The absurd rhetoric of the woke-Left is spewing yet again, as conservatives fight to defend our lands from foreign enemies. In this episode we get right after it and call out the importance of restricting the sale of Texas' lands to these bad actors and we also discuss the importance of school choice to the future of our communities, states and nation. No longer is school choice a fringe idea ... Main Street values are quickly becoming mainstream policy priorities.
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Hey everybody. Today on the answer, we take a look at two important issues not just for conservatives, but for the future of our state and nation. The sale of our lands to foreign enemies. And the battle around school choice is important that we find the best solutions and get these priorities done this year. Please consider supporting this podcast. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook at Ben Armenta Texas. You can also find out more about my story at Ben armenta.com. What is up my friends welcome back to the answer with Ben Armenta. I am your host, Ben Armenta. And as always, I am beyond excited that you decided to download and give us a listen. We've only been doing this for a couple months now. And we really started to see this podcast take off. Our communications folks are all over the stats and tracking how this podcast is doing. And until recently, I really was just focused on getting the content out there doing some research, lining up guests and and doing, you know, recording the podcast. But to be honest, it's kind of fun seeing where and how and who is picking this up. And by far, the biggest podcast platform that that you guys are listening to us on is Apple podcasts. And there's a million podcast platforms. I mean, you can find us on Spotify, I heart, Google, pretty much everywhere. I think we're listed on 12 or 15 different platforms. But Apple is definitely the biggie for us. It's, it's 25% of our downloads are coming just from that that one particular platform. Over 80% of our listeners are picking us up on their mobile devices. I guess that means that many of you listen on your drive time commutes, or while you're working on other things. I haven't met that many people who say that they curl up on a couch and sit down or sit down for a long flight headed out to vacation and they flip open their computer. So I suppose 80% of mobile devices. I mean that that kind of makes sense. And of course 97% of you are located within North America. No big surprise there. But it's kind of cool that some folks in Europe and Asia like to give us a listen, even if it's just a handful of y'all. So I thought it that'd be good. I mean, we need to give them a shout out we got we got every listener matters. So if we've got listeners in Europe and Asia, this shout out is to us. I'm just gonna take a couple of minutes I'm gonna do my my Europe and Asia segment now. So in no particular order number one, y'all should have stuck with Boris Johnson, your your current Prime Minister situation in in the UK, it's a total mess. You should have stuck with Boris Johnson. At least he was getting some things done. He got that. That exit from the from the European Union done he got a lot done. Y'all should have stuck with him. It's obvious that Zelinsky is totally in the bag with the liberal woke leftists corruption, media and politics. And I'm not I'm not being racist towards Ukrainians. I love Ukraine. I just never trust anyone who's named Person of the Year from Time magazine. I mean, that's a dead giveaway. You get Person of the Year from Time magazine. You definitely are in it with the liberals. Shout out to Qatar, Qatar. Everybody says one or the other. So we'll say Qatar for for the moment. I know you were a total hot mess getting ready for the World Cup. And you're you're working hard trying to clean up the slave labor situation you had going on there. But that World Cup final between France and Argentina was epic. I'm not even a SOCCER GUY. But that game was amazing. So Qatar, shout out to you for a great world cup. And China. China. Before we go too far here, I have to say that look, I'm looking forward to the 2024 president General election is going to be, it's going to be a battle. It's going to be a heavyweight fight. I think, on the Republican side, it's it's going to be, it's going to be amazing. And more than anything else. I was excited that Trump got back into the race just so we could hear him say China again, China, I can't do it. I can't do it justice. But do you know who does a perfect impression of Trump saying China? Pat Fallon? I mean, perfect. Congressman Fallon, out of North Texas is spot on, if you can find him saying it. Some speech, maybe a YouTube or whatnot. I mean, it's this perfect. But having trump up there on some debate stage against DeSantis, or Pompeo, or whomever and he talks about China, it's gonna be great. I can't wait. I'm excited. Okay, so look, before we move on, Europe, Asia, keep it up. Keep keep it up. I mean, we want 10s, maybe hundreds of listeners out there. So let's, let's keep growing. Let's keep growing our podcast downloads out there. All that being said, we have a lot going on today here on the answer. And one of the commitments I made very early on was that I was going to discuss topics that are of interest to you, the listeners. And here in Texas, we have our state legislative session going on right now. And it is chocked full of conservative priorities and battles. And, look, we are taking it to the left. It's yet again, a circumstance