By Jenn Brown, Battleground Texas Executive Director

After twelve years of failed policies and divisive rhetoric, it’s welcome news that Governor Perry announced he will not run for re-election. It’s time for a new era in the Lone Star State—Texans deserve a leader who will stand up and fight for their values.

The Republican party needs to know that voters are tired of being taken for granted and will hold elected officials accountable for their extremist views. It’s time to have a real discussion about the issues that matter most, instead of defaulting to the status-quo extremism that does not reflect the values of most Texans.

Under Governor Perry’s administration, Texas is first in the nation in the percentage of people who are uninsured. Yet rather than address this growing problem, Governor Perry failed to take action to expand healthcare access to more than a million Texans. At the same time, Republican leaders have gutted billions of dollars in funding for public schools even as the state falls farther and farther behind in education standards. In the last few weeks alone, Perry refused to sign a pay equity bill that would address the wage discrimination women face every day, and left the state with insufficient transportation funding.

One thing is clear: the Governor’s first priority is not the wellbeing of Texans and his policies do not reflect the values of the Lone Star State. Governor Perry’s recent decision to call a second special legislative session—attempting to overturn the work done by Senator Wendy Davis and the thousands of Texas voices supporting her filibuster of a law restricting access to women’s health care options—shined a national spotlight on the extremist tactics of the Republican Party in Texas.

Given the current Republican playbook, it’s no wonder so many grassroots organizers are standing up and making their voices heard by their elected officials in Austin. Battleground Texas is committed to helping Texans organize their communities and register new voters. We know this energy will continue to grow in the coming years—we look forward to bringing new voters into the political discussion and hope that candidates on both sides will take a serious look at the issues affecting Texans.