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Statewide candidates meet with Texas veterans

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A political skirmish broke out during a gathering of Texas military veterans. Lt Governor David Dewhurst, who is in the middle of a GOP Primary fight for his job, took an unexpected broadside from the top democrat who is also eyeing the top spot in the state Senate.

The Mid-Winter Conference for the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars provided a platform Friday for several candidates running for statewide office. The March Primary elections are not far away and one of the most contested races is for Lt Governor.

The man who currently has the job David Dewhurst spoke to VFW members and announced additions to what's called an "Interim Charge." Before the legislature reconvenes next year he wants a review of programs that were created to enhance mental health services. He also wants to find out if new rules to help service men and women transition into civilian jobs are working. Much of the work will be done by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

"And we need to do everything we can to facilitate information to you, so I'm charging our senators I'm charging our appropriate committee to come up, and the veterans commission to come up with the most streamline system so you're not having to spend days and days having to find out information on our most basic services," said the Lt. Governor.

The Committee Chairperson, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, who also wants to be Lt Governor, gave Dewhurst a backhanded thank you.

"Well, I'm really thankful the Lt. Governor acknowledging the request the Committee put in but just a few months ago he said the committee I chaired wasn't really relevant or of importance, said Senator Van de Putte (D) San Antonio.

The Lt. Governor made the comment, reference by Van De Putte, during a debate this past September. State Sen. Dan Patrick, who is challenging Dewhurst, criticized his rival during the event for appointing what he considered to be too many Democrats as Committee Chairmen.

"I'm glad that the Lt. Governor has maybe changed his mind because he was trying to dis me ... and Democrats because they called him on democrats leading too many Committees, and he said they only chaired the unimportant ones," said Van De Putte.

A debate between Dewhurst and Van de Putte will have to wait. Dewhurst still has to get past a group of strong republican challengers for the nomination this march. That group includes State Senator Dan Patrick. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Ag Commissioner Todd Staples.

Governor Rick Perry another familiar face with VFW members who also has an uncertain political future made an appearance Friday. He told the group the processing system for veteran's benefits has improved but he wants the back-log eliminated. This was his last appearance as Governor at the conference-- Perry has not formally announced whether or not he will launch another bid for the white house.

The current occupant of the oval office, President Barack Obama, was a topic of concern for another guest speaker. U.S. Senator John Cornyn criticized the president for threatening to by-pass Congress with more Executive Orders if several controversial issues do not clear the legislative process. Some conservative groups are trying to pressure Republicans, like Sen. Cornyn, to pursue Impeachment Charges against the President. Cornyn said he is not willing to go down that path.

"I don't think that's would be particularly productive direction I think the most important thing that conservatives can focus on is electing a republican majority in the United States Senate come November, a lot of this is an effort to district people from the failure, the epic failure of Obamacare," said Sen. Cornyn who added that "a day of accountability" is coming.

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