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2014 Primary Runoff Voters Guide

Posted Friday, May. 23, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Here’s a look at the candidates who are in a primary runoff election on May 27. Candidates below will be on the Tarrant County ballot.

REPUBLICANS

Lt. Governor

David Dewhurst (i)

Age: 68

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Lieutenant Governor; Founder of Falcon Seaboard, an oil and gas investments company

City: Houston

Campaign phone number: (512) 682-1082

Campaign email address: info@daviddewhurst.com

Web site: daviddewhurst.com

Education background, including all degrees: Bachelor’s Degree, University of Arizona (Class of 1967); Attended Georgetown University School of Law

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Current Lieutenant Governor; Texas Land Commissioner from January 1999 through January 2003.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? Over the course of the last eleven years I have helped turn Texas into a better, more prosperous state. This has been done partially through my leadership in getting good, conservative legislation passed. Please refer to question above for more on all I have accomplished while in office

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address?

Illegal Immigration: I believe any conversation about illegal immigration begins and ends with securing the border, which the federal government has failed to do. In the absence of federal action, I became the first Lieutenant Governor in Texas history to fund border security efforts. Since 2008, we have spent $800 million to bolster our border security efforts. Last fall, we conducted a border security surge and effectively shut down illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug trafficking in the Rio Grande Valley. I believe we should make such surge operations a permanent fixture, until the federal government steps up and fulfills its responsibilities. When the border is secure and an effective E-Verify system is in place, I support instituting a limited guest worker program for the positions that citizens and legal residents have shown they do not want to fill. Guest workers must apply in their home country and get in the back of the line of those seeking work.

Obamacare : I support efforts to both defund and fully repeal Obamacare on both the state and national level. This past session I have ensured Texas did not set up a state Obamacare exchange and also rejected the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. We have also continued to protect Texans by ensuring that Obamacare navigators must protect the privacy of Texans and cannot transfer information improperly to President Obama’s cronies. Obamacare is a massive failure and risks bankrupting our country. We will continue demand that the federal government allow Texas to control how its tax dollars are spent by changing Medicaid to a state-controlled block grant. If implemented, it would allow Texas to utilize the most efficient and most cost effective means to achieve good medical outcomes and cut state government spending.

Federal Intrusion Into Texans’ Lives: We took a proactive step in protecting the privacy of Texans from drones by passing HB 912 last session. Thanks to this legislation, it is now illegal to conduct unauthorized surveillance on an individual or privately-owned business. While drones may play a role in protecting our border, they cannot and should not be used to target Texas citizens. In addition to drone legislation, I believe there is more we can do to protect the privacy rights of Texas in the digital age. Last session, we led the nation by passing a comprehensive email privacy bill that limited access to electronic communications without a warrant. Next session, I will lead the charge to pass the Texas Privacy Protection Act ensure that Texas has the nation’s strongest data privacy laws, protecting your personal information, communications, and location from warrantless surveillance. I also believe Texans should know what data is being collected about them and with whom that data is being shared. Texans should be able to grant informed consent before their personal data is packaged and resold for profit. I also oppose any efforts from the federal government to infringe on Texans’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. This includes any form of gun registry.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms your would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? If elected, this will be my last term in office. I support instituting term limits so long as they are applicable to all offices.

Dan Patrick

No reply

Attorney General

Dan Branch

No reply

Ken Paxton

No reply

Agriculture Commissioner

Tommy Merritt

Age: 65

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Farmer, Rancher, and Businessman

City: Kilgore

Campaign phone number: 430.558.4924

Campaign email address: tcm@tommymerritt.com

Web site: www.TommyMerritt.com

Education background, including all degrees: Kilgore College (1966-1968); Texas Christian University (BBA, 1970)

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: I have volunteered on dozens of Republican political campaigns at all levels of government, dating back to my work for Barry Goldwater in 1964. I am proud to have helped the elect the first Republican to office in Gregg County, which is now an overwhelmingly Republican county. Outside of the political realm, I have been involved with Junior Achievement and the Boy Scouts in my local community and, with my family, established the Janet Herrington Merritt Rangerette Scholarship at Kilgore College.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? My experience as an elected member of the Texas Legislature, coupled with my broad executive management experience in the private sector, makes me the most uniquely qualified for this office. Unlike some of my opponents, I am neither a lawyer nor a lobbyist; I am a successful and experienced entrepreneur who built and managed multi-million dollar businesses with hundreds of employees for more than three decades.

I bring a business and managerial skill set that will allow me to effectively run a large agency like the Texas Department of Agriculture in a manner that is beneficial to taxpayers and stakeholders in the Agriculture industry.

