County's Top Republican Weighs in on San Angelo ISD School Board ElectionOpinion
OPINION — In these modern times, the two political parties have become so at odds and politics so polarized that it is no wonder that many refuse to even pay attention any more. We have upcoming an election for school board that some have attempted to make a partisan matter. As Chair of the dominant political party in Tom Green County I am often asked whether a particular candidate is a Republican. While partisan politics is not supposed to enter into our school board elections, the simple fact is that many want to judge the person by who they support politically in partisan races. In the race between incumbent Lanny Layman and Chris Giroux for an at-large position on the San Angelo ISD school board, such considerations will not help the voter as both support the same political party.
Years ago, when the Republican Party was first starting to have some success in statewide races a man largely unknown to voters ran for the Texas Supreme Court and won as a Republican. While he may have been a Republican as an attorney and a Judge he was simply not qualified for the job. He was voted out at the next election. Yet in the meantime, we Republicans spent a fair amount of time apologizing. In our most recent midterm election dozens of excellent truly gifted Republican jurists were defeated by Democrats also wholly unequipped for their new jobs. While we can hope they rise to the occasion it is a tragedy for this State that partisanship has undermined our 3rd Court of Appeals Courts here in Texas. I mention this so that I can point out that while political party affiliation may be helpful in understanding a persons belief system or ideals, the very first consideration must always be the person’s qualifications and demeanor.
While I have been impressed with Mr. Giroux’s progress as a candidate and obvious energy and drive, it is undeniable that Mr. Layman is by far the more qualified candidate for School Board for the San Angelo ISD. This school district is a multi-million dollar enterprise with thousands of people relying upon its professionalism and conduct. I need not repeat platitudes about the children or the importance of teachers to the majority of voters but when one considers that in addition to its primary mission San Angelo ISD is one of San Angelo’s largest employers spending in excess of $147 million a year, clearly those managing the operation must be able to exercise a degree of skill and professionalism not generally found among the rank and file.
It is in these qualifications that voters will likely find their reason to support Mr. Layman over Mr. Giroux.
In recent years any number of folks claiming to be ‘conservative’ have put themselves forward as being able to solve the problems facing our citizens. In reality, these ‘conservatives’ are just a new group of politicians supported by a different group of wealthy donors seeking to wrest control of State government from the rank and file Republicans who have been in charge since they took control from the Democrats a while back. As things stand, a conservative Republican congressman, a conservative Republican state representative, four conservative Republican county commissioners and a conservative Republican county judge represent you here in Tom Green County. We, and who we send to represent us, are not the problem. The problems come from other parts of this state and from other states who think that no amount of taxes is too much to ‘fix’ whatever problem they think is important, from racism to school lunches to ‘climate change.’
Its not that Republicans don’t realize there are problems out there its just that we know that there is a limit to how much of our money the government can take with taxes before it just becomes ludicrous to get up and go to work in the morning. So, all this being said, frustration is not a political ideology and Lanny Layman is not our problem.I hope Mr. Giroux will continue to remain active and I have no doubt he would be a good steward of our taxes, but I just can’t see how Lanny Layman or our School Board is the problem we need to be working on. After all, we the voters told them no to their school bonds. If they want extra taxes they know they are going to have to craft something more modest directed only at real educational needs or we just won’t approve it.
As a Republican and citizen who raised his kids here in San Angelo and sent them to San Angelo ISD schools, I am proud to say that the voters cannot go far wrong supporting either candidate. Both bring a real desire to improve and correct weaknesses. Each voter must make their own decision and I do not think my belief likely to sway too many voters, but it would be nothing but cowardice to refuse to make my opinion known when asked. I wish both candidates well going forward knowing each will do their best for citizens of San Angelo.
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