Since he quit being nonpartisan mayor to run as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Tom Leppert has certainly made his politics very clear: He's for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife National Refuge and a balanced-budget amendment, and against National Public Radio and gay marriage and cap-and-trade. Brian Bolduc, a William F. Buckley fellow at the National Review Institute, wanted more details; hence this lengthy chitchat with the former mayor posted this morning, in which Leppert proves he's more fiscal than foreign policy.
Still, Bolduc sounds like some Friends of Unfair Park when he wonders whether a few of Dallas's higher-profile projects might not serve as Not Mayor Tom's ultimate undoing:
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His mayoral past may hurt him still. In particular, Leppert supported the construction of a city-owned hotel and solicited federal funds for the Trinity River Project, a panoply of public works. Now, however, Leppert opposes funding the project -- through earmarks at least. "Earmarks are not a good way to do the budgeting. Trinity River is an important project; it's a good project. I'm happy to have a project like that be measured on its own merits, and on its own merits it will do fine." It sounds as if he would be happy getting funding through the regular appropriations process.
Nonetheless, Leppert would bring an executive, business-minded approach to lawmaking. He sums up his planned method thus: "When you look at an idea, does it reduce the influence of Washington on the average family? If it doesn't, we can't afford it."