Q&A With District 10 Candidates

Table of Contents Early Voting For District 10 Started TodayScott Goodwin, Independent, WaxahachieRepublican Kevin Griffin, Republican, MidlothianBrian Harrison, Republican MidlothianSusan Hayslip, Republican, Waxahachie Withdrew & Submitted the Following StatementPierina Otiniano, Democrat, EnnisMatt Sorvino, Libertarian, Seven PointsClark Wickliffe, Republican, MidlothianJohn Wray, Republican, Midlothian Facebook Twitter Pinterest Early Voting For District 10 […]

Early Voting For District 10 Started Today

ELLIS COUNTY – Former Texas State Representative Jake Ellzey, District 10 who is now sitting in the 6th Congressional District seat after winning that race last month, created  the need for an upcoming special election to fill his vacancy.

Early voting has started for a special election on August 31 to fill his vacant seat. There are eight candidates vying for the opportunity; five Republicans, one Democrat, one Libertarian and one Independent.

Below is a breakdown of the candidates running. We asked each candidate to answer five questions about their desire to win the election.

(The candidate’s answers below are in alphabetical order).

 

Scott Goodwin, Independent, Waxahachie

Focus Daily News: Why are you the most qualified for the District 10 seat?

Scott Goodwin: First and foremost, I am not a lawyer or a politician, but I am a fighter and a creative problem solver! I have solved problems for small businesses and large corporations.

FDN: What are your main objectives if you win the election?

SG: To bridge the divisiveness with reason and acceptance, and introduce practical and viable solutions. Do all I can to reinstitute State’s Rights and our Constitutional principles.

FDN: What experience do you have and how will that experience help you, if not experience how will that help you if you win?

SG: Having been in business for well over 40 years, I know what it means to operate within our means, make payroll, successfully deal with customers, employees, and vendors within the imposition of government overreach and taxation. I have had my share of successes and crisis — but, I have not failed because as my dad taught me failure is when you quit and give-up — I don’t quit and I don’t give up!

I have seen corruption in government first hand and have been on the receiving end of dirty politics — I do my best to do what is good and correct, but I have no need to be right — being right means there is no room to grow and learn.

 

FDN: A little background – how long have you lived in Ellis County and where are you from originally?

SG: After a thorough search, we chose and moved to Waxahachie as our ‘forever home’ in May of 2020, after living in the Metroplex the past sixteen years. We moved to DFW after raising our girls on a ranch in the Hill Country. I now commute to Farmers Branch. I was originally born and raised in El Paso.

FDN: If you could give me one sentence to define your take on the political climate in the state right now, what would it be?

SG: I have decided to run because I am fed up with the political end fighting, the government collusion with media and big tech to silence and censor “WE THE PEOPLE”. We need personal accountability and responsibility as the foundation to maintain our principals and return to a culture of exceptionalism.

Republican Kevin Griffin, Republican, Midlothian

Kevin Griffin headshot
Courtesy photo Kevin Griffin

Focus Daily News: Why are you the most qualified candidate for the District 10 seat?

Kevin Griffin: As a fifth-generation Texan, rancher, small business owner, husband and father of four, I have lived and worked in this county my whole life. I’ve built several businesses, which I have been blessed to become an employer of 100+ employees, and I know first-hand the struggles of paying your bills, paying your taxes and trying to stay afloat during COVID. Also, as a life-long resident and voter of Ellis County, I will take the work ethic I learned right here, and my Christian beliefs, to Austin to fight against the government encroachment of our individual liberties and values every day.

FDN: What are your main objectives if you win the election?

KG: I want to protect our freedom and values. Mask mandates and vaccine mandates go against the heart of our liberty as Texans. And we have to stand-by our First Responders who protect us every day. As a small business owner, I pay my taxes and it is too much. I want to lower taxes by controlling spending and protect our rights to live a prosperous life. Also, as a Christian, I want to make sure our Christian values are upheld. Boys should not play in girls sports — or use their bathroom. And as a life-long member of the NRA, don’t touch my Second Amendment rights. Finally, as a property owner, as someone who has owned and operated ranches on the border, we have to get our border under control.

 

FDN: What experience do you have and how will that experience help you, if not experience how will that help you if you win?

