2014 primary voters guide: Texas legislative races on the ballot in Tarrant County

02/18/2014 10:43 PM

02/18/2014 10:45 PM

Here’s a closer look at candidates in the Republican and Democratic primary races for the Texas House and Senate in the March 4 primary elections.

All candidates in contested races that appear on Tarrant County ballots were sent a Star-Telegram questionnaire about their campaigns and background. Here are the responses — unfiltered and in their own words — from the candidates who replied. Spelling and grammar have not been corrected.

State Senate District 10

Republicans

Konni Burton

Age: 50

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.

Tony Pompa

Age: 42

Occupation and/or your main source of income: President and CEO, Pompa's General Assembly

City: Arlington

Campaign phone number: 817-701-3171

Campaign email address: tony@tonypompa.com

Web site: www.tonypompa.com

Education background, including all degrees: Bachelor of Science in Psychology from St. Edwards University

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Serving on the Arlington ISD School Board, I have turned deficits to surpluses in our school budget. We saved enough money to build an entire school with cash. That is true conservative principles at work. I can deliver the Republican vote and the conservative minority vote in Senate District 10 to pull out a win in the general election. By far one of the greatest attributes of our campaign has been our ability to engage energetic and enthusiastic young Conservatives, they are the future of the Republican Party. We need to build up our party with young voters to keep it alive. I have energized many young people who work on my campaign. I am the candidate that can deliver that to you.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I am a businessman - not a politician. As a business owner, my top priorities will be to help lessen the regulations on small businesses in Texas. We do need regulations on business, but we need to make sure that we do not stifle the good business economy we have here that has helped Texas to weather the most recent economic recession so well. I started my business when I was laid off and shorted two pay periods worth of checks - when I was newly married, with a baby on the way, and a junior Honors student at St. Edwards University. After twenty-two years of owning a business in both healthy and tough economic times, I know the struggles of small business owners and I will try to lessen the burden on these businesses. I have a proven record.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? Transportation, infrastructure, and water

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? Yes, I do support term limits. I don't plan on serving more than three terms.

Jon Schweitzer

Age 41

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Chiropractor and my clinic business

City: Colleyville

Campaign email address: jon@drjonfortexas.com

Web site: drjonfortexas.com

Education background, including all degrees: Undergraduate at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor pre-requisites attained; Parker College of Chiropractic – Graduated 9-11-95 Doctor of Chiropractic degree

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Coached sports thorough city leagues and ymca for 15 years. Sat on the HOA board for Saddlebrook homeowners association

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I am a small business owner and doctor who has practiced in this state for now over 18 years. I am the only candidate that has proposed workable solutions to the issues and not just bumper sticker slogans to identify the problems.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? The budget and repealing the affects of Obamacare on Texas by putting in cost saving adopted practices to limit the cost of the expansion. Introducing evidence based medicine and a fee schedule to allow more doctors to accept the insurance and prevent the state from being bankrupted by it.

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 plan to limit the amount of terms I would run for and am fully in favor of 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.

Mark Skinner

Age: 57

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Commercial Real Estate Broker, property management, development

City: Colleyville

Campaign phone number: 817-380- 4738

Campaign email address: Texans For Mark Skinner, P.O. Box 155303, Fort Worth, TX 76155

Web site: www.TexansForMarkSkinner.com

Education background, including all degrees: AA Blinn College 1977 Brenham, TX; BA Chemistry UT Arlington, Arlington, TX 1980

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Colleyville City Council 2003-2005; multiple leadership positions professionally, philanthropy, Bible Class instructor FBC Euless,TX

Issues and qualifications: Economic Development; Water & Transportation Infrastructure; Education Reforms and Funding; Second Amendment Rights; Fiscal Restraint in Government; Lower Taxation; Social Welfare Reforms

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? 30 plus years of economic development experience through my professional career in commercial real estate. Leadership positions in various professional organizations. Articulate and effective communicator. My career has been predicated upon my abilities to reach consensus agreements with parties on opposite sides of most transactions. I’m a life-long leader, not just a “recent” leader. I’ve served in elected positions throughout my entire life. I understand the complexities of the issues that face Texas and I’m educationally, experiencially, and professionally well-prepared for this positions. I truly believe that if you look carefully at the qualifications of all the candidates in this race you will notice a clear distinction between mine and those of my competitors. We need leaders in Austin, not “wrenchers” intent upon derailing the entire process. My goal is to offer the Republican Party a qualified, effective and articulate candidate that is capable of standing strong for conservative principles of commons sense government.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? See “Issues and Qualifications” above.

