Burton, tell voters where you stand

State Sen. Konni Burton is running for re-election in Texas Senate District 10.
State Sen. Konni Burton is running for re-election in Texas Senate District 10. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

There’s nothing subtle or laid-back about state Sen.. Konni Burton.

The Republican incumbent running for reelection in Tarrant County’s Senate District 10 is like a building electric storm, discharging energy as she gestures with her hands and defiantly defends her legislative record.

She has a presence that will be a challenge for her Democratic opponent to match.

Burton, 54, flipped the district into the GOP column in 2014, when she successfully ran for the seat held by Democrat Wendy Davis, who ran for governor.

The tea party activist and key lieutenant of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is still riding a wave of grassroots conservatism. Her message of “personal liberty, limited government, free-market principles” sticks with the constitutional conservatives in her party.

In her three years at the legislature, Burton has marched to her own beat, sometimes endearing herself to other Republicans, other times angering them.

She’s a budget hawk who opposed Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to increase funding for pre-kindergarten. She split with Abbott and some other GOP leaders when she opposed a voucher bill that would have allowed public money to be used for private education. She worried it would lead to new restrictions for homeschoolers.

She’s drawn bipartisan backing for efforts to prohibit law enforcement from seizing personal property before the owner has a criminal conviction. But in Tarrant County, she’s alienated members of the business community by objecting to tax incentives to lure developments like the Facebook data center that bring jobs and grow the tax base.

We disagree with Burton, who told our Editorial Board she would also oppose government incentives to bring Amazon to Dallas-Fort Worth. She said incentives give some companies advantages over others.

We wish Burton had answered “yes” or “no” when we asked her about some other big issues: whether she supports President Trump’s border wall; thinks the state’s per pupil education spending is adequate; or backs constitutional carry legislation that would allow Texans to tote firearms without requiring permits.

She talked around those questions instead.

Burton is an impressive campaigner who can rally a crowd, but voters in the fall will also want to know where she stands on the issues.