News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Meet The Four Candidates Running To Replace Longtime DeSoto Lawmaker Helen Giddings

Martin do Nascimento
KUT News
State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, on the first day of the 2017 special legislative session.

The election to replace State Rep. Helen Giddings is heating up in southern Dallas County. After more than a quarter century in District 109, the DeSoto Democrat is stepping down.

With no Republican in the March 6 primary, this four-person race will determine the district’s next representative.

Carl Sherman

Carl Sherman, formerly the mayor of DeSoto, is now City Manager of Hutchins. He says he knows the region — and Helen Giddings. He’s got her endorsement and, so far, has raised the most money in this race.

Credit Bill Zeeble / KERA News
Carl Sherman.

He says he’ll continue what Giddings started — reaching out to the entire district, which includes, DeSoto, Lancaster, Wilmer, Hutchins, Ovilla, Cedar Hill, Ferris, Glenn Heights and parts of South Dallas.

“As we look at the region, you've got to bring all the mayors together,” he said. “That’s one thing Representative Giddings did well. Each year she would bring all the mayors together for dinner, and I intend to do that more frequently, to see what we can do to master-plan the landscape of the southern sector.”

Sherman calls that smart growth, so the whole region benefits. He also wants more state education funding.  

“It’s certainly an area where we need more resources, not less,” he said.

He also says he’ll fight for increased Medicaid funding because “everyone deserves access to health care.”

Deshaundra Lockhart Jones

Fighting for a healthier environment, Deshaundra Lockhart Jones says she would continue efforts she brought during three terms on DeSoto’s City Council. She says people called her the “green” city council member. She stepped down just last week to run.

Credit Bill Zeeble / KERA News
Deshaundra Lockhart Jones.

“I brought the very first solar voltaic panels to our region,” Lockhart Jones said. “We’ve tried to reduce our carbon footprint, so we have some green cars. Even things as simple as lighting, you know, changing the types of lighting that we use to be more eco-friendly; our buildings that are coming up now are up to standard.”

Lockhart Jones, who works in insurance, says her city council experience would pay off in Austin.  

“It’s about being able to have the conversations across the aisles, which is what I’ve been doing since 2008 because we have both parties on the Council,” she said.

She also advocates for more education funding and small business development.

MoreFind information on your races and candidates in our voter guide.

Victoria Walton

Candidate Victoria Walton, on the other hand, says there’s enough state education money – it just needs to be spent more efficiently. She calls herself the “grassroots” candidate with small business experience. She runs a document delivery service and a nonprofit helping domestic violence victims.

“I’m well known to the community as an advocate, a person who will fight for you,” Walton said. “I shelter women and children. I shelter senior citizens from domestic violence and abuse. I am hands-on with the community. I take care of it myself.”

Victoria Walton.

Walton says she would bring that experience and desire to help those with less, to the state House. She would also be accessible.

“I mentor to the people who come to me and say, ‘Hey, I want to start a business,'” Walton said. “So as a state rep, I would definitely make my office an open door for people who want to learn, people who want to do better in the community.”

Christopher Graham

Attorney Christopher Graham has no political experience, but says he doesn’t think he needs it.

“I’ve dealt with the constitutionality of legislation all the time in the court room,” he said. “And I think that my competitors don’t have that kind of legal background that’s necessary in order to cultivate and know what legislation is constitutional and what’s not constitutional.”   

Christopher Graham.

Graham was disbarred as an attorney in November, a decision he’s appealing. “The King Cobra,” or “Crusher,” as he calls himself in online ads, blames corrupt judges for his disbarment — something he says he’ll try to fix by winning the District 109 seat. 

Graham wants to generate more state funds by legalizing marijuana and gambling.

“I think that that would free up quite a bit of money,” Graham said. “I think that people would be well disposed if it was put on a referendum or on the ballot and voted upon.”

Graham and the three other hopefuls for House District 109 are gambling on a good turnout on Election Day.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.