Politics & Government

Three vie for the 26th Congressional District

Three Republicans hoping to represent the 26th Congressional District in Congress agree on one thing: It’s time for change.

But the three — U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, Joel Krause and Divenchy Watrous — propose different ways to make that happen.

Burgess, of Lewisville, said it’s time to scale back government spending and continue to fight the nation’s healthcare plan, known as the Affordable Care Act.

Krause, of Highland Village, contends he’s the candidate best poised to tackle problems ranging from reducing the federal debt to better defending the U.S. Constitution.

And Watrous, of Lewisville, believes he’s the man who can bring financial change, from balancing the budget to defunding “Obamacare.”

The three face off March 4, each seeking the Republican Party’s nomination to represent District 26, which covers all of Denton County, part of Wise County and a patch of northern Tarrant County that includes Westlake, north Keller and far north Fort Worth.

At stake is a two-year term that pays $174,000 a year.

Early voting runs through Friday.

Burgess, Krause and Watrous are among the candidates who responded in writing to a series of questions from the Star-Telegram about why they are running for office. Here is a look at what they said:

The incumbent

Burgess, a Lewisville obstetrician for nearly 30 years, was first elected in 2002 by defeating Scott Armey, son of House Majority Leader and then-U.S. Rep. Dick Armey of Denton County.

The 63-year-old said he’s the best person to represent the district because North Texas has been his home for more than six decades and he knows what needs to be done.

“As a physician for more than 25 years, I predicted the catastrophic effects that the Affordable Care Act is having on families, small businesses and physicians — and tried to stop it,” he said. “It is more important than ever, for all Texans, that we have physicians in Congress.”

Burgess also said he will fight for a “pro-growth, pro-job creation” plan.

“Creating jobs and getting Americans back to work is a necessity,” he said. “In order to be successful, we must address the federal government’s out-of-control spending. We need a government that is efficient, less expensive and more responsive — not a government that continues to overspend and places burdensome regulations on small businesses.”

He also said he opposes amnesty for undocumented immigrants “and any path leading to the legalization of people who have entered our country illegally.”

By the end of 2013, Burgess had nearly $155,000 in his campaign war chest, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The small-business owner

Krause, 55, said he’s running for office because he’s concerned about the economy, the deficit and that “we are no longer being governed by or for the people.”

“I want to take my skills and experience and make them work for the 26th district,” he said. “I have vast experience in problem solving, salesmanship and management skills that will help me to make a positive difference. I know I will be successful and have a passion for this mission.”

The small-business owner said his top priorities would be to reduce the national debt, improve the economy and boost the influence of “We the People” in Washington, D.C.

“I am concerned with our economy and our growing deficit. Healthcare costs will be our biggest issue and a drain on our debt,” he said. “I am concerned that we are no longer being governed by or for the people. There is not enough transparency in the legislative process, and I would like to bring the influence of ‘We the People’ to Washington.

“The incumbent will have served 12 years after this term, and I think its time for a change. Most Republicans believe in term limits, as I do,” Krause added. “I believe we can do more to defend the Constitution and restore the Republic. I want the representatives speaking out more about executive overreach.”

No campaign finance report with Krause’s name was listed on the FEC’s website.

The operations manager

Watrous is a 26-year-old who said his lack of college, military and political experience qualifies him to hold this office.

“It is my duty to be the change I desire to see. I will no longer [be] an armchair general,” said Watrous, the operations manager of a small moving-service business for the past three years. “I decided to run for this seat after I learned that Burgess has failed us.”

If elected, Watrous said he only wants to serve one term and will “refuse to compromise, unlike Burgess.”

The political novice charges that Burgess is a Republican in name only who has taken money from lobbyists.

If elected, Watrous said his top priorities include using “bipartisanship on passing a balance[d] budget, at the same time voting to repeal the federal income tax.

“Then moving on to auditing the Federal Reserve, while defunding Obamacare,” he said. “Congress holds the power of the purse, and there is a majority of congressman and congresswomen that want to do the right thing. They just need a leader to show them the way, that leader is me. If the impossible can be achieve[d], why can't the simple be passed?”

No campaign finance report with Watrous’ name was listed on the FEC’s website.

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