KG: I am a Texan who grew up right here in Ellis County. I went to high school in Ellis, where I met my wife, and we got married and had our four beautiful kids here in Ellis County. I’ve built several small businesses, which have become successful, and I have worked as a volunteer First Responder to protect our community. My entire life has been devoted not just to Texas but to Texas State District 10. I will continue to be devoted to it as the elected Texas State Representative

 

FDN: A little background – how long have you lived in Ellis County and where are you from originally?

KG: For five generations, my family has called Midlothian home. I grew up and went to school in Midlothian, TX. I have always loved to serve in my community. As a teenager and into college, I served as a volunteer Fireman for the city of Midlothian. I then followed my high school sweetheart to Abilene, TX after we were married. I received my Peace officer license and served as a full time police officer in Abilene. I then returned to my hometown later to help as a reserve officer with the Ellis County Sheriff’s office for approximately 12 years.

I worked closely with organizations in Austin and represented Ellis County in front of the DOJ in Washington, successfully bringing aviation assets back to Ellis County to help with economical and reliable rural law enforcement support. I also graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelors in Aeronautical Science. In addition, I have been very successful in developing a flight management company and various other successful companies which I run on a daily basis. Among some of my companies, I am deeply involved in agriculture. I run a cattle ranch and a field to table meat company.

In addition to being an entrepreneur, I have served as vice president, Treasurer on the Board, and lead project manager of a local technology company. In his off time, Kevin loves to spend time with his four kids and wife and fellowship with his church family. Kevin also enjoys being outdoors and has a passion for hunting and archery.

 

FDN: If you could give me one sentence to define your take on the political climate in the state right now, what would it be?

KG: I am not a life-long politician and I am so concerned about the poisonous nature of politics today.

 

Brian Harrison, Republican Midlothian

Focus Daily News: Why are you the most qualified for the District 10 seat?

Brian Harrison: I am the only candidate running who has delivered results for the America First Agenda including stopping socialist policies, locking down our border to stop illegal immigrants and COVID-19, protecting our unborn and defunding Planned Parenthood across the nation, empowering people to break free from Obamacare, preventing new taxes from being enacted and harming small businesses, stripping power from bureaucrats, slashing burdensome regulations, and forcing the swamp to live with Texas common sense!

 

FDN: What are your main objectives if you win the election?

BH: We must get back to the pre-pandemic economic growth and job opportunities. To do this, I will fight policies that lock down our economy and that discourage people from working. As the Chief of Staff at HHS who oversaw Operation Warp Speed, I am uniquely suited to make the case against mask and vaccine mandates. We also need to employ new tactics, like COVID treatment centers. One of the core pillars of Operation Warp Speed which has been largely ignored by the liberal press was therapeutics. These successful therapeutics save lives, which is why we need to quickly stand up treatment centers, in order to help prevent people from being hospitalized.

Another enormous challenge is the border crisis created by Joe Biden when he overturned policies I helped put in place to lock down the border during a public health emergency. Biden is now flooding Texas with thousands of COVID infected illegal immigrants and putting the lives of Texans in jeopardy. Given my knowledge of the precise policies and authorities, I can help Texas combat Biden’s reckless and purposeful open border actions.

Just as I did working alongside President Trump, my focus on the special sessions in Austin will be to protect and preserve freedoms and liberties for all Texans. That means: delivering an election integrity bill, so we can feel more confident about elections; passing further pro-life protections for our unborn; and ensuring Texas is doing everything possible to resist destructive federal government policies that actually harm job growth and opportunity for our state.

 

FDN: What experience do you have and how will that experience help you, if not experience how will that help you if you win?

BH: I am proud of my proven track record of conservative accomplishments. I have experience in the private sector as a small business owner here in Ellis County, and I most recently served as President Trump’s Chief of Staff at the Department of Health and Human Services. I oversaw the largest federal government agency and led the implementation of policies that locked down our southern border to stop illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and the spread of COVID. I defunded Planned Parenthood for the first time in 50 years, stripped power from unelected federal bureaucrats, and enacted historic deregulatory reforms that were projected to save over $50 billion.

 

FDN: A little background – how long in Ellis County and where from originally?

