Politics

Politics
7:28 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

President Obama Nominates San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro for Cabinet Post

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 22, 2012.
Spencer Selvidge

Before a packed crowd in the White House’s state dining room, President Obama on Friday nominated San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to become the newest — and youngest — member of his cabinet, as the secretary of housing and urban development.

“I am nominating another all-star who’s done a fantastic job in San Antonio over the last five years,” the president said between jokes about the “good-looking” mayor who had proved to be a “pretty good speaker.”

Pending Senate confirmation, Castro will replace Shaun Donovan, whom the president has tapped as the new director for the Office of Management and Budget.

KUT's Ben Philpott explains the politics behind Castro's move to Washington.

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Castro to HUD
4:37 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Obama To Nominate San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro For Housing Secretary

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivers the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in 2012. President Obama is expected to announce Castro's nomination to become housing secretary on Friday.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 8:01 am

A White House official said Thursday that President Obama will tap San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to become housing secretary and Shaun Donovan, his current housing chief, to run the budget office.

A formal announcement is scheduled to be made on Friday afternoon.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

With Talk Of Cabinet Position Swirling, City Ponders Life Without Mayor Castro

Mayor Julián Castro delivered the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The speech, many have said, put him on a national platform.
Ryan Loyd TPR News

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 11:57 am

The White House isn't talking and neither is Mayor Julián Castro.

Today he helped hand out awards inside city council chambers to businesses for the 2014 Healthy Workplace Recognition Program.

Afterward, a swarm of media caught up with him, only to hear the three-term mayor say what he's said before.

"All I'm going to say today is that I enjoy being mayor, and I'm going to continue to work hard on behalf of the people that elected me," Castro said. "I'll talk about the future and other things later."

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Elections 2014
7:15 am
Mon May 19, 2014

A May 27th Primary Runoff Election Primer

The statewide candidates in primary runoffs.

Early voting starts today for the May 27 primary runoff election.

What's on the Ballot:

The Republican ballot includes a runoff for the Lieutenant Governor nomination between incumbent David Dewhurst and State Senator Dan Patrick and also runoffs for Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and Railroad Commissioner.

On the Democratic side, voters will pick a U.S. Senate candidate and a candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture.

Who Can Vote:

Those who cast a ballot in the March 4 primary election can only vote in the same party’s primary runoff. Those who didn’t vote in the primary may choose which primary to vote in.

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Politics
5:11 pm
Sat May 17, 2014

Julián Castro is Obama's Pick to Head HUD

Mayor Julian Castro gave the keynote address at the LBJ School's graduation this weekend.
Erika Rich/BDP

Julián Castro will be President Obama's next secretary of housing and urban development, sources close to the San Antonio mayor said Saturday. 

The New York Times confirmed the move to HUD on Saturday, hours after the San Antonio Express-News reported that the 39-year-old was being considered for a position in the president's cabinet.

The sources said Castro, who had previously been considered for transportation secretary but chose to stay in San Antonio, was excited about the HUD post because he felt it fit better with his experience and interests. Urban development has been a pet issue of the mayor's in San Antonio. 

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GOP Ag Commissioner Runoff
11:12 am
Fri May 16, 2014

It's Experience vs. Conservative Cred in Agriculture Commissioner Runoff

Tommy Merritt and Sid Miller are facing off in the GOP runoff for Agriculture Commissioner.
Texas Tribune

Monday is the first day of early voting for the May 27 Democratic and Republican primary runoff elections.

The Republican race for Agriculture Commissioner is between two former state legislators, Stephenville's Sid Miller and Longview's Tommy Merritt. And unlike the other GOP primaries, this one hasn't only focused on who's the most conservative – for the most part.

That's because for Miller, this race is about conservative credentials. And he'll quickly let you know that he's got empirical data on his side.

"You know Rice University took all the votes … and ranked the legislators from one to 50 on how conservative they were. And I was ranked No. 2 and my opponent was ranked the most liberal of the Republicans," Miller says.

