Texas this week: Pete Flores (R), nominee for the Texas Senate

Former Texas State Sen. Pete Flores (R) is running for District 24.

Austin, Texas – In this week’s edition of Texas This Week, the director of the Department of Public Safety sat down for his first one-on-one interview since the Uvalde school shooting, and former state senator Pete Flores (R) talks about his campaign.

Three things to know in Texas politics

1. Col. Steve McCraw speaks to KVUE about the Uvalde shooting

The director of Public Security Department sat down with KVUE’s Tony Plohetski this week and said Uvalde’s families deserve an apology from law enforcement. He also spoke about the shifting account of the officer’s actions on the day 19 children and two teachers were killed.

“I think, you [local leaders] Initially really believed, OK, that it really was a heroic law enforcement response. And entering that room was suicidal. Guess what? That’s what we’re paid for, to enter this room, plain and simple,” said DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw. “In this situation there are no excuses, no alibis.”

In his first sit-down interview since the Robb Elementary School shooting, the head of DPS spoke about the failed response of law enforcement, who waited 77 minutes before entering a classroom to confront the shooter. You can watch the full interview here:

RELATED: FULL INTERVIEW: Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw on failed response to Uvalde gunshots

2. UT/Texas Politics poll on November election

Less than two months until the November election Texas Policy Project at the University of Texas Austin released a new poll showing where the candidates stand. Gov. Greg Abbott maintains his lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

In a poll of 1,200 self-identified registered voters, 45% say they support the Republican incumbent, while 40% intend to vote for Beto O’Rourke.

In the lieutenant governor race, a rematch from 2018, incumbent Dan Patrick leads Democrat Mike Collier 39%-32%, but significantly, 20% of voters are undecided.

3. Top non-individual contributions to political campaigns

Top political campaign donors tend to have the ear of candidates, and so for the past two weeks KVUE has profiled top donors to candidates running for the state’s top offices, using data from OpenSecrets, a coalition of the Center for Responsive, Uses Politics and the National Institute for Money in Politics.

Governor Abbott’s top company, organization, or PAC contribution for 2022 is Gulf auto dealer Toyota, which donated $675,000.

Beto O’Rourke’s most important non-individual donor is his organization Powered by People. O’Rourke created the Policy Group before announcing his candidacy for governor. It gave the O’Rouke campaign $1.7 million.

RELATED: 2022 Campaign Posts: Who’s Backing Texas Political Candidates?

Vote Texas: State Senate, District 24

Last year, Texas lawmakers drew new political maps in a process called redistricting. As a result, many Central Texans are now in new political precincts and may not be familiar with the candidates running to represent them. An example of this is District 24 of the State Senate. The legislature currently representing the district, State Senator Dawn Buckingham, decided to run for land commissioner and the district underwent significant redrawing. It formerly included part of western and southwestern Travis County, and counties west and north of Austin.

Now District 24 consists of northern and northwestern Travis counties. Blanco County is no longer within District 24. And while it still includes a few counties north of Austin, most of the district now stretches south and further west.

The two candidates representing the district are Peter Flores and Kathy Jones Hospod.

In 2018, Flores won a special election and became the first Republican to represent District 19 in the State Senate. But he lost the seat to a Democrat in the 2020 general election. Now that the maps have been redrawn, District 19 has become more democratic, and District 24 has expanded to include Flores’ hometown of Pleasanton, he has another chance to join the House of Lords.

According to her website, Jones-Hospod is an engineer who has spent most of her career in telecommunications infrastructure.

KVUE News invited both candidates to speak with us about why they are running to represent District 24. Jones-Hospod never answered our calls or emails.

Pete Flores (R), nominee for the Texas Senate

Ashley Goudeau: You’re running for a newly created district that now includes some parts of the central Texas area. Some of our viewers didn’t represent you when you were in the Senate before. So tell those viewers a little bit about yourself and why you’re running to represent them in the Senate.