BH: A native Texan, graduate of Ovilla Christian School, and proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2004, my family and I have long been involved in Ellis County and committed ourselves to protecting our fundamental, Constitutional rights. My father, Ed, ran for Congress in the 90s to unseat one of the most destructive Democrats in Texas’ history, Martin Frost. As a child, I campaigned alongside my father to give voice to conservative, Christian ideals that valued our faith, Constitution, and American exceptionalism.

I believe small business is the engine of the American economy. I have worked with my family’s homebuilding business, Harrison Homes, and my wife and I started and operated a small business from our home in Ellis county – until I was recruited to work for President Trump.

 

FDN: If you could give me one sentence to define your take on the political climate in the state right now, what would it be?

BH: We have too many showhorses who speak in soundbites, and not enough workhorses who speak with their actions, and I am going to Austin to get results in Austin just as I did in the Trump Administration.

 

 

Susan Hayslip, Republican, Waxahachie Withdrew & Submitted the Following Statement

Brian Harrison with Susan Hayslip
Photo credit Brian Harrison Facebook page

My name is Susan Mellina Hayslip and if you are like me, you are sick and tired of government working against its citizens, politics as usual, career politicians and corruption, especially at the federal level. It is time for all Americans, republicans,
democrats, liberal and conservative to stand up together to get control over our government.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, that involves voting most all incumbents out of office and voting for ordinary Americans willing to get the job done and vote against their own self interest once in office. This includes term limits, same healthcare, retirement, etc., that we, the American people are subject to and reducing government spending and taxes.

I decided to run for the Texas House of Representatives, District 10, vacated when Jake Ellsey won the July 26th runoff election replacing Ron Wright in the U.S. House of Representatives. I signed up to run against John Wray, the incumbent, who abruptly
decided not to run in the 2020 election stating he never intended to, and it was never meant to be a career position. It appears that for some unknown reason, Mr. Wray has changed his mind, or could it possibly be that with the shortest election in history, Mr. Wray saw an easy path to regain his former title. My mailbox has been flooded with John Wray’s flyers stating all the great things he has done in the past and why we should not vote for the other 7 candidates who “signed up at the last minute to confuse
the issue and force a runoff election so District 10 won’t be represented in this important special session”.

Excuse me Mr. Wray but could it possibly be the other candidates, like me, thought the citizens of District 10 deserved another alternative than just a career politician who quit his job in the middle of an important election?

Change must start somewhere by someone and that is my purpose for running, however, a close friend who I highly respect, thought I might enjoy meeting Brian Harrison, identified as one of two serious candidates in this race. After a lengthy discussion, I realized Brian was the perfect individual to represent District 10. His conservative morals and values are beyond reproach and although he has worked in government, is not a career politician. His background is in economics so he is aware you cannot continue to spend more than you bring in and the American worker is not an unlimited resource at government’s disposal.

Brian Harrison and I share many of the same viewpoints on key subjects and I agree with John Wray that my remaining in this race might cause some confusion. This does not mean I will not work in any way possible to support the people of District 10, the
State of Texas, or this country to get this government back working for and representing the people. But I WOULD LIKE TO ASK THE PEOPLE OF DISTRICT 10 TO JOIN ME IN SUPPORTING BRIAN HARRISON IN THIS SPECIAL ELECTION. HE IS THE FAITHFUL CONSERVATIVE VOICE THAT WE CAN ALL TRUST AND THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR DISTRICT 10.

 

Pierina Otiniano, Democrat, Ennis

Pierina
Photo courtesy Pierina Otiniano

Focus Daily News: Why are you the most qualified for the District 10 seat?

Pierina Otiniano: As an attorney, I have spent a big chunk of my career, studying public policy. I understand the impact it has on our communities and how—if it is not carefully thought-through and properly enacted—public policy can hurt working-families in pursuit of advancing corporate interest. I know that I can deliver meaningful results to our community, and I can do so in a way that checks partisanship at the door, and by working with everyone to do the best we can for the people of this district.

FDN: What are your main objectives if you win the election?

PO: My main goals are to: make affordable healthcare accessible to all Texans; ensure every child has access to a quality education; and to fix our damn power grid!

