Days after his primary opponent held a similar event, Rep. Mike Lang of Texas House District 60 was at the Brownwood Country Club Tuesday evening to meet with and answer questions from local voters and supporters.
Lang, who served his first term during the 2017 state legislative session, is running against Granbury ISD superintendent Dr. Jim Largent and Gregory Risse to retain the party nomination for his seat. He gave brief remarks and answered questions during his country club event.
Before the meeting, Lang told the Bulletin his biggest asset in his reelection campaign is his first-term voting record. “(I was ranked) number two most fiscally conservative in the House out of 150 members,” Lang said, “and I campaigned on being fiscally conservative as well as socially conservative. My voting record proves that out. I’ve got endorsements from the governor, attorney general and several senators.”
Lang has also been endorsed by the Texas Farm Bureau, Empower Texans, the Young Conservatives of Texas and others. “People are saying, ‘You did what you said you were going to do. You went down there and voted how you said.’”
Lang has signed the state’s Republican Party platform, and has also pledged to support the eventual Republican nominee for Speaker of the House. Speaker Joe Straus is not seeking re-election, and during his remarks Lang said this presents an opportunity for a more conservative speaker.
“That means conservative legislation will pass,” Lang said. “It won’t be, ‘I’ll give you a little bone here or there,’ anymore. It’ll be true conservative legislation.”
Largent, adamantly opposed to all educational voucher systems, has made public education one of the pillars of his candidacy. But in his interview Lang said he introduced bills to improve public education during his first term.
“I served up a home run for schools and for teachers,” Lang said. “I coauthored a bill … that took away some of the STAAR testing, about 20 percent of STAAR testing, and it also took the teacher evaluations away from the STAAR test so that you wouldn’t, basically, have to teach for the test.
“The other one that I coauthored … took away 27 unfunded mandates.” But ultimately neither bill passed, and Lang said public school administrators were largely to blame.
He compared their opposition to congressional Republicans’ failure to repeal Obamacare despite years of rhetoric. “Now all of a sudden, they’re like ‘Whoa, wait a minute, I didn’t really mean that.’ We served up two good bills for teachers and administrators, and the administrators were nowhere in sight to help out with them.
Lang said the party platform represents the voice of the people and is made with their input, which is why he signed and supports it. “Your core values and what you believe — that shouldn’t change,” he said. “My platform’s the Republican Party platform and this is the Republican Party primary. If you look at it, this is the people’s platform — I’m just standing up for it, and my other two opponents aren’t.”
The primary election will be held March 6. Early voting begins Feb. 20.