Patrick Announces Re-Election Bid, Talks Shop


Lt. Governor Dan Patrick | Image by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Wearing boots with an image of the Alamo on one and the Texas Capitol on the other, the recently re-elected lieutenant governor discussed his legislative priorities in a keynote interview on Tuesday.

“They’re not my ideas; they are the ideas and priority of the people and the party,” he suggested at The Texan’s 88th Session Kickoff, which The Dallas Express attended.

Delving into specifics, the lieutenant governor listed energy grid enhancements as his top item.

“One of the most important issues is making sure we have enough power,” he said. “We do not have enough thermal power.”

“Renewables are fine … but if it doesn’t turn on, it doesn’t mean a lot,” Patrick continued. “You have to have dependable, dispatchable power. … That is priority number one.”

Turning to the hot-button issue of school choice, Patrick noted that the Texas Senate had previously advanced legislation on the issue. “We’re the only body in the history of Texas who have (sic) passed it.”

“We are very focused on passing a bill,” Patrick continued, looking to the current session. “I don’t know what the bill will look like, but we are working on it.”

Several legislators from the House and Senate had discussed the topic earlier that day as well, indicating a belief that there were enough votes to institute school choice, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Patrick, as the president of the Senate, noted, “At the end of the day, you have to count the votes.”

“We have to have school choice, we have to have it,” he continued. “If you do not get a good education, then you won’t have the same access to the American Dream.”

Looking at the reasons why parents might want to take their children out of schools, the lieutenant governor suggested, “Number one, the school is a failure. … Number two, they don’t feel like the school is safe. … Number three, you have a child with a disability.”

“Some schools do a good job, other schools do not,” he said, going on to suggest, “I think it’s cruel for any legislature to vote against school choice for students with disabilities.”

Responding to critics who suggest that school choice would hurt rural districts, Patrick claimed, “People say that the people in West Texas don’t want school choice; I say balderdash to that, it’s the nicest word I can think of.”

Lt. Gov. Patrick also highlighted the steps he had taken to reduce property tax burdens for Texas homeowners, emphasizing how he hoped to use the historic budget surplus.

“We have to continue to lower them because they are still too high.”

“We’ve increased the homestead exemption from $15,000 when I came in to $40,000, and our budget looks to raise it to $70,000,” he said, referring to the budget bill that was recently filed. “I want to eventually increase it to $100,000.”

Patrick also urged for additional allocations to fund rural law enforcement, increased mental health facilities, and scholarships for people who want to become nurses.

“I want to fund scholarships for anyone who wants to become nurses. … We can afford to do that,” he claimed.

When asked about the House of Representatives not voting to ban the tradition of appointing Democrat chairs on committees, Patrick claimed, “I was eight years ahead of this movement because when I came in, I reduced the Democrat chairs from six to one. … I campaigned on that.”

In his most recent appointment to Senate committees, however, Patrick did make Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice.

“I’ve left Whitmire in that position because he’s the Dean of the Senate, and there’s respect for that position, and he’s an expert on prisons,” Patrick explained, indicating that he would not replace Whitmire with another Democrat in the future.

While hesitant to speak too much on how the House runs its chamber, Patrick said, “If a Democrat is controlling a committee anywhere, and we can’t get a conservative bill out of that committee, that’s a problem.”

“The reason why we’ve sent so much conservative legislation out of the Senate is because the Democrats can’t stop it,” he continued. “The only people who can stop conservative legislation in the Senate are conservatives.”

Looking toward the 2024 presidential election, Patrick, who helped lead former President Donald Trump’s Texas campaign, said, “I think he’s the best president we’ve ever had,” claiming he oversaw “the most conservative policies that have ever passed.”

When asked about the potential showdown for the Republican nomination between Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Texas politician said, “I think Ron DeSantis has done a terrific job in Florida, I have nothing bad to say of him.”

“Well, I don’t know him,” he noted further on DeSantis. “I don’t know him.”

Patrick also announced that he intended to seek re-election as Texas lieutenant governor in 2026.

“Absolutely, I’m going to run in ’26,” he said. “I love what I do…I’m in good health, and I just won by eight hundred and thirty-some thousand votes, so why wouldn’t I come back?”

Patrick had reportedly said he would not run again while campaigning for his third term in office.

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