Ted Cruz makes headlines, but can he make headway on Texas issues?

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by Brad Watson / WFAA.com

WFAA

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Texas got a tea party two-punch on Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz appeared in North Texas as his mentor, former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, made a stop in Austin.

As they continue to enthrall their conservative, small-government followers, others question just how really effective they are — especially Cruz as a freshman lawmaker.

Cruz got a standing ovation when he was introduced at the Richardson Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday. He said he has been effective for Texas by opposing any more gun control bills.

"[I've been] working closely with John Cornyn, working closely with a great many other senators to focus on where the problem has been," Cruz said. "In my view, any legislation should focus on violent criminals and should not be stripping rights from law-abiding citizens."

Cruz cited his unsuccessful repeal of Obamacare as a victory for Texans, too... although Dallas County Democrats called it just a waste of time, according to Executive Director Kim Morris.

"The Affordable Care Act has been put before Congress 36 times. I don't know what he's going to accomplish by trying to do it again except talk to his base," Morris said.

In his high-profile start for a freshman senator, Cruz has attracted controversy, air time, and now questions of how effective he can be on Texas-specific issues.

Jim DeMint, his tea party mentor who campaigned for him last July before the primary runoff, sponsored 146 bills and got one passed — the naming of a post office — before resigning as a South Carolina senator.

But in Austin, DeMint told KVUE that's not the only measure of results.

"A lot of what we have to do if you're effective is to stop the bad things that they're trying to push through in Washington that hurt states like Texas," he said.

But with a huge state with highways, military bases, ports and universities relying on federal funds, Cruz has yet to build his Texas record.

He says he's up to it. "I think we have been tremendously effective," Cruz said.

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