Politics | KERA News

Politics

Political news from North Texas, across the state and beyond.

Pu Ying Huang / For The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON — By the time U.S. Sen Kamala Harris, D-California, took the stage here Saturday, the message was clear.

Updated April 2 at 4:52 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller's report has been a long time in the making.

Mueller was appointed in the spring of 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr received a report on Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller about the findings from Mueller's investigation into the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Most people in America want the Electoral College gone, and they want to select a president based on who gets the most votes nationally, polls say.

Democratic presidential candidates are weighing in too.

"Every vote matters," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in Mississippi on Monday. "And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College."

That line garnered one of her largest roars of applause for the evening.

Gregg says that change would radicalize politics.

A version of this story was first posted by member station WBUR.

From Texas Standard:

Though he hasn't made an official announcement, Texas Monthly recently reported that Joaquin Castro could soon announce plans to challenge John Cornyn for his Senate seat in 2020. If Castro runs, his own seat in Congress will be open. He represents a district that's been solidly Democratic for years, and now some are speculating about who would run to replace him. 

Gilbert Garcia, metro columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, has been pondering the musical-chairs game of sorts that a Castro Senate bid could set in motion.

Garcia says San Antonio comprises five congressional districts, and that the 20th is the one Democrats covet most.

The White House is reflected in a puddle, Friday March 22, 2019, in Washington, as news breaks that the special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation into Russian election interference.
Associated Press

This report originally published at 4:31 p.m. Friday, March 22, 2019.

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday turned over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia investigation that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump's presidency, entangled Trump's family and resulted in criminal charges against some of the president's closest associates.

Democratic presidential hopefuls are betting on bold.

The majority of the Democrats running for president want to create a national health insurance program. Several want to do away with private health insurance entirely. Candidates are engaging on questions about reparations for slavery, and most of the White House hopefuls have endorsed the goal of a carbon-neutral economy within the next decade.

Increase the size of the U.S. Supreme Court? Several candidates are now on board.

Julian Castro, the former Mayor of San Antonio and the former Director of House and Urban Development announced on January 12, that he is a candidate for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination.
Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

Just over two months into his bid for president, Julián Castro said Tuesday evening that he does “not at all” feel overshadowed by fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke amid the former El Paso congressman’s splashy presidential campaign rollout.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Parliamentarian Karina Davis on on the Senate floor on Jan. 9, 2019.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, was on the floor of the Texas House in 2015 trying to convince her colleagues to open up the state to medical cannabis, and it was not going well.

Beto O’Rourke has begun the long process of introducing himself to potential voters in Iowa.

The former congressman from El Paso, who officially announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, made several stops throughout the state over the past few days. Candidates often give Iowa special attention because it's the first state in the nation to hold a presidential-nominating contest.

Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks to local residents during a meet and greet at the Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinkery, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Burlington, Iowa.
Associated Press

Democrats who've been competing longer than Beto O'Rourke are taking offense at the former Texas congressman's sense of entitlement.

From Texas Standard:

At 4:30 a.m. El Paso time Thursday, Beto O'Rourke confirmed, in a video with his wife at his side, that he's tossing his hat into the ring, so to speak, and running for president. O'Rourke is one of 15 Democrats who've announced their candidacy so far. 

Richard Pineda is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. Pineda says though O'Rourke will be up against another Texan in the primaries, Julián Castro, O'Rourke is "head and shoulders above" him because of the support he generated during his 2018 Senate race.

A controversial and incomplete section of the border wall along the Rio Grande River in South Texas.
Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

But multiple Republican senators joined Democrats in backing the resolution, which passed the Senate. President Donald Trump has said he'll veto the measure.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, arrives in the Senate where she has said she will vote for a resolution to annul President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Associated Press

The Republican-run Senate firmly rejected President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border on Thursday, setting up a veto fight and dealing him a conspicuous rebuke as he tested how boldly he could ignore Congress in pursuit of his highest-profile goal.

Here Are 9 Things To Know About 2020 Presidential Candidate Beto O'Rourke

Mar 14, 2019
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, the 2018 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, right, stands with his wife, Amy Sanders, at his election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in El Paso, Texas. O'Rourke lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Associated Press

Questions began last year about whether Beto O’Rourke, then a Democratic congressman from El Paso, would run for president. No matter that he was still in the midst of challenging Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

With former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s announcement today, two Texas Democrats are now seeking the presidential nomination in 2020.

