Sunday, October 19, 2008

Star Telegram endorses Chris Harris

Fort Worth Star Telegram Editorial Board - Oct. 07, 2008
Chris Harris has more seniority than any other Republican in the Texas Senate. He sits on the Finance Committee, where he has influence over funding of projects and policy initiatives that are important to North Texas and the state as a whole.

His Democratic opponent, Melvyn Willms, is running for office because he wants to change laws that didn’t go his way in a 1996 lawsuit. Willms, who is not an attorney, represented himself in that suit and in subsequent appeals.

Harris has represented parts of Arlington in the Senate since 1991. Before that, he served six years in the Texas House. Willms has never been elected to public office.

Harris has a clear knowledge of the state’s needs in health and human services, transportation, education and criminal justice. He is a staunch supporter of The University of Texas at Arlington. Willms is still fighting his 12-year-old lawsuit.

The Star-Telegram recommends Chris Harris for Texas Senate District 9.

Read more in the Fort Worth Star Telegram

Neither candidate has campaigned seriously in this district. I have received no campaign contacts from either Senator Harris nor his minimal Democratic challenger.

When weighing the options, on the plus side for Senator Harris is one of the most experienced, constituent responsive staffs in either the Texas House or Senate. Senator Harris's staff does not discriminate and "underserve" those who are not Republican. On numerous times, they have responded immediately and with expertie to my inquiries.

On the negative side, I wish that Senator Harris understood how detrimental toll fees on the scale planned in the RTC's 2030 plan will be on businesses, individuals and every facet of the North Central Texas economy. Like most Senators and State Representatives from the DFW metroplex, he voted to exempt this region from the 2 year moratorium on private public partnership toll roads. The citizens have been given no opportunity to approve or veto any specific toll project. Public outcry at public meetings did not slow down the projects. The only bright ray in the financial crisis is that foreign interests cooled to participating in public Private partnerships in this region, cost of financing increased, and transportation planners have been forced to return to the drawing board and try to find other solutions to this region's transportation needs.

It is my belief that there are less expensive transportation solutions than those proposed in the public private toll projects. It is regrettable that Senator Harris, and many of his colleagues in Austin, failed to demand that TxDOT find less costly transportation solutions several years ago instead of red-stamping Rick Perry's public infrastructure give-away.

Senate District 9 is a district which stretches from Arlington to Denton County. Hopefully, after the next census this district will be redrawn to to include fewer "parts of cities and parts of counties".

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