Ted Cruz

Cruz should not be treated lightly as candidate

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz addresses delegates at the Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth on Friday. Cruz finished first in the party's biennial presidential straw poll. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz addresses delegates at the Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth on Friday. Cruz finished first in the party's biennial presidential straw poll. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)

On Monday, after much fanfare, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced his candidacy for President of the United States. In doing so, he became the first major candidate — Democrat or Republican — to formally throw his hat into the ring, though numerous others have already all-but-declared.

Cruz, a darling of the Tea Party, launched his presidential campaign at Liberty University, the evangelical religious-right affiliated college in Lynchburg, Virginia founded by the late Jerry Falwell. In doing so, he pushed for a number of increasingly extreme right-wing fantasies, such as a flat tax and no assistance for struggling students. He was incessantly (and, in my opinion, rightfully) mocked across the board by media pundits for such asinine displays, but the outlets have appeared to underestimate Cruz's prowess as a political candidate.

In the lead-up to the 2012 senatorial election, Cruz was underestimated even more. He began the election polling in the single-digits against the odds-on favorite in the Republican primary (which is tantamount to election), then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. However, Cruz is such an articulate and persuasive force on the campaign trail that he was able to sweep the endorsements of important Tea Party groups, as well as other conservative causes. Partially, this is due to Cruz's inimitable style of casually and confidentially lying on little stuff and big stuff alike. 

Obviously, Cruz pulled off an improbable upset and was elected to the Senate in 2012. There is no reason to not think he can replicate this in the 2016 Republican primary. Much like the activist Left fell in love with Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, at points idolizing him as infallible in near hero-worship, the Right and the Tea Party have done the exact same thing with Ted Cruz. He is their "man on the white horse" who will lead them to the promised land, so to speak.  

Furthermore, similar to how many on the left were unable to comprehend or recognize Obama's inevitable return to the reasonable center following the Democratic primary, it would make sense that the right would have similar cognitive dissonance over Cruz's inevitable return to the reasonable center, should he win the primary. For these reasons, Cruz should be treated as a contender-- if not a front-runner -- to not only win the Republican primaries, but the general election, as the 45th President of the United States.

Horwitz is the senior associate editor.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race over Twitter on Sunday and in a speech at Liberty University in Virginia on Monday.

Cruz is the first major candidate to announce his candidacy. Since he represents the second most-populated state in the country, Texas, Cruz is a major candidate in the current Republican race, according to government professor Sean Theriault.

“Dr. [Ben] Carson has never won an election in his life,” Theriault said, referencing another potential candidate for the Republican primary. “That doesn’t mean that he has no chance, just that he’s never demonstrated that he knows how to put a winning campaign together. Senator Cruz knows how to do that.”

Such an early announcement gives Cruz a short-term advantage, Theriault said. University Democrats president Michelle Willoughby disagreed.

“Announcing early officially isn’t an advantage,” Willoughby said. “What matters more is starting early in the early states like New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, and, in that game, Cruz is significantly later than several other [Republican] contenders who have been spending a lot of time in the early states.”

Cruz, a Texas junior senator, has been under some scrutiny regarding his eligibility to run for and/or serve as president. Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother, who is from Delaware, is a natural-born citizen. 

Cruz formally renounced his Canadian citizenship last May and claims he is natural-born through his mother.

Theriault said people questioning Cruz’s citizenship have no grounds for their worries.

“These questions about citizenship are ridiculous — not quite as ridiculous as the questions about Obama’s citizenship, but close,” Theriault said. “His mother is a naturalized citizen.”

Bridget Guien, College Republicans communications director, agreed with Theriault.

“Senator Cruz’s birthplace should not affect his eligibility to run for president,” Guien said. “He is a natural-born citizen and holds the right to run for the presidency.”

Cruz is serving his first term in the U.S. Senate. He defeated then-Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the 2012 election by a 14-point margin. 

Theriault said Cruz’s limited time in federal government might not affect his abilities to serve, citing President Barack Obama’s victory after one term in the Senate.

“Ask Barack Obama the same question,” Theriault said. “He was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and, four years later, became president. Cruz would follow the same path.”

