Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess -- a doctor and a lawmaker -- has one thing he'd like to see happen in Congress next year no matter who is president.Either throw out the Affordable Care Act or work with House members to make the healthcare program affordable for the government and patients."This thing doesn't work," said Burgess, of Lewisville, an obstetrician for nearly 30 years. "That's the long and short of it."Burgess faces two challengers in his re-election bid: Democrat David Sanchez of Denton and Libertarian Mark Boler of Oak Point.Sanchez, a travel agent, said he is the best candidate because he looks at problems and makes decisions he believes will make a positive impact on people's lives."I will work every day to ensure that we are represented by someone who will put you first," he said.Boler, a computer scientist, said he is the only person who offers a true alternative from "more of the same failed policies.""I will weigh every bill with its constitutionality before I vote on it," he said. "If it's not constitutional, I would vote no."The three face off Nov. 6 for the right to represent District 26, which for years faced controversy because it stretched from a Denton-based suburban district all the way to the urban minority community in southeast Fort Worth. The district now covers all of Denton County, part of Wise County and a patch of northern Tarrant County, including Westlake, north Keller and far north Fort Worth.At stake is a two-year term that pays $174,000 a year. Early voting starts Oct. 22 and runs through Nov. 2.Michael BurgessFirst elected in 2002 -- after defeating Scott Armey, son of House Majority Leader and then-U.S. Rep. Dick Armey of Denton County -- Burgess said he's not finished with what he wants to accomplish in Congress."My work here is not yet done," the 61-year-old said, referring to more than trying to overturn the new healthcare law.He said that the healthcare program "as drafted, as constructed, as paid for ... it is just not going to work."He said that if President Barack Obama is re-elected, "someone has got to be able to sit down with the White House and try to work out the problems that are contained within that law that are going to make it harder for people to get the healthcare they need.""I'm committed that the doctors and patients in this country will not be left out in the cold."He said there are other key issues ranging from transportation to air quality that need to be addressed, as well as putting North Texans back to work.David Sanchez"I am running for U.S. Congress because I feel that everyone should have [a] voice," the 29-year-old Denton man said. "The American people are what built this great country. ... I will cross over party lines to get legislation passed that is beneficial for the people of not only my congressional district but the nation."I want to be your voice in Congress," Sanchez said. "I want to take your dreams, hopes and concerns for the future into every vote I cast."He said he's concerned about the economy, healthcare, education and Social Security.If elected, he said, he would help pass the American Jobs Act, the Dream Act, a bill that died in Congress but would have provided a path to legal status for some illegal immigrants, and propose a pay cut for all members of Congress."I am a normal, everyday person who is involved in his community," said Sanchez, who is making his first bid for public office but has served on Denton city boards. "I will fight for what's righteous and fair. But most importantly, I will put your well-being before anything else."Mark BolerThis is the Oak Point man's second bid for public office. He last ran for this same seat against Burgess two years ago, drawing 2.25 percent of the vote.Boler, 52, has served on the board of his homeowners association and stresses that he's not beholden to any corporation or lobbyist.He said the biggest issue in this race is freedom."The American people have been losing freedom with each and every law that is passed that benefits special interests," he said.If elected, Boler said he wants to "try to get the U.S. out of most of our current wars, restore freedom to the people and stop the war on drugs."More than anything, Boler said he wants to make sure voters know they have options other than voting Republican or Democrat."The Republicans and Democrats offer largely the same platform: a platform which grows the size of government in favor of granting rights to giant corporations and special interests," he said. "I believe that this must stop immediately and reverse the process."Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610Twitter: @annatinsley
U.S. House District 26
Term: Two years
Michael Burgess, Republican
Occupation: Member of Congress, obstetrician, 1977-2003
Background: A member of Congress since 2003, he serves on several committees, including the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Oversight and Investigations and Energy and Power subcommittees. He is vice president of the Subcommittee on Health and a member of the bicameral Joint Economic Committee.
How to contact: www.burgessforcongress.com, 940-320-5020
David Sanchez, Democrat
Occupation: Travel Agent
Background: While this is his first bid for public office, he has served on two city boards, including as vice chairman of the Human Services Advisory Commission for Denton and as a member of the Street Repair Bond Election Committee for Denton. He also serves as the diversity chairman for the Denton County Democratic Party.
M ark Boler, Libertarian
Occupation: Computer scientist
Residence: Oak Point
Background: This is his second bid for District 26. He first ran in 2010, drawing 2.25 percent of the vote. His father flew jets for the Navy. He died when Boler was 6. Boler's mother worked for Bob Dole when he was a congressman from Kansas in the 1960s.
How to contact: email@example.com; 972-896-0047