By TRENT TEAGUE
Ron Simmons continues to toe the Tea Party line at the expense of the businesses and children in House District 65.
His ambition to make a name for himself threatens future business growth and the ability of our children to obtain a world class education.
As the Texas Legislature heads into the special session, Simmons will take point in the House regarding two agenda items: school vouchers and the bathroom bill.
Both of these initiatives are out of step with the residents of HD 65.
The people of HD 65 have traditionally valued public education and it is home to some of the finest public school districts in Texas — Lewisville ISD and Carrollton–Farmers Branch ISD. These school districts have continuously produced top notch graduates.
They have also recently won hard fought bond package elections.
Local bonds and increased property tax rates are becoming more common place as elected state officials, such as Simmons, continue to underfund schools, passing the tax burden to the school districts.
The school voucher program that Simmons has championed threatens to further take funding away from these school districts making it harder for the leadership to provide a high level of education and raising the potential of further increases in local taxes to keep schools operating and competitive.
Texas has created a business-friendly environment through policies such as no corporate income tax, no personal income tax and predictable regulations.
The benefits can be seen with huge new companies constantly moving to the area and bringing high paying jobs.
This success is due in large part to moderate, traditional Republican leadership.
But the bathroom bill threatens the continued success of the Texas business model.
Modern day corporations and businesses value diversity in the workforce and have sent signals that they will not tolerate discriminatory legislation, specifically bathroom bills like the one Simmons has authored.
They will use the main leverage they have – jobs – to do their talking. Simmons’ bill will sacrifice this business success for the sake of an out of step social agenda.
Simmons has emerged as a leader for the Tea Party, pushing a far right agenda.
Moderate Republicans and Democrats in HD 65 need to unite and send Simmons a message that he is out of step. Supporting business growth and supporting public schools are issues that cut across party lines because they directly affect so many families.
It is an opportunity to work together.
The residents of HD 65 deserve a representative that will continue to work to bring good jobs to the area, not threaten the future with political gamesmanship.
They need a champion for public education that will fight to fix, and not destroy, the system.
The voters in HD 65 need to send Simmons a message – stop toeing the Tea Party line and put Texas first.