2020 Daily Trail Markers: Fifth Texas GOP member announces retirement

By Caitlin Conant

/ CBS News

CAPITOL COVERAGE

ANOTHER RETIREMENT

Texas GOP Representative Bill Flores announced he will not seek re-election in 2020, making him the fifth GOP lawmaker from Texas to do so in the past three months. Flores, who was first elected in 2010, said he wanted to spend time with his family and honor the commitment he'd made to remain in office for six or fewer terms. He is currently serving his fifth.

The decision left David Hillburn, chairman of the Republican Party of Brazos County Republican "surprised, but not shocked…We knew it was at most one more term. He never said he was going to do it again. We were waiting one way or the other," he told CBS News Political Unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro.

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Flores' retirement, a continuation of the "Texodus" as Texas Democrats and campaign arms have called it, was not in what is considered to be a competitive district. Flores won his 2018 race by more than 15 points, his closest compared to past years, but Brazos County Democratic chair T.C. Langford said Flores' 2018 Democrat opponent, Rick Kennedy, will run again.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

STEVE BULLOCK

Today Montana Governor Steve Bullock released his "Fair Shot for Rural America" plan, which is aimed at improving the lives of rural Americans. Bullock says his first priority as president would be establishing an Office of Rural Affairs to "coordinate this initiatives within the White House, reporting directly to the President."

CBS News campaign reporters Tim Perry, Musadiq Bidar and Adam Brewster say the plan will confront agriculture issues by ending the tariff war with China and would impose a two-year "pause" on mergers to allow agencies to "focus on fairness in agriculture." Bullock also calls for more access to federal resources and an increase in enrollment in USDA insurance programs for farmers of color.

His plan also calls for connecting rural America to broadband internet within three years with a $61 billion investment, incentivizing housing investments in rural communities and allocating $220 million from the State Energy Program (of the Department of Energy) to help states' energy-related initiatives. On health care, Bullock wants to keep rural hospitals open, which could require additional funding from Congress.

PETE BUTTIGIEG

The South Bend mayor released his plan to address climate change ahead of the climate town hall Wednesday evening, according to CBS News Campaign Reporter Jack Turman. His plan outlines steps to get to net zero emissions by 2050.

Some of the steps include doubling clean energy production by 2025 and requiring passenger vehicles to have zero emissions by 2035. In addition, bigger vehicles, such as buses and planes, are required to have zero emissions by 2040 and the manufacturing and agricultural industries need to be have zero emissions by 2050.

"For too long Washington has chosen denial and obstruction as we're faced with the imminent catastrophic effects of climate change," Buttigieg said in a statement. "But the timeline that compels us to act isn't set by Congress — it's being dictated by science. Climate change impacts not only our coasts, but also farmers, small businesses, homes, and communities across our country."

Buttigieg also wants to quadruple investment, totaling $200 billion over 10 years, in federal clean energy research and development. The plan details putting a price on carbon and rebating the revenue back to Americans.

To engage local communities on solutions to combat climate change, Buttigieg proposes hosting a Pittsburgh Climate Summit in the first 100 days of his administration that would include mayors and other officials to discuss and commit to climate change solutions to implement in their local communities.

Separately this week, Buttigieg earned two Granite State endorsements, according to CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. New Hampshire State Representatives Susan Almy and Dave Morrill backed the South Bend Mayor.

"For two-and-a-half years, most Americans of every political persuasion have gone through their days tensed for what destructive chaos may come next," Almy, a 12-term lawmaker and chair of the New Hampshire House Ways & Means Committee said in a statement. "We need a President who will reach out to all Americans and remind them of our shared values, and what they mean in action." The endorsements come on the heels of Buttigieg's New Hampshire campaign expansion. This week, the mayor's Granite State operation announced 12 office openings across all 10 counties, plus 16 new staff hires.

KAMALA HARRIS

Harris released a 24-page climate change plan called, "A Climate Plan For The People" on Wednesday ahead of CNN's climate town hall Wednesday. CBS News campaign reporter Stephanie Ramirez says Harris' $10 trillion plan calls for a clean economy by 2045 and 100% carbon-neutral electricity by 2030.

Harris emphasizes climate justice in her plan, and stresses the importance of the Climate Equity Act to address the issue. Drawing on her legal background as former California attorney general, Harris would also go after major polluters, ending federal subsidies for fossil fuel production and requiring corporations to pay a climate pollution fee, CBSNews.com reporter Grace Segers notes.

Harris also advocates for the passage of the "Climate Equity Act" she and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced in July. Harris wants to "robustly fund the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance" and would also empower the Department of Justice's Environmental and Natural Resources Division.

EARLY STATES

OUT WEST

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doled out praise today for climate plans from Pete Buttigieg ("excellent") and Kamala Harris ("impressive and comprehensive"). But while both — like nearly every candidate — have pledged to block radioactive waste from being stored in Nevada's controversial Yucca Mountain, only Buttigieg has joined candidates like Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Julián Castro in swearing off any new nuclear power to meet their green energy goals.

Stopping short of calling for the eradication of nuclear energy use, Reid urged candidates to consider other renewable sources first. "Nuclear is way down on my list," he told CBS News Campaign Reporter Alex Tin.

First published on September 4, 2019 / 6:22 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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