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

Hot Race: Kent-Carter, Dist. 102


By Alexis Yancey, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Democrats picked up a number of Texas House seats in 2008, catching the wave of President Obama's then popularity. But some of the freshmen legislators voted in are now facing tough re-election challenges. KERA's Alexis Yancey profiles the candidates vying for House District 102, where the incumbent Democrat hopes to keep her seat.

District 102 covers parts of North Dallas, Lake Highlands, Richardson and South Garland. In a spirited race that is being closely watched, both candidates say they best represent what the people who live there want. Democrat Carol Kent is a Garland native.

Carol Kent: When you've lived in this community as long as I have, raised a family here, worked here, built businesses here, you know that you understand the needs of the community.

The 57-year old Kent is a former college teacher and currently an administrator at Baylor University. In 2003, Kent won election to the Richardson Independent School Board, then ousted veteran Republican house member Tony Goolsby two years ago.

Republican Stefani Carter is 32, an attorney who prosecuted misdemeanors in Collin County. This is her first run for public office.

Stefani Carter: I was born here, I was raised here till I was 8 or 9. I'm a Harvard educated lawyer. I served on a state board, I'm a former prosecutor, a Harvard educated lawyer and I'm excited about reflecting the views of the district.

The race has generated attention and sparks from the candidates. In a recent League of Women Voters debate, Carter questioned whether Kent can represent everyone.

Stefani Carter: Anyone who has views that are the opposite of the district on illegal immigration, on property taxes, on gas taxes, on business taxes, opposite on each of those, literally, cannot represent the district views well.

Kent stands by her record and says it reflects her work with both sides.

Carol Kent: If you look at my voting record it is totally bipartisan in all aspects. When any of us has the great honor of representing the people of Texas we do not go there with a D or R on our sleeve, but we go there with the people of the district in mind.

During her term Kent says her votes helped protect seniors from unethical annuity practices and got teachers a pay raise. Her priorities include lowering utility and home insurance rates, reducing legislative spending and preventing cuts to education.

Carol Kent: I want to continue to represent particularly in terms of education needs for both our public schools and our higher ed.

Both candidates want educators to choose what they teach. Carter's agenda also focuses on fining employers who hire illegal immigrants and not raising property or gasoline taxes. She puts smaller government and jobs first.

Stefani Carter: We have to make sure we don't over regulate, over burden or over tax our small businesses. If we don't have jobs we're in serious trouble.

The uncertain outcome of the race between Kent and Carter may affect control of the Texas House. Democrats hope to keep nearly half the seats, while Republicans hope to increase their majority.

Early voting ends October 29th. Election day is November 2nd.