Sarah has been with the YNN family since 2004. She is a native New Yorker and graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications with a BS in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Sarah joined YNN Austin in August of 2009 and helped launch YNN's nightly political show, Capital Tonight, in 2011. When she’s not in the control room or updating the website, Sarah enjoys being in the field. Some highlights included producing the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and the Presidential Inauguration, as well as YNN’s “9/11 Ten Years Later” special one hour show from New York City.
Posts by Sarah Grady
Nov 23rd - 1:44 pm
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s announcement made history in Texas, Saturday. For the first time two women will lead a major party’s ticket for the state’s top offices.
Sen. Wendy Davis, who is running for governor, issued a statement of support following Saturday’s announcement.
“Sen. Van de Putte’s dedication to representing the interests of all Texans makes her an outstanding choice for Lieutenant Governor. She has delivered for our veterans and small businesses, and like many Texans, I’m excited about her announcement.“
While the two are running separately, it is likely we will see them on the campaign trail together often, starting today. Davis and Van de Putte will appear together in Austin, this evening.
Nov 23rd - 1:28 pm
Republican lieutenant governor candidate Todd Staples was the first Republican to weigh in on Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s announcement, Saturday.
Before Van de Putte had even uttered the words ‘I’m running,” Staples issued this email statement:
“Senator Van De Putte’s announcement is another reminder that conservatives are in desperate need of new leadership. Energized Texas democrats are the result of the failed leadership of David Dewhurst. By allowing Democrats to take over the Senate, Dewhurst made a national hero out of Wendy Davis and inspired Obama’s Battleground Texas. For the majority of Texans who support a record of lower taxes, secure borders and job creation, I ask for your support in the Republican Primary so that I can stand up and fight for our shared conservative values next November.
Nov 23rd - 1:21 pm
After months of speculation, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte formally announced Saturday that she is running for lieutenant governor. In a firey speech in San Antonio, Van de Putte told a crowd of more than 500 supporters, “Texas families deserve better than they’ve been getting. Texas can do better than this. And that’s why I announce that I’ll ask the people of Texas to hire me to be your next lieutenant governor.”
Van de Putte has been mulling the decision for months, citing the need to reflect on the need to weigh the challenges of a statewide campaign with her family. The Van de Puttes suffered several tragedies this year, including the death of the Senator’s father, infant grandson and father-in-law.
In her announcement Saturday, Van de Putte focused on women’s rights, transportation, immigration issues and the need for a better public education system for the state’s poorest residents. She did not shy away from taking direct aim at the crowded field of Republican candidates.
“While they’ve bickered amongst themselves, funding for neighborhood public schools has been cut by billions. Class sizes have swelled, and too often we’re losing our best teachers,” she said. “Texas is investing less in our school children than almost any other state. It’s by no coincidence that we’re last in the nation in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma.”
The senator kept her hispanic heritage and her family front and center during Saturday’s remarks, often times speaking to supporters in Spanish. The refain “Mama’s not happy” garnered loud cheers from the crowd.
Van de Putte faces one Democratic challenger in the 2014 primary. Maria Luisa Alvarado, who was the party’s nominee in the last election, announced her candidacy earlier this month. Should Van de Putte win the nomination this time around, she faces one of four Republican challengers. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples are all vying for the GOP nomination.
Nov 18th - 5:54 pm
Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday the special election runoff in the Texas House District 50 race will be held Jan. 28.
Democrat Celia Israel and Republican Mike VanDeWalle are vying to serve out the rest of Rep. Mark Strama’s term. Strama, who is from Austin, stepped down from the legislature earlier this year for a job in the private sector.
The winner of the special election will still have to survive a primary and a general election to secure a full term.
Nov 18th - 1:54 pm
The University of Texas is joining critics of a planned ‘Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game planned for Wednesday. The event, organized by the Young Conservatives of Texas, involves people walking on campus wearing signs that say “illegal immigrant.” Students who “catch” them win a $25 gift card.
The University has been critical of other YCT events, including an affirmative action bake sale held last month. In a statement today, UT called the tactics “inflammatory and demeaning.”
“Once again in trying to be provocative, the YCT is contributing to an environment of exclusion and disrespect among our students, faculty and staff by sending the message that certain students do not belong on our campus…”
“If the members of YCT carry out their plan for “Catch an Illegal Immigrant,” they are willfully ignoring the honor code and contributing to the degradation of our campus culture. And once again, they will have resorted to exercising one of the university’s core values to the detriment of others. Such actions are counterproductive to true dialogue on our campus, and it is unrepresentative of the ideals toward which our community strives.”
UT Austin President Bill Powers also responded to the planned event. In a statement posted on the university’s web site, he said:
“The proposed YCT event is completely out of line with the values we espouse at The University of Texas at Austin. Our students, faculty and the entire university work hard both to promote diversity and engage in a respectful exchange of ideas. The Wednesday event does not reflect that approach or commitment.
As Americans, we should always visualize our Statue of Liberty and remember that our country was built on the strength of immigration. Our nation continues to grapple with difficult questions surrounding immigration. I ask YCT to be part of that discussion but to find more productive and respectful ways to do so that do not demean their fellow students.”
The university Staff Council voted unanimously to endorse the statement shortly after it was released.
Nov 18th - 1:13 pm
A planned “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game at the University of Texas is sparking outrage from Texas Democrats.
The Young Conservatives of Texas, whose chairman is a former Greg Abbott staffer, is hosting the event on Wednesday. People wearing “illegal immigrant” signs on their clothes are planning to walk around the UT campus. Students who “catch” them will receive a $25 gift card.
