On The Record

Dear Friends,

I’m proud to be running a campaign that focuses on the real issues that our community faces today.

Connie’s attack ads make claims that simply aren’t true. She’s trying to muddy the waters just to rack up political points.

I voted to improve the quality of care at nursing homes and to ensure access to healthcare for our seniors. I stood with teachers to fight against unfunded mandates and keep our kids safe in classrooms. While Connie continues her false claims about benefits, she fails to mention that I have not qualified for a dime in pensions from the state.

I stand by my voting record. Will Connie stand by hers?

Within the same breath of saying she would prioritize public education, she inflicted harmful cuts on our neighborhood schools. Connie’s votes cut over 11,000 teachers’ jobs, overcrowd classrooms with more students, and spend another 90 million dollars on standardized tests.

Connie needs to stop running from her record, and tell the truth about mine. I have confidence that you will see through her dishonesty and hold her accountable.
I ask for your vote on Election Day.

Abel Herrero

Texas Parent PAC Endorses Abel Herrero For Election to Texas House District 34

Parent organization says voters should elect a proven leader with legislative experience
to advocate for families and public education at the Capitol

AUSTIN—The bipartisan Texas Parent PAC today announced its endorsement of Democrat Abel Herrero of Robstown for state representative in the newly-drawn House District 34 in Corpus Christi and West Nueces County. Herrero previously served three terms as state representative.

“Voters should elect Abel Herrero and send him back to Austin, because they need an effective legislator who understands that quality education is the key to economic prosperity in the region and state,” said Texas Parent PAC chair Carolyn Boyle. “Incumbent legislator Connie Scott voted to cut about $30 million in state funds from the budgets of school districts in District 34, and that was irresponsible,” Boyle added. The budget cuts prompted increased class sizes, layoffs of valued educators and staff, and elimination of programs needed for student success and enrichment. Scott’s budget vote cut state funding by an average of about $317 per child in area schools.
House District 34 includes all or parts of 10 independent school districts: Agua Dulce, Banquete, Bishop, Calallen, Corpus Christi, Driscoll, London, Robstown, Tuloso-Midway, and West Oso ISDs. Neighborhood public schools are a source of pride in every community of the district.

During his service in the Texas Legislature, Herrero was vice-chair of the Human Services Committee and a member of committees on Appropriations, Redistricting, Agriculture and Livestock, and Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations. He also was vice-chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.
Herrero is a role model for area children, demonstrating that hard work and a good education are the keys to success. He graduated as valedictorian at Robstown High School and then earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M University and a law degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Today he is an attorney with Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams in Corpus Christi. Earlier, he was elected to serve on the Robstown City Council for two terms.
Abel and his wife, Matilda, have five children. He has a long history of service in his community, schools, and the surrounding area.

Texas Parent PAC was created in 2005 by parents who joined together to elect state legislators who will stand up for schoolchildren. It is recognized as one of the state’s most successful political action committees.

School supporters are encouraged to visit www.abelherrero.com to learn more about his candidacy. Early Voting continues through Friday, November 2, and Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. More than 1,200 families, business leaders, and public school supporters have contributed to support Texas Parent PAC’s grassroots campaign efforts. The parent organization describes its endorsed candidates as “men and women of integrity, open and responsive to parents, actively involved in their communities, and committed to investing in public education to achieve economic prosperity in Texas.”

Politics is No Charm the Third Time Around in HD-34

This has happened before. Twice.

State Rep. Connie Scott, R-Robstown, who lost to Democrat Abel Herrero in 2008 and then beat him in 2010, is facing the former state representative once again.

The votes have been close. She got 46.9 percent to his 53.1 percent in 2008. Two years later, without a presidential race driving turnout and with a Democratic president suffering a bad midterm election, Scott was on the winning side, with 55 percent of the votes to Herrero’s 46 percent.

Now it’s Scott playing defense and Herrero challenging. The lines in this Nueces County district — HD-34 — were redrawn in redistricting last year, to the Democrat’s advantage. And it’s a presidential year, with the larger turnout that arguably helped Herrero against Scott in 2008. Barack Obama narrowly lost in the old district in 2008; he got 52 percent in the area covered by the new one.

Fewer than a dozen Texas House races are still in play in this year’s election. After redistricting, most districts belong either to the Republicans or the Democrats, and the November contests are less consequential than the primaries. But HD-34 is one of the few that could go either way, depending on turnout and how the candidates perform. Republicans are already assured of a large majority in the House next year; Democrats are trying to win enough seats to keep a meaningful minority in the legislative conversation.

The issues have changed. Scott, like most Republicans in the Legislature, voted last year for a budget that cut education funding by falling short of the amount needed to take enrollment and growth and inflation into account. That same budget included funding for standardized tests in public schools — an unexpectedly treacherous issue in several elections around the state.

She’s hitting him for older budget votes in favor of raising pay for judges — a number that is the basis for legislator’s pensions — and for voting against a tax deduction for small businesses. Herrero voted against increasing the deduction from the state franchise tax to $1 million, which allowed companies making less than that to escape paying. The pension vote applies to lawmakers who are eligible for pensions, which requires at least eight years in office; neither Herrero, with six years, nor Scott, with two, yet qualifies.

He says Scott voted to cut Medicaid reimbursements to doctors and other providers, forcing some to drop out of providing coverage to Medicaid patients. She says he voted to create a “quality assurance fee” at nursing home — her campaign calls it a “granny tax” — as part of a package that was designed to raise reimbursement rates for those providers. The nursing homes were for it, but Gov. Rick Perry tagged it with that name and helped kill it. Herrero was among those in favor of the fee.

Herrero is a lawyer and served on the Robstown City Council before running for the Legislature in 2004.

Scott owned a small pipeline company and helped direct the Bay Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, which helped pull her into politics.