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Politics
7:17 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

UT Board Chairman Calls for Regent Hall to Resign

University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall talks with colleague Gene Powell during a break at a regents' meeting on May 14, 2014.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Three days after a legislative committee said there were grounds to impeach University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall, the chairman of UT’s board of regents called on Hall to resign.

During an open meeting of the board Thursday, Paul Foster said that Hall has created controversies that have distracted the board from its obligations.

"We spend a huge percentage of time dealing with him rather than dealing with the issues of the system," Foster said. He also directly addressed Hall, saying his resignation "would be the most beneficial action you can take at this time." 

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Politics
6:00 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Outsider Democrats Friedman & Hogan Vie for Agriculture Commissioner

Democrats have an interesting choice to make in the Agriculture Commissioner race: Jim Hogan (left) or Kinky Friedman
Texas Tribune

Texas Democrats have had trouble over the last several years filling out the statewide ballot with well-known candidates.

This month’s runoff for the party’s nomination for Agriculture Commissioner is a prime example: Texas comedian, author, musician and former independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman faces off against Cleburn farmer Jim Hogan.

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Politics of Pakistan
5:21 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Author T.V. Paul Talks About 'The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World'

Credit Samantha Ortega for KUT News

In the 1960s, Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson signed a major change in immigration rules into law. Eliminating per country quotas, the move made it easier for immigrants with professional experience and education to come to the Unites States.

From that moment forward, Pakistanis began coming to the U.S. in waves.

Dallas and Houston are now top destinations for Pakistani immigrants. In both cities, Pakistanis have high rates of working in elite positions – a contrast to opportunities available to those remaining in Pakistan today.

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Democratic Senate Primary
6:00 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Interview: David Alameel, the Dallas Dentist Who Wants to Fix Washington

David Alameel hopes his big lead on primary night will lead to a runoff victory.

Texas Senator John Cornyn is still waiting to find out who he'll face in the November general election. Democrats will choose their candidate during the May 27 primary runoff election.

The party faithful will pick between Kesha Rogers, a Lyndon LaRouche disciple who wants to impeach President Obama, and Dallas dentist David Alameel

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Politics
4:23 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

White House Will Let Senators Read Secret Drone Memo

In this image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group, Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites in November, 2010.
SITE Intelligence Group AP

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 3:23 pm

The White House has decided that it will let Senators read a secret memo that makes the legal case for the government's ability to target Americans abroad using a drone strike.

NPR's Carrie Johnson tells our Newscast unit that the move is designed to head off a confirmation battle over one of its judicial nominees.

Carrie filed this report:

"A Republican Senator and the American Civil Liberties Union have joined forces to try to block David Barron from serving as a federal appeals court judge.

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Democratic Senate Primary
10:41 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Interview: Kesha Rogers, the LaRouche Democrat For Senate Who'd Impeach Obama

Rogers campaign materials on the UT Campus, the day of the March 4 2014 primaries.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Democrats will pick a U.S. Senate nominee in the May 27 primary runoff election.

The race is between two virtually unknown candidates. But Democrats around the state are going out of their way to campaign against one of them: Kesha Rogers. Rogers is a follower of Lyndon Larouche and calls for the impeachment of President Obama

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Affordable Care Act
3:14 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

The Energy Behind Repealing Obamacare May Be Ebbing

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, have backed off pushing for repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 4:39 pm

Sure, you can still hear congressional Republicans talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

But there's clearly something different about the current climate, and the GOP approach to Obamacare. The thrill of repeal may not be gone for Republicans, but much of the urgency of repeal is.

For starters, the House GOP doesn't have more repeal votes lined up for these weeks after the spring recess.

