Where are the "Teddy Roosevelt Republicans?"

October 31st, 2008

The Houston Chronicle reports that a Texas Senate committee backed out of a series of recommendations that would have addressed Houston’s terrible air quality conditions:

“Sen. Jeff Wentworth, a San Antonio Republican who chairs the [jurisprudence] committee, said he had second thoughts about the recommendations after hearing from a Senate colleague and business lobbyists who asserted that the committee had overreached.”

Why would you do this, Senator Wentworth? Could it be that you and the other Republican leaders of the committee decided to play politics rather than address one of Texas’ biggest problems? Houston Mayor Bill White is agitating for cities to have the ability to do more to regulate emissions of pollutions. And Mayor White may have higher political ambitions for statewide office. If he succeeds in being able to control Houston’s air quality more, then he may have a stronger platform for running for Texas governor or U.S. Senate. That prospect appears to have gotten Texas Senate Republicans in a tizzy, and may be why they’re suddenly backing away from looking at air quality.

Where are the “Teddy Roosevelt Republicans” – the true conservationists who believe that an important part of being conservative is conserving our natural resources and protecting the environment? Don’t the Senate Republicans understand that terrible air quality is going to drive business away from Texas, make children sick with asthma and other conditions, and result in lost federal transportation dollars because of violations of the Clean Air Act? Don’t they care about the future of Texas?

The League would love to work with pro-conservation Republicans who are ready to take on the most pressing issues facing our state. The quiet vote of the Senate committee to back away from air quality recommendations doesn’t demonstrate the kind of leadership Texans need from their government at this critical time.

On Election Day, Texans can change the makeup of the Texas Senate, and the League’s political committee has endorsed three challengers who will stand up for clean air: Chris Bell, Wendy Davis and Joe Jaworski.