Welcome to day one of Obamacare America. One of the controversial portions of the law involves the expansion of state Medicaid programs, with strings attached of course. Twenty-Three states and the District of Columbia have agreed to institute the Medicaid expansion portion of the President's so-called Affordable Care Act. Texas, thankfully, is not one of them. Much of the credit for that goes to someone you may not know, conservative State Representative Brandon Creighton.
Texas has been home to some conservative heroes during the last decade. Governor Rick Perry is responsible for a booming state economy that weathered the economic downtown better than any other. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has joked that his job involves waking up, suing the Obama Administration and going back to bed. He has pushed back against Washington over-reach in the federal court system with a force and pace heretofore unseen in America.
We've also seen the rise of the Tea Party's biggest star, the newest U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. The little campaign that could saw Cruz harness the power of the new grassroots and take down a well-funded and well-known GOP heavyweight, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in the GOP primary. Since arriving in Washington, Senator Cruz has gripped the attention of the nation challenging the Beltway establishment at every turn and recently used a 21-hour filibuster to shine a light on the perils of Obamacare in hopes that Senate Republicans could band together and defund the controversial legislation.
While the Republicans in Washington continue the battle to delay, defund or repeal President Obama's signature law, back home the states have been in a protracted struggle to deal with the local impacts of Obamacare. Texas was one state that opted not to expand their Medicaid exchange at the direction of Washington. However, it wasn't always a given that Texas would reject Obama's over-reaching Medicaid program.
During this year's 83rd Legislature, Democrats in the Texas Capitol sought to embrace President Obama's call to expand eligibility for Medicaid, a move that the Heritage Foundation estimates would cost the state as much as $27 billion in the first decade alone. A large sum of money that Texas cannot be burdened by as it bounces back from the depths of the Obama economy. Standing up against these Democrat efforts was a conservative State Representative who has made a big impact behind the scenes but perhaps avoided the spotlight and praise that should come with that hard work.
Brandon Creighton, a rancher from North of Houston, has served in the Texas House since 2006 and is responsible for much of the back stage work that has rocketed Texas to the forefront in the battle for liberty in America. In fact as an early supporter of the states-rights movement, Creighton was the primary architect of the 10th Amendment legislation that Rick Perry championed in his 2010 re-election for Governor and his 2012 Presidential run.
In early 2009, Representative Creighton met with Governor Perry and shared his concerns of an over-reaching Washington and what he believed the two men could do to stop it. Just before tax day in April of 2009, a spring that saw the explosion of the Tea Party movement, Creighton and Perry stood together at the Texas Capitol to announce their support for a resolution that reminded Washington, "Don't mess with Texas."
The popularity of the resolution catapulted Rick Perry to re-election in 2010. He harnessed the anti-Washington sentiment in Texas to defeat long-serving U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in the GOP primary then went on to an easy win in the fall's general election. The unsung hero of that campaign was Brandon Creighton, the spark for Perry's 10th Amendment fire that spread the states' rights message from coast-to-coast.
Representative Creighton reemerged with another big win for Texas conservatives the next Legislative Session, in 2011, when he authored and helped pass a tort reform bill that came to be known as "Loser Pays." Creighton's legislation discourages frivolous lawsuits, a movement that has been the cornerstone of a vibrant Texas economy, and can force the losers of those suits to pay the winner's legal fees in certain cases. It gives businesses, physicians and average Texans another means of holding greedy tort lawyers at bay, and allows for a friendlier business climate with more opportunity for growth.
It was a victory for Creighton, a victory for liberty-minded Texans and a big blow to Liberals and their trial lawyer friends.
This last session, Representative Creighton was faced with another problem, one that, just like the Tea Party focused states' rights legislation, was a hotly contentious issue both within and outside the borders of Texas. The Lone Star State had to make a choice, would it join the Obama Administration's Medicaid expansion plan, or push back against yet another Washington invasion of our rights? Democrats lobbied for the new program, but they weren't the only ones.
Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus, another Republican who has repeatedly clashed with his more conservative caucus, pushed for consideration of a Medicaid expansion saying, "We can't just say no." Brandon Creighton and his conservative allies in the House said, "Oh, yes we can." Republicans rallied to shoot down any hopes by the Speaker and Democrats of Texas participation in the Obama Medicaid plan.
But that isn't the whole story.
When the state budget, SB 1, came to the House and Senate conference committee their still seemed a possible avenue for an Obama victory. Representative Creighton instructed the Conference Committee to "not vote in favor of any measure that would expand eligibility for the state Medicaid program," but it had to survive a tough vote. Creighton, who Texas Monthly later branded as the Tea Party caucus ring leader, marshaled enough conservative voices to win the vote, 77 Yeas to 68 Nays. The final bill was stricken of any language that would have allowed for a broader and more costly state healthcare system under the thumb of Obamacare.
A fighter for liberty in the mold of Ted Cruz, Brandon Creighton has been a champion for the concerns of average Texans since early in his public service career. A supporter of a leaner, smarter and more equitable government, Creighton is now seeking to take his battle for a freer Texas state-wide and become the Lone Star State's next Agriculture Commissioner.
At a recent Tea Party event here in Texas, Representative Creighton presented Senator Cruz with a flack jacket to protect him from the hard hits he is taking in Washington as he fights against Congressional Democrats, President Obama and liberals' ever growing efforts to control the American populace. Creighton has faced some challenges here in the Lone Star State, but together with a growing tide of Texans - patriots who are tired of Washington incursions into their daily lives and most basic rights - he is helping the movement for liberty. As the Agriculture Commissioner he will be able to defend our private property rights, secure the state's natural resources and ensure Texas school children have access to the educational resources they need to become the future leaders of this state and this nation.