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State Rep. Michelle Beckley Seeking Lieutenant Governor Seat

Government

Texas State Representative Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) during special session in 2021. | Image by Bob Daemmrich, Capitol Press Photo

Texas State Representative Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) is the only elected Democrat running for statewide office in 2022.

A member of the Texas House of Representatives serving District 65 since November 2018, she decided to throw her hat in the ring to replace Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

“I wouldn’t treat the Senate like a personal playground, which is what Dan Patrick does,” Beckley told The Dallas Express. “He plays into the right-wing nonsense. I would get back to where legislation is just legislation, and it’s back to being boring.”

The Democrats that Michelle Beckley is up against in the primaries include Mike Collier and Carla Brailey. 

“I’ve worked in the statehouse, so I know the rules of the statehouse,” Beckley said in an interview with The Dallas Express. “I actually have working relationships with people who are already elected. So, I think that gives me an advantage over other candidates running in this race.”

Rep. Beckley attended public school in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District. After graduating from Newman Smith High School, she graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Biomedical Sciences in 1992. Upon returning to Carrollton, she purchased the Kookaburra Bird Shop, a family business that she continues to manage today.

“I’m a small business owner who really just wants basic government functioning so that we can run our businesses, run our lives, and have a safe environment to live in, which is what we should have in Texas,” she said. “That’s the Texas I grew up in.”

If elected, one of Michelle Beckley’s priorities will be to expand Medicaid, but she concedes that it will not be an easy task.

“It’s going to be difficult as a lieutenant governor who is a Democrat,” she said. “When a Democrat comes in, there will be a Republican Senate and a Republican House, and so you need to know the rules because the Republicans will try to strip the power of that position. That will be the first thing the Republicans will do, and you’re going to have to be a strong personality to negotiate.”

However, one of Beckley’s GOP competitors fully opposes the idea of expanding Medicaid or Medicare, believing it would create more government dependence.

“We have an out-of-control government that doesn’t know how to control spending and any expansion of government control over the citizens of Texas is unacceptable,” said Aaron Sorrells, who is campaigning for the lieutenant governor seat as a Republican. “We need to get back to being a limited government where we encourage the communities to help take care of each other and not be looking to the government to solve our problems.”

The lieutenant governor is widely considered the most powerful elected official in Texas — In Texas, the lieutenant governor is president of the Senate, as in any state; however, unlike many other states, the role is not merely ceremonial, and the person elected to the position regularly presides over sessions. According to Jaime Puente, a policy analyst with Every Texan, they determine which pieces of legislation are actioned in the Senate.

“Over the last six to eight years since Dan Patrick has been lieutenant governor, he has used his power and consolidated his power in the Senate to ensure that nothing gets approved in the Senate without the support, approval, or at least the acquiescence of the lieutenant governor,” Puente told The Dallas Express.

Rep. Beckley plans to use the lieutenant governor’s power to provide more funding to public education for grades K through 12 and college.

“We haven’t kept up to per capita our public universities and where Texas should be,” she said. “We’re falling behind there as well. So, we need to make sure we are providing the education that these new businesses want when they come here so that Texans can get the high-paying jobs instead of everybody coming from other states. The reason so many people are coming from other states is because we do not have the educated population for these jobs.”

Hollie Plemmons, co-chair of the Tarrant County chapter of Moms for Liberty and a member of the Fort Worth First Political Action Committee (PAC) steering committee disagrees. She believes the amount of funding in public schools is not the problem, but rather the allocation.

“They need to quit wasting our money,” Plemmons told The Dallas Express. “If [Michelle Beckley] thinks that public education needs more money, then she’s a crook because I think public education is fully funded. This isn’t a money problem in education. It’s an administration problem.”

Michelle Beckley’s platform also includes immigration reform.

Governor Greg Abbott declared the border a security disaster on May 31, 2021; he renewed the declaration on January 22. Rep. Beckley, on the other hand, views the security disaster declaration as unnecessary.

“I think it’s a political stunt,” she added. “Every time Abbot is up for re-election, he’s been using it as a political stunt, and it’s just unfounded fears against undocumented immigrants. I don’t think it’s fruitful.”

Beckley says, given the opportunity, she would address the border issue differently.

“The reality is that building the wall isn’t going to solve the problem,” she said. “One thing that the state could do that it’s really not focusing on is increasing our inland ports that are down there where all the goods come through,” adding, “The reality is most undocumented immigrants aren’t coming through the border or the deserts and all those areas. They’re coming in, and they’re overstaying their visas. We really need to be looking at that kind of issue.”

GOP opponent Sorrells, meanwhile, deems Beckley misinformed, asserting a better way to improve the situation would be to shut down the border entirely.

“I’ve been down to the border twice and watched it with my eyes, and not because I’m trying to make political statements,” Sorrells told The Dallas Express. “What is happening is an invasion and it’s a humanitarian crisis. They are coming in opposite of the port of entries in the millions. They are bringing babies and kids over who are clearly drugged. They have wristbands on them so that the cartel can know which families they are going to move them in with.”

The early voting period for the primaries ends February 25, and the election will take place on Tuesday, March 1.

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jennifer crossland
jennifer crossland
11 months ago

I agree with Mom’s For Liberty- the schools are so fully funded that they can offer well above the average starting salary for Fort Worth ISD. The schools have so much money that as you dig a little deeper you learn the districts spend millions on things like Equity Departments.

Last edited 11 months ago by jennifer crossland