in which Republicans have a stronghold in both the House and the Senate. We've got the lieutenant governor, and who sets the priorities for what the Senate does, and what bills eventually, you know, make it to the floor for a vote. And then of course, we've got the governor's mansion. So we we are not shying away from a strong conservative agenda and taking it to the left. But look, we have a long way to go. There are several more months of this. I mean, this is just the beginning of February and the filing deadline. I mean, just to write the bills and file them, take them down and get them filed with the with the clerk there in the capitol is still about a month away. So there's there's a lot more to come. But you know, and maybe maybe in the coming weeks, we'll do an entire episode just on the legislative session, what's going on what you need to know as conservatives and how to get involved. But there's one bill which is really near and dear to my heart, which I'd like to chat through here a little bit. It's Senate Bill 147. And this bill was filed by Senator Koch horse who is out of the Brenham area. And the bill aims to do one thing, protect Texas, from our enemies purchasing land. So really, this is an America First priority. It's a Texas first priority. It's an America First priority. And it says that we're not going to let our enemies purchase land here in Texas. So when I was running for Texas Land Commissioner, this was one of my major platform anchor points, because it's it's a risk. It's a national security risk. And now I have a slightly harder right stance on this. I mean, personally, I think I do then then some folks. But I believe her bill is. You know, I mean, in my opinion, I don't think we should be selling land to any foreign entity. Whereas Senator Kohl course, makes it very clear which countries the she's targeting here. But she specifically called out Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. Now call me crazy. But I'm pretty certain those four countries have been enemies of the state for decades, for decades, and there isn't anybody in their right mind. Who would say that those four countries are friends of the United States. They have been our adversaries, competing on Energy, healthcare, the military, everything. They do not want our best interests, and haven't ever for as long as I can remember. So, those four countries, they take political prisoners. They imprison Americans unjustly. Those four countries do not believe in individual freedoms. Those four countries spy on us. I mean, we just saw this, the stories break recently on these Chinese spy balloons. They steal our nation's secrets, like, you know, China, flying those all over the country, penetrating our infrastructure, those four countries facilitate slave labor camps, and have even participated in genocide, like the Uyghurs in China. So look, those four countries are bad news. That's it. And this bill has nothing to do with ethnicity. It has nothing to do with Americans who are descendants of those, those countries and has nothing to do with restricting business from those countries who are ultimately fully vetted by our US State Department. And it does not prevent those types of companies from leasing land in Texas. But this bill has become a lightning rod issue for Democrats. And between you me. I love it. I love it because they're freaking out big time. Or they're freaking out. When you were a kid. Did you ever pour a little bit of salt on a slug in the driveway? Watch it squirm, just a little bit. The Slug is the slowest creature ever, but just just a little bit of salt. And it moves fast as heck for about three seconds until it dies. See, this is how you know we as conservatives are onto something. This is how you know that conservatives and Republicans have really struck a nerve. Listen here to a new story from Kaicho you 11 in Houston. And topping the news this hour controversial bill States Senate Bill 147, which bans residents, entities and businesses from certain countries from buying property in the state of Texas. There's been much talk about this and staying on top of it is our Jason miles. He joins us now with more Jason. A rally just wrapped up here in Fort Bend County outside the Justice Center. This of course, one of the nation's most diverse counties, which some say means Senate Bill 147 has an even bigger impact on the steps of the Fort Bend County Justice Center. Now, things got a tad tense with counter protesters as Democratic leaders and others, including county judge KP George rallied against Senate Bill 147, which if passed, would prohibit governments, businesses and citizens of China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from buying real estate in the Lone Star State for you seeing this this happening? It is important to stand up and say this is not okay. That's what I'm doing. He and others say they're mostly concerned about residents who may still have green cards. They could have fear for all foreign people, not just pick up someone, some nation. The bill authored by Republican state senator Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham piggybacks on a 2021 law banning so called hostile nations from owning or controlling critical infrastructure projects in Texas. I'm very much in support of SB 147. Bobby Everly chairs the Fort Bend County Republican Party, we need to protect our homeland and this does it he says penalizing individuals is not the priority. And natives of the countries in question who have become US citizens have nothing to worry about