Willoughby said Cruz’s political résumé concerns her, calling him the “most extreme candidate considering running.”

“He isn’t polling well, he has alienated many in the GOP leadership and the general Republican voters with his grandstanding, and he is likely to have issues even with the groups that supported him in his campaign for Senator with a more crowded field,” Willoughby said. “These factors mean Cruz winning the primary is pretty unlikely.”

Theriault has more faith in Cruz’s abilities to persevere in the presidential race.

“For the Republicans in 2016, it all comes down to how the other candidates collapse,” Theriault said. “If the hard-right candidates fall like flies, and Cruz wins Iowa, he could have some longevity, especially if Bush has some competition from the ‘establishment’ wing of his party.”

The College Republicans do not officially endorse anybody in the primaries because the group is an auxiliary of the Republican Party.

Sen. Ted Cruz becomes first Republican candidate in 2016 presidential race

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is the first first major presidential contender to formally announce his candidacy in the 2016 race.

Cruz first announced his candidacy through his official Twitter account Monday morning, just after midnight.

"I'm running for president, and I hope to earn your support!" the tweet read.

Cruz officially declared himself in the race again in a speech to students at Liberty University later Monday morning.

In his speech, Cruz focused on evangelical as well as secular conservative priorities, such as blocking gun restrictions.

“Instead of a government that works to undermine our Second Amendment rights – that seeks to ban our ammunition – imagine a federal government that protects the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding Americans,” Cruz said.

Cruz, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012, is known for his 21-hour filibuster on the Senate floor, in which he championed efforts to block the implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

To read more about Cruz’s presidential bid, click here.

Sen. Ted Cruz to announce presidential run today

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to announce his candidacy for president Monday during an address at Liberty University in Virginia.

Cruz won Kay Bailey Hutchison’s vacated Senate seat in 2012 against then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst by a 14-point margin. He now serves as Texas’s junior senator.

Before serving as senator, he served as solicitor general of Texas from 2003 to 2008, and was originally appointed by then-Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Cruz was recently appointed chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness and oversees NASA. Cruz will become the first Republican to formally declare his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

In discussing foreign policy at The Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz clarified his statement from August about bombing the Islamic State group back to the Stone Age.

“The president’s approach is fundamentally unserious,” Cruz said. “Throughout the course of discussion I have endeavored to ask, ‘How do you distinguish the good buys from the bad guys?’ Consistently the admin has not been able to give a satisfactory answer.”

President Barack Obama signed the measure to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State group on Friday. At the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on Saturday, Cruz said resolving the Syrian civil war should not be the objective of the United States.

“It is not our job to turn foreign nations," Cruz said. "If there are people who pose a clear and present danger to our national security, the objective should be to take out that threat. The consistent failure of Obama-Clinton foreign policy is the failure of focusing on U.S. national security.”

According to Cruz, of the two options that are available  topple the regime or manage it  neither are good.

“On one point, we had John Kerry saying we needed to launch a small attack,” Cruz said. “On the flip side, if we engage in a serious attack and the attack succeeds in toppling Bashar Al-assad and he’s a monster, he’s murdered women and children but if he were toppled, and the weapons fell into the hands of ISIS, that would be terrible for national security.”

Cruz also criticized Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants after the November election.

“Announcing he is going to illegally grant amnesty, but then saying he will delay it until after the election is one of the most cynical acts I have ever seen,” Cruz said. “There is a reason why Democrat senators begged him, ‘Please don’t do this before the election.’ It’s not just a volatile issue; the numbers are 70 to 30 or higher against granting amnesty through executive order.”

Cruz addressed the topic of gridlock in Congress and said he was disappointed by the lack of action.

“Folks love to characterize gridlock in Washington,” Cruz said. “The House of Representatives has passed over 350 pieces of legislation. Most of those have bipartisan support. There are over 350 pieces of legislation on Harry Reid’s desk. He will not allow us to vote in anything. We have gridlock, but it is because Harry Reid and the Democrats do nothing.”

Maliha Mazhar, an international business and government junior, said she was interested in hearing what Cruz had to say on current issues.

