Capitol Report: Turning from policy to politics

By Lauren Wied, Shayne Woodard and J Pete Laney, TAD government relations

With less than six months until March primary elections, the fall is ramping up to be a busy one as talk turns from policy to politics now that the Texas Legislature is not in session.

Since the legislative special session adjourned on Aug. 15, some incumbents have already announced their re-election campaigns, though many have still not made their intentions known.

Two House incumbents have announced they will not run for re-election: Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) and Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock).

Two state representatives looking to move to the Senate side of the Capitol have launched primary challenges to incumbent senators. Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale) will run against state Sen. Bob Hall of Edgewood, while Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco) will face state Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls). For a sitting representative to challenge a sitting senator of the same political party is unusual.

Expect another change in the Texas Senate. Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) has announced his election to replace retiring U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Richardson). Phillip Huffines, chairman of the Dallas County GOP, will run for Taylor’s seat – he’s the twin brother of Don Huffines, who currently serves in the Texas Senate. Also running for the seat is Angela Paxton, wife of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

On the federal level, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz visited West Texas on Aug. 18. While in Lubbock, Cruz said he was hopeful that the Farm Bill would be different under the new administration.

“My hope is that, unlike prior Farm Bills, we see real reform on the food stamp side,” Cruz said.

In the past, Cruz has opposed the measure based on concerns with those particular provisions, hurting farmers who rely on many components of the Farm Bill.

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

As previously reported on the TAD website, the Texas Legislature’s first called special session ended abruptly, one day early, on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 15, in a standoff over property tax reform.

For a full report of activity during the 30-day special session, see our reports under the “Latest News” tab of the TAD website. ▪