Archive for the ‘Donna Bahorich’ Category

SBOE Campaign Finance Reports

January 18, 2012

All Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) seats are up for election this year, but so far there’s not a lot of money flowing into those campaigns. Nearly all SBOE candidates have now filed their July 1, 2011-December 31, 2011, campaign finance reports with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Some non-surprises:

  • Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas, is again self-funding her campaign, this time in an effort to retake the District 12 seat she lost to George Clayton, R-Richardson, in 2010. So far Miller has spent about $40,000 of her own money.
  • Former SBOE member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, is spreading around a little cash (some left over from his losing race against Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, in 2010) among far-right board incumbents Charlie Garza, R-El Paso, of District 1 ($500), Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, of District 5 ($500), and Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, of District 14 ($1,801.60). He has also contributed $500 to Randy Stevenson, R-Tyler, who is trying to unseat Ratliff in District 9 and return to the board he left after 1998.
  • Neal Frey, head of the far-right censorship outfit Educational Research Analysts (founded by the late Mel and Norma Gabler of Longview in East Texas), has given $1,000 to Garza, $500 to Mercer, $1,000 to Stevenson, $500 to current board chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands (District 6), and $500 to Terri Leo, R-Spring, before the she decided not to run for re-election last fall.

Among the races that are attracting the most money (although totals are relatively modest compared to races for other elections in the state):

District 5: Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio ($15,611.75 in contributions, including $10,ooo from just one donor) vs. Steve Salyer, R-San Antonio ($1,150.00 in contributions plus a $5,000 from himself)

District 6: Donna Bahorich, R-Houston ($325 in contributions plus a $50,000 loan from herself to her campaign); no Republican challenger. None of the three Democrats (Tracy Jensen, Patty Quintana-Nisson and David Scott, all of Houston) has raised more than $1,600 yet.

District 8: Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands ($38,586.84 in contributions, $18,710.93 in expenditures, $25,626.25 in cash on hand) has raised a healthy chunk of change, but she also spent more than $12,000 (at least) on a fundraising event at a fancy country club in The Woodlands. Her Republican opponent, Linda Ellis of The Woodlands, has spent $7,019.40 so far.

District 9: Incumbent Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, has raised $17,413.15 in his race against challenger Randy Stevenson, R-Tyler, who has raised $5,225, including $1,100 from his own pocket.

District 12: Incumbent George Clayton, R-Richardson, ($3,921.42 in expenditures) is trying to fend off challenges from three other Republicans: “Tincy” Miller ($41,015.65 in expenditures, mostly her own money); Pam Little, R-Fairview ($8,324 in expenditures and loans from herself of $21,500); and Gail Spulock, R-Richardson (no report posted yet).

District 15: Incumbent Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, is not seeking election. Marty Rowley, R-Amarillo ($5,614.59 in expenditures and $10,000 in loans, combined, from himself and his wife) is running against Anette Carlisle, R-Amarillio, ($23,998.19 in expenditures) in the Republican primary. Steven Schafersman, D-Midland, is the only Democrat running.

Check our SBOE Election Watch page here for a list of candidates and other info.


Panic Mode?

January 4, 2012

Is the religious right about to hit panic mode after Mitt Romney edged out Rick Santorum in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses? POLITICO reports that James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), Gary Bauer (American Values) and other movement leaders have been invited to a confab next weekend at the Texas ranch of Paul Pressler (who helped lead the right-wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970s). According to POLITICO, the invitation reads:

“You and your spouse are cordially invited to a private meeting with national conservative leaders of faith at the ranch of Paul and Nancy Pressler near Brenham, Texas, with the purpose of attempting to unite and to come to a consensus on which Republican presidential candidate or candidates to support, or which not to support.”

Many of the invitees are members of The Arlington Group, a secretive cabal of religious-right political leaders. It’s no secret that those Christian fundamentalist poo-bahs are appalled that Romney, a Mormon and pseudo-moderate, might become the GOP presidential nominee. But Bauer told POLITICO that the purpose of the meeting at the Pressler ranch isn’t to find a way to stop Romney.

Well, we’ll see.

