Voters in state House District 133 returned Rep. Jim Murphy for a sixth term in the Legislature in 2018, even after news broke about a business arrangement that raised serious questions about possible conflicts of interest.
Murphy was paid a yearly salary for more than $312,000 as the general manager of the Westchase Management District, which is also within the boundaries of HD 133. He also served as chairman of the House Committee on Special Purpose Districts.
The situation got even murkier when reporters revealed that Murphy’s contracts included incentive payments for delivering state funds from the Legislature. For example, Murphy would receive a $6,000 bonus if he secured “$1 million or more in new TxDOT funding for highway projects” for Westchase.
Murphy has not been accused of a crime or cited for an ethics violation, but this is a violation of public trust in an issue involving taxpayers’ money.
Still, Murphy won re-election with 58 percent of the vote in 2018 and can expect a similar margin this fall in the solidly Republican district.
But if you believe Murphy’s arrangement to be disqualifying, and we do, there are two other candidates on the ballot for consideration: Democrat Sandra Moore and Libertarian James Harren.
Moore, 72, a licensed professional counselor, is making her second run for the seat. She told the editorial board that her platform is to improve flood protection, make sure small business owners are protected against unfair competition from large corporations and that residents have access to health care.
Harren, 54, who operates a small gym and has worked for years as a physical trainer, said he decided to make his first run for office after reading about Murphy’s business dealings.
Moore has done a better job of researching the issues and laying out a more diversified platform. She gets our recommendation.