“He’s one of our senators, and it’s important to be clued on what he thinks about the things going on in our country,” Mazhar said. “And he’s a potential candidate in 2016. It’s always good to meet someone who is potentially running for president. I like to be an informed voter.”

Haig Kupelian, a political science and philosophy freshman, said he appreciated Cruz’s answers, but that there were some things he could have expanded on.

“I wish he would have talked about if he was willing to declare war on ISIS or if he wanted another invasion like the one in Iraq,” Kupelian said.

A widely-rumored 2016 presidential candidate, Cruz said he thinks the Republican presidential nominee for 2016 should be whoever is “standing up in the room.”

“I think Republicans in 2016 should nominate whoever is leading the case that the economic policies we are seeing are not acceptable; that the retreat of American leaders in the world is making the world more dangerous,” Cruz said. “I would encourage everyone thinking about it to stand up and lead.”

GOP presidential straw poll shows direction of party

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz addresses delegates at the Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth on Friday. Cruz finished first in the party's biennial presidential straw poll. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz addresses delegates at the Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth on Friday. Cruz finished first in the party's biennial presidential straw poll. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)

As the Texas Republican Convention came to a close Saturday, the delegates held their biennial presidential straw poll. Unsurprisingly, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas won a huge plurality among the plethora of candidates, which included Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the convention's keynote speaker, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, father of Land Commissioner Republican nominee George P. Bush.

 

Perhaps the biggest shock of the straw poll was that Gov. Rick Perry, who has held the top statewide office here for the past 13 ½ years, finished in a distant fourth place. Ahead of him were Cruz, Ben Carson, an obstreperous right-wing physician and folk hero with no political experience, and Paul.

 

These results further exemplify the dominance of a virulent strain in the Texas Republican Party, one in which moderation and pragmatism are displaced by ideology and small-minded rigidness. As this country approaches the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Presidential election, we would all be wise to remember the words of Nelson Rockefeller, a fiercely moderate, if not liberal, one-time Republican governor of New York. Rockefeller, upon losing the Republican nomination for President to Barry Goldwater, a right-wing senator from Arizona, lamented the sorry state of his party in a convention speech marred by cacophonous booing from Goldwater's supporters.

 

"There is no place in this Republican Party for those who would infiltrate its ranks, distort its aims and convert it into a cloak of apparent respectability for a dangerous extremism," Rockefeller said. "The Republican Party must repudiate these extremists."

 

Fifty years later, little has changed. The more common-sense candidates such as Bush or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — or even to a lesser extent, Perry — finished near the bottom of the pack, while dangerous extremists like Cruz and Carson carried the day. For the same group of partisans that endorsed "restoration therapy" for LGBTQ people, I cannot honestly say that I am surprised. But the state truly deserves better.

 

Horwitz is an associate editor.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference, Thursday, March 6, 2014.

Photo Credit: AP Exchange | Daily Texan Staff

Texas has been at the forefront of the 2016 presidential election for some time now — not only because our Republican-dominated state holds the second highest number of electoral votes, but also because Gov. Rick Perry has his eye on the GOP ticket. However, Perry was far from a substantial contender in this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, which occurred from March 6-8, ranking in ninth place, despite his concerted effort this year to appeal to a more conservative base. 

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the son of Libertarian Ron Paul, came in first place with 31 percent of the vote, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in second place with 11 percent. Paul calls himself a Libertarian-Republican but has written two books touching on the Tea Party platform. Cruz, in case you haven’t noticed, is perhaps the most vocal Tea Party advocate to ever have held the national spotlight. Together, the two men garnered 42 percent of the vote, highlighting the growing influence of far right ideology within the GOP. 

Historically, the CPAC poll has been a good indicator of whose names we’ll find on the Republican presidential ticket. With the exception of Ron Paul, the 2010 and 2011 victor, each individual who has won the straw poll more than once since 1976 has appeared on the Republican ticket for the presidency, making Rand Paul, who consecutively won the 2013 and 2014 poll, the apparent front-runner.

