The race for state House District 113 is among the most heated in North Texas.
The election of Rhetta Andrews Bowers two years ago to the seat vacated by Republican Cindy Burkett flipped this eastern Dallas County district from Republican to Democrat. Since then, Republicans have set sights on regaining this district, with both parties battling in every competitive district for control of the Texas House in January.
Our nod in this race goes to Bowers over Republican newcomer Will Douglas, 33, a pharmacist and businessman who moved into the district about a year ago to run for this seat.
Although Douglas’ views on small government, free markets, low taxation and eliminating unnecessary regulations on businesses align with this board’s philosophy, we found him to be evasive and combative, raising questions in our mind about whether he could work effectively with legislators. We also are concerned that he has no prior civic involvement in the district that he wants to represent.
If not for these issues, Douglas would be a candidate whom we could support. He reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of Texas and could inject youth and racial diversity into the Republican Party in Texas. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, Douglas, who is Black, moved to Dallas, purchased several small pharmacies and currently manages his own business, Crimson Care Pharmacy Group.
Bowers, 53, has been solid, though not spectacular in her first term in Austin. But she seems to have the district’s pulse. She has lived in the district for nearly 20 years, served eight years on the Rowlett Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and several years on the executive board of the Garland ISD PTA. She also was a substitute teacher, a legislative staffer in the Texas House and an advocate for healthy food options in her community.
As the first Black woman to represent District 113, Bowers last session served on the House Committees for Corrections, Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, and has spoken out for the need to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline and supports advancing women in STEM fields. She supported House Bill 3, which invested billions of dollars in public education, as well as bills to require an explanation of major changes in prescription drug pricing, to raise the age to purchase tobacco products, and to eliminate red light traffic cameras.
Our biggest disagreement about Bowers is on education, where she opposes pay for performance and does not appear supportive of expanding charter schools, both strategies that we believe are essential to improving student outcomes in Texas.
Politics isn’t for the weak of heart, but at times this race has been marred by harsh personal exchanges, including Bowers’ tasteless response to Douglas’ claim that Democrats tell minority voters they are “victims.” Instead of taking the high road, Bowers called Douglas a “boy” and said he needed a “whooping.” Given her history we find this both disappointing and surprising but would urge both candidates to check their tone.
Based on her long resume and first-term success, voters should re-elect Bowers to another term in Austin.
Ready to vote?
Early voting starts: Oct. 13
Election Day: Nov. 3
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Compare candidate responses to questionnaires with the Voter Guide
For more information:
Collin County 1-800-687-8546 https://www.collincountytx.gov/elections
Dallas County 214-819-6300 https://www.dallascountyvotes.org/
Denton County 940-349-3200 https://www.votedenton.com/
Ellis County 972-825-5195 http://co.ellis.tx.us/312/Elections
Kaufman County 972-932-0298 https://www.kaufmancounty.net/elections
Rockwall County 972-204-6200 https://www.rockwallvotes.com/
Tarrant County 817-831-8683 http://access.tarrantcounty.com/en/elections.html
For more help, including how to check your registration status, contact the Texas secretary of state at 1-800-252-8683 or visit https://www.votetexas.gov/
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