By Rebecca Flannery
A Texas lieutenant governor hopeful, Sen. Dan Patrick, and Sen. Brian Birdwell spoke at 5 p.m. Thursday to members of the Baylor chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas.
Patrick, the Republican candidate from Houston, spoke about issues from education in the state to protection along the Texas and Mexico border. Patrick said one of his largest passions is education for the population.
“If you don’t have an education, unless you’re very fortunate, very skilled, very talented, it’s very tough to live the American dream,” Patrick said. “We have to make sure young people have that opportunity and know how important that is.”
Cisco junior Whitney Mechling, the chairwoman of Baylor’s Young Conservatives of Texas, said the chapter discusses the same policies the senator spoke about Thursday.
“His policies match what our legislative policies stand for,” Mechling said. “We as a chapter and as conservatives on campus hold very strongly to our beliefs.”
Sen. Patrick said another issue on the forefront of his mind is border control.
“There are more people apprehended crossing the border every week than there are people born in Texas,” Patrick said. “We need to have legal immigration reform, we need after-the-border security to find a way to address the people who are here.”
He said taking control of the border and stopping the flow of immigrants into Texas before addressing other issues caused by illegal immigration has been one of the most discussed solution to the issue.
“I don’t think it’s the will of the people to deport people,” Patrick said. “I think the will of the people is to find a solution to get the border secure first.”
There was a time at the end of his conversation to answer questions from the crowd. In the panel, questions about legislation on the allowance of guns on college campuses were addressed by Birdwell, the author of Senate Bill 182, known as the “Campus Personal Protection Act.”
“It’s not just the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, it’s article one section 23 of the state constitution,” Birdwell said. “There are some people who say more guns on campus are equally unsafe. I’m here to tell you as a professional soldier and as a citizen of the state, where do you think you have the best chance of being harmed? A gun free zone or a non-gun free zone? It’s not about the gun, it’s about the right to self-preservation.”
Patrick, a co-author of the bill, said they were short one vote in having the Campus Personal Protection Act passed when they submitted it in February 2013, but they plan to file it again with the hopes of the bill passing this time around.
In a 2013 press release from Young Conservatives of Texas, the organization endorsed Patrick in his bid for the position of lieutenant governor.
“Lieutenant governor is arguably the most powerful elected position in Texas, serves as President of the Texas Senate, and sets the legislative agenda for the Session,” states the press release. “He also determines committee assignments and chairs.”
Sen. Patrick is running against the Democratic hopeful, Sen. Laticia Van de Putte. The election will take place Nov. 4.