Why I’m running for Texas House

Friends stopped by to show their support as I filed to run in the Democratic Primary for State Representative for Hays and Blanco counties.

Today, I filed as a candidate in the March 6, 2018 Democratic Primary for the Texas House of Representatives from District 45. The District comprises Blanco and Hays counties. Here’s why I’m running.

Eight years ago, I was inspired to run for the State Board of Education. Extremists on the board were imposing their religious and ideological views on what’s taught to our children in science, history, health, and English classes. As an educator whose research includes best teaching practices, I knew I could do better.

So I ran as a Democrat in a 13-county district that had been gerrymandered to elect a Republican. I ran three times—in 2010, 2012 and 2016—doing better in each successive race.

Now it’s the legislature that’s in danger of being dominated by extremists. This summer, the Texas Senate passed a number of extreme measures: bills that overturned the power of cities to pass laws to protect their citizens; a bill that interfered with teachers’ and other workers’ ability to organize, a bill that would have instituted private-school vouchers for the first time, a bill that would have required a transgender person to use the bathroom corresponding to their birth certificate.

All of these bill were stopped in the Texas House under the leadership of  Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio). Speaker Straus was first elected in 2009 in a bipartisan manner by a vote of the entire House. At the time, Republicans held 76 seats and Democrats 74. Despite Republican gains since then, Speaker Straus won re-election each session, but he recently announced he will retire. Unless all of us do whatever we can, this could be the end of the Texas House as a moderating influence on legislation in Texas.

A week ago, the Republican House members gathered and voted unanimously to select the next Speaker by a vote within their own caucus before the entire House has a chance to meet. This proposed end run around the Texas Constitution overturns decades of bipartisanship in that body. To counter this, we must elect more Democrats to the Texas House.

As an educator who understands the importance of public education and higher education, as a citizen who has been active in city and environmental issues, as a woman who values having control over her own health decisions, and as an individual committed to the rights of all, I feel that I can make a positive difference as a citizen-legislator.

As a candidate who is used to uphill battles, who has spent hundreds of hours listening to people all over central Texas, who has won thousands of votes, and who has hundreds of supporters whom I believe can be mobilized in this effort, I feel that I am the Democrat who can win in District 45 in November 2018.

Many of us here in Texas have been waiting for a tipping point. What’s happening nationally led to dramatic wins last month in state and local elections outside of Texas. Now it’s our turn. Let’s make the most of it.

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