This ordeal has been a test of my faith

Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera

The last 48 hours have been some of the toughest of this campaign. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is trailing by a large margin in the polls going into early voting, has launched one of the dirtiest attacks in the history of Texas politics.

Dewhurst has denied he had anything to do with the release of medical records related to my treatment for depression 30 years ago. However, we know that Dewhurst has been peddling this story for nearly a year. Until Thursday, he had been unsuccessful in getting any journalist to write about it. 

When the first news reports began to hit on Friday, Dewhurst immediately tried to distance himself, blaming his surrogate Jerry Patterson, a former lieutenant governor candidate, for the release of the records. A few hours later The Texas Tribune reported an email misfire from Patterson to the media that exposed Dewhurst’s lie and proved he was using Patterson to release the information.

I have never hidden the fact I struggled with depression in the 1980s. I kept many of the details private. They were personal, like all medical issues. I voluntarily entered a hospital in 1982 and then again in 1986 for exhaustion and to treat my depression. The drugs that were prescribed for me in the hospital exacerbated my problem. By 1987, with the help of my doctor, the love of my family and constant prayer, I was finally able to defeat depression. I have not seen a doctor or taken any medication for depression or any other mental health issue since that time.

Millions of Texans have struggled with depression or know of a family member or friend who has. It’s estimated that 30 million Americans experience depression at some point in their life. Some in the medical profession believe the number is much higher.

One reason I’ve talked about the issue on the radio over the years is to let people know there is no shame in asking for help or seeking treatment for depression. We must remove the stigma of seeking help for mental health. In many cases, with proper medical attention, depression can be cured in a relatively short time, and people can go on to lead productive and healthy lives.

After defeating depression, I have been blessed to have a very successful career over the last 30 years in business, broadcasting and public service. My recently released medical exam shows I am in excellent physical and mental health and have been for decades.

I open almost every speech by saying that I'm a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third. This ordeal has also been a test of my Christian faith. It’s now time to put that faith into action and not just words.

My campaign has been focused on the issues, namely cutting property taxes, securing the border and pushing back against an overreaching federal government. I believe the people of Texas deserve thoughtful and spirited debates on these issues and others. That’s how democracy works.

Instead, Dewhurst has spent millions of dollars and built his entire campaign on personal attacks against me. Early voting starts Monday, and Dewhurst has yet to tell the people of Texas why he should be re-elected or what he hopes to accomplish in the next four years.

We’ve seen these kinds of personal attacks from Dewhurst before. Apparently, it’s the only political strategy he knows. 

I believe I am the best candidate for lieutenant governor. I am well qualified for this position and have proven my ability to lead. My conservative credentials are unassailable. I am ready to serve. 

Dan Patrick

Lieutenant Governor of Texas