and in fact, may be supportive because they don't want those countries that they escaped from getting more of a stranglehold of foothold in America. I have a house on American is how George and others describe the bill. This is about freedom and dignity in my opinion, which he says goes against what has given people like him so much. And I got a statement late today from Senator Kolkhorst, who actually has a district office here in Fort Bend County. She calls this a national security issue and says these foreign entities could still do business in Texas by leasing land or other properties. If her bill passes and Governor Abbott I should add as already said he would sign it into law rip Morning from Richmond, Jason miles kh o u 11. News. The Democrats are losing their minds is great. Did you pick up on the words there from the extremists? Liberal county judge KP George, quote, this is about freedom and dignity. Let me tell you what I don't care about when it comes to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. freedom and dignity. I mean, what a lot of crack. But you see, this is what they do. They call us deplorables. THE CALL US domestic terrorists. And in this instance, they're calling us racist. But this isn't just some harebrained idea that Senator CoCoRaHS cooked up to get the Maga bass all energized. This is a real issue in America, and one I have been talking about for years. In 2020, then Congressman Will Hurd and Senator Ted Cruz, both from Texas raised major concerns about a Chinese wind farm being built outside of San Antonio in the town of Del Rio. That wind farm was purchased, purchased legally by a company called G H. America energy. And that company has offices in Houston. But the company, G H. America sounds so benign G H. And it sounds like it's a oil and gas company in in Houston. Now that company is 100% owned by a Chinese investment group, Guang Hua, and it CEO is a former Chinese military member, and a current member of the Communist Party in China. And had he purchased this land and well, he had purchased this land, actually in 2015. And in 2020, decided to start building a wind farm. So what's the big deal? We got some wind farms going up all good. The big deal is that we have first of all, no business giving people and countries people who are from countries who intend to do Americans harm access to our energy grid. This company is 100% owned by a Chinese investment group. The CEO is former military and a member of the Communist Party. Do we think it's a good idea to give them access to our energy grid. Now, think about how stressed and challenged we have been not just in Texas, but all across the United States with maintaining the infrastructure of our of our energy grid, and making sure that Americans have the power and energy and fuel that they need to live their lives is hard. We should not let anybody have access to our grid. But to top it off, this land was literally next door to Laughlin Air Force Base. It's ridiculous. We cannot let our foreign adversaries get that close to our critical military installations, our infrastructure, or even our communities. Then in that very same year and 2020. It comes out that the Chinese Consulate in Houston was basically a staging spot for deploying spies across our medical and oil industries. Hear from NBC News flame scene in the courtyard of the Chinese Consulate in Houston overnight, appearing to show documents burning after the State Department ordered the consulate to close by Friday, only hours after the US accused to Chinese hackers working with China's government of trying to steal research on COVID vaccines, treatment and testing from US companies and others around the world. Houston firefighters responded but we're not permitted in the State Department says the closure is intended to protect American intellectual property and Americans private information. And Senate Intelligence Chairman Marco Rubio tweeted, China's Houston consulate is a massive spy center. forcing it to close is long overdue. We're going to take actions that protect the American people protect our security or national security and also protect our economy and jobs. The administration should Matic action comes as President Trump has slapped tariffs on China for unfair trade practices, and blames China for not alerting the world to the Coronavirus. It's a shame that it happened it shouldn't have happened. China should have stopped causing Democrats who have also been warning about Chinese hacking, to worry that today's action is also an attempt to divert attention from the COVID crisis. China made mistakes they need to be called out for them. But the President is trying to deflect attention from his mistakes in the United States that have led us to have the highest death toll in the world. China's foreign ministry called the move and unprecedented escalation and Prime Minister respond with firm countermeasures, raising fears of an escalating feud between the world's two largest economies. And it doesn't stop there. Just last week, the US Air Force contacted North Dakota leaders in and around the Grand Forks area telling them that a Chinese company's plans to build a $700 million Corn Milling plant poses quote, a significant threat to national security. So now these politicians who had once touted this deal of this, you know, middle of America breadbasket, part of the country, company is going to come in and build a $700 million plant is going to, you know, hundreds, if not 1000s, of, of jobs, just in the in the construction alone, these politicians