Interesting side note: Pressler, a former Texas judge, is the campaign treasurer for Donna Bahorich, a Houston Republican who is seeking election the Texas State Board of Education this year.

UPDATE: Dallas Morning News writer Wayne Slater is reporting what at least one expected participant at the Pressler meeting told him:

“One thing unites all in this group — Romney is not their guy…. The goal is to come together around somebody who will carry our issues and won’t abandon those issues when he becomes president.”

Slater writes that other invitees include Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Zionist leader John Hagee of San Antonio, and Kelly Shackelford of the Plano-based Liberty Institute (the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family).

SBOE Candidate: Donna Bahorich

December 16, 2011

Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).

Donna Bahorich, District 6, R-Houston
(Current District 6 Board Member: Terri Leo, R-Spring)

Donna Bahorich is seeking the SBOE District 6 seat that is currently held by Terri Leo, R-Spring. Leo is not seeking re-election. The following is from Bahorich’s campaign website. You can see an updated list of SBOE candidates here.

Donna Bahorich has a demonstrated record of success in business, education and political activism. It is her experience and history of success in each of these areas that makes Donna uniquely qualified to serve as your next member on the Texas State Board of Education.

After graduating from Virginia Tech with a Bachelors of Science degree in Financial Management, Donna began a career in the telecommunications industry, first at Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company and then at Mountain Bell, where she rose through the ranks, earning recognition and promotions for her performance. During her professional career Donna negotiated multi-million dollar contracts, led the development of software programs to track expenditures of over $700 million and gained experience in the forecasting and monitoring of a $40 million corporate budget. Her performance earned her a place in the top 5 of 317 managers at Mountain Bell. Donna left Mountain Bell to raise a family with her husband Mike.

In 1990, Donna earned a Masters of Arts in Counseling from Liberty University before founding Home Ed Plus, now a non-profit organization offering supplemental classes for homeschool families. During its 14-year history, she has served as the founder, administrator, and board member.

Donna Bahorich plunged wholeheartedly into political volunteerism in 2004 with her work for the Harris County Republican Party (HCRP). Soon after she began, Donna was asked to head the volunteer effort required each day to support the GOP headquarters. She was proud to be a member of the 2004 Mighty Texas Strike Force deployed to Columbus, Ohio to secure a Republican victory.

Read the rest here.

Leo-Backed SBOE Candidate Gets Boost

December 14, 2011

Texas State Board of Education member Terri Leo’s hand-picked replacement might have a smooth path to the Republican nomination for that Houston-area seat next year.

Leo, one of the board’s most extreme right-wing members, on Monday said she would not seek re-election to the board. She instead endorsed Republican Donna Bahorich of Houston in next year’s election. Susan Kellner, president of the Spring Branch Independent School District Board of Trustees, had been preparing to challenge Leo for the GOP nomination. Today Kellner told the Austin-based political news website Quorum Report (subscription required) that she would not run and could support Bahorich:

“Terri Leo needed to go. She has failed on all fronts, and she was an embarrassment to public education in Texas. She’s mismanaged the Permanent School Fund. She’s created curriculum standards that are confusing for teachers, students and families. We need to get Texas public education back on track.”

Quorum Report notes that it had been clear for months that Kellner wanted to run against Leo:

Kellner … has been dogging eight-year incumbent Terri Leo’s steps for months, conspicuously attending State Board of Education meetings and typically sitting prominently in the audience where Leo could not help but see her.

On Friday, Kellner filed a campaign treasurer’s report, signaling her intent to run against Leo in State Board of Education District 6. On Monday, Leo threw in the towel, saying she could do so with a clear conscience because she had found a suitable conservative to replace her on the board.

Leo made clear in her Monday press release that she believes Bahorich will stick to a hard-right political agenda on the state board. That includes support for an abstinence-only approach to sex education in a state that has received more federal abstinence-only funding than any other state yet has the nation’s third-highest teen birth rate.

Teacher and Democrat Patty Quintana-Nilsson of Houston is also seeking Leo’s District 6 seat on the state board. (Bahorich does not have a campaign website yet.)