Cruz didn’t do so badly either, though. In fact, numerous second-place CPAC victors in polls two years before the national election have appeared on the ballot — Mitt Romney took second place in 2010, John McCain took second place in 2006 and George W. Bush took second place in 1998.

Put simply, the poll's results seem to indicate that the next GOP ticket could be even less moderate than the last, all while national polls indicate that the country as a whole is becoming more progressive, particularly on social issues such as same-sex marriage, immigration reform and marijuana legalization. While it is unlikely that Cruz has a shot at the White House, considering his far-right stance, Cruz’s second-place victory should still mean his party is hell-bent on ignoring the nation’s feelings on progressive issues such as gay marriage. 

A Washington Post/ABC News poll this year found that 58 percent of people believe Americans should be able to marry whomever they choose — a stance that neither Rand Paul nor Ted Cruz supports. Even the youth in the GOP are erasing the lines on social issues. A February poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that the percentage of millennial Republicans who favored same-sex marriage stood at 50 percent.

Immigration, another issue that is particularly important to Texas, was also largely avoided in the CPAC convention, but it remains one of the most divisive issues among conservatives. This continual gap between conservatives and the nation as a whole on key issues raises a crucial question: Where is the Republican Party headed? With conservatives moving further and further away from moderate Republicans, and politicians such as Cruz and Paul taking center stage, particularly in the CPAC poll, it seems as though moderates are losing their place in the Republican Party. Thus far, the GOP strategy to deal with this divide has been to avoid touching on social issues altogether, touting a so-called fiscal conservatism to attract young voters to the party. 

But, rather than falling into the trap of giving into such rhetoric, young voters, particularly voters in a state as conservative as Texas, must think carefully before throwing support behind either party. Austin may be a bubble in regard to its progressive stances on social issues, but the rest of the nation is not. So voters should pay attention to which groups politicians vying for the 2016 GOP ticket appeal to in the early campaign stages. Because, while trying to draw support from conservatives, otherwise moderate leaders may be pushed into taking a more right-wing stance. And that’s something to be aware of, especially in a state that has recently shown overwhelming support for the Republican party.

Amid all the talk of the gubernatorial and the lieutenant governor campaigns, as well as the competitive local primaries, it is easy to lose track of the many other important positions Texans will be voting on at the polls this year. 

Perhaps the most underrated of these contests is the race for the U.S. Senate. With fiercely competitive primaries for both the Democratic and Republican candidates, the two primaries thus far have nearly descended into a theater of the absurd. Particularly in the case of the Democratic primary, the major candidates have taken to attacking one another and focusing on unrelated issues such as endorsements from state senators rather than debating policy or zeroing in on the incumbent. The three major candidates, David Alameel, Michael Fjetland and Maxey Scherr, are doing this at the expense of productive campaigning against Senator Cornyn.

By most accounts, winning the Republican primary in this State nearly assures victory in the general election, while whoever captures the Democratic primary will face quite the uphill battle come November. Accordingly, it is both counterproductive and unwise for the Democratic candidates to focus on anything other than the incumbent, Sen. John Cornyn.

But, instead, candidate Maxey Scherr, an attorney from El Paso, has focused on the state’s other senator, Ted Cruz. 

“Texas is on ‘Cruz Control,’” Scherr recently stated in an online advertisement. “Ted Cruz is the epitome of everything that’s wrong with Washington, and John Cornyn is along for the ride. He’s on autopilot, voting the way Ted Cruz wants him to. If Texas stays on ‘Cruz Control,’ we’re headed for a wreck.” 

Scherr has even made a point of referencing controversial comments made by Cruz — and by Cruz alone — as a major reason for the campaign.

Scherr and another Democratic candidate, David Alameel, a dentist and multi-millionaire businessman from the Dallas area, have also sparred over the Alameel’s progressive credentials. Alameel has donated thousands of dollars to Republican candidates, and, according to unconfirmed reports, he embraced anti-abortion positions during a previous campaign for Congress. Oddly enough, Cornyn, the man against whom Alameel may run in the general election, is among the Republicans to whom Alameel has previously donated.

