Editorial: We recommend Jon E. Rosenthal for state House District 135

As a political novice Jon E. Rosenthal pulled off one of the biggest upsets of 2018 when he knocked off 12-term Republican Rep. Gary Elkins to win the state House District 135 seat in what turned out to be a big year for Democrats.

The 57-year-old mechanical engineer has since proved to be an able legislator, willing to work across party lines to get things done for his district and the state. He also appears refreshingly free of the conflicts of interest that plagued his predecessor’s time in the state house.

We recommend that voters in this west Harris County district give Rosenthal another term..

Rosenthal will be on the ballot with Republican Justin Ray, the former mayor of Jersey Village, and Libertarian Paul Bilyeu, a Navy veteran and employee at Rockwell Automation.

Rosenthal and Ray both stress the idea of returning students safely to classrooms for in-person teaching and helping people and businesses get back to work. Bilyeu points to the Libertarian Party platform that highlights personal liberty and property rights.

“Health care and education have always been important issues in this district,” Rosenthal said. “The COVID crisis has only intensified that interest.”

He has been a strong advocate for strengthening COVID-19 testing especially in speeding the turnaround times for results so that schools and businesses can operate with more confidence and that real-time contact tracing can help stem the spread.

Rosenthal was named Freshman of the Year by the Legislative Study Group, a nonpartisan caucus that “focuses on developing mainstream solutions and advancing sound public policy that benefits all Texans.”

He was a co-author of the bipartisan House Bill 2195, which was signed into law and mandates Texas schools to have refined emergency plans.

Rosenthal said he was especially proud of helping open access roads surrounding the construction of the Texas 6 bridge over U.S. 290 in response to businesses worried about losing customers.

Voters were smart to entrust the seat to Rosenthal and they’d be smart to do it again.

Source Article

Read more

Editorial: We recommend Sarah Davis for State House District 134

The voters in state House District 134 — a swing district that covers all or parts of River Oaks, Bellaire and Meyerland and includes the Texas Medical Center — face a tough choice in the Nov. 3 election.

Five-term Republican incumbent Rep. Sarah Davis and Democratic challenger Ann Johnson are both well-qualified, skilled communicators whose many talents would serve them well in the Legislature.

We recommend Davis, 44, based on her experience, growth in office and independence.

A rare Texas Republican who supports abortion rights, she has moved from the tea party positions of her first 2010 victory to embrace the Affordable Care Act provisions of Medicaid expansion and coverage of pre-existing conditions as well as bucking her party on other issues.

Johnson, a 46-year-old former human-trafficking prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, has accused Davis of shifting her stands out of political self-interest. But Davis has taken risks that do not seem politically expedient, including pushing for more clarity and transparency on allegations of conflicts of interest against fellow Republican Rep. Jim Murphy.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas’ top elected Republican, spent more than $223,000 in a failed effort to knock her off in the 2018 GOP primary. He endorsed her this year after she failed to draw a primary opponent.

Through it all, Davis has worked her way into key leadership roles, including chairing a panel that helps craft the state’s health care budget.

Davis told the editorial board that she will use her seniority and influence to push for Medicaid expansion next year.

“I know that is a partisan issue for some,” she said. “But I’m hoping we can move past that. We have to do something to reduce our uninsured population, for those people and for the state’s budget.”

Johnson has stressed her policy differences with Davis on immigration and gun control, where the incumbent is more in line with the GOP. Johnson has criticized Davis’ vote to let school districts arm teachers and to require universities to permit guns in campus parking lots and her sponsorship of a “show me your papers” bill to allow local law enforcement officials to ask about immigration status.

Those are not measures supported by the editorial board.

Davis, however, has a record of serving constituents in her district and has shown independence in the Legislature that is in great need and short supply. She deserves another term.

Source Article

Read more

Editorial: We recommend Sandra Moore for State House District 133

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.

Source Article

Read more

Editorial: We recommend Mary Williams for House District 128

In his two terms representing House District 128, Rep. Briscoe Cain has quickly acquired a reputation well beyond being the most conservative lawmaker in the House. He’s an elected official whose offensive posts earned him a suspension on Twitter. He was Texas Monthly’s Worst Legislator of 2017.

As a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, Cain has tweeted a threat to former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke with the warning “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.” He trolled Stephen Hawking shortly after news of the acclaimed physicist’s death.

He introduced legislation to defund a state council that promotes palliative care for the terminally ill, conflating the specialized end-of-life services for dying patients with so-called “death panels.” He wastes his colleagues’ time on the House floor pushing severe abortion restrictions he knows won’t pass constitutional muster. He posed for the cameras while getting an illegal haircut as a stunt to pressure Gov. Greg Abbott to reopen hair salons and barbershops.

That kind of grandstanding in the chamber or social media chatter does nothing to benefit the people of House District 128, which straddles the Houston Ship Channel and includes Pasadena, Deer Park, Baytown and Crosby.

They deserve better. They deserve a state representative who cares about the issues important to the district — air quality, chemical plant safety, education.

That is why we are recommending his challenger, Democrat Mary Williams, in the House District 128 race.

Williams, 67, who served in the Houston Police Department as a civilian for more than 23 years, is running on a pledge to put the residents of the district first. She supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage, better safety measures and environmental controls for chemical plants, and stricter regulations on assault weapons.

Williams will be in for a steep learning curve if elected, but it would be a refreshing change of pace for District 128 to have a representative whose mantra is “it’s about my district and my community, not about me.”

Source Article

Read more

Editorial: We recommend Dan Huberty for state House District 127

In his decade in the Texas Legislature, State. Rep. Dan Huberty has emerged as a powerful voice on issues facing Texas schools and schoolchildren.

The Republican lawmaker served as chair of the House Committee on Public Education and was the prime driver of House Bill 3, the landmark 2019 school finance reform package that increased per-student funding, gave teachers raises, and helped fund full-day pre-K for eligible 4-year-olds.

“If we don’t do this, we’re failing our kids,” Huberty said when the education overhaul was unveiled.

That commitment to education has made Huberty an effective lawmaker who has served his district, which includes Kingwood, Humble and Atascocita, well. Huberty’s expertise and influence on education issues will be all the more important in the upcoming session as Texas school districts grapple with pandemic-related costs and the challenges of virtual schooling.

Huberty also helped secure a $30 million grant for a dredging program in the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston through the Texas Water Development Board, an effort to alleviate the flooding that has hit the district in recent years.

That is why we are recommending voters send Huberty back for another term representing House District 127.

Huberty, 52, also served on the Humble ISD School Board for five years and has served effectively on a variety of committees in previous sessions of the Legislature.

That experience has taught him the necessity of working across the aisle to get legislation passed.

“I passed the most reformative education bill that the state of Texas has seen in the last 30 years with unanimous support from the House and from the Senate,” Huberty told the editorial board during the primary race. “You gotta work with everybody.”

Huberty’s record shows that he not only works with everybody, but he also works for the people of his district.

His opponent in the race is Libertarian Neko Antoniou.

Source Article

Read more