“I will never support a tax increase to fund the state budget shortfall and instead will demand state agencies reduce spending,” she says on her campaign website. That position is popular with fiscal conservatives but also forms the basis for the Democrat’s attacks on her.

Herrero says the difference between this race and the two previous ones is that Scott is an incumbent now. “She has a voting record,” he says. “Before, she could say whatever she wanted. Now she has to take responsibility for what she has done.”

In his TV spot, he talks about “thousands” of teacher jobs lost because of the 2011 budget vote; in the 10 school districts in the legislative district, he says, about 200 teachers lost their jobs. In his view, the race is a referendum on the incumbent.

Scott didn’t answer a request for an interview. Her consultant, Eric Bearse, concedes this district is more Democratic than the old one, but also says Scott is “the kind of Republican who can hold onto a seat like this” because of her involvement in civic affairs in the area. She and her husband are well known for their community work, according to Bearse, and that helps in the political realm.

And, Bearse says, she’s not the only candidate in the race with a record; specifically, he’s pointing at the Herrero votes on the state franchise tax and on nursing home fees highlighted in Scott’s ads.

The political demographics favor the Democrat. Money favors the Republican. In the latest campaign finance reports, Herrero reported holding $25,655 in his campaign accounts to Scott’s $255,629. From July through September, she spent $125,430 to his $69,722. As of this week, he was running his first television spot, while she was running her third.

It’s a close race, as reflected in the sentiments of the local media. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times gave its endorsement to Herrero, barely, saying either of the candidates would be good for the area and saying nice things about both him and Scott before leaning in the Democrat’s direction.

Another pre-election “conversion” for education

A story this morning in the Corpus Christi Caller had this ominous-sounding lead: “Republican State Rep. Connie Scott wants to finish what she started in 2010.” It is ominous because if Scott gets to finish what she started, our public schools, educators and students will be in for more trouble.

Scott unseated former State Rep. Abel Herrero, an effective advocate for public education, two years ago. Then she joined the governor and the short-sighted legislative majority in slashing $5.4 billion from public school budgets, including, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), an estimated $29 million from the Nueces County school districts that she purported to represent.

Statewide, 25,000 school employees – including almost 11,000 teachers – lost jobs, and thousands of students were crammed into overcrowded classrooms. Teacher losses in Nueces County were about 200, according to TEA. Some Texas districts even started charging for bus rides, and others were forced to close neighborhood schools.

Now, in a pre-election overture, Scott is claiming that she is “committed to improving public education.”

But, folks, someone who is truly committed to improving public education doesn’t vote, as Scott did, to slash $5.4 billion from the public schools while leaving several billion dollars of taxpayer money sitting, unspent, in the Rainy Day Fund. The main thing Scott is committed to is catering to the tea party-types who would privatize public education for the wealthy and put everyone else’s children into nineteenth century, one-room schoolhouses.

Abel Herrero is running again for his old House seat in District 34. TSTA is supporting him against Scott because Herrero actually is committed to improving public education. He, unlike Scott, has the record to prove it.

Texas House District 34: Herrero fights for comeback

CORPUS CHRISTI — House District 34 candidate Abel Herrero believes that while the voters got what they wanted in the 2010 election, they might not like what they got.

Herrero, who held the seat for three terms before losing to Republican Connie Scott, said he is ready to reclaim it for those who most need him — the poor and elderly and public school students of western Nueces County.

“This year is going to be different,” he said. “Unlike in 2010, now my opponent has a voting record. You can see for yourself and gauge in terms of what the district needs.”

Herrero said his first priority will be to fix some of the problems Scott helped create both in school funding and health care programs for children and the elderly.

“Health care is critical to a large part of the population, but with seniors specifically, Scott voted against increasing the reimbursement rate for Medicaid, and now physicians are refusing those patients,” he said.

To reverse it, he said he will work to increase reimbursement rates for doctors and find a way to expand benefits for working families.

Herrero said he recently met a single mother with two jobs and two kids who cannot afford health insurance but who at least is hoping to get it for her kids.

“I give her credit,” he said. “She’s a strong person who is working hard and risking her own health to provide opportunities for her family, but she needs better access to health care.”

But while he wants to reverse Republican efforts in Austin last session, he also looks forward to creating better opportunities by supporting small business job growth and educational opportunities.

Critical to that is resisting the constant pressure to continue raising rates on Texas Windstorm Insurance Association policy premiums, he said.

“We need to come up with solutions that don’t discriminate against coastal homeowners,” he said. “We share the risk, burden and expense of catastrophes statewide.”

Herrero is an attorney. He and his wife Matilda have five children.

Sparks fly a Northwest Business Association candidate forum

ROBSTOWN-Area candidates had the opportunity to say what set them apart from their opponents during a candidate forum held at last week’s Northwest Business Association luncheon.

District 34 State Rep. Candidate Abel Herrero said early on that the area’s best interests are not being served in Austin.

‘Whether you talk about public education, access to healthcare for seniors, or windstorm insurance rates, if you look at my opponent’s voting record, you will see that the best interests of this district are not being represented,” Herrero said. “I’m very disappointed my opponent isn’t here. I understand campaign season is difficult, so I’m taking this time to challenge my opponent to a debate.”

State legislative candidates attend forum hosted by League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI — The forum {also} featured a session with state District 34 candidates Rep. Connie Scott, R-Robstown, and her Democratic challenger, former state Rep. Abel Herrero, who held the seat for three terms.

Scott did not attend the event and did not respond to a text message asking what kept her from attending. Herrero was permitted to give a statement but was not asked questions by moderators.

“Connie Scott, who once again is a no-show … has failed to represent the best interests of this district,” he said. “I’m running because I know my experience, knowledge, education, service and dedication means that I can do a better job.”