Yesterday, one of our front page writers wrote about her experiences volunteering in a Republican primary for a seat in the Texas State House. For those who don't know, the Texas State House is a good deal less conservative than it should be because it is run by one of the most liberal Republicans in the country, Joe Straus. Straus's biggest booster in the Texas House is Jason Villalba, who explicitly bragged in 2014 that Straus would deliver a "progressive agenda" in spite of running a Republican House.
Texas conservatives have been involved in a long, slow, painstaking effort to remove liberal Republican reps who support Straus and his agenda for years, and Villalba is one of their main targets - for obvious reasons.
Personally, I didn't know much about Villalba before yesterday. Based on how he responded to Sara's story on Twitter, however, he is a) not very bright and b) one of those despicable politicians who hides his terrible record behind police union (NOTE: - NOT police, police UNION) fear-mongering.
There is nothing worse or more dangerous to the principles of liberty in America than a person who believes that government should be larger and the police unions free from literally any accountability.
Here's his Twitter response, where he again fails to respond to anything actually contained in the article and resorts to blatant scaremongering. (NOTE: he seems to be of the belief that Michael Q. Sullivan was involved in the writing of Sara's article - I am as confused as you are about that particular aspect).
Nowhere in our article from yesterday did Sara or anyone else criticize police, mock them, or "Be-little" them (whatever "be-little" means). What she said was that Villalba opposed public sector union pension reform, as a result of which, the police union (Dallas Police Association) was completely in his pocket. She further noted that Villalba had almost literally no platform other than touting his support of the DPA.
This twitter rant more or less proves the point.
It's also, um, how shall we say this? Not necessarily the product of an especially high-wattage intellect.
Villalba also seems to have taken the rather bizarre position that the Dallas police union was.. not a union?
Here's the reality: it's a vitally important thing to separate the work of police from the work of police unions. Like all other unions, police unions primarily serve the purpose of protecting bad and/or mediocre police from discipline, and bootstrapping the work of good policemen to negotiate lockstep wage increases for all policemen based on arbitrary and nonsensical metrics like seniority rather than performance.
And police unions have often been cancerous political forces, being instrumental in the defeat of Ohio Senate Bill 5, which would have reformed public sector union bargaining power in Ohio just like it did in Wisconsin, which had tremendous salutary effects on the Wisconsin state budget. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of public sector union pension plans are not fiscally solvent and are in desperate need of reform to prevent the inevitable crippling of state budgets.
You can support the work that police do while at the same time recognizing the fiscal evils that police unions wield, and that pension reform is absolutely necessary to prevent massive tax increases.
Villalba's pandering to the police unions knows no bounds, however. As we noted last year, Villalba is a booster of a patently unconstitutional and nonsensical law that would have made it illegal to film cops within 25 feet. Note, you could stand and watch a cop from 25 feet, and that would have been legal; but if you pulled out your phone to video them, that would have been a misdemeanor. Good cops with nothing to hide do not mind being filmed. Bad cops who object to being held accountable by "civilians" do.
The reason, it turns out, that Villalba is hiding behind as many badges as he can muster is that his record is incredibly terrible. Villalba is a huge fan of Obamacare, predicting in 2013 that all the crazy Republicans who were opposing Obamacare would eventually warm up to Obamacare and get on board with the program. He is also on public record stating that Texas should pay for its own Obamacare exchange.
Villalba is also a would-be tax hiker. Texas does not have a state income tax, but they do have one of the worst business franchise taxes in the country. Villalba is on record supporting increasing revenue via the business franchise tax.
One area where the Texas legislature has actually done pretty well is in its efforts to pass pro-life legislation. There's only one openly pro-abortion Republican in the Texas legislature, and Villalba is both a fundraiser for her and a personal donor.
I know we're all fixated on the Presidential election, and for good reason. But these state House races are where the rubber truly meets the road, policy-wise. Jason Villalba's policies are terrible and out of step with his district and he's trying to hide from them behind a police union shield. Conservatives in his Dallas-area district should vote for Dan Morenoff instead.