May 17, 2014

Texas Senate: Shelton best for local needs

Burton’s tough budget talk is no match for the Fort Worth doctor’s experience.

Mark Shelton is the underdog for the Republican Senate District 10 nomination, and he shouldn’t be.

Two years ago, then-state Rep. Shelton led Wendy Davis by 1,500 votes going into Election Day, only to lose to her $3.5 million campaign.

Davis’ higher ambition this year gave Shelton new hope to win the important Texas Senate seat representing Fort Worth, where he is a pediatrician, and Arlington, his hometown.

But in this year of changing priorities, Shelton’s four years in the Texas House and lifelong service to both cities are portrayed as drawbacks.

Political newcomer Konni Burton of Colleyville, a Tea Party activist who first grew concerned over the federal debt, somehow finds it easy to dismiss Shelton’s career and success.

When he talks about working with Texas Republicans on conservative budgets and education policy, she replies as if something has gone horribly wrong: “So — how’s that experience working out for us?”

Instead of campaigning for the district, Burton seems to be campaigning against Austin leadership in general and for an ideology.

She strongly opposes runaway federal spending and wants to stave off any hint in Austin.

In two recent appearances, not once did she mention Fort Worth, Arlington, Tarrant County or any way she would help District 10 other than to cut the budget.

Shelton, more of a quiet pediatrician than a stump speaker, now seems almost weary from his fifth campaign in less than seven years.

But to his credit, he knows the priorities for Fort Worth and Arlington: support economic development; defend fair funding for our state universities, law and medical schools; build highways to move business goods; and bring water to support Tarrant County’s growth.

For example, Shelton welcomed a proposed private high-speed rail line from Fort Worth to Houston. Burton said flatly that she opposes public money that might be needed for the Fort Worth-Arlington leg.

Burton is more dynamic and more in touch with this year’s trend.

But Shelton is more in touch with the district.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Mark M. Shelton in the Republican Party primary runoff for District 10.

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