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Loretta Haldenwang

Endorsement watch: ParentPAC

I haven’t mentioned the Texas ParentPAC lately, as there’s been so much other stuff going on lately, but they are as busy with endorsements as ever. Here’s a list of candidates that they have announced they are backing for the general election. The links are to the press releases they sent out in each case:

State Rep. Robert Miklos, HD101

State Rep. Carol Kent, HD102

State Rep. Joe Moody, HD78

Loretta Haldenwang, HD105

State Rep. Ellen Cohen, HD134

State Rep. Joe Heflin, HD85

I’ll pass along any others that come my way.

UPDATE: Add the following to the tally:

State Rep. Chris Turner, HD96

State Rep. Allen Vaught, HD107

Endorsement watch: Dallas Democratic legislative candidates

As we know, the Dallas Morning News dumped Double-Dip Joe Driver from its list of endorsed candidates. Here’s what they said about some other legislative races of interest to Democrats:

Editorial: We recommend Haldenwang in HD105

Republican Linda Harper-Brown has represented Texas House District 105 since 2003. We previously have recommended her as a knowledgeable conservative, but her effectiveness has diminished. In 2008, she won re-election by only a few votes, and things have only deteriorated since.

This Irving-based district needs new leadership, and we believe Democrat Loretta Haldenwang can provide it.

Editorial: We recommend Miklos in HD101

State Rep. Robert Miklos uses the focus of a former prosecutor – which is he – to outline strategies for addressing problems facing the state. Cindy Burkett, his challenger for the Mesquite-based House District 101 seat, is often vague and unrealistic in approaches she would pursue in the Legislature.

Take the budget. Miklos, 44, a Democrat seeking his second term, is clear about the need to cut budgets and tap the state’s rainy day fund to help close a budget gap estimated at $21 billion. He also would close loopholes that benefit oil and gas companies in the state’s new, underperforming business tax.

Burkett, 52, a Republican and small-business owner, supports more business breaks at a time the state is struggling to support basic services. Her ideas didn’t indicate that she grasped the magnitude of the problem. Only when pressed did she indicate a tepid willingness to dip into the emergency fund.

Editorial: We recommend Vaught in HD107

State Rep. Allen Vaught is among a group of centrist Democrats who are piecing together a balanced strategy – with specifics – for bridging a huge gap in the state budget.

Vaught’s opponent, Republican Kenneth Sheets, preaches fiscal conservatism but lack details on how he would apply that philosophy in Austin.

Our recommendation in East Dallas-based House District 107 goes to Vaught, based on his experience from two terms in office, his budget ideas and his positions on the critical urban issues of air quality and traffic congestion.

Editorial: We recommend England in HD106

Sound bites won’t solve problems that await state lawmakers next year.

Rep. Kirk England isn’t basing his re-election campaign on easy answers. That’s the department of challenger Rodney Anderson in the Grand Prairie/Irving-based House District 106.

Editorial: We recommend Kent in HD102

As a freshman lawmaker, Democrat Carol Kent has shown herself to be far more grounded in Texas House District 102 than her opponent and more capable of dealing with the state’s pressing education, transportation, air quality and budget challenges.

Voters would be wise to reward the poised and thoughtful Kent with a second term.

Kind of a theme there, wouldn’t you say? Even in the editorials where they have endorsed Republican incumbents like Will Hartnett and Dan Branch, the DMN was generally complimentary towards the Democrat; about Branch’s opponent Pete Schulte, they said he was “bright and well-spoken” and “might someday grow into a top legislator”. All in all, a pretty solid performance by Dallas County Democrats.

Harper-Brown vows to try again on Safe Passing bill

The bicyclists will not go away despite the setback on the Safe Passing bill.

A state legislator’s unsuccessful efforts to pass a “safe passing” bill for cyclists said Wednesday that an accident involving her granddaughter has renewed her interest in the issue.

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, sponsor of a bill to protect bicyclists, expressed relief Wednesday that her granddaughter and a friend suffered only minor injuries after getting hit by a SUV. Gov. Rick Perry recently vetoed legislation that Harper-Brown plans to push again next session to protect vulnerable road users.

“Now I can put a face to it,” Harper-Brown said about efforts to help raise awareness for the perils facing vulnerable road users. “It really does touch home now.”

Her granddaughter, Bethany Harper, 16, along with three friends and Bethany’s father, Timothy Harper, were cycling near Kaufman Tuesday evening when a motorist turned into two of the cyclists, whom the driver said she did not see, according to the state legislator.

Her granddaughter suffered cuts, bruises and contusions, and a friend had a shoulder separation, Harper-Brown said. Both of their bicycles were ruined.

“The first thing that went through my mind was, had this bill become law maybe people would be more aware and a little more careful when they are driving around bicyclists,” Harper-Brown said.

I’m very glad to hear that Bethany Harper and her friend are all right. One of the main rallying points for the Safe Passing bill was the statistic that about a thousand vulnerable road users are killed each year in Texas. I’m happy that Bethany Harper and her friend were not added to that tragic number. As it happens, I believe someone other than Linda Harper-Brown will represent HD105 next session, but regardless I believe that a version of this bill will come up again. Perhaps we’ll have a Governor who’ll sign it then, too

Annie’s List kicks off the 2010 elections

Even for me, it’s a little early to be thinking about most of the 2010 races, especially for the State House. But I’m glad it’s not too early for some folks, such as Annie’s List. Here’s an email they’ve sent out about their first endorsed candidate for the 2010 cycle:

We are proud to announce our endorsement of Loretta Haldenwang for State House District 105 in Irving. Loretta currently serves as the External Affairs Director of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is respected by community, business and political leaders alike.

Loretta spends each day working in her community to promote small business successes, better schools and scholarship opportunities, access to affordable healthcare, common sense transportation solutions and more. She is also no stranger to the proceedings of the Texas House of Representatives after working for two legislative sessions for Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) as a District Director and Legislative Analyst.

House District 105 sits in the Northwest corner of Dallas County and includes almost all of the City of Irving. It is currently represented by an eight-year incumbent Republican named Linda Harper Brown. However, after nearly losing to an underfunded perennial candidate in 2008, reliable Republican sources have leaked that Linda has been told by the Republican leadership that it is time to retire. The self-described anointed replacement is Irving Republican Councilwoman Beth Van Duyne, a well-known far-right extremist with a colorful record on the council.

Like many urban-suburban districts that we have won in the last 4 years, House District 105 has a rapidly evolving demographic composure. Now a majority-minority seat, Democrats have performed better on the ballot every election cycle. However, in a low-turnout mid-term election, we will need a well-funded, professionally run campaign with a candidate who can relate to all Irving residents.

We have no doubt Loretta is that candidate. And as the daughter of a neurologist and a microbiologist, she is no stranger to setting ambitious personal goals and working hard to make them a reality. She is an impressive and articulate woman who possesses the skill set, savvy and stamina to be our endorsed candidate in House District 105.

She sounds like a great candidate, for whom there is already an Act Blue page, if you feel moved to take action. She’s also apparently not the only candidate for that seat. All I can say is that I hope we get a candidate everyone can support for HD105 this time around. No repeats of 2008, please.