The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Texan Of The Year: Blogger Style



State Representative Carter Casteel.

A Republican (Wait, what? How did this happen?) who voted against school vouchers, for the Hochberg school finance amendment, and against a ban on gay foster parents?!?! Oh man, go buy up some canned goods (and Twinkies!) 'cause the apocalypse is barreling down the turnpike people!

Here's a few answers to some questions posed to Casteel:

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE 65% RULE?

That’s fine. That’s an admirable goal. Depending on how you count it. But here’s the question…what is the classroom? Are you talking about the teacher, the aide, the nurse, the librarian, the counselor? You have to include some of the support for the teacher so the kid is in the classroom in the first place.

How does one balance voting one's district, one's party, and one's personal feelings when those three points are not all in line on a single issue?

I’ve got a brain and a background so I know that’s important to use. I’m also in a district I’ve lived in for thirty something years. I have a fair understanding of my district, but it is critical that I communicate with my district. It is a struggle because you going to vote your district and your conscience and every two years you have to answer to them. I’m comfortable with my party platform.

What concerns me is how public education became a liberal issue! That’s a conservative value.

I balance all those things and make my decision. It can offend people, but I can stand by my decisions. Don’t forget, I listen to the debate.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE LEGE DO WITH SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM?

Competitive teacher pay and health care benefits. I don’t think it’s fair to ask our teachers to help shape the future of Texas and not compensate them in a fair way.

Whoah, whoah, whoah. A legislator that actually listens to debate? Those guys are on the endangered species list regardless of party. You're blowing my mind Carter, blowing my mind.

But seriously now, Rep. Casteel has been a thoughtful and independent voice in the Legislature. As Republican as Casteel's district is, she could very well have been another mindless Craddick drone and never have to worry about job security. But she hasn't, and for that we're grateful.

Big shout-out to PinkDome for organizing this whole thang. Other participating blogs with their posts up already are: In The Pink Texas, Eye On Williamson County, By The Bayou, Common Sense, Off The Kuff.

More to come later.

Update, 11:57 pm: The Agonist, Annatopia, Brains and Eggs, People's Republic of Seabrook, and Appalachia Alumni Association all have their posts up now.