“David Alameel, the alleged Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, has bankrolled the anti-choice Republican agenda for years,” Scherr said. “He has given $1.6 million to the Republicans who oppose Roe v. Wade and vote to erode a woman’s right to choose at every turn.” 

Scherr expressed shock and indignation at Alameel’s support for other Republicans, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sens. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, and Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. 

Alameel, for his part, refused comment to me — or everyone else, for that matter — on these topics. Indeed, he has not sat down for interviews with major newspapers, nor has he answered questions from Democratic grassroots organizations and panels. At the recent endorsement meeting of the University Democrats (which, I should note, I am a member of), a representative of Alameel’s campaign refused to take any questions from the audience. Alameel is not talking about Cornyn in this race; instead, all he is talking about is his high-profile endorsements from state Sens. Wendy Davis, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, and Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.

Michael Fjetland, an attorney and businessman from Houston and the third major candidate in the primary, similarly, had no qualms about taking shots against his opponents. Fjetland, said that Scherr — whom he called a “young labor lawyer” — would not “make a big impression” in the general election. Similarly, he bemoaned Alameel’s recent tailwind in the primary, saying, “there isn’t enough money to buy a Texas election” — an obvious jab at Alameel’s heavy spending in his previous contest.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate will face an enormously uphill battle to defeat two-term incumbent Cornyn, arguably the second most powerful Republican in the senate. Given that all these candidates are political novices with a high chance of being ignored by the media, perhaps it will be even more uphill than in previous cycles.

Cornyn is not, by any means, a moderate Republican. Whether his ultra-conservatism has been best exemplified by opposition to routine Cabinet nominations or a stand against renewal of the Violence against Women Act, Sen. Cornyn is often one of just a handful of senators on the extreme right-wing of American politics. There are plenty of opportunities for the Democratic opposition to critique him. Instead, they have sadly decided to run down one another instead.

Horwitz is a government junior from Houston.

Horns Down: ZBT replaces lewd mural with... another lewd mural

On Friday, the Daily Texan reported that the fraternity Zeta Beta Tau, commonly known as ZBT, painted over lewd murals depicting women performing sex acts on members of the military after recognizing, according to the national chapter, that the murals were a “poor decision.” On Monday, this newspaper reported that ZBT had made another poor decision: painting over said murals with only slightly less lewd depictions of women in sexual positions. The new murals, for example, “included a woman clothed in a bra and jeans bending over with an armed gunman firing a missile toward the woman to the words “REP ANAL.”” Another charming pictograph scrawled on the walls of the party’s set pieces included the words “Chinese Whore House.” 

ZBT’s decision to “remedy” the situation by adding a bra to a bent-over woman in a blatantly sexualized position is absurd. It’s no wonder the murals’ offensiveness is lost on the brothers of Zeta Beta, who can’t seem to understand that the explicit sexuality of the murals isn’t the problem — it’s the explicit misogyny and disrespect of the military that has everyone up in arms.

Horns Up: New committee to ensure judicial impartiality

Last Thursday, a group of concerned citizens met to hash out the possibilities for reforming judicial selections in Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The conversation, which was dominated by talk of concerns with the current judicial selection system, will continue over the next year as a special legislative committee tackles the question of how to best select judges in Texas. 

Texas is one of the few states that require its judiciary representatives to run in general elections. As a result, concerns of the judiciary being sold to the highest campaign donor are perpetual. And judges often worry about the implications of asking for campaign money from wealthy donors they may later meet in court. 

While the problem of judicial corruption has taken a backseat in Texas, this might not be the case if the political landscape in Texas shifts to that of a more two-party state. The judicial branch of the government, both historically and theoretically, has been the one of great integrity and even greater impartiality. We must be confident that our judges can make decisions based on the facts of the cases in front of them, rather than on who the prosecuting counsel is or whose business is at stake. We’re glad the legislature will start to brainstorm ideas on how to keep the integrity of the system intact.

