If the Republican primary for Texas House District 99 in Tarrant County seems familiar — it is.
This is a contest between competing wings of the Texas Republican Party. Both are conservatives who want to hold the line on taxes, support the Second Amendment and oppose abortion.
But Geren, president of the LGS Godley Ranch and owner of the Railhead Smokehouse, supports a more business-friendly agenda. Some Tea Party members and groups associated with the GOP claim he’s not conservative enough. He believes he’s delivering services and policies that support his community.
Last session, Geren helped negotiate additional funding for colleges and universities, and he wants increased state spending for public schools next session. On immigration, he helped write the bill banning sanctuary cities, though he supports keeping in-state tuition for immigrants who graduated from Texas high schools. He would eliminate permit fees for gun licenses but wants owners to have background checks.
French declined the Editorial Board’s invitation to talk about his campaign. From his website, we know he wants to eliminate in-state tuition for students who aren’t citizens even if they’ve lived in Texas most of their lives. He supports “constitutional carry,” issuing gun permits without restrictions. He appears to back voucher efforts that would allow public dollars to be used for private education, something Geren opposes.
There’s no love lost between French and Geren. Last year French filed a lawsuit alleging a “political ‘dirty trick’” in the 2016 election, claiming that false accusations of child abuse were made by a worker in Geren’s campaign. Geren said that neither he nor anyone in his campaign “used CPS for politics.”
French apparently wants to make the CPS accusations a major issue in the campaign. We think it would be more useful to focus on measures that would directly affect voters.
Take taxes. Geren wants to rein in what he considers “skyrocketing” local property taxes. He’d call for automatic rollback elections if tax rates increased beyond a certain point at districts that currently don’t have a rollback option: the county, city and water district, for example.
Transparency is also important to Geren when it comes to the way appraisal boards are elected. Geren laments that his proposed legislation that would have made appealing appraised values easier got “caught in a fight between the House and the Senate.” He wants to find a way to give homeowners more power in the process.
Geren has a long track record of serving his constituents well in the Texas Legislature.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Charlie Geren as the Republican nominee in Texas House District 99.