On a beautiful sunny Friday in our State’s Capitol and on Texas Independence Day to boot, thousands of ordinary citizens from all over Texas gathered to send a clear message…”Don’t Tag Texas!” From Collin County up north down to Wilson County and everywhere in between, ranchers, farmers, and city dwellers marched on Congress Avenue to the south Capitol steps. When those at the front arrived at the Capitol, there were still crowds of protesters turning the corner at First Street onto Congress Avenue (roughly 10 blocks down). The sea of “Stop the TTC,” “Don’t Mess With Texas Freeways,” “Perry is selling us out,” and a host of other signs aimed at Governor 39% were wall to wall with folks chanting, “Don’t Tag Texas!”
The rally kicked off with Representative Garnet Coleman (see video here) speaking about HB 998, his toll moratorium bill, and the genesis of it that started last session in 2005. He thanked the grassroots for their efforts which give his bill a better chance of passing due to the massive growth of our movement since 2005.
Then Rep. Lois Kolkhorst shared her bill HB 1881 with the crowd which will KILL the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC). She shared a bit of Texas history and thanked the people for the strength of their support which will help her bills get passed and free Texans from this boondoggle. She said this is about the next generation as she pointed to her daughter playing behind her on the Capitol steps. She’s absolutely right. My six children were with me at the Capitol as well; it’s a sobering thought to think they’ll still be paying tolls to a foreign company if this thing gets built and these contracts get signed all over Texas. It’s what keeps me in this fight!
Penny Langford-Freeman from Congressman Ron Paul’s office inspired everyone to stay in this fight to keep Texas FREE and independent, referring to the NAFTA connection and the formation of the North American Union, stating Congressman Paul is squarely and firmly on our side fighting for us in Washington (which got the crowd chanting, “Ron Paul for President!”).
We also heard from Rep. Nathan Macias, MY NEW STATE REP who took the place of “Toller” Carter Casteel who REFUSED to listen to her constituents on tolls, whom I had the privilege of introducing. He sits on Rep. Mike Krusee’s House Transportation Committee where Krusee is bottling up ANY bills that would help our cause. That’s why Kolkhorst and others are bypassing Krusee’s Committee and getting our legislation through other committees. Nonetheless, we have many allies on the House Transportation Committee, Macias (a native San Antonian) being the champion of our cause for the San Antonio region!
We also enjoyed a blues style song written about this issue by Jimmie Vaughan who referred to tolls and the TTC as “shackles” and the tagging of Texas as “Big Brother.” How true! Among the other speakers who stirred up the crowd and led them in a variety of chants like “No TTC,” “Impeach Perry,” and “Don’t Tag Texas,” were Eagle Forum’s Gina Parker, David and Linda Stall, Founders of Corridor Watch.org, and yours truly. Special thanks to Hank Gilbert for organizing the rally and being a terrific emcee.
The rally concluded just after 5 PM with a good crowd having stayed the full 3 hours! We had statewide news coverage (Dallas Morning Newx, Austin American Statesman, San Antonio Express-News, and TV coverage in every major market an smaller ones like Waco, as well as prolific coverage on radio in all the markets even down to Corpus Cristi!), and the BIGGEST news of all was the interview David Stall landed with Lou Dobbs of CNN! So we made national news which was one of our chief goals for the rally! This IS a NATIONAL issue, not just a Texas issue and anyone who spends any length of time on our web site can read about it. This shift to privatizing our public infrastructure and the construction of NAFTA superhighways throughout the United States is now well-documented, and it’s high time Americans get informed. With the help of other national press figures, coverage of this issue will only get more frequent. The BIG money and geopolitical forces behind this shift to tolling and privatization can no longer operate under the radar screen thanks to all of your hard work, folks!