Voters who participate in the Democratic primary for the new Texas House District 101 have a difficult decision on May 29.Two of the candidates are experienced and hard-working public officials who have impressive records of achievement.If only the rest of the Texas House races offered such equally qualified choices.Paula Hightower Pierson, 60, has a long history of community and public service in most of this new district, which runs along either side of Texas 360 and takes in east Arlington and the Tarrant County portion of Grand Prairie. In addition to serving eight years on the Arlington City Council, she volunteered extensively with the Arlington school district and helped found Alliance for Children.A successful small-business owner, Pierson was elected in 2006 and served two terms in the Texas House, where she focused on protecting children and public safety officers as well as legislation making schools safer for students.Chris Turner, 39, has spent most of his career in Democratic politics, serving as executive director of the Tarrant County Democratic Party and as campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards through four campaigns.After working as district director in Edwards' congressional office, Turner was elected to the Texas House in 2008, where he served one term focusing on consumer protection and veterans' benefits, among other issues.Also running is Vickie Barnett, 38, a small-business owner.Pierson and Turner are serious, dedicated and smart candidates. But Pierson brings to the table diverse professional experiences and extensive personal knowledge of the people in this district. It's a bonus that Pierson would be a woman in an organization whose membership is less than 25 percent female yet is supposed to be representative of the state's population.The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Paula Hightower Pierson in the Democratic primary for Texas House District 101.House District 96The differences between the platforms of the two Republican primary candidates in Texas House District 96 are not vast.Incumbent Bill Zedler and challenger Mike Leyman, the chief of the Mansfield school district Police Department, agree that securing Texas borders should be a state responsibility if the feds won't do it. Both want to eliminate federal mandates and end the Affordable Healthcare Act. Both say improving public education is important, although Leyman measures success by the amount of money allocated per student while Zedler looks to academic outcomes.Zedler's approach to government is minimalistic: Keep taxes low and regulations "reasonable" and the economy "will take off like a rocket."Zedler, 68, said Texas could reallocate money to education and transportation through cuts to Health and Human Services."We need to change the mentality of departments that measure success by getting more people on programs," Zedler said. "We'll be successful when we help people no longer need those things."Leyman, who served on the Mansfield City Council from 2007 to 2011, said equitable and fair education is the No. 1 issue facing the state."Should a district like Keller get more to educate students than they would in Mansfield? Funding should be same for all students."Leyman, 64, offered no specifics on what the formula would look like, but said he doesn't believe the Legislature has been serious about fixing the problem."We go from one session to next and end up dealing with it as a result of lawsuits," he said.It is worth noting that Zedler said he would have "stepped aside" from the primary if someone from this southern Tarrant County district who shares his "conservative principles" had filed to run. Voters should ponder Zedler's level of commitment for themselves.Based solely on his previous experience in Austin, the Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Bill Zedler in the Republican primary for Texas House District 96.