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Which state doing better, Texas or California?

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Before it's even begun, the next election cycle is beginning to resemble a game of WHAT. The announcement that Gov. Rick Perry will not seek another term has set up a scramble for the gubernatorial seat. And the first hat tossed into the ring for Texas' highest elected office belongs to Attorney General Greg Abbott.

During the meeting on Friday, July 12, the Bandera County Republican Women hosted Lynn Haueter, who serves as the regional field representative for Texans for Abbott.

A former the Republican Party chairman in Los Angeles County, Haueter was clearly glad to be back in her native Lone Star State after spending 20 years as an ex-pat in the now-somewhat-tarnished "Golden State."

"The question I always hear is, 'Does the Republican Party really exist in California'?" she told the crowd. Assuring them it does, Haueter said, "I loved championing Republican values. We do all we can to further conservative principles and save the state and country." The Republican Party in Los Angeles County is the largest in the country.

Considering Texas "the great last hope for our country," she said, "While not perfect, this state stands as a beacon for the values America was founded upon - freedom for all, decency and humanity."

Haueter decried what many perceive as a seismic shift across the country away from goodness, decency and humanity. Even that firebrand liberals love to hate, Bill O'Reilly, proclaimed on several recent shows that America has become "a land of barbarism."

Concurring, Haueter said, "The breakdown that has occurred at the family and community level now extends to a national level - and it all relates to the breakdown of the family." She added that expressing such an opinion in California would have been met with a barrage of tomatoes and ad hominem attacks.

"And, ask yourself, which state is doing better, Texas or California?" Haueter enquired, not rhetorically.

For this and other reasons, Haueter reiterated, "I love being back in Texas, and I love that you started your public meeting with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance to both the American and Texas flags. That would never have happened in California. In fact, people there barely know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance."

Because she considered public schools on the West Coast to be "bastions of indoctrination of liberal ideas," Haueter home-schooled her two children, adding, "In California, kids are pressured to be liberal."

She credits her mother Susan Howard, a resident of Boerne, with her current involvement in politics - and her strong and enduring values. "She took me to meetings as a teenager and acted as my mentor," Haueter said.

Long a political activist for conservative causes, Howard serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association and is active in the Texas Republican Party. She also served as a commissioner for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

For those living under a rock, Howard also played Donna Culver Krebs on "Dallas" in the 1980s, parlaying a guest appearance into an eight-year contract on the wildly popular show.

Offering a cautionary warning, Haueter urged the group not to take their state for granted, citing another aspect of politics in California as a valuable lesson for Texas. "There is a coming fight for Battleground Texas, an effort to 'Turn Texas Blue'," she said.

"California was not always so blue, the shift came about 10 years ago when ACORN, Planned Parenthood and Rock the Vote got toeholds in California," Haueter said. "The goal of all liberal organizations is to identify potential (partisans) in left-leaning states, such as low information voters, youth, college students and Hispanics - people who might be sympathetic to the (false) message, '(Republicans or conservatives) want to suppress your vote.' These organizations are using the same tactics right now in Texas."

The fact that Hispanics, for the most part, lean toward the Democrats surprises Haueter. "Hispanics in Texas are socially conservative, pro-life, community-oriented and hard workers - all values espoused by Republicans," she said.

Haueter continued, "Republicans and conservatives must go after the same demographics. We have to get out and begin registering voters, especially online as Democrats do. Our goal should be to get them first and educate them. That's the way we'll turn out the vote."

According to Haueter, in an online poll, 60 percent of registered voters identified themselves as Democrats and of that percentage, 60 percent were between the ages of 18 and 30 years.

"So, we can't be too comfortable in Texas. The Democrats goal is to make Texas purple in the 2016 election. If that happens, the Republicans will have lost the national election forever."

Pictured: Clutching their favorite pachyderms, Linda James, president of the Bandera County Republican Woman, left, and Lila Ward, right, program chairman, welcomed guest speaker Lynn Haueter, a recent emigrant from California, to the club's July meeting.