‘Texas Is At War,’ Says Shelley Luther

Shelley Luther
Shelley Luther | Image by Shelley Luther for HD 62/Facebook

Shelley Luther believes Texas is in dire straits.

“There won’t be a Texas left if we allow an invasion — it is a war, and we should treat it as such,” Luther told The Dallas Express about the current situation at the southern border. “The most important thing we need to get done is to close the border.”

Luther is the salon owner who was jailed for defying COVID-19 lockdown mandates in Dallas County in 2020.

She recently defeated incumbent Rep. Reggie Smith (R-Sherman), an ally of Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), for his seat as representative of Texas House District 62. She now has the Republican nomination for a seat that a Democrat has not held in decades.

The North Texan spoke to DX about a recent viral video showing unlawful migrants busting past a barricade and several state border guards outside El Paso, Texas.

“Texas needs to do whatever is necessary to defend our state,” she said.

Does this include declaring an invasion under Article 1 of the United States Constitution? According to Luther, “That should have been done a long time ago.”

Should she win the general election in November, Luther said she has a sweeping vision for the legislature, and border security is not the only policy area she wants to see change.

“You will see reform like you have never seen before,” Luther said. “My victory on March 5 was a first step to a conservative Texas [legislature], and I am super excited to be part of that.”

Luther, a former public school teacher of 13 years, identified public education as a key area needing major reform. “Our students have been cheated [of a good education],” she said.

“We need to get back to classic ideas that every prior generation learned — reading, writing, math — and take away the nonsense,” she added.

Luther said she sees DEI programs, an obsessive focus on pronouns, and gender ideology as part of the nonsense. She also considers the STAAR exam, a state-wide mandatory exam that most students in Texas take, and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as in need of reform.

She criticized the STAAR, which she wants to do away with, for purportedly putting teachers in the position of teaching for a test rather than teaching “basic skills” to master the subject matter.

As a former Spanish teacher with experience building curricula, Luther also identified the TEA as a source of some of the problems in Texas education because of its influence over classroom lessons.

Luther is an ardent supporter of “school choice,” an educational system that allows public schools and private schools to compete against each other for student enrollment, with taxpayer money made accessible to families to help defray the costs of private school or homeschooling.

She previously described her position this way: “Anything you put in the free market is made better. Are we afraid of making school better?”

Luther also signaled her support for giving teachers a raise because she believes state money rarely translates into permanent pay increases for teachers.

“Teachers have been bottom of the list, even for superintendents and school districts,” she lamented.

Still, the political winds appear to be blowing in Luther’s favor and toward the reforms she supports.

Ballot measures seen as opposing unlawful migration were overwhelmingly endorsed by Republican voters in the primary, with prominent political watchdogs thinking school choice will likely pass the legislature next year.

Additionally, numerous Republican incumbents considered to be on the more moderate end of the party were defeated in the Texas primaries. Phelan trailed his opponent, David Covey, 46-43%, with the remainder going to another candidate who was eliminated from the May 28 runoff.

Luther said she sees this as the product of the failed impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton, and the polling suggests she is correct.

In the 2022 election, Paxton was the most popular Republican officeholder in the state. The passing of articles of impeachment in the Texas House provoked outrage among many Republican voters.

This primary cycle, 15 incumbents who voted to impeach Paxton lost their primaries to candidates he supported.

District 62 represents Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, and Delta counties and historically swings for Republicans by about 60 points.

DX asked Luther what the first thing she would put in her office at the Capitol if she were to win.

“I have a couple of flags,” she said. “I think I will put up this one that says, ‘Liberty or Death.'”

The flag, also known as the Troutman Flag, was a symbol of the Texas Revolution. It was raised at the Battle of Goliad by James Walker Fannin.

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