touted this as a great huge economic boom, they're now going to have to unwind this deal and start denying building permits, this is gonna get tied up in court, it's going to be a mess. But the issue here is that yet again, this plant would be closely located to the Grand Forks airbase, which just so happens to be a major strategic hub for both our Air and Space Operations. Like if we're doing a poor job of vetting these things. So having a bill like Senator Kolkhorst bill, that just flat out bans, it sounds like a great idea to me, we have to put an end to this nonsense. We have to be tone deaf, to the Democrat noise that is just starting. It's just starting. It's gonna go all the way till even after a bill like Senator Kohl courses bill gets signed. It's gonna come from the Democrats from the left from the socialists. They're gonna say racist, racist, racist, they're gonna get their base all fired up. But we have to ignore because it's, it's not about that. It's about national security. And being America and Texas first. We have to do right. For Texans. So to U K. P. George, in Fort Bend County, and all you other global extremists. It doesn't matter what propaganda you put out there. Texas first means Texas first. One of the hot button, political issues of today, at least. I mean, it's it's here in Texas, but it's it's everywhere, continues to be school choice. And there are a lot of ideas that conservatives raise, which when push comes to shove, you know, I do understand why some of those are tough public policy debates. I get it, you know, things like what to do about homelessness? Is it a mental health crisis? Is it a drug crisis? Is it a welfare crisis? Is it an economic crisis? Yeah, I think homelessness is a challenge. Because it's really all of those things, and many more. And what about COVID and a pandemic response? And I go back to the first two or four weeks remember when we had cruise ships stuck off the coast of California and because we didn't know what to do with the people who were on those those ships, and for a brief period, we all and look, I'll be the first to admit me. And we could talk about COVID At some point to me COVID COVID was so dumb, but I'll be the first to admit that in the first couple of weeks, we all went along with the policies we didn't really know what we're doing is uncharted territory for for all of us. And we didn't know that it was eventually going to transpire into excessive lockdowns and and forced shots. And, you know, I don't agree with the vast majority of what happened during the the following months and years. But I do understand why the policy debates were intense from all sides. But when you take things like education, and the fundamental belief that education is an instrument, if not the primary instrument, for enabling people to achieve the American dream, and you say, hey, we want to ensure that regardless of where you live in the state, regardless of your socio economic background, regardless of where your mom and dad went to school or not, or what their occupations are, regardless of any factor, other than your own aspirations. We want you to get the education that you seek to springboard you towards the future you want to create for yourself, when conservatives bring forth an idea, like school choice. And not only do Democrats, but often many Republicans say, heck no, absolutely not. I just have scratched my head. But I think we might be on a slightly different trajectory than in years past. So let's simplify for everyone what exactly school choice means. School choice, allows each family to make an individual choice on an improved education provider for their children. And those choices could include things like traditional public schools, public charter schools, private schools, virtual anatomy, now we're we've got all kinds of virtual learning methods that are out there and even homeschooling, that I'm just scratching the surface on some some options there. And now, more and more school choice supporters push for families to make these decisions, regardless of their financial ability or where they live. So for years, people talked about school choice based on financial status or socio economic means, and almost like if you're going to university colleges, you qualify for financial aid so that there'll be some qualifications necessary in order to receive school choice, but more and more, that it's becoming much more universal. So like almost everything else in this world, trying to get anything done in the in the past around school choice has really, it really comes down to money. And rural Republicans, even more so than Democrats have blocked the passing of prior bills due to the perceived economic impact of removing really one of the largest employers in rural Texas counties. When you when you scan Texas counties, typically the largest employers are government related. Schools, county schools, prisons, county personnel, so So really, the focus has been on the impact to those employers. And often employees of rural school districts have second or third incomes provided by the school system. So things like teachers working as bus drivers, or also as coaches and receiving an additional stipend. And so those those rural Republicans, politicians moreso than then people they tend to oppose school choice arguing that we'd be diverting funds from, you know, from other local agencies who are strapped for cash already in order to pay for, you know, keep the lights on in the schools. And for the longest time, school administrators have resisted the change, since every student enrolled, or under enrolled has a direct impact on the revenue that that school district or school system or individual school brings in from the state. So enrollment, tide funding. One of the other arguments brought forward by opponents of school choice comes down really to just that And Representative Gary Vandiver from, from Texas Republican. He's got a district that includes 30 rural school, school district school systems. And he's one of the lawmakers, who, who in the past, worked hard to kill school choice legislation. 