‘No Excuses’: Shelley Luther on TX House Run, Shaking Up GOP

Shelley Luther | Image by Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Local activist and right-wing firebrand Shelley Luther, a candidate for a seat in the Texas House, recently spoke to The Dallas Express in an exclusive interview to outline her plans for shaking up GOP politics in North Texas.

Luther is running for a seat in District 62, which covers Delta, Fannin, and Grayson counties. She first made her name when she refused to comply with Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders to close businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She re-opened her salon in defiance of the orders and was infamously arrested. The bold stand transformed her into a lightning rod of right-wing resistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since her stand, she’s run several unsuccessful races for the state legislature against entrenched establishment Republicans. This time, Luther feels the momentum is on her side as she challenges incumbent Rep. Reggie Smith.

“I think we have very good chances of winning. We’re going to get much more endorsements and a lot more grassroots followers backing the campaign. We’re running into a lot of people in the district who have had enough of Smith’s antics,” Luther told The Dallas Express.

Luther defined her candidacy in opposition to the incumbent representative, who she says has defied the will of his constituents.

“I’m running for State Rep. in HD 62. The main reason I’m running is the gentleman that is the current representative has a horrible voting record and is not doing what his constituents want him to do.”

She elaborated, highlighting his support for the Texas House’s current leadership and failure to pass meaningful election integrity reform as examples of her claims.

“The main thing [he did] is voting for Dade Phelan in the House, who’s just been an embarrassment. Allowing Democrat committee chairs in the House and voting for impeachment in the House, too. He was also the chair of the election integrity committee and passed no integrity bills through.”

She said she would stand apart from Rep. Smith by seeking to vote in line with the right-leaning district’s wishes.

“I want to vote as conservatively as possible. Our district is extremely conservative. Socially, fiscally — everything is conservative.”

Luther expanded on the need for representatives to listen to their constituents and highlighted the incumbent’s votes that she felt were out of step with the district.

“You’ve got to get out and talk to the people and ask them their thoughts. Impeaching the AG when he was just elected is not what the people wanted. He also voted against school choice. For me, that’s big. Polling in our district shows 70% support [for school choice].”

When asked about education, Luther focused on her previous career as a public school teacher and the need for school choice.

“I’m a former public school teacher of 13 years. I think teachers deserve a raise in their salary. Most teachers dedicate their lives to their work and are under-appreciated. I know a lot of teachers, including myself, who quit teaching because of the red tape and dissension within the schools. I think a lot of teachers could come back with a raise, and we could reduce class sizes. We also need to give parents the right to choose what school is best for their children. It shouldn’t be by what district you live in or how much money you have.”

Luther also decried property tax rates in Texas and said the legislature did not do enough to address the problem in the last legislative sessions.

“The House members will come out and say this was the most conservative session in Texas history, but everyone’s property taxes are through the roof. They haven’t fixed it.”

When asked about the ongoing border crisis, Luther provided a terse response.

“I’m for closing the Texas border. No excuses. Period.”

Luther will appear on the ballot in House District 62 in the Republican primary on March 5, 2024.

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