I also have the conservative experience that Texans trust, which is why I’m endorsed by the former Agriculture Committee Chair, Rick Hardcastle, and the following individuals and groups: Gary Polland/Texas Conservative Review, Terry Lowry/What’s Up Radio Program/Link Letter, Congressman Ralph Hall, Department of Public Safety Officers Association, Texas State Fire Fighters Association, POLICE, Inc., Senator Kevin Eltife, several local mayors and county commissioners, numerous Republican party officials, and Donnie Gay, 8-time PCRA world champion bull rider.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address?

1. ) Property Taxes: The reform of our property tax and property appraisal system is key to sustaining the Texas agriculture industry, because family farmers and ranchers are suffering due to oppressive property taxes.

2) Illegal Immigration: Facilitate cooperation between local landowners and law enforcement to stop illegal trespassing on private property and ensure that immigration regulations are enforced.

3) Water: Overhaul the burdensome bureaucratic water regulatory system to enable farmers and ranchers to effectively do their jobs while preserving our precious resources.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? Texans deserve an Agriculture Commissioner who is focused solely on serving the public and will devote his full attention and energy to this crucial office; I am that person. I will not use this office as a stepping-stone to another position, and, if elected, will serve no more than two terms.

Sid Miller

Age: 58

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Farming/Ranching, Nurseryman

City: Stephenville

Campaign phone number: (254) 968-3535

Campaign email address: millerfortexas@gmail.com

Web site: www.MillerForTexas.com

Education background, including all degrees: AA, Cisco Junior College - Graduated with Honors. Vocational Agriculture, B.S. - Tarleton State University - Graduated with Honors. I am the only candidate in this race with a degree in agriculture.

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Board Member, Choices Clinic and Life Resource Center, Elder, Cowboy Church of Erath County, Life-time Member, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Honorary Vice President, American Quarter Horse Association, Member, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raiser Association, Member, Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, Member, Tarleton State University Alumni Academic Forum, Board of Directors, Erath County Farm Bureau, Board Member and President, Dublin Farmers Peanut Cooperative, Area Chairman, Ducks Unlimited, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, Chairman, House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, Member, Agriculture Policy Board for the State of Texas, Chairman, House Republican Caucus, Republican House Freshman of the Year, Texas Representative, State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association, Texas Representative, Agriculture Policy for American Legislative Exchange Council, Board of Directors, Stephenville Chamber of Commerce

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I am running to be your next Agriculture Commissioner because agriculture is vital for continued success in the Great State of Texas. The Texas Department of Agriculture is one of the largest agencies in state government and needs to be led by someone who has an agriculture background, business credentials, and a proven record of fighting for every-day citizens in Austin. I was born and raised in Texas Agriculture. As a fourth generation Texas farmer and rancher I have the most extensive background in this field than any other candidate seeking this post. As a Nurseryman and a farming and ranching business owner, I have the experience of balancing budgets, cutting waste, and effectively managing a full-time working business. I have made my living off the land for 58 years, and I'm 58 years strong in Texas Agriculture. My entire life has been vested in the promotion of Texas Agriculture and I will work hard to promote Texas Agriculture world-wide. As a former rural School Board Member, Ag Teacher, and a six term veteran of the Texas House of Representatives I have a proven record of standing up for Texas citizens against the encroachment of big government. I've authored numerous pieces of legislation that have supported our veterans, restored local control, and downsized the size of the state government. As Chairman of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee I have had direct oversight over the Agriculture Commissioner and the inter-working details of the Department. During my tenure in the Texas House I also served as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Public Safety committee, which centered my energy in establishing Texas' security and effective solutions to the serious threat on our border. Out of all the candidates in this race, I am the proven conservative champion with a realistic, out in the pasture background in Texas Agriculture and I would be humbled to carry your prayers, support, and votes in the upcoming election for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? With the serious issue of both short term drought and long-term demand on our precious water resources, my administration's objective will be to focus on protecting and preserving these resources and in educating Texans about the appropriate use of water and defending Texas agriculturalists from the illegitimate, bloated, intrusive, and overreaching actions being taken against them by the Obama Administration. As the former Chairman of Homeland Security and Public Safety in the Texas House of Representatives, I will also take every step necessary and available to secure the Texas border. As the average age of the Texas farmer and rancher is around 60 years old, I will continuously promote careers in agriculture fields across Texas to keep our future invested in the continuance of Texas Agriculture.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? No, the length of your terms in office is determined at the ballot box.