2017 2019. And he said that one of the concerns he's hearing from parents is that they're, they're paying property taxes, which fund the public schools. But you know, they've opted to, or they would like to do homeschooling, or send their kids, you know, elsewhere, but they're paying the property taxes. So if you're, if you're paying for it, you need to, you know, you want to get something out of it. Outside of large urban areas, and private schools are kind of far and few between. So one of the arguments that he's made also in the past is that there just aren't enough private school or alternative options. As I mentioned before, we're now in a new world, with virtual learning academies with remote learning options. And it's just, it's just not the way it was, in the past, even 468 years ago. Many rural private schools have religious affiliations, and, you know, Catholic, Catholic schools, Presbyterian, elementary schools, and he also expresses that view. You know, if you start to divert funds, or you create voucher programs, you're going to have families who struggle or are challenged to identify which schools are the best for them. And that there's such a sense of community in these rural areas, that center around the primary school that's there, and that any type of voucher or funding program is going to erode this sense of community and the community spirit. So with all these differing points of view from politicians and school administrators, really, all of whom have way less skin in the game than actual parents. The question is, so where do we go from here? How do we reconcile all this? So the hobby school at the University of Houston, the hobby school is a political science think tank at the University of Houston, they run polls and surveys and do a lot of great research at that usually is very, very accurate. The plus or minus margin is very tight in a lot of the work that they do. And so they conducted a survey to gauge us right now this this year in 2023. So they conducted a survey to gauge what is the public support for school vouchers or any other type of funding like tax credits, to to give back to parents so that they could they could send their kids to some alternative schooling and so here's here's what they found is here's a few of the findings. 61% of Texans said they support providing tax funded vouchers to low income parents, while 53% approve vouchers for all parents. Black Texans are significantly more likely than Latino and white Texans to support vouchers for low income families. So 78% of black Texans support vouchers and school choice for low income families were 64% Latino and 55%. White support. Support was weakest among white Democrats, with 48% supporting vouchers for low income Texans and just 31% supporting vouchers for all Texans. Let me say that again. The people who run around and love to proclaim that they're out to help the lowest of society For those that are in great need, you know, the woke, white liberal Democrats, they're the ones who support school choice. The least. People in rural areas were significantly more likely to support vouchers for all Texas families than were people living in urban areas. So they found that 59% of people in rural communities support vouchers for low income families. And that rises to 62%. If the voucher program is extended to all families, again, support is higher among independent and Republican voters than Democrats, with 67% of independents supporting it 64% Republicans, and just 57% of Democrats support vouchers. Look, let's just hit the major headlines here. First of all, Texans want choices. Texans want control over where and how their kids are educated. Secondly, the perception that rural communities don't want school choice is wrong. When you take out the nonsense in the noise coming from elected officials, you filter it out. And you go right to the people, you go right to the moms and dads and the families, and you make school choice, a kitchen table discussion topic. Rural communities significantly support school choice. The perception that minorities don't want school choice, wrong. The perception that Republicans don't want to offer a hand up and help those with limited means secure a higher education. Wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. See, conservatives understand that rising tides lifts all boats. And that high quality education is by far the most important tool and helping people get to where they want to be. Look, conservatives support capitalism. Capitalism is a vehicle for achieving the American dream. And conservatives want to help more Americans achieve their dream. School choice helps that happen. School choice puts the power back in the hands of moms and dads, and we got to get behind this. First Lady Barbara Bush once said, quote, if more people could read, write and comprehend, we could be much closer to solving so many of the other problems our country faces today. See, she understood the importance of education, that if we really want