“It is surprising,” said longtime Democratic strategist Colin Strother. “It’s the first time, I believe, it’s happened in my lifetime.”

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris says she was bent toward a career fighting for civil rights almost since birth.

The Democrat is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who met at the University of California, Berkeley, and were active in the movement during the 1960s.

"I was born realizing the flaws in the criminal justice system," she told NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is running for president, hoping to build on the momentum the Democrat generated in a Senate contest last year.

Thorne Anderson for KERA

Lawmakers in Austin who oversee the state’s sprawling prison system are concerned about state jails. These middle-tier facilities, which are for low-level felons with crimes related to underlying issues, were set up with the idea that they’d provide an array of rehabilitative services that would prevent future crime.

U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, speaking at the Texas Democratic Convention on June 23, 2018.
Joan Brook for The Texas Tribune

A day after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a clear message to her Democratic caucus that she would not support the impeachment of President Donald Trump., U.S. Rep. Al Green responded with a message of his own: another impeachment vote is coming to the House floor anyway.

Bail bondsmen are opposing state legislation that would overhaul Texas' bail laws.
ROY LUCK / FLICKR

Most people in Texas jails are legally innocent. They’ve been arrested but are awaiting trial. They haven’t been convicted of a crime.

Advocates across the political spectrum say that’s because whether a defendant is stuck in jail before trial depends way too much on how wealthy they happen to be, and lawmakers have introduced bills to overhaul the state’s bail laws.

Houston's skyline
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Democratic National Committee officials announced Monday that the party's 2020 convention would take place in Milwaukee.

LoneStarMike via Wikimedia

When Mia Greer went to prison, she says she wasn’t the only one who was punished. Her kids suffered too.

“They started failing in school, my son started lashing out,” Greer, a registered nurse from Austin, told lawmakers on the House Corrections committee on Thursday.

Why Some Democrats Are Starting To Reclaim The Term 'Socialism'

Mar 7, 2019

From Texas Standard:

The term "socialism" seems to be an early front-runner for the top buzzword of the 2020 election season. Democrats and Republicans have been using the word a lot lately, but what does it really mean?

At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, President Donald Trump told the crowd, "Democrat lawmakers are now embracing socialism. They want to replace individual rights with total government domination."

But Jennifer Mercieca, associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University specializing in political rhetoric, says the way Trump characterizes socialism is different than its technical definition.

In this March 8, 2004, file photo, then President Bush, left, waves with Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, right, as they step off Air Force One upon Bush's arrival in Dallas.
Associated Press

Former Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, the oldest-ever member of the U.S. House and a man who claimed to have once sold cigarettes and Coca-Cola to the bank-robbing duo of Bonnie and Clyde in Dallas, has died. He was 95.

State Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, is joined by state Rep. Angie Button, R-Richardson, during a press conference at the Capitol to announce an anti-corruption bill Monday.
Emree Weaver/The Texas Tribune

A Dallas lawmaker says he plans to file a bill this week that would take away elected officials’ power to influence whether low-income housing is built in their cities or Texas House districts. That vow comes after Dallas officials have faced criminal charges for their involvement in such projects.

Bernie Sanders filed Monday to be a candidate for the Senate in 2024 — as an independent.

But last month, Sanders filed as a Democrat for president.

It's not unusual for candidates to file with the Federal Election Commission for re-election to their current office, which allows them to begin raising money. Most candidates file shortly after Election Day, in fact.

A hemp plant is pollinated in Springfield, Ore., in April 2018. For Texas farmers, growing hemp will present some challenges. One is that it's delicate: Farmers who used pesticides in the past on crops like cotton will need to invest in soil remediation.
Associated Press

Kris Taylor was accepted into medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor, the Texan moved to California to pursue something he was really passionate about. Hemp.

Rep. Joaquin Castro 'Seriously' Considering Run Against Sen. John Cornyn

Mar 1, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro's camp released a statement early Friday morning making clear that the San Antonio Democrat is mulling whether to forgo re-election next year and instead challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, two days after Beto O'Rourke made clear he won't be vying for the seat.

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