When the dust settles after Tuesday's general election, Tarrant County's delegation in the Texas Legislature will be full of fresh faces.
At least six seats in the state House will be filled by newcomers from the greater Fort Worth-Arlington area, after the incumbents either opted to run for different offices or were defeated in their primaries.
But despite that lack of experience, all that new blood could energize the North Texas region's leadership at the state level, one observer said.
"We lose a little bit of seniority, but seniority doesn't count as much as it used to," said Allan Saxe, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. "It can make a difference if someone has a lot of seniority and has an important committee assignment, but other than that there's not much they more they can do for their district."
Among the positions up for grabs is District 95, where Democrat Nicole Collier faces Republican Monte Mitchell. They are competing to replace Marc Veasey, who vacated his seat to run for a new 33rd Congressional District.
District 95 includes downtown Fort Worth, Forest Hill, Everman and Edgecliff Village. The district includes many neighborhoods in need of jobs, transit and other services.
Collier, a civil trial attorney, is concerned about cuts in healthcare funding, the high number of uninsured residents and the need to properly fund education.
She is 40 years old, and soundly defeated two challengers in the Democratic primary. She has been a politically active precinct chair and election judge, and even though she had children when she was 16 and 18, she persevered to graduate from high school and college.
Collier said the new Tarrant County delegation in the Legislature could bring new energy to the job.
"I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, as long as everyone comes in with the intent to fulfill their purpose, to represent their district," she said.
The campaign for District 95 has been a grass roots effort, with Collier and her supporters speaking with church and neighborhood groups and greeting early voters at the polls.
In those conversations, Collier said voters are most concerned about education and health care funding cuts.
Mitchell, 57, has medical and law licenses. He initially wanted to run for Congress, but switched to the state House District 95 race.
Mitchell has served on the Tarrant County Republican Party bylaws committee, and was a delegate to the State Republican Party Convention from 1998 until 2010 and a member of the Rules Committee in 2008 and 2010.
He did not return messages seeking comment.
Some other key House matchups in Tarrant County:District 93
Three candidates are vying to replace Republican Barbara Nash, who was defeated in the primary. Republican Matt Krause, who ousted Nash, now faces Democrat Shane Hardin and Libertarian Bruce Beckman.
District 93 is an L-shaped district that stretches about 30 miles across Tarrant county, from Haslet to Arlington. However, all three candidates live within just a few miles of each other on the northern end of the district.
Krause is a constitutional lawyer who lives in far north Fort Worth. He moved to Tarrant County in 2007, after attending Liberty University law school in Lynchburg, Va. - and opened a Texas office for the Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization that promotes the protection of Christian religious rights in public settings.
Krause said in a previous interview he wants to be part of a new breed of elected leader who don't compromise when cutting costs. In an interview earlier this year, Krause scolded Texas lawmakers for funding only 18 months of Medicaid during a 24-month budget cycle -- and said it's an example of how many Texas leaders talk a good game of conservatism but in reality go for the same budgetary gimmicks as others in state and federal governments.
Texas is short more than $4.1 billion in covering its state expenses through 2013, with Medicaid making up most of the shortage, a Legislative Budget Board director told lawmakers this year. When the Legislature reconvenes in 2013, a supplemental bill may be needed to cover the deficit.
Hardin is a construction manager for a homebuilder. He believes health care should be available to all residents, and supports expansion of Medicaid. He has been critical of Gov. Rick Perry's policy, saying the governor is sending back federal money that rightly belongs to Texans.
Hardin said he is concerned that many conservative candidates are pushing ideology-based agendas on issues such as state sovereignty, which he said is neither practical nor good policy.
"I don't know what kind of perspective they're going to bring to the Texas Legislature, because we really need problem solvers," he said.
Beckman is a US Airways sales manager, and also has experience in financial services. He opposes government control of health care and supports cuts in administrative expenditures for education.District 97
Republican Craig Goldman faced Democrat Gary Grassia and Libertarian Rod Wingo. They are competing to replace Mark Shelton, who is seeking to unseat state Sen. Wendy Davis in the state Senate District 10.
Goldman is a former campaign strategist for Sen. John McCain and adviser to Sen. Phil Gramm. He also ran for the seat in southwest Tarrant County in 2007.
Goldman has criticized other Republican lawmakers for failing to fully fund Medicaid during the last session, and balancing the budget through a loophole.
