North Texas to see crop of new leaders as veteran lawmakers drove out of the Legislative Assembly
Proponents of term limits complain that elected lawmakers often go beyond their welcome.
That’s not the case these days at Texas House, where turnover is happening across the state. In North Texas, the 2022 election could bring an array of new faces to the House and Senate.
When the legislature meets in 2023, there will be eight new members of the House. And a new senator will replace retired Denton County Jane Nelson. Statewide, 28 House lawmakers have retired or left their seats to run for office or for another office. Five senators are not running for reelection, including several moderate Republicans, including Kel Seliger of Amarillo and Larry Taylor of Friendswood.
Rice’s political scientist Mark Jones has said Nelson is the most centrist Republican in the Senate.
In Dallas County, House Democrats are losing retired Dallas moderate John Turner.
“It just adds to the polarization,” Jones said of the retirements.
“When you watch Republicans become more conservative and Democrats lose some of their moderates, it only increases the polarization in Austin.”
Pensions offer a new look too, and for different reasons. Voters will make their choices in the March primaries and the November general elections.
State Representative Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, has only been in the Legislature since 2015, but he’s seen a lot of turnover.
“I was on the floor late one night and went to see the composite photos of all the members from my first entry in 2015,” Shaheen said. ” I am not exaggerating. Half the people are gone and that’s just the nature of the Texas House. There is just always turnover. People retire after a few terms.
This year’s redistribution process is responsible for at least one departure. Rep. Jeff Cason, a Republican from Bedford, is not running for office because his district has been redesigned in favor of a Democratic Party candidate. Cason was one of two Republicans to vote against Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan, and the sacrifice of his district by Republican map designers reinforced other legislative boundaries in Tarrant County for the GOP.
The redistribution could have played a role in the departure of Democrat Michelle Beckley from Carrollton, who chose not to run for office and is now running for lieutenant governor. His home district was redesigned to favor a Republican candidate.
The rigors of the job, supposed to be part-time, could also be a factor. Ordinary sessions take place every two years from January to May. But this year, lawmakers were in Austin for one regular session and three special sessions. This is not the way the system is supposed to work.
“It’s just hard to serve in what is pretty much a volunteer position,” Shaheen said.
In Dallas County, Turner retired to focus on his family. He is in his second term.
“This decision is for one reason only: my conclusion that another campaign and another full legislative session is not compatible with the time I have to devote at this stage of life to be a father and a husband,” said Turner in a statement earlier this year. .
McKinney Republican Scott Sanford will retire after 10 years in the legislature. His District 70 has been moved to the southern part of Collin County and is more favorable to a Democratic Party candidate. Closer to the existing district of Sanford, Republicans will see a new face in what’s known as District 61.
State Representative Rafael Anchia D-Dallas has the saying and saying of Texas State University Chancellor and former Representative Brian McCall sums up the current situation.
“When people leave the Legislature most of the time nobody feels bad because it was time for them to leave,” Anchia said.
Ambition plays a role in some of the departures. Several legislators are leaving their posts to seek other elected posts.
Beckley, first elected in 2018, initially announced a Congressional candidacy against outgoing Republican Beth Van Duyne before announcing a campaign for lieutenant governor. This Democratic field includes 2020 candidate Mike Collier and former Texas Democratic Party Vice President Carla Brailey. They all want a chance to overthrow powerful outgoing Republican Dan Patrick.
In Dallas County, first-year Dallas lawmaker Jasmine Crockett is stepping down from her seat on a campaign to replace retired U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas.
There is also political ambition in Tarrant County, where Rep. Matt Krause initially chose not to be re-elected to run for the GOP primary for Texas Attorney General. He later changed course and is now running for the Tarrant County District Attorney.
Longtime Representative Phil King of Weatherford is running for the Senate seat now held by Burleson Democrat Beverly Powell. Republicans made Senate District 10 in Powell more favorable to a Republican candidate. The new Senate cards are being challenged in court.
Flower Mound Republican Tan Parker leaves his Denton County home to run for the Senate seat held by Nelson. Parker, a former majority leader, has been in the House since 2007.
“Turnover can be a good thing,” Shaheen said. “Are you getting new blood and a new perspective?” “
Despite the turnover, a core of veteran North Texas lawmakers remains to help Republicans and Democrats.
State Representative Yvonne Davis and State Senator Royce West, both Democrats from Dallas, were elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1992. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth has served in the Legislature since 2001 .
Anchia, who was first elected in 2004, remembers when he was seen as a newbie in a room full of veterans. That year, he replaced retired Dallas Democrat Steve Wolens.
“He said ‘come on, sit in my chair, make a few calls, make yourself comfortable, because chances are you’ll never have a desk like this,'” he said. joking Anchia Wolens. “The reality is that although I don’t have such a large desk, I have moved on with my seniority in high school and my desk is quite nice. I’m on a hell of a run.