AUSTIN, Texas -- A special election to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison could cost up to $30 million.
Responding to a request for a cost breakdown from the conservative group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Secretary of State Esperanza "Hope" Andrade said in a letter released Thursday that a single special election would cost between $18 million and $20 million.
If there's a runoff, it would cost up to another $10 million, Andrade said.
Hutchison has said she expects to resign before the end of the year to focus on her race for Texas governor. Her opponent, Gov. Rick Perry, would designate a temporary replacement and call a special election to fill the senator's unexpired term.
AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry honored two local lawmen Friday — one posthumously — for their sacrifices to their community.
Perry presented the “Star of Texas” award to more than 20 officers and first responders who have been either killed or injured in the line of duty, including Seguin’s Teyran “Ty” Patterson and Zach McBride in a presentation timed to coincide with remembrances of the more than 400 first responders who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“September 11th renewed our sense of appreciation for the men and women who are first upon the scene of tragedy and step into harm’s way to protect the innocent,” Perry said in a statement.
“I am honored to stand with so many of our state’s finest to present the Star of Texas awards to those who set aside concerns for their own safety in order to preserve and protect the lives of their fellow citizens.”
Patterson was a Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife Game Warden from Seguin who drowned while rescuing his partner.
McBride is a Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office investigator who was grievously injured in a high-speed crash that occurred when his patrol car hit a semi-rig on State Highway 123.
Members of both officer’s families and departments attended the ceremony conducted in the house chamber of the state house.
Joe and ViAnn Patterson accepted the award on behalf of their son, who was one of three officers killed in the line of duty who Perry singled out, and chatted briefly with the governor.
“People who get this award earn it,” Joe Patterson said. “Our son gave his life. He should always, if nothing else, be seen as an example for the young on this earth. All his life he did everything to make us proud of him, and he continues and makes us more proud in death.”
Ty Patterson, 28, worked as a Seguin Police Department dispatcher before going to the state game warden academy to realize his dream of becoming a peace officer.
On May 30, 2007, Patterson and fellow game warden Danny Tuggle were working to recover the body of a teen who drowned in the Paluxy River near Glen Rose when their boat capsized.
Patterson’s superiors cited him posthumously for saving the life of Tuggle, a 25-year veteran, before he became entangled in ropes from their upturned boat and drowned.
His body was escorted home for a memorial service at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum that was attended by 1,200 people. The motorcade to Patterson’s final resting place in Guadalupe Valley Memorial Park took more than an hour to pass out of Seguin.
This past March, Patterson was honored by concurrent resolution of the Texas Senate and House of Representatives.
McBride’s award was very nearly a posthumous one, too.
He was running to a domestic dispute call late at night on April 12, 2006, when his patrol car slammed into a semi-rig that was making a U-turn on State Highway 123 near Cordova Road.
“From what I was told, I hit right behind the driver’s door,” McBride said. “I hit it hard enough to knock the trailer loose.”
He hit it hard enough to be pinned in the wreckage of his patrol car with a dislocated hip, a broken leg and many other injuries.
McBride spent a month in University Hospital and it would be a year before he could go back to work, where he now is an investigator in Sheriff Arnold Zwicke’s Criminal Investigation Division who specializes in property crimes.
McBride said Friday receiving the Texas Star award was a great honor in itself.
For him, it was better still because he was nominated by his wife, Amanda, a police officer herself who was his fiance at the time of the accident.
Today, she works at the Guadalupe County Jail.
“I’m happy for the recognition,” McBride said. “I’m grateful to Arnold for letting me come back to work, and especially to my wife for staying with me and supporting me all the time she has, and for nominating me for this award.”
Zwicke, who stood by as McBride and his wife were recognized by the governor, said he thought the Star of Texas award was a fitting one for Patterson and McBride.
“It’s a heck of a way to get an award,” Zwicke said. “Ty Patterson made the ultimate sacrifice for another officer. Zach McBride has gone through a lot and will suffer with his injuries for the rest of his life.”
Joe Patterson said his family appreciated the support of the law enforcement community, the state and the governor — and in particular the game wardens who work in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“We appreciate this recognition the state has shown Teyran and we appreciate the state and the governor taking time out of their busy days to do this,” Patterson said. “We went up there and attended with a bunch of game wardens who have supported us and made us feel like we’re in a big family.”
The Star of Texas award was created by the legislature in 2003 to honor and commemorate first responders. The legislation also designated Sept. 11 as Texas First Responders Day.
What happened when Hurricane Ike tore into the Texas coast is best known as a story of loss and tragedy, but it is also an ongoing tale of courage and dedication, caring and commitment.
A year after Ike, the resilience of Texans is on display in rebuilt homes and community centers, reopened businesses and restaurants, all measured in miles of blacktop and across spans of bridges reconnecting people with the mainland.
People continue to pitch in as a sense of normalcy has returned. And yet, still, nothing is exactly the same. Nothing ever will be.
Ike was that kind of monster.