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 seek no other office than the Texas Senate District 10 seat. I favor term limitations and I’m willing to limit my terms in office. This is not a “stepping stone” to another position for me. I truly seek to serve the constituents of SD 10.

Democrats

Mike Martinez

Age: 43

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Small Business Owner

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: 817-987-9578

Campaign email address: mikemartinez@mikemartineztxsenate.com

Web site: mikemartineztxsenate.com

Education background, including all degrees: WHHS Class of ’88, University of Texas at Austin BA Government ‘92

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: UT Austin Center for Mexican American Studies Advisory Committee – Chair; SMU Cox Maguire Energy Institute Dallas Council – Inaugural Member; FW Opera Leadership Committee; FW Opera Ambassadors Committee – Co-Chair; Volunteer at Colonial Golf Tournament (approx. 15 years); Donor of the first privately funded endowment dedicated to the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT Austin

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? Former Aide to a state representative in the Capitol and District office for 2 years; Former Lobbyist to the State Legislature; Fort Worth Business leader and creator of hundreds of jobs; the only minority in the democratic primary race for Senate District 10 which is a Majority Minority District; 34 year resident of Tarrant County, product of FWISD system

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

· Standing up for Education

Increase access to early Pre-K --- ensuring children enter kindergarten ready to learn --- and fully restore funds Republicans cut from our public schools.

· Defending the Right to Health Care

End Rick Perry’s war on health care by expanding Medicaid for working families and provide women full access to health care with the providers of their choice.

· Encouraging Job Growth

Position our community colleges and career tech programs in high schools to deliver higher paying jobs.

· Raising All Our Voices

Turn back Republican attacks on minority voting rights and lead the fight for equal pay for women and equal rights for ALL Texans.

The theme of the Martinez campaign is “Committed, Qualified, Competent:”

Committed – “I am committed to implement REAL change for our communities. Education continues and has always been my number one issue. I believe creating high quality early education programs that help develop the necessary cognitive, social and emotional support children need during these early years serves as a solid foundation that is essential to reach their fullest potential and succeed in life. I am also committed to the importance of having our schools well-funded so that we can stay ahead of the curve in the areas of technology. The Texas legislature must recognize the value of having art programs in our schools. We need to re-design the infrastructure of education and recognize the different styles of learning that many of our children have. My commitment extends to our teachers. They deserve higher wages and competitive salaries. We need to look at education as an investment in the future of our children.”

Qualified – “As a small business owner I am qualified and understand commerce. I have helped to create over 200 jobs here in Fort Worth. Job growth is the cornerstone of a prosperous local economy. When I stand in our great state capitol building know that I will be your voice. Know that I will fight for quality and high wage jobs and ensure that our schools are well funded.”

Competent – “I am in this race to win it, for us and our families. We’re all in this together. I am competent and ready to represent you in Austin as your next Texas State Senator.”

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 think term limits are a good thing. I would consider limiting the number of terms I serve.

Libby Willis

Age: 54

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Neighborhood Revitalization/Redevelopment Consultant

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: 817-523-1320

Campaign email address: libbywillis@libbyfortexassenate.org

Web site: www.libbyfortexassenate.org

Education background, including all degrees: Bachelor of Arts, English/French and a Texas teaching certificate, Baylor University, 1981; Master of International Journalism, Baylor University, 1982

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Immediate past president and elected 3 times as president, Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods; appointee to Fort Worth I.S.D. District Advisory Committee; Member, Site Based Management Team, Amon Carter Riverside High School; Central City Revitalization Committee; elected six times as president of Oakhurst Neighborhood Association; past appointee, Downtown Fort Worth Tax Increment Finance District Board; past appointee, Fort Worth Cultural District Committee. Over 30 years, I have served on numerous other church, Chamber of Commerce, United Way and other boards and committees

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I have experience at the neighborhood and citywide levels of working with neighbors, families and businesses to solve problems, big and small.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? My priorities are to protect and improve public education, to create good paying jobs so families will have a better economic future, and to expand in-home care for seniors so they are not forced to leave their homes.

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? As a practical matter, the ballot box already exists as a control on the number of terms any legislator is able to serve. However, such a suggestion might be realistic if we could find a way to limit the "terms" of lobbyists.

State Rep. District 90

Democrats

Lon Burnam (i)

Age: 60

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Community organizer / retired

Campaign phone number: 817-924-2008

Your campaign email address: lon@lonburnam.com

Web site: www.lonburnam.com

Education background, including all degrees: Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning, The University of Texas at Arlington; Bachelor's Degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin; High School Diploma from Western Hills High School

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Public policy advocacy, FCNL. Got started with neighborhood advocacy, environmental justice, consumer advocacy and Democratic politics in the late 1970s, organizing with Cesar Chavez among others. For over 30 years I have been an organizer and consultant to organizations working on human rights, immigrant rights and gender equality.

