December 03, 2007
Will Phil King be this year's Kent Gruesendorf?

One can only hope that Rep. Phil King will meet a similar fate as his former colleague Kent Gruesendorf did. But at least he's got a challenger, one with a pretty extensive resume, and that's a good start.

Former U.S. House Republican leader Tom DeLay is political history, but Democrats still smarting from that congressional redistricting plan he engineered four years ago may want to keep an eye on an anticipated Republican race in North Texas.

State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, who sponsored the redistricting bill that booted several veteran Texas Democrats from Congress, is expected to be challenged in the GOP primary by Weatherford Mayor Joe Tison.

Tison was unavailable for comment late last week, but insiders said his announcement may come as early as today.

It has arrived. I received his press release this morning. It's beneath the fold for your perusal.

If so, it would mark the first time that King, first elected in 1998 in the largely Republican district west of Fort Worth, has been opposed in his own primary. The race also could affect the 2009 speaker's race because King is one of Speaker Tom Craddick's top loyalists.

Tison, who has been Weatherford mayor since 2000, is being recruited by Texas Parent PAC, a pro-public schools political action committee that helped unseat several Craddick lieutenants in 2006.

Tison is definitely a ParentPAC kind of candidate - according to his release, he's an educator and was once named Superintendant of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards. I've no doubt that on education issues, he'll be orders of magnitude better than King. As I expect education to be a dominating issue in 2009, I'll be rooting for Tison to win. Well, that and the redistricting thing. I admit, I've still got a grudge.

As for the effect on the Speaker's race, I have been told that Tison will not vote for Craddick. That's not what last year's crop of ParentPAC Republicans did, so even though I trust my source on this, I'm a bit wary. I'd like to see a public statement by Tison on the subject. Be that as it may, getting rid of Phil King has merit on its own. If it turns out we get another anti-Craddick vote out of the deal, I'll consider it to be gravy. Click on for Tison's press release.

Weatherford Mayor Joe Tison today announced he will run for the Texas House rather than seek a fifth term at City Hall, saying North Texas needs a positive new voice at the State Capitol working for better health care, education, and transportation services.

"This fast-growing area needs a representative whose top priorities are the hard-working families and small business owners of Parker and Wise counties, not the partisan agendas of politicians in Austin," Tison said.

Tison, a former educator who started his career in the Aledo Independent School District and served as superintendent of the Weatherford Independent School District for more than a decade, has been Mayor of Weatherford since 2000. His term ends next spring.

"Over the past two years, I have been asked by many citizens of both Parker and Wise counties to consider running for state representative," Tison said. "I accept the challenge and look forward to a positive campaign on the issues our communities face."

Elected Weatherford mayor seven years ago, Tison promised to work hard to improve working relationships between members of the city council, strengthen leadership of the city's administration, address transportation issues, revitalize the downtown square, and strengthen economic development. He has earned praise for delivering on each of those promises, but he gives the credit to the city council and staff working collaboratively to meet the needs of Weatherford residents.

Tison was named Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards in 1992. Also during his tenure, the Weatherford School Board was honored as the Outstanding School Board of Texas by the Texas Association of School Administrators.

After leaving the Weatherford superintendency in 1997, Tison held positions as interim superintendent in Aledo, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Joshua, and Allen. He also was interim president of Weatherford College in 2005.

Among Tison's numerous awards are Weatherford Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen, Weatherford High School Distinguished Alumni, and Weatherford College Distinguished Alumni.

Last year, Tison served as Campaign Chair for the United Way of Parker County. By implementing his vision of shared leadership, the United Way Board and volunteers exceeded their goal by more than 20 percent.

He currently serves as Chair of the Weatherford Economic Development Board and is a member of the Executive Board of the Weatherford College P-16 Committee and the Weatherford College Development Foundation.

Tison earned both a bachelor of science and a master of public school administration from North Texas State University. He and his wife Patsy have three grown children and two granddaughters and are active members of Central Christian Church in Weatherford.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 03, 2007 to Election 2008

I agree. Another anti-Craddick vote would be nice, but merely removing Phil King from the scene would be a tremendous step forward. Bit by bit.

Posted by: David Siegel on December 3, 2007 10:55 PM