Horns Down: More revisionism from the State Board of Education

On Thursday, members of the Texas State Board of Education singled out a Pearson Education biology textbook, questioning the book’s assertions on natural selection and the theory of evolution. The board voted to have three of its members pick outside experts to scrutinize the book, despite the fact that the book in question is already being used in more than half of U.S. classrooms. While a 2011 state law gives school districts the authority to choose their own books, most adhere to the recommended list suggested by the Texas Education Board. In addition, Texas is so large a state that the textbooks selected by Texas are often also the ones marketed nationally. We think the comments of the board’s vice chairman, Republican Thomas Ratliff, sum up our views on the issue: “I believe this process is being hijacked, this book is being held hostage to make political changes. … To ask me — a business degree major from Texas Tech University — to distinguish whether the earth cooled 4 billion years ago or 4.2 billion years ago for purposes of approving a textbook at 10:15 on a Thursday night is laughable.” 

Colleagues, on the other side of the debate, shot back that they “weren’t laughing.”

Horns Down: Why we should keep Ted Cruz out of U.S.—Iran negotiations

On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz openly criticized the deal struck between President Barack Obama and the Iranian government, in which Iran agreed to halt its development of nuclear weapons in exchange for relief of $6 to $7 billion in economic sanctions for the next six months. The deal, which is the first diplomatic accord between the two countries since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, could be a major step toward a larger, more comprehensive agreement still to come, and it is at least a temporary reprieve from the escalating tensions in the region.

But Cruz argued that the deal didn’t go far enough in our favor: “According to the interim agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program that was reached this weekend in Geneva, not one centrifuge will be destroyed. Not one pound of enriched uranium will leave Iran. Not one American unjustly detained in Iran’s notorious prisons will be released. But Iran will start to receive, in a matter of days, $7 billion in relief from international economics sanctions. … The administration has gotten it backwards, and it is time to reverse course before any further damage is done.”

All the facts Cruz cites are correct, but he ignores the key point that Iran has frozen its capability to enrich uranium to the level needed for nuclear weapons, which is the greatest diplomatic success on this issue in decades. Moreover, it is clear that in foreign policy, as well as domestic governance, Cruz doesn’t understand what a compromise is. Instead, his unrealistic foreign policy goals bring to mind President Harry Truman’s naive and ill-fated 1945 assertion that, although he couldn’t expect to get 100 percent of what he wanted in negotiations with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, he did expect to get 85 percent. With hubris like his, we’re glad the person leading American negotiations with hostile foreign governments is anybody but Cruz.

 

Horns Down: Texans clinging tightly to the right

Newsweek recently reported that the Republican U.S. state senator from Texas, John Cornyn, has been losing popularity in his home state since his decision to remove his name from a letter threatening to shut down the government this past summer. Grassroots activists are trying to recruit David Barton instead, a radio host who argues that the U.S. should be a Christian nation with no separation between church and state, putting him even further right than tea party senator Ted Cruz. While many Democrats point out that this growing wedge between tea party and moderate Republicans will help the Democratic Party, which may be a good thing, it’s disappointing to know that fellow Texans are leaning so far to the right at a time when the Republican Party’s overall ranking is down due to the aftermath of the government shutdown.

Horns Up: Austin makes another top 10 list

Austin ranks as the fifth-best place in the nation for veterans to find work, according to a study commissioned by USAA and Hiring Our Heroes, making this the second year Austin placed in the top 10. This report comes soon after Austin’s economy was ranked No. 1 in the country thanks to its job growth record, as reported in the Austin Business Journal based on The Bizjournals’ On Numbers report. We have long known that Austin is one of the best places to live in the nation, let alone the world, but it’s encouraging to see others catching on as well.

Horns Down: Texas needs more early childhood ed

Texas ranks in the bottom third of states for the percentage of low-income children in preschool, according to a report the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Monday. The ranking is one of many areas in which our state falls behind the national average. We agree with Frances Deviney from the Center for Public Policy Priorities, who highlighted this education gap in a statement he made to the Dallas Morning News in which he said “it is imperative that our kids get a strong early start that helps counteract the effects of poverty and our failure to sufficiently invest in our kids.” This is especially important in Texas, where a third of children live in poverty, according to the 2012 U.S. Census. While we often focus on the challenges state universities face with regards to budget and funding, we must remember that education starts in early childhood. The first few critical years of schooling should not be ignored.