Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Republican primary candidates for House District 99


Texas State House of Representatives District 99 is located in northwest Tarrant County. State Rep. Charlie Geren has served in the office since 2003. Geren faces a challenge from Jack Reynolds during the March 5 Republican primary, and the two spoke during a Feb. 12 Republican candidate fair and forum hosted at Rockwood Golf Course in Fort Worth.

Charlie Geren

Geren began by addressing political advertisements his constituents may have received in the mail regarding his position on a school voucher program that was the subject of several special sessions in the Texas Legislature last year.

“The first thing I want to address is the mail that y’all are getting. It’s a bunch of damn lies and that’s what it is,” Geren said. “I did not block any teacher raises. I did not block any school funding. What I blocked is $10,500 (per student) going to illegals, going to any student that wanted it. What was on the ballot is ‘do you support school choice for parents,’ and I do, and there is choice. You can go to charter schools, you can transfer them within the district, you can transfer them out of district, and you can go to private schools. I don’t believe that public money should be used to pay private school tuition. In states like Florida and Arizona where they have this, over 60% of the kids that are getting the tuition help were already at private schools. They never attended public schools. It didn’t take anybody out of public school. It just paid for kids that were already at private school.”

Geren continued, reasserting his claim that recent political advertisements made by his opponent, Jack Reynolds, are false and were funded by “dark money” coming from Washington D.C. and Virginia.

“I didn’t block it,” Geren said. “The author of the bill, when the amendments went on the vouchers, pulled the bill down to prevent a budget on teacher pay raises and more funding for the schools. The governor had threatened to veto it. I believe he didn’t want the governor to have to do that. I support Gov. Abbott, but I do not support vouchers.”

Geren also described supporting Abbott by sending more money to fortify the southern border with Mexico. Geren said he had ensured that $16 billion be used for the border in his tenure, with $6 million having been funded in just the past two years. Geren urged that the federal government should instead pay the sum instead and reimburse the state for its costs thus far.

“Hopefully, when we have a change in the White House, we’ll be able to get some federal help to reimburse the state and continue building the wall and supporting our troops and our DPS officers that are down there every day,” Geren said.

Geren also voiced opposition to a proposed recycling center on Silver Creek Road, stating that more information and a decision on the issue was to come in March.

Jack Reynolds

Reynolds introduced himself as a twice honorably discharged Operation Desert Storm veteran and began by telling the audience he did not receive his master’s degree until he was 42 years old.

“For those of you who may have heard rumors about the demise of the American Dream, it was greatly exaggerated, I can assure you,” Reynolds quipped in a nod to Mark Twain.

Reynolds described having had an humble upbringing and working through graduate school as a math teacher. He, too, voiced opposition to the recycling center, but blamed Geren for the laws that may make it possible.

“We need to repeal the Geren law that created the incentives for them to do this in the first place,” Reynolds said. “That’s the reason why they can get away with this. The second thing is we need to end the practice where these landfill permits apparently stand in perpetuity. If this landfill goes forward and there’s any problems with it, you can thank Charlie Geren, I assure you.”

Reynolds continued by breaking down what he believed his role should be as a representative and the nature of democracy in America.

“I think part of the issue is we’ve lost sight of the fact that this is a Constitutional republic, this is not a democracy,” Reynolds said. “My job is not to go to Austin and do what I think is right. My job is to go to Austin and do what my constituents want me to do within the restraints of the Constitution, that’s it. If they want to end Democrats chairing our committees, that’s what I’m going to do. If they want a vote on ‘Texit,’ that’s what they’re going to get. They asked for it, that’s our job. We are representatives. This is a Constitutional republic. It is not a democracy. It is not my job to act as your nanny and tell you what you need to do. It’s my job to do as you ask me to do.”

Reynolds ended his speech by pointing out he is endorsed by Attorney General Ken Paxton, contrasting that with Geren’s role as impeachment manager over the attorney general’s case and by pointing out Geren is not endorsed by Gov. Abbott.

“Our state of government has lost confidence in this man,” Reynolds said. “They are no longer helping him.”