salty-2Liberal Lance Gooden lauded by TLR

October 20, 2011 | Blog

Last month we mentioned Representative Lance Gooden in a story about gambling in Texas. During the legislative session Gooden supported gaming expansion along with Democrats and the Senate’s most liberal Republican Jeff Wentworth.

Gooden, a Republican, took his pro-gaming stance despite clear instructions from the party platform to oppose such efforts. His liberal actions shouldn’t come as a shock given his political beginnings, but his new cadre of friends might confuse conservative Texans.

In 2010 Gooden beat conservative lawmaker Betty Brown on the strength of donations from liberal groups including Texas trial lawyers and teachers unions. Of the $102,000 Gooden pulled for the primary 62% came from trial lawyers while groups cozy with Texas’ teachers unions gave over 15%.

In Texas and the U.S. trial lawyers are nearly always associated with funding the campaigns of liberal lawmakers. This makes the actions of Texas for Lawsuit Reform after Gooden's victory hard to figure.

After defeating Brown in March 2010 Gooden received $165,000 for his general election. A portion of that money came from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the main player in the anti trial lawyer lobby and a former Brown backer.

Now Gooden has drawn a conservative challenge and TLR is doubling down. Yesterday Texans for Lawsuit Reform issued Gooden an award and hosted an event for him in the district.

Despite gaming industry propaganda , it has been thoroughly proven that gambling does not increase state revenues. For every one dollar of new revenues three dollars are spent or lost on increased law enforcement, social services, and broad -based decreases in general productivity.

In addition, Texas gambling is crony capitalism, with the gambling players enjoying protection from competition via amendments to the Texas Constitution! The rest of us cannot try our hand at running a gambling business.

This is all in addition to the traditional stance that legal gambling is a threat to the family and consequently society as a whole.

In the past TLR has been lauded for their work on reforming the tort environment in Texas which leads to lower costs for services. Why would they now back a liberal candidate who was previously backed by the trial lawyer lobby? Is TLR becoming gambling-friendly?

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is Executive Director of AgendaWise. Previously, Daniel worked for Empower Texans, a non-profit direct advocacy group focused on fiscal policy in Texas. He holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. A native Texan, Daniel is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and lives in Bastrop County with his wife Karen, their children Griffin and Julian, Willa Lou. You can reach him at [email protected]