to solve big problems, the biggest problems, then we need to be an educated people. We need to be an educated country. It cannot just be the few elitist. And by that I mean, what the Democrats tried to do, which is ensure that only they have access to the best education. Mrs. Bush understood that many people of all backgrounds are needed to help our country advance. Let me give you some other statistics. More than 1 million adults in Houston are functionally illiterate. This means that one in every three adults in Harris County are not able to read, right? Compute, think critically and communicate orally well enough to function on their job. One in three adults, you go you come to Houston, you go out to a restaurant, you drive around, go to an Astros game, you're out and about one in three of those people that you see are functionally illiterate. 61% of low income families have no books at all in their home. Eighth grade math scores in Texas have fallen seven points since COVID. Texas ranks 33rd in fourth grade reading 41st In eighth grade reading and 25th, and eighth grade math, I could go on and on and on and on and on. The fact is that education in the US, and that definitely includes Texas is broken. And parents desperately want options. They want to create the change themselves. Families are, I've always been willing to embrace the CANDU entrepreneurial spirit of Texas. And they're saying now more than ever, give me my money back the money I earned. Give me my money back. And I got this from here. So let's go to the extreme with this. If we got rid of all public schools, of course, we never would. But we got rid of all public schools, just just for the sake of this discussion, as a result of a significant number of students being educated through other means through homeschool private schools, etc. And the level of education quality and performance by each student improves. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. As a great thing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, but expecting a different result. And that's what we're doing right now with public schools. I'm not saying throw in the towel on public schools, we need to keep providing them resources and helping them out. Look, I attended public schools, I taught in public schools when I when I was early in my career, my kids attend public schools. But the fact is that I was fortunate. My parents had the means. And now my wife and I have the means to cherry pick which public schools we want our kids to be enrolled in, we can we can move. And these schools are amazing that one of the greatest drivers of success in my kids schools is the amount of involvement that the parents have. they're active, they're volunteering, they're patrolling the hallways, from elementary on up. They're attending extracurricular activities. It's amazing. I mean, even they're, they're decorating locker rooms on game days, they're attending pep rallies, they're doing all kinds of things being invested and engaged in their kids education. But the vast majority of families that don't have that luxury, they can't just pick up and move and figure out cherry pick the best public schools, and that goes for urban or rural communities. And so we need to give them options. We need to give them the resources and the means to be able to be able to access the education that they want, so their child can achieve their dreams. So in true conservative form, we're offering tangible and executable solutions. And we're doing that across the country. Just recently, Utah's governor signed a school choice bill into law House Bill 215. And that bill established scholarship accounts on behalf of every K through 12 students in the state of Utah for approved education, goods and services. And the best part about this bill is that it also identified ways to continue to fund public schools. But with accountability measures in place, it's brilliant. Hold institutions and people and leaders accountable for performance. I will did something very similar this year to they passed legislation called the students first act, act, excuse me, the students first act, which allows Iowa students to use public money to pay for private school tuition and or expenses. And the great part about the Iowa bill is that it also extends to every student in the state. No pre qualifying attributes based on income levels or any other nonsense. It's just about every kid getting a high quality education of their choosing. Every time period. Arizona did the same thing by extending education scholarship accounts to all 1.1 million K through 12. Kids in their state. So it's happening. It's happening. This is the new red wave, public policy, common sense policy sweeping the country. So where does Texas stand? We've had school choice bills move through the Senate in the past, but they always seem to flatline certainly flatline in the house, and they never make it to the governor's desk. There does seem to be renewed pressure and an increase in momentum this year, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott, both declared in the last six weeks or so that they're basically all in on school choice. And this is this is the time this is the legislative session that they want to get this done. And I do believe that this is an indicator that we're going to see politicians who have supported it, take another step forward and make it a priority. And I think the number one reason why conservatives are going to pull this off this time, is due to the fact that we have a large surplus of money in our