State Rep. Myra Crownover is facing challenger Read King in her bid for re-election to the Texas House District 64 seat in the March 4 Republican primary
Crownover, 66, of Denton, is seeking her eighth term representing the 64th District. King, 44, a Denton insurance broker, is working to unseat her.
The winner in the March primary will face Democrat Emy Lyons, 51, a nurse, in the November general election. The district is solely within Denton County and includes the University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University and North Central Texas College in Corinth.
State representatives serve two-year terms, and, under the Texas Constitution, receive $600 in salary per month. They also receive $150 for each day of the regular legislative session and any special sessions, according to an official with the Texas Ethics Commission. The Legislature meets every two years but can be called into special session by the governor.
Early voting begins Tuesday. Election day is March 4.
Crownover describes herself as “a fiscal conservative who believes strongly in the principles of limited government and family values.”
When she first became representative for the 64th District, she said the country was suffering from the effects of the Sept. 11 attacks, followed by the economic effects of the recession. The state now is at a time of opportunity, she said.
Her top issues are exploring the causes behind the recent earthquakes across Texas, restoring funding for some state programs that were cut dramatically in 2008 and working on infrastructure needs, “with great respect to the taxpayer,” she said.
During her 13 years of representing District 64, Crownover has served since 2003 on the House Appropriations Committee, which drafts the state budget, and serves as vice chairwoman on the Energy Resources Committee. Last month, she was named to lead the Subcommittee on Seismic Activity, which will investigate earthquakes in oil and gas regions of the state.
She said there’s also important work to be done for the county’s colleges and universities.
“We know that we have to be smarter, more efficient in higher [education] and that we can’t keep raising tuition,” Crownover said. “So there’s some very important questions that need to be asked.”
Crownover, a former teacher, said the state also needs to build a strong public education system.
“We can chart different school systems and understand who is getting the best bang for their dollar,” she said. “That is a best practice there and we can learn from those school districts that are getting the best ratings as far as educational output combined with the money being spent.
“This is just a great time of opportunity where we have enough money but it’s so important that we not waste this opportunity. We want to come back smarter and stronger.”
Crownover also said that the work being done on the seismic activity subcommittee will not only be important to the state but also beyond, and that other states look to Texas on how things are done relating to oil and gas.
“We want to make sure and go in this with no opinion,” Crownover said. “It’s not about opinion. It’s about science. This will be a very high-level discussion.”
Her legacy, she said, is the expansion of newborn screenings. Crownover has passed legislation expanding the number of genetic disorders for which Texas newborns are screened.
Babies are now screened for 29 disorders, including critical congenital heart defects. Since 2005, more than 500 newborns have been saved from debilitating disease or death because of the screenings, she said.
“When somebody asks why do you do this, there are things that are absolutely worth doing, and I consider this worth doing,” Crownover said.
King said that he’s running for the District 64 seat because he doesn’t agree with a lot of the things Crownover is doing in Austin.
He said he wants to “implement the principles of liberty and freedom here in Texas.” King said running for office was not on his “long-range game plan,” but said several people encouraged him to run.
“[Crownover’s] record over the past couple years has started to taper from what we’d like to see and this last session was abysmal,” King said. “I got into politics six years ago when I ran for the precinct chair because at the time I had four kids. I could see where our country was going ... I knew I had to get involved.”
King said this is the first time he’s run for public office. The last several months, he said he’s made it his full-time job to knock on doors and meet voters. It’s about 95 percent of his campaign, he said.
“There’s no way I can represent someone that I’ve never met, so my job right now is to meet as many people as I possibly can so I can find out what’s on their mind, what are their big issues ... so I can truly represent them down there,” he said. “It’s about representing the actual people that are out there.”
Going into his campaign, King said he thought the key issue in the race was fiscal policy, but he said residents are telling him they’re most concerned about an “over-reaching federal government,” debt and education.
He said many are not aware of overspending in Austin.
“Our state budget grew by 25 percent this last year. That’s huge,” he said.
King said he is also disappointed in House Bill 5, which recently led to a reduction in the number of social studies credits required for high school graduation.
“Knowledge is power,” he said. “That’s how we protect ourselves from tyranny.”
King said one of his biggest problems with Crownover is that she “continuously authors legislation that makes it appear that she thinks government can choose for us better than we can choose for ourselves.”
“I have a heart to help them live their own lives and make their own choices,” he said.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.
Occupation: State representative for District 64, former public schoolteacher
Prior political history: Currently serving her seventh term as a state representative
Background: Currently involved in the banking and energy industries; a member of the House Appropriations Committee since 2003; resident of Denton for more than 30 years; ran for office in 2000 after her husband, veterinarian Ronny Crownover, died while seeking the position.
Top priorities for this office: Balance the budget every legislative session without raising taxes; ensure that the infrastructure of Texas is strong so that business and industry can continue to create jobs; support the state’s water plan; and address the increasingly congested highway system in Texas.
Online: www.myracrownover.com; Twitter: @myracrownover
Occupation: Insurance agent
Prior political history: First time running for public office; served as precinct chairman in the Denton County Republican Party for the past six years.
Background: Independent insurance broker for the past four years; former Texas public schoolteacher; worked in information technology field for 15 years; has worked with the Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts for the past several years with his three oldest sons.
Top priorities for office: Repealing bad laws that go beyond building infrastructure and securing Texans their rights.
Online: www.ReadKing.net; www.facebook.com/ReadKingTX; Twitter: @ReadKing