There are certain critical issues that North Texas voters should focus on as they consider who to represent them in the state legislature.
First among these are a candidate’s view on public safety and on reforming school systems that have too long failed low-income and minority students.
In the race for Texas House District 108, representing the Park Cities and central Dallas, the choice is clear once you understand where Republican incumbent Morgan Meyer, 46, and Democratic challenger Joanna Cattanach, 39, stand on these questions.
Cattanach, an educator, has said that Meyer is too conservative for the district. We find the opposite is true. Cattanach’s ideas are too far to the left and risk setting back important progress on education reform while failing to support law enforcement in an era when progressive candidates would see substantial funding removed from local police departments.
Meyer, an attorney, is seeking his fourth term. He has developed into a capable and pragmatic legislator guided by common sense and a moderate conservatism appropriately focused on the state’s fiscal concerns.
Meyer supports bringing the state to a 50% funding level for our public schools, as does Cattanach. Both agree, rightly, that the passage of House Bill 3 in the last session was a crucial step forward in providing much-needed funding while relieving the share paid by local governments.
But their differences on education become stark after that. Meyer supports Dallas ISD’s major education reforms, especially the Teacher Excellence Initiative, a pay-for-performance model so effective that open-minded opponents like DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa have become supporters. TEI is being held up as a state model, and we can only hope it is broadly adopted.
Cattanach opposes the reform and sings from a teacher union songbook that comes down to just “pay them.” She has no clear metric for how to distinguish strong teachers from the ones who are failing our children.
She also is an opponent of school choice, with flat opposition to charter schools and what sounded like shaky support for choice schools within public school districts. Taken together, these positions would hurt low-income students who are benefiting from slowly improving public schools in Dallas.
On law enforcement, Meyer was clear that if local governments follow a deeply progressive model and leave their citizens vulnerable by defunding departments, the state may have to intervene.
Cattanach would oppose such intervention. She is campaigning on criminal justice reform, but her positions on decriminalizing low-level crimes, bail reform and reforming police departments fail to address the complexity of these issues.
On oil and gas regulation, taxation and other areas of concern, we also find ourselves more aligned with Meyer’s moderate conservatism. He is the clear choice for this district.