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State Senate Candidates Konni Burton And Mark Shelton Disagree On Water Funding

Mark Graham
Texas Tribune
Republicans Konni Burton and Mark Shelton are in a runoff race in Texas Senate District 10.

A Republican running for Wendy Davis’ state senate seat wants to consider changes to the $2 billion fund that lawmakers created to finance water projects. Voters approved the fund when they adopted Proposition 6 last fall.

Tea party organizer Konni Burton from Colleyville says she opposed the legislation because it took money from the state’s rainy day fund and created another layer of government.  

If elected, Burton says she’d revisit the legislation because it’s not clear how the money will be spent.

“Who’s going to get the money?” Burton asked Thursday following a candidate forum sponsored by Arlington Republicans.

“Who’s going to get it first? How much is the funding going to go? What is it going to go to? I mean, are we going to be repainting water towers?” she asked. “This is unfortunately a lot of the way governments work.  The money goes to things that are not a priority.”

But Mark Shelton, a Fort Worth pediatrician and former state representative running against Burton, strongly disagrees.

Mark Shelton comment on water fund.

Shelton says he supported setting up the fund because of Texas’ continuing drought. He says the $2 billion in financing will help jump start around $30 million in projects.

“It is a long-term plan,” Shelton said. “It is a 50-year plan. It will increase the storage capacity for water in the state of Texas. It’s the most important piece of legislation that the 2013 legislature did and I’m proud to support it.”

Shelton and Burton are competing in a runoff race to be decided May 27.  The Republican winner will face Democrat Libby Willis in November.

The District 10 race in Tarrant County is considered the most pivotal legislative contest in the state. If Republicans retake the seat, they will likely have a large enough majority to block most Democratic bills in the state senate.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.