Railroad Commissioner

Wayne Christian

No reply

Ryan Sitton

No reply

State Board of Education District 11

Patricia “Pat” Hardy (i)

Age: 65

Occupation and/or your main source of income: educator

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: 817-732-1786

Campaign email address: pathardy2008@sbcglobal.net

Web site: www.votehardy.com

Education background, including all degrees: Howard Payne University, B.A.; University of North Texas, M.S.

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Community involvement: For the past eleven I have served on the Texas State Board of Education, where I presently chair the SBOE’s Permanent School Fund Committee. For the past three years I have participated in Kid’s Hope mentoring program at George C. Clarke Elementary in Fort Worth ISD. I am an active member of Travis Ave Baptist Church and serve as Vice-Chair of the Indian Creek Condominiums. Member of the following organizations: Texas Retired Teachers Association, Texas Council for the Social Studies, Texas Social Studies Supervisors Association, World Affairs Council, Texas Alliance for Geographic Education; Dallas Arboretum

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? My life’s work has been in education. I spent 30 years as a classroom teacher and am completing my fourteenth year as a central office administrator. I have received numerous recognitions for my expertise and commitment to Texas schools, including the Texas Social Studies Supervisor of the Year and Texas Excellence in Education Award from The University of Texas Ex-Students' Association. Because of my interest in education issues, before I was elected to the State Board, the Speaker of the House appointed me to serve on several education policy committees. During my term of service on the SBOE, I have built consensus and guided the Board to become more efficient and cohesive.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? Presently the charge of the State Board and its most pressing issue is to put in place new courses and graduation requirements as prescribed by the Legislature in HB5, a process that has already begun. Two other issues the board will soon address are the social studies textbook adoption and revision of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for both Career Technology Education and English Language Arts & Reading. With updated technology, in recent standards revisions the board has been able to include more ideas and opinions from educators around the state. I would like to see more input by both interested educators and qualified community members. Recently the Chair of the Board appointed me to lead a Standards Ad Hoc Committee. This group will cooperate with the House of Representatives Public Education Committee in their interim charge to review Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills as they relate to State of Texas Assessment for Academic Readiness.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? Although service on the SBOE is costly and unpaid, it is an especially rewarding opportunity to give time, energy, and expertise to the students and state of Texas. I cherish the votes of my constituents and am grateful for the personal physical and mental resources that have allowed me to serve in this critical position. I trust the electorate to decide the number of terms that I serve.

Eric Mahroum

Age: 31

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Operations Manager

City: Bedford

Web site: EricforEducation.com

Education background, including all degrees: BA Business administration from American Intercontinental University

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Class President of the Lewisville citizen’s police academy in 2012. Former Vice President of the Young Republicans of Denton County. Volunteer at the Heavenly Supply Depot. Member of the Dallas Roman Catholic Diocese.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? First off I am a father of two who is concerned about our current state of public education. I have fifteen years of dealing with budgets and operations. I will be fiscally responsible when it comes to managing the permanent school fund. I will stay true to my conservative values when serving on the board.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? As your SBOE member, I will be an advocate for school reform that provides greater educational opportunities for ALL children. I will work to increase public accountability — particularly with parents — regarding curriculum that the SBOE supports. I will be a voice against the culture of testing versus actual learning that has been fostered in Texas. End-of-the-year testing does not ideally assess student progress in a timely manner; such testing hurts numerous school districts and unnecessarily penalizes teachers who have dedicated their time creating valuable lesson plans for students. Teaching is more than just instructing students on how to fill out a multiple-choice scantron.

Finally, the Permanent School Fund is an uniquely Texas institution that helps finance public primary and secondary education in our state. Established with a $2,000,000 in 1854, the fund, through prudent investing and through land revenues, now has a portfolio of more than $28,000,000,000. The fund must continue to be a sound investment — protected from wayward spending and misuse. As a conservative and an experienced manager in the hospitality industry, I recognize the need for fiscal responsibility when dealing with any kind of budget or investment. As your SBOE member, I will work to ensure that the Permanent School Fund is transparent and solvent going forward.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? Yes – I plan to only serve two terms and I believe in term limits.