Issues and qualifications: My legislative work focuses on public education, civil rights, healthcare for all and improving the lives of working Texans. I have received honors including “Immigrant Rights Champion” from the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance, “Environmental Advocate in Chief” by the Texas League of Conservation Voters and others from groups like the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, the ACLU, Proyecto Immigrante, Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, Public Citizen, Communications Workers of America and more.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? In the 17 years I have been a representative, I have learned how state government works and the best way to advocate for the interests of our people. I know the issues, the people and the processes. I am the better candidate because this knowledge allows me to be effective, and also because I am doing this to serve. I am not trying to make a name for myself or flatter my ego or run for higher office, and I don't feel entitled to this seat. I running because I care and because I think I can be the most effective person to help our people.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? I will continue to push for better funding for our public schools and better healthcare for our people. Our top priorities as a state should be restoring the education funding cuts the Republicans pushed through in 2011, and in accepting the federal Medicaid expansion money that will immediately insure more than a million Texans, including 56,000 here in Tarrant County. I will also continue to add to the more than 15 healthcare workshops I have held in my district - half in English and half in Spanish - to help enroll people in health insurance. A healthy, educated people are a thriving people.

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? No, I believe the people should get to decide whoever they want to represent them.

Ramon Romero Jr.

Age: 40

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Owner of A-Fast Coping Tile and Stone

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: Daniel Sanchez, 817-939-6865

Campaign email address: ramonromerocampaign@yahoo.com

Web site: www.ramonromerojr.com

Education background, including all degrees: High School: Graduated in 1992 from Poly High School; College: Attended TCJC but left to start business in irrigation, became a licensed irrigator in Texas in 1994.

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Founded the Poly Pyramid Neighborhood Association; Appointed to the Fort Worth Planning Commission, became chairman; Appointed to FW Zoning Commission; Appointed to the Air Quality and Standards Task Force Committee; Ran for City Council District 8 in 2012

Issues and qualifications: Education- Education is the keystone to all successes in our society. A good education is the base from which all other goals are reachable. A failed education costs us all for the lifetime of the child left behind. I’ll fight to reinstate funds to our public education budget. My children have all recently graduated high school and have a firsthand understanding of the situations that they and their fellow students faced every day.

Jobs and Development in our community-I’ve watched good jobs and businesses leave our community for years. Collaboration with the development community such as the Renaissance Square can happen on a greater scale. Small business mentorship and support will bring quality jobs to the communities most desperate for development. Texas is front and center in the creation of jobs and a growing economy. But this doesn’t touch everyone’s life. We need to make it easier for the people of District 90 to create and grow their own businesses.

Poor Voter Turnout and Engagement-We will bring the electorate out in the communities and age groups not normally seen.

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? My ability to encourage people to be a part of the larger team. Volunteerism has always been a large part of my life. I have worked for a long time as chair of the City Planning Commission, member of the Zoning Commission, neighborhood association president, hands on business professional and neighborhood advocate and I do not divide, I do not alienate, I don’t drive people away from involvement. I build working relationships, have experience communicating with people of all backgrounds and skills and can draw community input into every aspect of working for District 90 while being a stand up leader in Austin.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? Education and healthcare for ALL Texans. Quality education in all zip codes across Texas, and educational opportunities for adults previously left behind. The development of long term solutions to the growth of Texas, bringing jobs and development to overlooked neighborhoods in the district.

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 have not set a limit to the time in which I hope to serve. In no way believe that candidates should ever seek to serve a lifetime in one office. 10-12 years in the house without seeking another office seems to be enough time.

State Rep. District 92

Republicans

Jonathan Stickland (i)

Age: 30

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Oil and Gas consultant

City: Bedford

Campaign phone number: 817-437-9184

Campaign email address: votestickland@gmail.com

Web site: www.jonathanstickland.com

Education background, including all degrees: Birdville High School – GED, Tarrant County College, Parkland Community College

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Sunday School Teacher, First Baptist Church of Hurst

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? Small business man who knows what it takes to grow the economy/opportunity

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? Jobs and the Economy, Protecting Life, Protecting 2nd Amendment rights, cut spending and lowering tax burdens

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 voted for term limits and support them

Andy Cargile

Age: 67

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Retired Principal of Euless Trinity HS