In the early hours of Sept. 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike exploded across the area, turning residents out of their homes while rapidly and viciously redrawing the coast of Texas with a haphazard hand.
Despite how awful it was, however, it could have been even worse. Texas has seen its fair share of bad storms over the years, and the lessons we've learned helped us improve our response time, and more quickly and efficiently move people to safety, provide shelter and distribute much-needed food and water.
Those lessons were all called into play as Ike roared into the Gulf. An unpredictable force even as it closed in on land, its projected path changed five times in the 30 hours before it finally came ashore, with targets ranging from the Rio Grande Valley all the way to the Louisiana border.
For a state that puts a premium on strategically positioning its resources at the point of attack, Ike worked us pretty hard. Nonetheless, by the time Ike had zeroed in on the Galveston area, we had search-and-rescue teams in place, ready to help. In the darkest hours of the night, as the worst of the storm made its way ashore, 634 Texans were plucked from the most imperiled areas. Those 634 people almost assuredly would have perished without the intervention of brave men and women willing to risk their own lives for their fellow Texans.
It was an amazing display of the best of the human spirit, and I continue to marvel at the dedication of these fine individuals. Over the course of the storm, our first responders, including Texas Task Forces 1 and 2, as well as Texas Military Forces, rescued 3,540 people and conducted welfare checks on nearly 6,000 other citizens in the impacted area.
As we've come to expect, they performed amazing jobs under the most difficult of circumstances.
As the storm moved in and then moved on, we shifted our focus from search and rescue to caring and comfort. Across the state, in a display of the proud Texas tradition of “neighbor helping neighbor,” 305 shelters took in 51,000 Texans. As workers labored around the clock to restore basic utilities to afflicted areas, we distributed nearly a million ready-to-eat meals, more than 26 million bottles of water and more than 50 million pounds of ice.
Not to suggest there weren't challenges, but I'm proud of the efforts we put forward in the aftermath of the storm.
However, discussions about what worked in the wake of a disaster go only so far in consoling those who lost their homes, priceless heirlooms, a cherished pet or a loved one. We owe it to all Texans to continue improving the system.
To that end, we've initiated changes, ranging from the creation of state resource staging areas to the streamlining of our command structure. We've enhanced our continuous training and exercise programs; reviewed our system for distributing food and water; consolidated communications; and expanded the use of new technology, such as GPS tracking, to manage key resources.
The 81st Legislature funded much-needed repairs to schools afflicted by the storm and also gave the state leeway in funding of school districts disrupted by future storms. It also responded to my call to improve the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, passing a bill that incorporates sound business practices and broadens the association's options to pay for incurred losses, keeping insurance coverage available to Texans living along the coast.
In all, the Legislature allocated more than $425 million to rebuilding areas of Texas touched by disaster. Of this amount, $150 million was dedicated to getting the University of Texas Medical Branch and its critical trauma center back up and running. A $62 million disaster fund will enable us to respond even more quickly in the future.
Currently, agencies like the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of Rural Affairs and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs are working with local authorities in affected areas, distributing federal funding to restore devastated communities.
Ike will never be forgotten, but neither will the bravery and dedication of the proud people of Texas.
<em>Perry, a Republican, is governor of Texas.</em>
Residents in the Texas Hill Country had to evacuate their homes Friday as rising water from nearby creeks began to flood.
Salado Mayor Merle Stalcup said on KXXV-TV that he expected 50 to 60 families would have to evacuate if rain didn't stop falling. More than 10 inches of rain have fallen since Thursday and 20 families have evacuated to a local church so far.
A flash flood warning will be in effect for Salado and the rest of Bell County until Friday night. Salado is about 45 miles northwest of Austin.
Gov. Rick Perry's office announced late Friday that state and National Guard troops would be deployed to the Interstate 35 corridor.
At least 70 troops, four helicopters and four swift water rescue teams will be on standby until Saturday morning, Perry's office said in an online statement.
Forecasters for the National Weather Service say the rest of the state can expect rain this weekend. A 70 to 80 percent chance of rain was forecast around Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Saturday, while the El Paso area had a 30 percent chance of rain.
Protecting the Texas border has been an ongoing priority for Governor Perry throughout his tenure. The Governor's border security initiatives, such as Operation: Border Star, have yielded real, positive results where implemented; crime and violence are down by 65% in areas where the State of Texas has committed resources.
HOUSTON - It may be a federal issue, but Texas Governor Rick Perry is taking it into his own hands.
On Thursday, Perry, along with the director of the Department of Public Safety, the senior captain of the Texas Rangers and a representative from the Texas Army National Guard announced a new joint mission aimed at bolstering security along the Texas/Mexico border.
Operation Ranger ReCon will send at least 200 highly-trained soldiers and airmen from the Guard to rural areas along the Rio Grande valley where they will join "strike teams," comprised of state police under the direction of the Texas Rangers.
Although the federal government appears committed to inaction, Texas continues to lead.