YCT Chairman Lorenzo Garcia says the purpose of the event is to “spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration and how it affects our everyday lives.”
Garcia no longer works with the Abbott campaign. However, that did not stop Democrats from using the event to criticize the GOP frontrunner in the governor’s race.
The Lone Star project released this statement:
“The “game” at the University of Texas Campus goes far beyond a display of bad taste or insensitivity. It reflects Greg Abbott’s open hostility to Hispanic Texans. As State Attorney General, Greg Abbott played the lead role in advising the Texas Legislature to adopt redistricting plans that intentionally discriminated against Hispanic and other Texas minority voters. He has spent millions of dollars in Texas taxpayer money to defend the discriminatory plans and to argue that key US Voting Rights Act provisions designed to protect minority voters against discrimination be overturned. “
Here’s what Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa had to say:
“Greg Abbott has already put fear into the hearts of hardworking college students in Texas, through his refusal to take a real position on the Texas DREAM Act. While Abbott has said he doesn’t support the DREAM Act as it is, he refuses to say what he would change and if he supports it at all. And now one of his staffers is organizing theatrical arrests on campaign. Our young and promising DREAM Act scholars already live in enough fear of Abbott, without his staff also forcing them to watch mock arrests.
This is an incredible shame. Greg Abbott owes Texas DREAM Act scholars an apology, and he must come out and immediately denounce Wednesday’s event. This style of hatred and fear is not the type of leadership Texas deserves.”
The YCT has been criticized in the past for similar events, including an “affirmative action bake sale,” where students are charged different prices based on their ethnicity.
Nov 15th - 12:50 pm
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Wendy Davis is voicing support for fellow Sen. Letica Van de Putte. She released this statement following official word that Van de Putte will make an announcement about her future, next week.
“We’ve already seen the level of excitement that Sen. Van De Putte generates. Sen. Van de Putte has a strong record of putting Texans first. She has delivered for veterans, small businesses, and working families and will make a powerful candidate – should she choose to run.”
It is expected that Van de Putte will join the race for lieutenant governor. Should she run and win the democratic primary, she will face one of four Republican candidates. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture commissioner Todd Staples are in a four way race for the GOP nomination.
Nov 15th - 11:40 am
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will make her future political plans known at an event in San Antonio, Sat. Nov. 23. It is widely assumed she will announce a run for lieutenant governor.
Van de Putte has said she is considering a run for higher office, but struggled with the decision in the wake of several deaths in her family. “Our infant grandson in May, and my dad, and just less than a month ago, my mother-in-law. And so a statewide race is very grueling, and very contentious, and unfortunately very toxic,” she said in an October interview. ”So I want to serve my state and I love being in the Texas Senate, but I really have to look at, first, my family, and if we would be up to this, and we’re really taking in a lot of data and looking at it if it’s possible.”
In an email to her supporters today, Van de Putte said:
“I understand that the future prosperity of Texas families is dependent upon the path we choose to take today. So after much prayer, reflection and discussion with my family and friends, I’m ready to let you, my grassroots supporters, know what is next for me.”
That announcement is scheduled next Saturday, at San Antonio College. If Van de Putte does decide to run, she will be the second Democrat to join the race. She will face Maria Luisa Alvarado in a primary election.
Nov 6th - 6:23 pm
Gov. Rick Perry had some harsh words for President Barack Obama Wednesday. Obama traveled to Dallas to promote his landmark health care law and to urge the state to consider expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
According to Obama, doing so would potentially cover more than a million Texans who are currently uninsured.
“One of the things that gets me a little frustrated,” Obama said, “are folks who are complaining about how the website’s not working, and why isn’t Obama fixing it. And yet they’re leaving more than a million people right now without health insurance that they could immediately fix.”
Gov. Perry has maintained that Texas will not expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Instead, he requested a federal block grant that would allow Texas to make changes to the program without having to follow federal guidelines. Gov. Perry did not mince words in his response to the President’s request, saying:
“President Obama deceived the American people by promising that anyone who liked their health care plan could keep it, but millions of Americans are now discovering that simply isn’t true. Now, he’s coming to Texas in a desperate attempt to salvage his ill-conceived and unpopular program from a Titanic fate by preaching expansion of the same Medicaid system he himself admits is broken. In Texas, where Medicaid already consumes a quarter of the state budget, we simply need the flexibility to implement fundamental, state-specific reforms to our Medicaid program, instead of a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate, before it bankrupts our state. Mr. President, Texans aren’t the reason Obamacare is crumbling; Obamacare is the reason Obamacare is crumbling.”
Texas is one of 21 states that declined to expand Medicaid as part of Obamacare. There were several bipartisan attempts last legislative session to come up with a Texas-specific version of expansion. None of those bills gained enough support to move forward.
Nov 6th - 4:33 pm
Attorney General Greg Abbott released a new online ad Wednesday to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Dallas. In his ad, Abbott criticizes the administration over the troubled roll out of the Affordable Care Act and highlights Obama’s losses in the Lone Star State.
In a statement to accompany the ad, Abbott said, “Texans don’t need a half-billion-dollar website to find out that they don’t support ObamaCare, and we are not going to let this abusive, overreaching program sink its teeth too deeply into Texas.”
Texas has the highest rate of uninsured citizens in the country. Obama spoke in Dallas to promote the positive points of the Affordable Care Act and to urge Gov. Rick Perry to expand Medicaid.