Grassia, a restaurateur, is pushing to restore state funding for public schools. His daughters attend school in the Crowley district.
Wingo, who was born in Weatherford, is president of Century Air Conditioning, according to his campaign web site. He is a small business owner involved with the Libertarian Party since the 1970s.
His campaign website touts support for broad Libertarian issues, such as cutting taxes and spending and ending the war on drugs.
Wingo said he didn't think he would win the race but felt it was important to spread the Libertarian message.District 92
Jonathan Stickland of Hurst is running as the Republican candidate to replace outgoing Republican state Rep. Todd Smith, who lost his bid for a state Senate seat. He is running against Libertarian Sean Fatzinger of Euless for a district centered around Hurst-Euless-Bedford.
Stickland, a consultant to oil and gas companies and a former pest control technician, was endorsed by the NE Tarrant Tea Party and the Texas Right to Life PAC. He supports lower taxes, cutting state spending and reducing state regulations.
Fatzinger is a management consultant with the food and beverage industry. He supports cutting state taxes and spending, particularly slashing the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4 percent and repealing the business margins tax for limited liability partnerships and banks, among others.District 94
Incumbent Republican state Rep. Diane Patrick of Arlington is seeking re-election to her mostly Arlington district against Libertarian David Eyerly.
Patrick is a former schoolteacher and professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Besides serving on a special interim committee reviewing the state's public school accountability system, she is known as a watchdog on transportation issues. Patrick, who received endorsements from conservative groups, said her legislative record shows that she supports balancing the budget by holding down costs of programs such as Medicaid.
Eyerly also lives in Arlington who builds wind farms in the Midwest. When asked why he is running for office, he also wants to cut the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4 percent and repeal the business margins tax.District 96
State Rep. Bill Zedler, the Republican incumbent from Arlington, is seeking re-election against Libertarian Max W. Koch III in a district which includes parts of Arlington, Mansfield and Kennedale.
Zedler has worked in the healthcare industry. The four-term incumbent has said he wants Texas to protect its border without having to wait for the federal government. He also wants to limit government, cutting waste and fraud and lower taxes.
Koch, who lives in Mansfield, is a small business owner. His website says he supports the Libertarian philosophy of cutting taxes and spending.District 98
Political newcomer Giovanni Capriglione is the Republican candidate for this district against Libertarian Michael Goolsby for a district that includes the northern tier of Northeast Tarrant County.
Capriglione, who runs his own private-equity business, easily defeated veteran state Rep. Vicki Truitt in the GOP primary. The Southlake resident and former Ron Paul supporter is backed by Tea Party activists who endorse his conservative message and he is endorsed by state Rep. Dan Patrick, R-Houston and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. He recently was involved in the successful effort to turn back a school tax increase ins Southlake.
Goolsby is a self-employed contractor of Fort Worth, according to several candidate monitoring websites.District 99
Veteran Republican state Rep. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth faces two candidates including Democrat Michael McClure and Libertarian Dan Hawkins in a district that takes in the northwestern corner of Tarrant County.
Geren is a restaurant owner and real estate broker who was first elected to office in 2000. He was one of the lawmakers who helped unseat former House Speaker Tom Craddick and now serves as part of Speaker Joe Straus leadership team on the House administration, calendars and state affairs committees. He wrote a tougher eminent domain law and says more needs to be done on water and transportation infrastructure.
McClure, who lives in Fort Worth, is in sales and has served as a precinct chairman but is not actively campaigning, said Keith Annis, chairman of the Tarrant County Democrat Party.
Hawkins lives in Fort Worth and works as an information technology professional. He won $32,000 on the ABC game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
in 2001.District 101
Former state Rep. Chris Turner is the Democrat seeking to represent this newly created district along with Libertarian Carl Nulsen. The heavily Democratic district runs along either side of Texas 360 and takes in east Arlington and the Tarrant County portion of Grand Prairie.
Turner, who lives in Grand Prairie, represented District 96 from 2009 to 2011 until he lost to Zedler. A public relations consultant, he is the former executive director of the Tarrant County Democratic Party and former campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards. Turner supports improving public education funding and he is opposed to vouchers. As a legislator, he focused on consumer protection and veterans' benefits.
Nulsen lives in Arlington and is an insurance operations manager.This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796Twitter: @gdickson
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