By BRIAN SMITH
Former Texas Workforce Commission chair Tom Pauken came through Weatherford Thursday looking to drum up support for his Republican gubernatorial campaign.
Pauken, who retired from the TWC last year, said he was brought back into politics after becoming disillusioned with the soundbites and rhetoric from Austin insiders trying to beat up on President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
“It’s easy to beat up on the Obama Administration, but what are we as Republicans offering?”
Pauken said in an interview prior to speaking at a Bush Legacy Republican Women luncheon at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center. “I wrestled with running but I saw too many insiders in Austin who are more concerned with themselves than maintaining conservative principles.”
Pauken says Republicans are losing traction in the state to Democrats who have taken hold in many of the major cities partially, he says, because of being reactive rather than proactive on issues. He wants to bring Republican strengths back to the level seen when he chaired of the Texas Republican Party in 1994.
“We have a target on our back here, there’s no doubt about it,” Pauken said. “We need to outsmart, outwit and outwork Democrats if we are going to continue being strong here.”
Pauken said education reform is a top priority if he is elected. He said helping get House Bill 5 passed, which cuts the number of student achievement tests from 15 to five, while continuing an increase in the number of vocational and technical classes offered to students shows he is for ongoing education reform.
“We’ve become too trapped in test learning and not in real learning,” Pauken said. “When the average age of a plumber is 56 and an electrician is 55, it shows the need is out there for vocational and technical students who can get themselves a good wage.”