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Republican Attorney Gen. Runoff
10:05 am
Fri May 2, 2014

How Ethics Allegations Changed the Branch/Paxton Attorney General Runoff

Rep. Branch hopes the allegations against Sen. Paxton can lead him to a come from behind win.
Michael Stravato / Callie Richmond/Todd Wiseman

The battle for the Republican nomination for Attorney General was similar to most GOP primaries this year: a race to the right, with each candidate trying to lay claim to the title of most conservative.

But with less than a month until the primary runoff, one candidate has been busy fending off allegations that he broke the law. 

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Democrats Hoping More Political Money Will Stay in Texas

There's plenty of political money in Texas, but for Democrats much leaves the state.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

This week the head of the Democratic Governors Association said the Texas Governor’s race isn’t in the top tier of races his group will be financially backing in 2014.

Texas has long been a fertile fundraising stop for groups like the DGA and other national Democratic candidates and organizations. But has any of that money started flowing back to Texas to help ongoing efforts to turn it blue?

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Politics
7:09 am
Tue April 29, 2014

'Keep It Red' Fights Democrats to Keep Texas Republicans in Power

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has launched a campaign to keep Democrats in the minority in Texas.

It was the big news immediately after the 2012 Presidential election: some of Pres. Barack Obama's top campaign generals were on their way to Texas to turn the solidly conservative state into a purple state – and eventually a Democratic stronghold.

Battleground Texas leader Jeremy Bird was grilled on the plan by Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert:

But for every Texas Democrat who got excited about what changes could lie ahead, there's a Republican who wants to make sure that doesn't happen.

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Politics
2:41 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Jeb Bush Treads Fine Line With Latest 2016 Hint

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke at a conference in the state in January. He recently hinted — again — at his possible 2016 ambitions.
Wilfredo Lee AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:32 pm

For political junkies reading the 2016 tea leaves, Jeb Bush offers this newly emptied cup: "I'm thinking about running for president."

That's the report from an attendee of Wednesday's closed-door Catholic Charities fundraiser in New York to Fox News, who said this was in response to a question about the former Florida governor's immediate plans.

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What's Next For Ukraine
12:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

UT Professor Jeremi Suri: 'The Best Way to Think of Putin is Mussolini'

A 2006 photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "My prediction is that we'll see more Russian aggression, not less, in Eastern Ukraine," professor Jeremi Suri tells Texas Standard.

U.S. troops began joint military exercises in Poland this week, in response to Russia's continued incursion into Ukraine.  The Pentagon says troops will also be deployed to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kiev on Monday as a show of support for the pro-Western Ukrainian government. As he met with the nation's leaders he called on Russia to "stop talking and start acting" to defuse the crisis.

So far, that doesn't seem to be happening. 

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Politics
9:48 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Governor Perry Facing Possible Grand Jury Indictment

Gov. Rick Perry's veto of funding for Travis County's Public Integrity Unit could lead to a grand jury indictment.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

A Travis County grand jury is considering whether or not to indict Gov. Rick Perry over his veto of funding for the county's Public Integrity Unit.

Gov. Perry could be charged with several offenses, including bribery, coercion of a public servant, and abuse of power after vetoing more than $3 million in state money for the unit that investigates political corruption.

Perry's veto came as the result of an ultimatum given by Perry to Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. Last April, Lehmberg was arrested for drunk driving. She pleaded guilty and served jail time, but refused to step down.

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Lt. Governor Race
1:07 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

The Contradictory Message David Dewhurst Needs to Beat Dan Patrick

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst hopes latest attacks on Sen. Dan Patrick will bring a runoff victory in May.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera /Mark Graham for Texas Tribune

Texas is about five weeks away from several runoff elections that will set the final ballot for November. That includes the hard fought Lieutenant Governor's race between incumbent David Dewhurst, who's held the office since 2003, and state Sen. Dan Patrick

From the very beginning, this was a race about who was the most conservative candidate. So when Sen. Patrick launched his campaign last year, his first move was to paint himself as the conservative standard-bearer – while putting Lt. Governor Dewhurst's own conservative credentials in doubt.

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