AUSTIN, Texas – Following the end of the 84th Legislative Session, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick sat down with Breitbart Texas to discuss the accomplishments of the Senate during the session. Patrick discussed big victories for conservatives in the areas of border security, tax reductions, transportation, and the Second Amendment. He also discussed how procedural changes impacted the Senate’s ability to get things done this session and the differences between being a senator and lt. governor.
In Part One of the interview, Lt. Governor Patrick discussed border security. The remaining issues will be covered in Part Two of the interview.
“My number one issue in the campaign was border security,” the Lt. Governor said. “I think we scored a near perfect ten in regards to what the people wanted us to do.”
“The most important thing you have to do is fund public policy,” Patrick explained. “We increased border spending from somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million in the last session to $800 million this session. That’s nearly two-and-one-half times what we’ve ever spent in one budget for border security.”
“That is significant,” he continued. “As you know, the House came in at $565 [million] and we were at $811 and we finished at $800. I refused to back yield on that issue.”
Patrick then laid out how the money will be applied to the critical issue of securing the Texas border. “We had to have money in there for a 10 hour workday,” he began, “and what’s critical about the 10 hour workday is that is the equivalent of having 600 more DPS [Texas Department of Public Safety] troopers.” He said that was important because we cannot hire that many troopers immediately and put them through the training program. He said the effective net gain of 600 troopers would be seen across the state and not just along the border region.
“Steve McCraw [DPS director] came to me and said ‘if we have a ten hour workday it’s the same as having 600 more troopers,” Patrick reiterated. “So, that was key. That was not in the House budget — that was in our budget and was a part of the difference. And, we wanted funding to keep the National Guard on the border.”
“The Governor will have the funds,” he stated, “whether he needs 200 or he needs 1,000, he doesn’t have to come back. When Rick Perry decided to put the Guard on the border, he didn’t have any money. I wanted to be sure the Governor had enough money.”
In addition to the 10 hour workday that Patrick describes as a force multiplier, Patrick said “we are spending the most money we have ever spent on technology, and adding aircraft. So it’s a full package.”
“We passed the border bill, but the truth is that had the border bill not passed, it would not have made too much of a difference because everything I wanted in that bill is in the budget – specified,” he said. He explained how the budget includes funds for a new training center, a new Texas Ranger company, additional trooper academies, more air power, and everything else they needed.
“The grassroots gave me the shopping list for border security,” the Lt. Governor explained. “We got them everything they wanted and got them some things they didn’t even know they wanted. It was a home run.”
Patrick explained the bill also includes a new corruption investigation unit that is specifically for the border region where Breitbart Texas has extensively covered the issue of government corruption along that region. That unit will work out of the Attorney General’s Office.
The Lt. Governor also said there will be flexibility in the budget to assist the cash-strapped Brooks County. Breitbart Texas has provided in-depth reporting about the Falfurrias community located in Brooks County and how the area is directly affected by the immigration issue despite being one county removed from the border. “They don’t get any federal funds, so we were very aware of that as well.
“In that area [border security],” Patrick concluded, “I would give our members an A+.”