State rep candidates speak at East Texans for Liberty meeting
Oct 28, 2015 | 2722 views | 1 1 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The two announced Republican candidates for District 7 state representative, Jay Dean and David Watts Jr., both billed themselves as conservatives in a joint appearance last week before East Texans for Liberty.

They seek to succeed David Simpson, who is vacating the seat representing Upshur and Gregg counties, to run for the Texas Senate. More than 50 persons heard them speak and answer questions at the Disabled American Veterans post Oct. 12.

Asked the main difference between them at the end of an hour-and-15-minute long joint presentation, Watts said he was the only one who had discussed “the need to aggressively restrain government.” Dean, a past Longview mayor and onetime city councilman, noted that unlike Watts (who has never held elective office), “I have a record. I dealt with federal and state mandate(s) and we fought it back every time as mayor.”

Watts reiterated his campaign theme of “less government and more liberty” while Dean said “I’m going to rely heavily on the district to help me make the decisions.”

Dean said the state must do more to stem illegal immigration since the federal government has “been very weak” on the issue. He also called himself a “social conservative” who is pro-life and who as mayor refused to sign a proclamation for lesbian, gay and transgendered “pride.”

Dean also said he strongly supported the Second Amendment, arguing the crime rate drops when less gun control exists.

Watts, an East Mountain area resident, urged pushing back “against the abomination of abortion” and, arguing for less government, cited the case of a Longview woman who had to receive a city permit to replace windows and the front door in her home.

He further complained that the state’s property tax system is “corrupt” and that the position of chief appraiser of a county appraisal district should be an elective office. The two candidates will debate Jan. 23.
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Stacy McMahan
October 26, 2015
There are three large differences between House District 7 candidates David Watts and Jay Dean.

The first – and the most significant – difference is the candidate’s position on conservative legislation killer Joe Straus as the Texas House Speaker. Jay Dean has not only donated to Straus, he supports Straus as Speaker. David Watts has quite adamantly repeated he does not support Joe Straus for Speaker.

Like Watts, Dean has been questioned on his position concerning Straus by leaders in both the Gregg and Upshur’s Republican and TEA party groups. At each Dean refused to acknowledge the seriousness of how Straus has not only gravely hindered Texas collectively, but specifically in Gregg and Upshur. (House District 7 includes both Gregg and Upshur.)

The following are a very few conservative reforms killed by Straus in the most recent legislative session:

• Urging Congress to cease imposing the Obamacare contraception mandate on businesses;

• Requiring counties, cities, and school districts to list total outstanding debt and debt per capita on any ballot for a new bond election;

• Protecting Texas from federal gun regulations;

• Closing the “judicial bypass” loophole allowing minors to receive an abortion without parental notification; and

• Protecting Texans from the Obamacare individual mandate.

The race between Watts and Dean is reminiscent of the one between David Simpson and moderate Tommy Merritt. Merritt, one of the 11 Republicans, in 2009, voted with 68 Democrats to first seat moderate Joe Straus as Speaker. Merritt was also afforded favorable media attention, mocked his opponent publicly and privately, and dismissed the concerns of the Republican and Conservative/TEA party groups district wide.

Engaged voters are fully aware of the dangers of Straus as Speaker. Does Dean seek to reach only the ill-informed voter?

Dean has also said he will vote for the most conservative speaker and, in the same LNJ article, it was noted that David Simpson too utilized those same words. What the paper failed to include is that Simpson: 1) unlike Dean, has not donated to Straus’ campaign; 2) has voted against Straus as Speaker; and 3) ran against Straus as Speaker in 2013.

Additionally, at the Gregg County GOP meeting on Oct. 15, Dean stated that House District 7 has not been represented well the past few years. Interesting.

There are a couple of things the men have in common. They both are Christians, with a beautiful families, and have been quite successful in business. However, and the second difference I noticed is Dean’s 18 years in elected office places him squarely in the much frowned upon “career politician” box.

The third difference I noticed between the men is they both have attested to have been block walking the district quite heavily. When asked about their game plan, or a goal for the district, the first six months in office, Dean repeated the point that he plans to spend the next 5 months talking to the voters and learning their concerns. Watts, on the other hand, has repeatedly attested that the voters are telling him they want less government and more liberty.

So, the voters are purposely telling Watts their concerns and not Dean? Is Dean asking the voters or, like Merritt, is this another career politician simply not concerned about the issues paramount to House District 7?

Both Dean and Watts purport to be staunchly pro-life.

Speaker Straus has publicly stated that he supports Roe v. Wade, does not believe it should be overturned, and received the highest praise for his first term as speaker by Planned Parenthood. Even Straus’ wife served on the board of Planned Parenthood.

In 2013, Governor Perry had to call two special sessions just to get a pro-life bill through. And, to add insult to injury, Straus stopped more than three pro-life bills in the last legislative (2015) term alone.

If Dean fails to “collaborate”, as Straus’ former chief lieutenant, Ralph Sheffield, proudly admitted to constituents in late 2011, Straus will punish him thereby punishing House District 7. How will Dean’s plan to collaborate with Straus and his lieutenants succeed when Dean refuses to support the murder of innocent life?

Straus isn’t known to allocate to newly elected house representatives a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card walking in.

The district’s conservative stronghold is significantly at risk. I respectfully ask each voter to thoroughly vet the candidates for House District 7. The district has worked very hard to move away from the stance of the moderate Republican to a more principled, constitutional conservative Republican.