Senate District 10

Konni Burton

Age: 51

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Former sales rep for a major paper distributor; former small business owner (Wedding Consultant); full time mom; conservative activist

City: Colleyville

Campaign phone number: 817-228-1805

Campaign email address: P.O. Box 1246; Colleyville, Texas 76034

Web site: konniburton.com

Education background, including all degrees: BBA from University of North Texas

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement:

The Rosie Project: Texas State “Rosie”

Dallas Tea Party: Board Member

FreedomWorks: Platform Commissioner at the RNC

Liberty Central: Texas State Liaison

Texas State Legislature TEA Party Caucus: Advisory Committee member 83rd & 84th sessions

NE Tarrant Tea Party: Steering Committee; Board Member; Vice President

Calvary Lutheran Church: Council Member; Outreach Chair; President

The Gladney Center: Auxiliary Board Member; Outreach Chair; President

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? My background in grassoots politics makes me qualified to hold this office. I've been heavily involved with local, state and national conservative organizations for years working on conservative issues and legislation. I've worked with the Republican national platform committee at the 2012 RNC in Florida. I've worked to build up the grassroots by organizing & leading education forums & bootcamps locally. I've organized and held GOTV trainings locally. I've walked my own and area precincts talking one on one to Republican voters to create awareness on the issues and candidates.The last two legislative sessions, I've been an advisory committee member to the TEA Party Caucus, organized by Senator Dan Patrick in Austin. I am known by and have built relationships with most all of the Republican elected officials down in Austin. They respect the work that I've been doing in Austin and Texas. The voters and conservative legislators are looking for someone with a history of standing for conservative principles and I believe my actions in the past show that and make me someone that voters believe in and the legislators look forward to working with.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? Stop the reckless spending, secure the border and end subsidies to illegal immigrants and provide more educational opportunities for students in failing schools.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms your would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? I do believe there should be term limits.

Mark Shelton

Age: 57

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Pediatrician

Campaign phone number: 817-921-6554

Your campaign email address: Mark@drmarksheleton.com

Web site: www.DrMarkShelton.com

Education background, including all degrees: Lamar HS, Arlington; Baylor University, BS, Biology; Texas A&M University, College of Medicine MD

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Lena Pope Home Board; Longhorn council Board; Former board member Cook Childrens' Physician Network

Issues and qualifications: I am running for this seat because I believe in the future of Texas. We need continued economic growth; a good education system so all children will have hope for a great future; and secure borders so crime, drugs, and human trafficking will no longer spill into Texas.

I have served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives for District 97, which includes southwest Tarrant County. I was appointed to great committees, Appropriations and Public Education, and helped balance two budgets without raising taxes.

I have been endorsed by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. Plus: The Texas Medical association, The Texas Association of Businesses, The Texas Hospital Association, The Texas Municipal Police Officer Association. I am A rated by the NRA.

I will work hard in the Texas Senate. Due to my experience in the Legislature, I know how to get things done in Austin. I am very optimistic about the future of our Great State of Texas.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I am the only candidate who has consistently voted to restrain spending and make tough decisions to ensure Texas’ future. My experience in the community, business and legislature gives me the ability to provide conservative representation for Tarrant County starting on opening day of the next legislative session.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? My top priority is to keep government spending and taxes under control so that families and businesses will thrive. I also will continue my staunch defense of our individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. constitution.

Judge County Criminal Court No. 2

Atticus Gill

Age: 38

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Attorney and part-time judge

City: North Richland Hills

Campaign phone number: 817-886-4430

Campaign email address: campaign@GillforJudge.com

Web site: www.gillforjudge.com

Education background, including all degrees: Washington & Lee University, Bachelor of Science; Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, J.D. summa cum laude;

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans- Tarrant County Executive Committee; National Rifle Association - Life Member; Tarrant County Bail Bond Board member; Rotarian; First Colleyville member; Director of City National Bank - Corsicana

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? Having handled over 2000 criminal cases as either judge or attorney, I have the depth of experience to decide cases fairly. And I have never “legislated from the bench.”

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? We need to continue the record of good financial stewardship by this court. And we need to reduce the recidivism rate among the many youthful offenders who come through the court.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms your would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? I believe that voters should decide when a judge needs to be replaced. At this time, I do not have any plan as to how many terms I would serve.

Carey Walker

Age: 59

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Attorney and counselor at law

City: Arlington

Campaign phone number: 817-994-1323, 817-870-9198

Campaign email address: careyfwalker@msn.com

Web site: careywalkerforjudge.com

Education background, including all degrees: Brewer High School 1973; East Texas State University, B.B.A. 1978; Texas Tech University School of Law, J.D. 1984.