You can find a listing of candidates and other information on TFN’s special SBOE election watch web page here.

Another History FAIL from Leo, Barton

December 13, 2011

Terri Leo and her colleagues on the Texas State Board of Education have spent years trying to promote their own distorted and politicized versions of American history in our public schools. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Leo got her history wrong yet again in yesterday’s announcement that she will not seek re-election in 2012.

Leo, R-Spring, endorsed Donna Bahorich, R-Houston, as her replacement on the board. Toward the end of that endorsement, Leo wrote:

Donna understands fully what Abraham Lincoln meant when he said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”

Except Lincoln quite likely didn’t say that.

In fact, it’s just one of many “unconfirmed” quotations that the far right’s favorite phony “historian,” David Barton, once attributed to famous Americans in his own work. After years of criticism, Barton felt compelled in 2000 to acknowledge that he has no evidence those quotes were ever uttered. (Yet Leo’s far-right  colleagues on the state board appointed Barton as an “expert” adviser on the social studies curriculum revision in 2009-10 even though he is mostly a political propagandist with no formal academic training in the social sciences.)

Despite his admission of error, Barton’s zombie quotations live on, eating their way into our nation’s civil and political discourse.


Leo Calls It Quits

December 12, 2011

Another day, another major shake-up at the State Board of Education.

Incumbent Terri Leo, R-Spring, made a surprise announcement this morning that she will not seek re-election to the seat she has held since 2002.

During her tenure on the state board, Leo has been a major ringleader of the far-right faction. She has not shied away from being a mouthpiece for radical ideas — both during meetings and in the press. A round-up of Leo’s low-lights during her tenure on the board can be found here and here.

Her press release appears in full below.


DATE:  Dec 12, 2011

CONTACT: Terri Leo


It has been a great honor to serve you and the children of Texas as your conservative representative on the State Board of Education, District 6. My concerns, both as a public school teacher and as a mother, led me to make the sacrifices required to serve on the SBOE.

What an awesome opportunity and responsibility you have given me over the years. I want to thank all of you who have sacrificed with me to ensure that the District 6 seat has a conservative voice on the State Board of Education.

Those of you who know my passion for this office know that I would not step down from this seat unless I had complete confidence in someone else to take my place — someone who shares my same passion for quality and excellence in public education.  I have found such an individual in Donna Bahorich, and it is with great enthusiasm that I wholeheartedly endorse Donna for the State Board of Education, District 6.

Textbook adoptions are always a critical concern. Because of Texas’ prominent place in textbook adoption and educational policy, not only are our Texas children affected by the SBOE’s decisions; but also students throughout the nation are impacted.

Donna Bahorich will uphold conservative ideals in order to provide teachers and students with error-free and academically sound instructional materials.

Donna will resist efforts to lower academic expectations. She will work tirelessly to develop state curriculum standards that are concise, measurable, and rigorous so that our Texas students are ready for college and/or the workplace.

Donna Bahorich will only vote for Health textbooks that uphold traditional definitions of marriage and family and that are abstinence-based.

Donna Bahorich will make sure History curriculum standards are maintained that emphasize patriotism, our Founding Fathers, the free enterprise system, the U.S. Constitution, and American exceptionalism.

A strong conservative voice in the State Board of Education’s management of the multi-billion-dollar Permanent School Fund will always be essential.  Donna will vote consistently for traditional, conservative values in these decisions as well. The children of Texas deserve to have sound investments protecting their Permanent School Fund because these dollars ensure there will be future funding for instructional materials.  Donna will work diligently to keep the PSF from being diverted to other uses.

Because Donna has worked closely for years with members of the Legislature, she will know how to keep the lines of communication open between the SBOE and other elected officials. This is essential so that students’ best interests are served.

I can leave my SBOE seat at the end of my term (December 2012) knowing that Donna Bahorich will be able to step seamlessly into position.  Donna understands fully what Abraham Lincoln meant when he said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”  Donna is capable, equipped, committed, and passionate about the future of our Texas public school students.  Donna Bahorich is fully ready to serve as a member of the Texas State Board of Education, District 6.