of a reason to get out their vote and threaten Democrats in state legislative races.

For the Senate, Doug Sandage, 48, of Houston, a trial lawyer and attorney-mediator, believes a values-based politics for Texas and America calls for recapturing our power as a people from the transnational corporations. "It's time for a fundamental reform in our way of thinking and our way of living. It's time to say forthrightly that faith, family and fellowship -- not money, power, celebrity and sex appeal -- must be the measure of our lives," he said.

The Texas Railroad Commission, born in the 1890s as a populist reform to railroad excesses, has had much of its rail authority taken away by the federal government; while it still nominally regulates the oil and gas industry, it actually performs more as a lobbyist for the industry. The Progressive Populist endorses Green nominees Gary Dugger and Charlie Mauch as green reformers.

Dugger, 47, of Austin, is a pre-loader and driver for UPS, a Teamster's union steward, as well as a carpenter and Realtor. The son of Texas Observer and Alliance for Democracy founder Ronnie Dugger, Gary was shaped politically by the anti-war and civil-rights movements of the late 1960s and early '70s. He calls for a higher severance tax on large oil and gas producers, a lower tax on smaller producers; setting up a trust fund for the people of Texas to invest in sustainable energy alternatives; eliminating energy-related pollution at its source; and a moratorium on uranium mining.

Mauch, 66, of Houston is a former US Air Force base petroleum officer with extensive experience in the oil industry and as senior environmental engineer for the city of Houston. "The Texas Railroad Commission has been dominated for too long by the industry it's supposed to regulate. It needs the voice of a citizen-activist who isn't beholden to corporate money," Mauch says.

Perhaps the most distinguished Green nominee is Supreme Court candidate Ben G. Levy, 72, of Houston, a former Judge on the First Court of Appeals (from 1982-88). That court hears appeals of civil and criminal court cases from Harris and surrounding Texas counties. "One thing I can do as an independent on the court is to make decisions without regard to who has the money and who doesn't. I believe very strongly in equal justice for all," Levy said. "Under FDR, I was a red-hot Democrat, but I'm so disappointed in them now. I still want to have FDR back, but it's the Greens, not the Democrats, who are talking about the right things."

For more on the Texas Green candidates see http://www.txgreens.org/candidates.htm

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