Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick just got a potential Democratic challenger – Houston businessman Mike Collier filed today to throw his hat in the ring officially.

Our education and public policy columnist Bethany Erickson had a question and answer session with Collier, covering everything from property taxes to high-stakes testing to public education to gun control.

We have that conversation here.

Todd Staples at MetroTexThat’s Todd Staples, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Texas with me, Rhonda Needham, Former TAR TREPAC Chair, and precious Vicki White, Keller Williams Elite. Todd sure made the agents feel great when he said “Realtors are the reason why Texas is doing so well!” After cautioning everyone on the headwinds facing Washington, he focused on the two most important things he worries about in Texas: our future water needs, and a skilled workforce. (Photo kindly taken by Marvin Jolly, Keller Williams Elite.)

Speaking of headwinds, I am sure you all have heard about the bankruptcy court’s decision in Detroit: “In a ruling that could reverberate far beyond Detroit, a federal judge held on Tuesday that this battered city could formally enter bankruptcy and asserted that Detroit’s obligation to pay pensions in full was not untouchable,” this from the New York Times. My favorite (shudder) part of the story is what Bruce Babiarz, a spokesman for the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System, said:

“This is one of the strongest protected pension obligations in the country here in Michigan,” he said. “If this ruling is upheld, this is the canary in a coal mine for protected pension benefits across the country. They’re gone.”

Why do we care about Detroit when we are sitting happy in Dallas? Look for a big fight on pension protections across the country as municipalities find they cannot sustain support of police, fire, streets, education and crime fighting etc. and still support these pensions.

Todd Staples at MetroTexThat’s Todd Staples, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Texas with me, Rhonda Needham, Former TAR TREPAC Chair, and precious Vicki White, Keller Williams Elite. Todd sure made the agents feel great when he said “Realtors are the reason why Texas is doing so well!” After cautioning everyone on the headwinds facing Washington, he focused on the two most important things he worries about in Texas: our future water needs, and a skilled workforce. (Photo kindly taken by Marvin Jolly, Keller Williams Elite.)

Speaking of headwinds, I am sure you all have heard about the bankruptcy court’s decision in Detroit: “In a ruling that could reverberate far beyond Detroit, a federal judge held on Tuesday that this battered city could formally enter bankruptcy and asserted that Detroit’s obligation to pay pensions in full was not untouchable,” this from the New York Times. My favorite (shudder) part of the story is what Bruce Babiarz, a spokesman for the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System, said:

“This is one of the strongest protected pension obligations in the country here in Michigan,” he said. “If this ruling is upheld, this is the canary in a coal mine for protected pension benefits across the country. They’re gone.”

Why do we care about Detroit when we are sitting happy in Dallas? Look for a big fight on pension protections across the country as municipalities find they cannot sustain support of police, fire, streets, education and crime fighting etc. and still support these pensions.