Myra Crownover wants another term in the Texas House of Representatives to serve District 64, while challenger Mike Brucia says it’s time to put a new face in Austin.
The two candidates are battling for the Republican nomination for state representative, a seat Crownover has held since 2000. More than 6,000 Republican votes have been cast since early voting began May 14. Early voting will continue through Friday, leading up to Tuesday’s primary.
The winner will move on to the general election and face Mary Brown, who is unopposed in the Democratic Party primary.
“I think we’re on the right path and I want to continue … a strong fiscal conservative policy for the state of Texas,” Crownover said. “I know the issues of the University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University, North Central Texas College and the Denton State Supported Living Center. All of those are so important to District 64 and Denton County and the state of Texas, and they need a strong, well-versed representative to support their issues.”
Crownover touted her service on the appropriations committee as where important decisions are made.
She said she was put on that committee in 2003, and from that session until now general revenue spending has decreased 11 percent.
“That is exactly what we needed to do,” she said. “Many of those decisions have been very hard, but it is that discipline in spending that has made our state the economic driver that it is. Other states look to Texas to see how we’ve done it.”
Looking back on her accomplishments of the last term, Crownover said highlights include a private-property rights bill that requires oil and gas companies to disclose chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process and another bill that said oil companies had to clean equipment used on various sites.
“The bill that is nearest and dearest to my heart is where we expanded newborn screening from seven tests to 29 tests,” she said. “That has saved hundreds of Texas babies’ lives and saved millions of dollars.”
Looking ahead, Crownover said that as the state comes out of the recession, officials would be prudent to carefully reinvest in public education and higher education.
Transportation, energy and water are other important issues for future legislators, she said.
Brucia, a veteran and area business owner, said Crownover guaranteed herself a primary election opponent with her support of Joe Strauss for House speaker, a move Brucia said defied the wants of the majority of county Republicans.
After whittling down a list of possible challengers, Brucia said, it fell on his shoulders to be the one to challenge Crownover in a campaign that he said should be about the issues and not about mudslinging.
Brucia said he is concerned about the growth of government.
“Since 2001, spending has been increasing in Austin at a rate three times as fast as our population has been growing, [but] our taxes have not been going up. How is that possible?” Brucia said.
The incumbent has carved herself a position in a broken system, he said, and voters can’t expect changes while sending the same people back to Austin.
Of critical importance, Brucia said, are actions Crownover took concerning a proposed power plant that would be built near Denton Airport.
“I don’t oppose the idea of the plant going in out by the airport,” he said. “It was the process that was flawed. The city charter is very clear. There should have been an election. Instead of calling an election, city leaders called Crownover.”
She helped craft legislation that led to a new law being created that bypassed the voters.
Senate Bill 1230, passed last year, was authored by Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls,and sponsored in the House by Crownover.
“We can’t have someone working as a representative working to actively take away people’s voice,” he said.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 64
MYRA CROWNOVER (I)
• Age: 65
• Born: Oklahoma City
• Education: Bachelor of Arts from SMU, 1969; master’s in education from Texas A&M, 1972
• Experience: teacher; president, YMCA board of directors; member, board of directors of Northstar Bank; founded and co-owned Lake Dallas Vet Clinic until 2000; served on multiple nonprofit boards; member, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science board; vice chairwoman, Republican caucuses in the 2011 session; state representative since 2000
• Age: 52
• Born: Long Island, N.Y.
• Education: graduated from Nimitz High School, 1977, completed Air Force technical training program in 1978
• Experience: More than 30 years in business as a turnaround expert in variety of financially troubled businesses to make them profitable; president, Double M Vending since 2007