Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well, Folks, I needed to explain that photo of Medina with a handgun... here is the original article... I still like the photo....

Pistol-packing Perry challenger aims to affect race
Commentary: W. Gardner SelbyUpdated: 11:50 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009

Published: 10:01 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009

In case of danger, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Debra Medina legally totes a 9 mm pistol (with a 16-round magazine) in a zippered case in her car.

But she doesn't want a license to carry it elsewhere.

The Wharton businesswoman favors repealing the Texas concealed handgun law, saying it shouldn't be government's job to license and regulate guns.

This protégé of libertarian-leaning U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is no sheep.

She told me that decriminalizing marijuana deserves a look. The mother of two home-schooled children, now grown, also sounded skeptical of the state mandate that children attend school.

Medina said she voted for Republican George W. Bush for president but not for the GOP's 2008 presidential choice, U.S. Sen. John McCain (or Democrat Barack Obama).

"That's one of the biggest mistakes Republicans make: Close your eyes, hold your nose and vote for the guy with the 'R' beside his name regardless of what he stands for and what he does," she said.

Making her first race for public office, Medina is chasing well-known, well-funded foes Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Barring upheaval, she won't catch them.

Still, she could keep one from drawing more than half the March 2 primary vote. She'd then get credit for causing their April runoff preceded by loads of high-dollar advertising.

Historically, long shots don't win because they're overlooked and ignored. Of late, Medina has complained of being left out of debate plans.

But her fans take heart from 2006, when secession advocate Larry Kilgore drew 7.6 percent of the vote in the GOP gubernatorial primary and two others together got 8.1 percent, holding Perry to 84 percent.

Medina hinted that she hopes to overtake Hutchison in the primary before besting Perry in a runoff.

Who knows? Medina's signature idea — replacing property taxes with sales taxes — might stir voters, though the envisioned shift would be a hard sell to legislators.

Analyst Dick Lavine of the Center for Public Policy Priorities estimates the 6.25 percent state sales tax would need to double to replace the $14 billion in property taxes collected to support public schools and make up for a probable drop in retail spending.

Lavine wonders too how school boards lacking property taxes might raise money.

Medina said boards could ask voters to OK higher sales taxes — a prospect giving districts reason to fight for keeping property taxes.

Medina generally advocates fresh leadership, saying: "There seems to be a lot of slop in state government."

Spoken like a mama, the pistol-packing kind.; 445-3644

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