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: First United Methodist Church Arlington, Member 1998 to present; Finance Committee; Head Usher; Youth Ministry Volunteer, Youth Ski Trip Chaperone; Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans volunteer attorney; Legal Aid of Northwest Texas pro bono attorney; Downtown Arlington Rotary Club; Arlington Optimist Club, boy’s baseball coach; Lamar High School, Baseball Booster Club, vice president; Habitat for Humanity. Member: National Rifle Association, Golden Eagles; TSRA; Arlington Arts League; Various local Republican clubs.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? My 29 year legal career practicing criminal law qualifies me to be judge of County Criminal Court 2. I possess extensive criminal trial experience as a prosecutor and a defense attorney. As lead, first-chair attorney I have prosecuted criminals for the offenses of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, aggravated sexual assault, burglary of a habitation, burglary of a building, possession of a controlled substance, and other offenses. As lead, first-chair attorney I have tried to a jury verdict almost every type of case handled in the count criminal courts including DWI, possession of marijuana, theft, assault, indecent exposure and prostitution. I practice law in the county criminal courts in Tarrant County on a weekly if not daily basis; I have handled thousands of cases in the county criminal courts that did not reach trial. My knowledge of the docket administration procedures and the diversion programs that work and that do not work in the county criminal courts is based on my personal experience in those courts for the past 29 years. This knowledge will enable me to transition from a practicing attorney to judge of County Criminal Court 2 smoothly without the necessity of a learning curve.

In the 2014 Tarrant County Bar Association Judicial Candidate Qualifications Bar Poll, the lawyers and judges in Tarrant County rated me “well qualified” for the office of judge of county criminal court 2. More lawyers and judges voted me “well qualified” than the “well qualified” votes received by all three of the other candidates for this position combined. My commitment to legal excellence is further demonstrated by my 18 consecutive-year membership in the College of the State Bar, which is an honor society created by the Supreme Court of Texas.

County Criminal Court 2 has an annual budget of approximately $500,000. I possess the business background necessary to manage this budget and to manage the personnel of the court. I earned a degree in Business Administration and have owned and run my own law office for the past 19 years. I have dealt first-hand with the wide variety of laws and human relations issues confronting businesses.

Lastly, I possess the demeanor, temperament, life experience and ethics necessary to be a strong, fair and even-handed judge. In recognition fo these traits, the President of the State Bar of Texas appointed me to serve two three year terms on the District 7A Grievance Committee that addresses grievances filed against lawyers by clients, judges or members of the public. After conducting hearings and considering evidence, the committee is authorized to take actions ranging from dismissing the grievance to recommending attorney disbarment. A calm demeanor, a respectful attitude, an understanding of attorney ethics and a well-rounded life experience were essential to a positive resolution of these important and oftentimes very emotional cases. I will bring these same traits to the office of judge of County Criminal Court 2.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? My highest priority issues are running an efficient court that timely moves its docket and being fiscally responsible with the taxpayer monies allotted for the administration of County Criminal Court 2.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? I do not plan to commit ahead of time to limit the number of terms I would serve. I do not believe that there should be term limits for judges. Because judges are subject to election and may be removed from office by the voters, term limits do exist already to an extent. Attorneys give up the practice of law and the client base they have built over the years in order to serve in a judicial capacity. Very few attorneys would be willing to sacrifice their law practice to serve a limited time as a judge knowing that after a few years they would be required to leave office and begin the process of building a law practice all over again.

Judge County Criminal Court No. 3

Alexander Kim

Age: 40

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Attorney/Practicing Criminal Defense Law

City: Bedford

Campaign phone number: 817.992.2539

Campaign email address: campaign@alexkim.com

Web site: www.alexkim.com

Education background, including all degrees: Undergraduate coursework, Wheaton College (IL)\; B.A. Economics, Baylor University (1996); Ph.D. Coursework, Tulane University; J.D, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (2006)

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Coach in the Texas Youth Lacrosse League; Member, Colleyville Lion’s Club

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? Prior to attending law school, I worked for a Global 100 Company, a Fortune 500 Company, and myself as a small business owner. I also worked in the non-profit sector, assisting people transition from welfare to the workforce. I believe that my experience working in an area not involved with the law gives me a unique perspective that any Judges lack I feel that I am better equipped than my opponents to understand how both a defendant’s and victim’s life are impacted by criminal acts and would be able to be a better Judge by applying this knowledge to the facts of the case.

Furthermore, I have extensive experience as a criminal trial lawyer. I have handled serious cases such as murder, sexual assault of a child, aggravated assault, and capital murder. My opponents, on the other hand, have either no criminal trial experience or limited experience from focusing their practice on bail bonds and misdemeanors.

I believe I am the most qualified candidate for this position due to my comparative advantage in life experience as well as criminal trial experience.

