Beto O'Rourke to Run for President, Daylight Saving Time Debated, Frisco Residents Have Seen Enough

Good morning!Here are the top political headlines from the campaign trail, Austin, Washington and Dallas.Points from the trail1. Beto O'Rourke formally launched a bid for the White House on Thursday morning, announcing his long-anticipated campaign with an online video ahead of a three-day swing through Iowa, Washington bureau chief Todd J. Gillman reports. "This is going to be a positive campaign that seeks to bring out the very best from every single one of us, that seeks to unite a very divided country. We saw the power of this in Texas," the former El Paso congressman said in the video with his wife, Amy, seated beside him.Here's more coverage of O'Rourke and his campaign: Analysts say that if he wants to win, he has to add core elements of a traditional campaign, including experienced consultants, better organization on the ground and a more disciplined approach. Beto should be Beto, but with a few modifications, says political writer Gromer Jeffers Jr. O'Rourke hates labels, but he won't be able to stop others from trying to put one on him now that he's officially launched a White House bid. Washington correspondent Tom Benning takes a look at his record on key topics, providing a comparison of his more progressive positions against his more centrist views. Think you know Beto? Washington correspondent Matthew Adams has compiled 18 things you should know about the former El Paso congressman. You can keep up with all the news about O'Rourke's campaign at this link. And if you want to follow the campaign of the other Texan in the race, Julián Castro, you can read those stories here. Gromer's gaugeGromer Jeffers Jr. is the political writer for The Dallas Morning News. The Howard University graduate and Chicago native has covered three presidential campaigns and written extensively about local, state and national politics. You can catch Gromer every Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5's Lone Star Politics.Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke is in Iowa today after the announcement of his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for president. Here are a few things to consider as he joins a large and diverse field of contenders. The vibe and landscape of a primary contest is much different from his Senate race against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. He'll have to distinguish himself from candidates who generally agree on progressive issues related to health care, immigration and education. O'Rourke had a united Democratic front against Cruz, a candidate with sharp contrasting views. Money shouldn't be a problem for O'Rourke. He raised more than $80 million for his Senate campaign, much of it from small-dollar donors across the country. Those givers are expected to supply his presidential effort with lots of cash. To send his rivals a strong message, he'll need to match or exceed the $6 million Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders raised the first day he announced. Expect O'Rourke to stick to a unifying theme involving the need for Americans to come together and reject the polices of President Donald Trump. While other candidates toss red meat to the Democratic base, O'Rourke will try to include independent voters and soft Republicans in his mix, which could help in open primaries and cast him as a strong opponent against Trump. Points from Austin1. A plan that would have Texans vote on whether to stay on Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time year-round is gaining momentum, its sponsor said Wednesday. Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, said he's "agnostic" on whether Texas goes year-round on Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time.He just wants to end a decades-long practice of changing clocks twice a year -- and let voters decide, he said after a House panel heard his legislation.2. University of Texas tennis coach Michael Center was fired Wednesday after being charged in the Justice Department's investigation into a bribery scheme to get students into elite colleges. His firing came hours after Gov. Greg Abbott told Texas universities to re-evaluate their admissions processes in the wake of the federal investigation.3. A bill to undo Texas cities' paid sick leave policies is being criticized for potentially imperiling, or at least undermining, local laws that protect gay and transgender workers.Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, insists the bill doesn't target the LGBT community, an assurance echoed by some business leaders who support his effort. But gay rights groups and city leaders say it could have unintended consequences for nondiscrimination ordinances in Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Austin.4. Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday seemed to welcome the head of the Department of Public Safety's acceptance of blame for a botched rollout of a more rigorous, ongoing search by Texas for possible noncitizen voting.Abbott said he continues to stand 100 percent behind his nomination of Secretary of State David Whitley, who runs the other agency involved in the ill-fated release of error-filled lists of voters, which has drawn scornful criticism from a federal judge.Abbott, who twice criticized DPS director Steve McCraw in recent weeks, declined to directly answer a question about whether McCraw's testimony to a Senate panel on Tuesday has appeased the Republican governor.5. Shorter waits for driver's licenses and money to put a new state mental hospital for Dallas back on the drawing board were among highlights of a two-year state budget that won tentative approval from a House panel this week.Bob Garrett reports that big winners in the House's budget package include retired teachers, state workers -- and Texas children.6. The Texas House's $9 billion school funding plan had its first public vetting Tuesday, with school advocates and officials at odds over the pros and cons of a merit pay system partially inspired by Dallas ISD.School superintendents, including the top brass from Dallas and Richardson ISDs, offered full-throated endorsements of the House's omnibus public education bill in a committee hearing. The plan would incentivize districts to implement merit pay. But some teacher groups took umbrage with a system that rewards only some, when all of Texas' teachers make below the national average.  Continue reading...

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