Campaign phone number: 817-928-4346

Campaign email address: andy@andycargilefortexas.com

Web site: www.AndyCargileForTexas.com

Education background, including all degrees: Bachelor of Science – School of Education, Texas A&M Commerce; Master of Science – School of Education, Texas A&M Commerce

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement:

Member of the Texas Association of School Boards

Member of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals

Member of the Texas High School Coaches Association

Member and Officer of the Noon Optimist Club

Member of the Hurst Euless Bedford Retired School Employees

Volunteer with 6 Stones

o Backpack Giveaway which offers school supplies to children

o Run 4 Life

Lifetime member of the Parent Teacher Association

Started the Angel Fund which help students stay in School

Mentor for the Trinity High School character Education Program

Just for Kids Principal of the Year, 2007

Inducted into the Thomas Jefferson High School Distinguished Alumni Association, 2006, Charter Member

Inducted into the Thomas Jefferson High School Athletic Hall of Fame, 2011

Coach of the Year for Dallas ISD, 1978

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I believe that I have the background and experience necessary for understanding complicated procedures when making difficult decisions. I will be beholden to the people in my district rather than one special interest group.

I ran a Texas 5A high school which included staff, students and parents from all levels of economic background and over 30 ethnic backgrounds. The diversity at Trinity High School created challenges; however, we were still able to be successful on all levels of academic performance and extra-curricular activities.

I am a fiscal conservative. During my tenure on the HEB Board of Trustees, the school district received a “Superior Achievement” rating, the highest rating given by the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas. The rating is based on a Texas Education Agency review of audited financial reports of Texas school districts.

I support a rigorous cost benefit analysis of any new proposal or legislation.

I am an old fashioned pragmatist and relish working with others to come up with common solutions. I strongly believe that the job of a politician is to get things done for the good of the community he or she represents.

I am pro-business and will oppose any unnecessary new regulations on businesses. As an educator, I understand over regulation from the state.

I support justifiable investments in schools, infrastructure and transportation such as the recent Constitutional Amendment #6 which allows long-range provisions for needed water resources in our state. To do otherwise is penny wise and dime foolish.

While I do not claim to have all the answers, I pledge to be open, to listen to you and to the best of my ability work with you to promote economic growth, business opportunities and promote a better quality of life in our communities.

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

Improve Texas Schools

Cut wasteful spending

Keep taxes low

Focus more resources on basic services like water and highways

Secure our borders

Defend the 2nd Amendment

Protect the unborn

Ethics reforms for elected officials

Protect the health and safety of our citizens

We need elected leaders in the Texas House who are more focused on doing what is right for their district instead of pandering to special interest groups that issue questionable report cards based on arbitrary standards.

There are too many politicians who would rather repeat tired slogans instead of doing the hard work necessary to protect taxpayers, grow our economy and improve our public schools. I’m a committed conservative who believes it’s time to elect more everyday Texans to clean up the political process. I will stand strong on principle and always do what’s right for my community.”

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 believe State Representatives should be term limited to 4 terms, and I plan to limit my service to those terms.

State Rep. District 94

Republicans

Diane Patrick (i)

Age: 68

Occupation and/or your main source of income: Retired university professor; husband’s income

City: Arlington

Campaign phone number: 817-795-9595

Campaign email address: dianepatrick@dianepatrick.org

Web site:dianepatrick.org

Education background, including all degrees: Ph.D. (Educational Administration) University of North Texas; M.Ed. (Elementary Education, English) University of North Texas; B.A. (Elementary Education, English) Baylor University

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Arlington ISD Board of Trustees 1981-1992, including four years as President; current Director Arlington ISD Education Foundation; Arlington Junior League and Rotary Club of Arlington; formerly: Alliance for Children Board; March of Dimes; Arlington Museum of Art Board, Fielder Museum Board

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? I have always believed in giving my time to our community, whether serving on the Arlington School Board, the Texas State Board of Education, or in a wide range of civic organizations. These commitments have given me insight to be able to effectively represent our community. My leadership style is one of making things happen through collaboration of stakeholders. Having been a small business owner over many years, I am very conscientious about the importance of keeping taxes low and having more efficiencies and transparency in government.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? We have serious work to accomplish in addressing the state’s infrastructure needs: water, transportation, education. My highest priority is education because I believe it is the most important economic driver we have. Good public education is good for the future of Arlington and this state.

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 believe that democracy works in creating a balance of new and experienced legislators! In the Texas House over half of the members are in their freshman or sophomore term, with the average tenure being five years; therefore, I am not in favor of term limits in the Texas House.

Tony Tinderholt

No reply

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