Finally, as the son of immigrants that literally lost everything they had to Communism, I was raised in a home that treasured the opportunities that America gives her citizens. Both my mother’s and father’s sides fled to the south to escape the North Korean invasion. Leaving everything behind, both families started over with nothing and rebuilt their lives in South Korea. Eventually, they came to the United States to ensure that they will never have to worry about a government that will arbitrarily seize property from an individual or deny them the fundamental rights that belong to every person. I personally understand the importance of liberty and of equal protection under the law. That is part of my very existence and the reason why I am in the United States today. We ask our Judges to follow the law and to understand the importance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There is no question that I am the person who will always hold those precious documents dear to my heart.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? My highest priority as a Judge is to apply the law, as written. Judicial activism is a problem that plague many courts, and I believe it is important for a Judge to follow the law. In my opinion, a Judge is a like an umpire at a baseball game. When I played baseball in High School, I never cared if the strike zone was small or large, as long as the strike zone was consistent each and every time I went to bat. The umpires that had changing strike zones frustrated the batters, pitchers, and the spectators. I plan to be a consistent Judge so that both the prosecutor and the defendant will know that if they come to my court, no matter who wins, both sides will be able to say they received a fair trail. This court has one of the bigger backlogs of the Tarrant County misdemeanor courts, but this can easily be corrected by hard work by the incoming Judge. Although judicial efficiency and economy is important, my priority will always be to ensure that the law is followed and to be a fair and neutral Judge.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms your would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? I have not decided about how long I would like to serve. At this point, I want to serve the citizens of Tarrant County to the best of my ability, for as long as the citizens feel that I am the best Judge for this court. Judicial positions are somewhat different than legislative positions in that consistency and established procedure is often a good thing. The retiring Judge, Billy Mills, has been in this office for 38 years and is extremely highly regarded in the Tarrant County community because the parties know what to expect when they enter the court.

Bob McCoy

Age: 66

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Justice, 2nd Court of Appeals; I am also in my 15th year as an Adjunct Professor at Texas A & M Law School

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: (817) 924-0584

Campaign email address: None

Web site: http://www.electbobmccoy.com/

Education background, including all degrees: B.S. Engineering Physics and M.S. Mathematics - Texas Tech University; J.D. (cum laude) - University of Houston

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Salvation Army Advisory Council, Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Tarrant Area Food Bank volunteer, frequent speaker at Bar Association events and numerous other groups from nursing homes to the social clubs.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I was a trial judge for 8 years ('95-'03) and have been a Justice on the 2nd Court of Appeals since 2003. I have tried, as a Judge, over 200 cases to a jury verdict and authored over 1500 opinions containing thousands of legal issues as a Justice. I am also Board certified to try lawsuits as a lawyer, and have practiced here for over 30 years. I do not approach this job as a defense lawyer practiced in keeping people out of jail, or as a prosecutor practiced in putting them behind bars, but rather as a jurist very familiar with trying cases as a judge and being very familiar with the law. I am certainly aware that everyone can make a mistake, and equally aware that the laws need to be enforced and the people of Tarrant county protected. This is a position with which I am very comfortable and welcome any inquiries to my fellow Judges and Justices as to my work ethic, my ethical standards, and anything else of interest to the questioner.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? While on the Salvation Army Advisory Council, we adopted the slogan for the Army of “Doing the Most Good.” I adopted that slogan for myself also. This court handles primarily DWI's and I want to reach out to young people through our high schools about the realities of getting stopped for DWI. I will emphasize that this is not just a ticket. I want to educate young people on the ramifications involved, long term and short term, of a DWI's effect on their record, detention at the time of the stop, the Fort Worth "holding tank", on their ability to have a driver's license, insurance and costs, to say nothing of what is involved if there should be car accident, e.g. , Ethan Couch. I will go to any place or school that will have me, and speak, hopefully with a Police Officer and some young person that has been through the system in my court. I believe that education can make a difference.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms your would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? I do not believe that there should be term limits for this office. When I am no longer effective, I will no longer seek office.