Pete Flores: “Well, I have the honor and privilege of being able to run for Senate District 24. And I got through, just finished our elementary school. And I was lucky enough to win our elementary school by double digits. And thank you everyone for your support and confidence in our ability to move forward and represent you effectively. I’m a former game warden in Texas, served 27 years. I finished my career as Chief Game Warden for the state, where I served four sessions in Austin and learned how to work with the Legislature. And when I retired, I ran for Senate District 19, and we finally prevailed and served in the 86th session and passed, served on six committees, passed eight bills, raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the district, and represented all districts where I have had the privilege of serving for 17 years.. Senate District 24 has 13 districts, mostly rural and small towns, population close to 930,000 and itself. So I look forward to offering my life experience u both as a state game warden as well as a senator serving rural Texas and small, small town, small town Texas, just like the town I live in, which has a population of 10,000.

Ashley Goudeau: I want to talk to you about guns, especially as we hear calls from the Uvalde community for a special session to be called or for the legislature to take action on guns. A new Texas Politics Project poll at UT found a majority of Texans say lawmakers haven’t done enough to prevent mass gun violence. Do you feel we need some form of gun control legislation in this upcoming session? And if so, what would you like to see implemented?

Pete Flores: “Well, as someone who has a lifetime of experience with guns and someone who’s been a peace officer as a state game warden, he’s with people with guns all the time and it’s, you know, and someone who’s a tight believe in the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights, you know, it’s something that’s very valuable to Texas, it’s very valuable to our Bill of Rights and something important to the people of Senate District 24. And like that, but often you want to we’re going to be able to change the laws, but, you know, I’m challenging a lot of people, I’m asking the question, you know, you know how many gun laws already exist and are we enforcing them are already on the books like should they be enforced? And the answer to that is probably not – most people don’t know how many gun laws are already on the books and whether they will be adequately enforced before we start creating more open gun laws. You know, we have a Texas penal code, and it covers a number of things that go into these heinous crimes. I will say that I have had the privilege of representing Uvalde, I love the people of Uvalde. And it breaks my heart that this happened because of a bad person. And so we need, you know, to be able to look at it all in its entirety from a 360 degree perspective and see if what we already have didn’t work and if so, why? And then move forward positively to address that. These issues, including mental health issues, of which I have been and still am a huge advocate, and am in the 86th and will continue to do so to address the root issues that caused these unfortunate evil acts. And again, to the people of Uvalde, whom I love very much, it breaks my heart that this has happened.”

Ashley Goudeau: So let’s talk specifically about some of the laws that have been thrown out that have been talked about regarding guns and whether or not you would support those ideas. Would you support raising the age for purchasing assault rifles from 18 to 21?

Pete Flores: “No, I wouldn’t.”

Ashley Goudeau: Would you support universal background checks? Also reliability checks at gun fairs?

Pete Flores: “No, I wouldn’t.”

Ashley Goudeau: And would you support the Red Flag legislation in any way?

Pete Flores: “No, I wouldn’t.”

Ashley Goudeau: Some people are saying that the Senate drew up this district especially for you, that you’re from Lt. gov. Dan Patrick were “handpicked” to be able to run and win that seat. What do you say to this kind of criticism of your campaign?

Pete Flores: “Well, I’m saying that every Senate district has changed. Every one of them, there’s 31. And it went like 19 with 630,000 people per Senate member and now it’s like our population has increased just over 29.5 million people in Texas, each Senate district has about 930,000, plus or minus 5 %. So everything changed. And so, in general, blue got bluer, red got redder. And it and the empty seats were redrawn. This was an empty seat with the vacancy of Senator Buckingham, who was running for our Land Commissioner. And so we were lucky enough to be written in 24 the district chooses you. And so you have to work very hard and still work very hard to earn each of these votes. This is far from the end as far as that is concerned. And I look forward to moving on to the general election in November and winning and taking a seat in the Senate to represent this district effectively and positively.”

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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/politics/texas-this-week/texas-this-week-pete-flores-r-candidate-for-texas-senate/269-d46613d3-919a-4fd3-a3f3-59fb34275ca9 Texas this week: Pete Flores (R), nominee for the Texas Senate

Laura Coffey

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