As lieutenant governor, Patrick won't help Texas

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Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan Patrick beat State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in the lieutenant governor race Tuesday evening.
Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan Patrick beat State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in the lieutenant governor race Tuesday evening.

Our newly-elected lieutenant governor is a radio shock jock who somehow became a state senator, and this is definitely the greatest disappointment of last night's election results. The results certainly didn't come as a surprise, but Texans should still be distressed that the person who will soon hold the most powerful political office in Texas is terrible at compromising and just has generally awful ideas that will make some Texas laws and policies even more ridiculous and unfair than they already are.

Dan Patrick's low-profile campaign employed an impeccable strategy: the less that people know about him, the better. Yes, Texas Republican leaders have successfully led job creation in our state (as Gov. Rick Perry so wisely points out with a chart he brought to the Texas Tribune Festival in September), which is an undeniable benefit to Texas, but Patrick himself hasn't had much part in that. He has focused primarily on making life worse for Texans.

Patrick touts himself as a champion of education, but he voted against an education funding increase in 2013, and later stated that he "led the charge to restore most of the education cuts in the [2013] session." Apparently voting against a bill is now synonymous with leading the efforts to pass the bill.

He also appears set on pushing a school voucher program through during the next legislative session. Many school advocacy groups have cited research showing vouchers' lack of academic benefits for students, and past legislative sessions have shown most lawmakers firmly against these programs. Also, a voucher program likely wouldn't increase charter school attendance by much anyway. In Cleveland, only 21 percent of voucher students attended public schools previously. Vouchers usually provide parents with just a portion of the tuition required to send their children to private schools, so it's unlikely that low-income parents who receive these vouchers will somehow find the remaining money necessary to fund a private education.

In another example of his absurd ideas, Patrick said in January that creationism in schools should be taught, “triumphed [and] heralded," apparently forgetting about — or just blatantly disregarding — the constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state, an essential component of the country's education system. His opponent in the primary, David Dewhurst, suggested teaching both creationism and evolution, but Texas doesn’t like to elect reasonable people. Patrick introduced the 2011 sonogram bill, successfully making abortions even more traumatic for women while benefitting absolutely no one, and he sponsored the completely unnecessary 2011 voter ID law, bravely combatting the rampant voter impersonation (an earth-shattering number of two cases between 2000 and 2012) raging through Texas.

Patrick's election is a huge step backward, and I hope voters realize quickly what a mistake they made by choosing this man. However Patrick attempts to implement his crazy plans during the 2015 legislative session, we can be sure they won't benefit many Texans.

Voeller is an associate editor.