Justice of the Peace Pct. 3

Russ Casey (i)

Age: 43

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Tarrant County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3

City: North Richland Hills

Campaign phone number: 817-501-1801

Campaign email address: russ@russcasey.com

Web site: www.russcasey.com

Education background, including all degrees: Business degree form TCJC

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Member of MENSA, Texas Judicial Council, Past Chairman of Texas State Advisory Board to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, TCC Real Estate Advisory Board, past President of Northeast Republican Club, past Vice-President of Tarrant County Young Republicans, past member of City of Hurst Traffic Safety Commission

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? In 2012 I was appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to be chairman of the taskforce to redesign the Justice Court system in Texas. We were to combine the Small Claims Courts and the Justice Courts into one single court and write rules of civil procedure for the new Justice Court. It was one the largest court reforms in Texas history. The new rules took effect Aug. 31, 2013. (Ref: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/08/16/5087068/judges-get-more-leeway-in-handling.html

Due to the relative recent changes in the rules and my position as chairman of the taskforce I am uniquely qualified as having a deep understanding of the letter and the intent of the rules for Justice Courts in Texas.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? The Justice Court for Tarrant County Pct.3 is currently running under budget and without a backlog. (Getting to this point was no easy task, and I would to credit the best staff in world. We implemented changes to the workflow system, and then with a lot of hard work we got it caught up and intend to keep it that way.) With my role in the creation of the new rules I have been tasked with helping to train judges with the changes. And since the charges are sweeping, I am tasked with keeping the Texas Supreme Court with any possible problems. Since an appeal from the Justice Court is a trial de-novo, possible conflicts or concerns are not always easily addressed through the normal appeal process.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms your would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? There are many arguments in favor of term limits, but they differ for each branch of government and the positions held. There is no replacement for experience. From Municipal Court to the Supreme Court, judges will tell you that you learn something new almost every day. Experience in the Judiciary is so important. Our founders were well aware of both sides of the issue and decided that the best way was for the citizens to decide whether they wanted to keep an official or not through periodic elections.

Lenny Lopez

No reply

DEMOCRATS

U.S. Senate

David M. Alameel

Age: 61

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Businessman

City: Dallas

Campaign phone number: 972.479.5800

Campaign email address: info@alameelforsenate.com

Web site: AlameelforSenate.com

Education background, including all degrees: Doctor of Dental Surgery, University of Texas, 1981

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Founding Member, Hispanic Endowed “Open Doors” Scholarship Program; Founder, The Alameel Foundation; President, League of Latin American Citizens Greater Texas LULAC Council; Member, City of Dallas adjustment board; Former Chairman, American Lebanese League; Member, Greater Dallas Area Asian American Chamber of Commerce; Received “Centennial Award” on the millennium eve of 1999 from President Bill Clinton

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I believe in the American Dream because I’ve lived it myself. I came to America when I was just twenty years old, old leaving behind my large Lebanese Christian family. I pumped gas and worked in the fields to help my family. I proudly served in the U.S. Army, then worked my way through college and received a Dental degree from the University of Texas. I later moved to Dallas and founded a network of dental clinics that grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise. In recent years, I sold that business and have become a successful investor and an expert in financial markets. I am a critic of Wall Street and know we must reform current policies that subsidize big banks and corporations and hurt the middle class.

Martha, my wife of 40 years, and I have two grown children and one grandson, so I understand firsthand the importance of education that is accessible and affordable for Texas children. I’ve served on various civic boards and organizations in the Dallas area and have been involved in Democratic politics for more than 20 years.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? I'm a veteran and a strong supporter of the military, but after 12 years, it's time for us to bring the troops home from Afghanistan and use the billions we are spending there to do three things: improve our economy at home by investing in good jobs and making Wall Street pay its fair share of taxes, increasing access to quality education for all children, and protecting Social Security and Medicare.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? The voters have term limits. They can vote any of us out now. I believe we need new people and new ideas, and that's why I'm running. But I oppose outside arbitrary limits that can cost Texas the kind of clout we need in Washington.

Kesha Rogers

No reply

Agriculture Commissioner

Richard “Kinky” Friedman

No reply

Jim Hogan

No reply

State Board of Education, District 13

Erika Beltran

Age: 35

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Policy Program Director, Teaching Trust

City: Dallas

Campaign phone number: 214-744-3149

Campaign email address: Erikabeltranfortexaskids@gmail.com

Web site: www.erikabeltranfortexaskids.com Facebook: Erika Beltran for State Board of Education, District 13 Twitter: @EBeltran4SBOE

Education background, including all degrees: LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin - Austin, Texas: Master of Public Affairs, 2006, Professional Report: “Closing School Readiness Gaps: A Guide for Texas Policymakers;” Williams College - Williamstown, MA: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, 2001; Ronald E. McNair Scholar – A program to encourage first-generation college students who have demonstrated strong academic potential to pursue graduate studies.

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement:

· Board Member, Young Leaders in Education (YLE): YLE is a group of young professionals committed to strengthening education in North Texas. As a Board Member, I have the privilege of working with other young professionals passionate about education and with non-profits in Dallas in need of additional support.

