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Candidates Look for Votes in Competitive Dallas House Race

The race for the new House District 114 in Dallas County is among the most competitive state legislative races in North Texas. Former State Representative Carol Kent is facing business attorney Jason Villalba

For Dallas voters John Reynolds and Karen Myers, the most important campaign issues boil down to the two E’s…. the economy and education.

Reynolds: It’s the economy, to me. I mean, I’m a building contractor and work is slow.

Myers: The schools around here suck. There’s too much bullying allowed, there’s not enough money, there’s no P.E.

Reynolds and Myers live in the new Texas House District 114 which includes North Dallas, Preston Hollow and Lake Highlands.

The Democratic candidate is former State Representative Carol Kent who served two terms as a school board member. She faces Republican Jason Villalba a financial analyst and attorney.

Kent says she can best represent families.

Kent: I am a PTA mom who went to the school board for the Richardson ISD and served two terms, and then was elected to the State House of Representatives, and that’s the reason people are wanting me to go back.

Villalba says he can handle a budget.

Villalba: I’ve become a business lawyer. Because of that background I have a uniquely appropriate skill set for the challenges that we face with respect for our budget shortfall that we’ll no doubt face; someone who just understands business in a way that my opponent never can.

On the issue of restoring state education funding, Villalba and Kent disagree.

Kent: They want their public schools to be supported and I have pledged and will work vigorously to have that 5.4 billion dollars restored to public education, whereas my opponent has said that he is not committed to that.

Villalba: I have made a commitment to restoring some, a portion of those funds that were taken away last time. I don’t believe it is possible that we can restore all of the funds that were lost last time just because we have so many great challenges with respect to water, transportation, electricity.

Whoever wins this seat will face another legislative session where money is limited and voters are fed up.

Myers: If something don’t change in Austin, Texas is going to be the worst place to live.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.