state coffers. Listen to this cut from Dan Patrick. So we have 12 107 school districts 12 107 For about five and a half million kids. Just to put that in perspective. In Florida, they have 3 million kids, and they have 66 school districts. So the political arm of education in Texas has very big 1200 superintendents, compared to Florida has 66. Very powerful entities, as well as school board members on each of those. And we have some great superintendents, and most of our public schools are great. And many of them are good. They're not. They're not all bad. But we have someone there bad when you have public school failure, when you have 8000 campuses, you're gonna have failures. Well, let's look inside the numbers of 407 school districts, we have 429 that have less than 500 Kids, less than 500 kids. So if you go to it always here, and it's rural Republicans killing I mean, Democrats aren't supporting school choice. So they should, the demand is really high in their constituencies in the big cities, but they went to teachers union for some not to vote for it, even though their voters want it. And you can look at all the data, school choices supported by 80% of Republicans 64% of independents and 46% of Democrats. And so So you got the world Republicans say, Well, no, this is gonna hurt us, you know, it's gonna take money, like, no one's gonna build a private school in a district that only has 500 kids from K through 12. Okay, we have 700. If you add up all the numbers, cumulatively, 966 districts have less than 3000 Kids within 222,018, ISD or more. So we're not even talking about comparing apples to oranges. And so the only way we're going to get a school choice bill through I believe, is by saying to those small districts, we will hold you hold you hold harmless. So if you lose, a student will continue to pay you for that soon. That will cost us several 100 million to do that. I was on the phone yesterday with Commissioner Morales, but two hours walking through a lot of education issues. We need to have the best education system in the country, you cannot live the American dream unless you have a great education. Everyone in this room has told me I'm sure like by myself, my kids, we just need to have the best. And the only way you have like anything else the best is have competition. And so we need to pass school choice. This is the session to do it. One thing I've learned about politics, which is very similar to business, is that the best negotiated deals for the people of Texas usually leave each side slightly annoyed or slightly unhappy. Do I like the fact that we may essentially subsidize broken systems or schools? Heck no. Do I like the fact that we might have to pacify schools and administrators and school board associations who only promote what it is that keeps them in power? And they don't really care about the outcomes that they're producing in the classrooms. I mean, look at these failing districts like HSD, where the state is, is likely going to have to continue to take it over. Of course not. But should we entertain those if it ultimately returns control back to moms and dads? We have to we have to entertain that we'd be negligent if we didn't. Since the opening of the legislative session, multiple bills have been filed by various legislators on school choice. And we're going to see these coalesce over time these are going to merge as they work their way through the committee process in March and April. Senator Mays Middleton out of the Galveston South A south east part of of Houston area too. He's He's drafted a bill. And it's fantastic. It's a bill that allows families who opt out of public school to really receive the average amount of money that it cost Texas to educate their child, which is roughly around $10,000 a year. So all kinds of you know, there's there's vouchers, there's tax credits, there's returning the dollars from from the state back to you so that you can spend it on on other things as a mom and dad. I love it. It's playing. It's simple. It's direct. It's to the point, it's common sense. Give every family in Texas, the financial leverage to determine where, who and how their kids get educated. Whether we eventually move to a savings account, or we implement vouchers, whether we give tax credits, or whether we come up with something new and creative, and it still needs to get figured out. After safety and security. No other priority is greater than building up the most educated communities in the world. It benefits us as individuals, it benefits our economy. It benefits our ability to pursue the full greatness of Texas and the United States. Call your state rep. Call your Senator, tell them you support it. Now is the time for conservatives to rise up and get school choice done in Texas. Let's get this over the finish line. Thank you so much for listening, everybody. As always, you can email me your thoughts to Ben at Ben armenta.com. I'll be sure to like follow and share this podcast with your family and friends. We have school board elections coming up. In our next episode, we're going to learn a bit more about what they do and how you can help those who get elected school boards make a difference in your schools. Thank you again. And God bless. The answer with Ben Armenta is brought to you today by Gambit construction, a leading multifamily general contractor, they have over 50 years of experience in renovations, restorations and rebuilds. But most importantly, they have strong conservative values just like you and me. 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