· Volunteer, Organizing for Action (OFA): As a volunteer for OFA I have organized and participated in numerous phone banks and “flyering” events urging our members of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office?

I am an educator committed to improving public education in Texas. As first generation college graduate, I understand the importance of preparing students for success. Upon graduating from Williams College in Massachusetts, I moved back to Texas to teach bilingual kindergarten and fourth grade. Teaching gave me unique insight into the challenges facing students, families, and educators and inspired me to commit my career to ending education inequity.

After teaching, I launched into the field of education policy. I attended the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and received a Master of Public Affairs in 2006. I spent a year in the San Francisco Bay Area working for a large private family foundation and worked on efforts to help close school readiness gaps. From California, I moved to Washington, D.C. where I spent five years working for a large civil rights organization tracking federal education policy and advocating for the needs of low-income children and families. Currently, I work for a Dallas-based nonprofit, Teaching Trust, where I lead a leadership development program for teachers.

I’m running to serve on the Texas State Board of Education because I believe that every child and family in District 13 should have the opportunity to succeed. I am passionate about education and about ensuring that Texas children have access to rigorous instruction, great teachers and leaders, and excellent schools.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? When elected to the State Board of Education, I plan on ensuring that Texas children have access to:

Rigorous Instruction – Children who grow up in Texas must be prepared to compete with children from around the globe. As a former teacher, I understand the importance of developing learning standards that set high expectations for all kids. As a Board Member, I commit to ensuring that Texas:

· Develops rigorous learning standards that are aligned to college and workforce expectations and prepare all students for success.

· Adopts historically and scientifically accurate textbooks and curriculum.

· Ensures that teachers and students have access to high-quality instructional materials

Great Teachers and Principals - Teachers and principals play a critically important role in securing the success of students. In fact, research has proven that teachers are the most important in-school factor contributing to student achievement. We must continue to invest in recruiting, training, and retaining the most effective teachers and administrators. As a Board Member, I commit to ensuring that Texas:

· Adopts policies that help attract effective teachers and principals to the profession.

· Provides on-going professional development for teachers and principals that help them meet the needs of students.

· Works closely with educators to inform the educator certification process.

Excellent Schools – Children and families across Texas deserve excellent schools. Excellent schools are places where children are nurtured, challenged, and prepared for success. These are places where children thrive and adults are fully committed to the students and families they serve. As a Board Member, I will work hard to ensure that Texas schools:

· Prioritize the needs of students.

· Develop professional staff that can deliver strong outcomes for students.

· Establish a culture of high expectations for all students.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms your would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? I plan on serving on the State Board of Education for as long as I believe I am making an impact. I believe there should be a two-term limit for the SBOE. Serving two terms allows for sufficient time to make and impact and to make room for fresh new voices.

Andrea Hilburn

Age: 64

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Educator - Dallas ISD

City: Dallas

Campaign email address: ahilburn8814@att.net

Web site: None

Education background, including all degrees: BS from the University of North Texas; MED from Texas A & M in Commerce; and a PhD from University of Texas at Dallas

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Dallas School Administrators Association (Executive Board President '91-'93); National Association for Black School Educations; United Way of Metropolitan Dallas; Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Dallas Alumnae Chapter; Boys and Girls Club, Inc. and South Dallas Concert Choir

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? Using 40 years of experience in education as a teacher, principal, administrative services and programs which includes policy overview, as well as an adjunct professor for Concordia University Master's Program and principal certification.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? I plan to work with the State Board of Education as a member to address the following upcoming issues:

1) Determining what new courses will be developed to give students more options under HB5, especially concerned with more alternative mathematics courses that would cover algebraic concepts for non-math majors.

2) TEKS review as a continuous cycle/ courses are reviewed every ten years/ the instructional materials are reviewed and then to make sure that the TEKS that are align with instructional materials are aligned with the STATE assessment.

3) Looking at the review and approval process of the next Social Studies books - last year the State Board approved the next biology books.

The main focus is on higher achievements in our schools.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms your would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? Board members serve staggered terms: when 7 SBOE members are up for reelection in one election cycle and 8 SBOE members are up for the next election cycle after the 12th year for one set of members a new set would come in and the other set would remain in office until the next election cycle.

I believe in term limits for all offices. We should serve our term (s) before the effectiveness of one's focus diminished. Why, because sometime the individual in office does not cultivate others to replace them and one begins to think of the office as their personal possession. Moreover one may become resistant to and not support new ideas and the apathetic voting public continues to send the familiar back to office.

-- Compiled by Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

atinsley@star-telegram.com

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