State Representative Patrick Rose, left, and Elena Whita, right, daughter of Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White, spoke last week with Texas State College Democrats. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
When Patrick Rose first ran for the state legislature in 2002, he was 23, not long out of Princeton and unsure if he would win the office, let alone how long he would keep it.
Today, Rose (D-Dripping Springs), 31, is a four-term representative who says that to “get anything done” in the legislature “you need seniority, and I would like to stay in this office for the next six, eight, 10, 12 years.”
Rose is the chair of the House Human Services Committee and a member of the Higher Education Committee. His campaign political action committee (PAC), Committee to Elect Patrick Rose, had $484,238.61 in the bank as of the latest campaign finance report filed on Feb. 1.
Although Rose has become a comfortable winner in his last two bids for re-election, taking at least 59 percent of the vote in each, he faces a primary challenge from Andrew Backus of Driftwood, a director of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD). Rose and the HTGCD have failed to find common ground on the extent to which HTGCD should be empowered by state legislation.
So, Rose is on the campaign trail barely more than a year after winning his last election in November 2008. As San Marcos is the largest city in his district, which includes Hays, Caldwell and Blanco Counties, he is making a lot of appearances in the city. Last week, he spoke to the Texas State College Democrats, and he will be with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White Saturday (Feb. 6) at Cafe on the Square in San Marcos from 5-6:30 p.m.
Rose’s detractors in the western part of Hays County have argued that he has turned a blind-eye to their demand for full Chapter 36 authority under the Texas Water Code (TWC), which would give the groundwater district more force to regulate wells and levy ad valorem property taxes.
When HTGCD couldn’t reach agreement with Rose and state Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) on a legislative package last spring, no legislation went forward.
Rose said the HTGCD board has not sought opinion from the citizens affected by the HTGCD, adding that he wants more public input into legislative proposals.
“It’s imperative that the (HTGCD) gets empowered,” Rose said. “But it’s important that the Wimberley and Dripping Springs citizenry have a buy in and a say in that.”
Rose and Wentworth have established a committee of stakeholders tasked with reaching for water legislation in the 2011 legislative session.
Rose told Texas State Democrats that he voted for a tuition deregulation bill in 2003 because growing universities within the state faced money problems, but he now worries that his colleagues are unwilling to seek alternatives as tuitions increase.
“What deregulation has become is an excuse not to fund higher learning by state appropriators,” Rose said.
Rose said that before voting in favor of deregulation, he pushed forward an amendment guaranteeing that 20 percent of the money thereby raised would go towards scholarships. Rose said 4,200 college students in Texas received money last year as a result of his amendment.
Rose said that seniority as a state representative allows him to work hard for Texas State and facilitate its growth.
“You have my commitment to do anything we can to get to Division I,” Rose said about the university’s effort to reach big time college football. “… We need to make sure (Texas State) is the best institution as possible. And we need to make sure this institution stays as affordable as possible.”
Rose said he will continue to chair the state’s Health and Human Services Advisory Board, advocating the continuance of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Rose said he will “continue the fight against cancer.” He said he will promote the protection of water, and encourage commuter rail between San Antonio and Austin to ease transportation. Rose said he remains committed to women’s health, children’s health, and the woman’s right to choose.
At Texas State, Rose also stumped for White, the former Houston mayor. Rose called White an “honorable man with a vision for Texas,” before White’s daughter, Elena White, took the stage and rallied support for her father.
White’s opposition in the race to be the Democratic nominee for governor includes Farouk Shami, Bill Dear, Felix Rodriguez Alvarado, Alma Ludvina Aguado, Clement E. Glenn and Star Locke.
The gubernatorial battle in the Republican Primary includes incumbent Rick Perry, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and former Wharton County Republican Party Chairperson Debra Medina, who recently spoke at Texas State.Email | Print