FDN: What experience do you have and how will that experience help you, if not experience how will that help you if you win?

PO: Like many Texans, I was affected by winter storm Uri. We were lucky in that we did not lose power entirely, but we did lose power intermittently. One of our pipes also froze, and we were without water for six days. At the time, my 84-year-old grandmother was living with me. We were having to melt ice to flush our toilets and washing clothes by hand—It was awful. I know that SB3 has passed and that the power grid is going to be weatherized. However, SB3 does not specify how the power grid is going to be weatherized because it has left that authority up to the Power Utility Companies (PUC’s). SB3 also does not state how the funds to weatherize the grid are going to be applied/created.

I know that if I win, I will do everything to ensure that the regulation and control of the weatherization of our power grid is not left up to the PUC’s. This is a clear conflict of interest–the PUC’s will just endure a high fine and go on about their day… We all know that with high demand comes an increase of costs, and it is never consumers who benefit from these dire and dangerous situations. I know that the authority and control of the weatherization of our power grid should not rest on the PUCs. Human lives are on the line. This should not be a partisan or corporate-interest issue.

FDN: A little background – how long have you lived in Ellis County and where are you from originally?

PO: I’m originally from Lima, Peru. I came to Texas with my family when I was about six years old. We have lived in Texas since—went to undergrad and graduate school in Texas, and left for law school. After law school, I came back to the lone star state, and have been living in Ennis ever since!

FDN: If you could give me one sentence to define your take on the political climate in the state right now, what would it be?

PO: We need to shift focus from corporate-interest and self-serving schemes that benefit only the elite few; our focus should be on what matters: improving the lives of our fellow Texans.

 

Matt Sorvino, Libertarian, Seven Points

 

Focus Daily News: Why are you the most qualified candidate for the District 10 seat?

Matt Sorvino: This is something I have made a point about many times in my running for House District 10 in 2018 and again in 2020. The qualifications for the seat is very simple 1 – Must be a citizen of the united states, 2 – Must be 21 years of age, 3 – Must be a resident of Texas for at least 2 years prior to the election, and lastly 4 – Must be a resident of the district for at least 1 year prior to the election. Those are the qualifications and each candidate on the ballot has met that.

 

FDN: What are your main objectives if you win the election?

MS: There is not much time in the session to get much done. If this was a general election then I could propose bills, propose repealing bills, etc. Right now it is just a special session going on. But I would do my best to represent the people of the district, vote according to what the constitution allows the government to do and vote against anything that would violate the federal or State constitutions. My goals are to reduce government overreach of the limits set for it in the constitution and get government out of our personal lives, reduce spending anywhere possible that is not specifically allocated by the constitution, and reduce and/or eliminate as many taxes as possible.

 

FDN: What experience do you have and how will that experience help you, if not experience how will that help you if you win?

MS: I have been an activist for over two decades now. In 2017 I decided to run for office to try a new approach. I have lived in a total of twelve states and have found my home here in Texas. I’ve seen many things that work and don’t work from around the united States and want to implement that into a better home for me, my children and everyone else here in Texas.

 

FDN: A little background – how long have you lived in Ellis County and where are you from originally?

MS: I don’t live in Ellis County and never have. It seems many media outlets and politicians like to exclude the over 15,000 people in Henderson County that are part of TX house district 10. I live in Seven Points, TX and have been here since mid 2015. Prior to that I lived in Michigan for 18 years. I have also lived in Alaska, where I was born, Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and North Carolina. My father was in the military when I was born and I went in after high school as well.

 

FDN: If you could give me one sentence to define your take on the political climate in the state right now, what would it be?

MS: Too many of our ‘representatives’ in Texas are out for personal gain and not representing the people like the job entails.

 

Clark Wickliffe, Republican, Midlothian

Cark Wickliffe sign

Focus Daily News: Why are you the most qualified for the District 10 seat?

1. I am the most qualified candidate to represent HD 10 because I KNOW HD 10 . As city councilman of Midlothian, I saw the issues imposed upon us on a regular basis. While I am very much concerned about the big state & federal issues such as Border Security, Pro- Life & Gun Rights, my main focus will be on the immediate needs of my district. Furthermore, above all else, I am a public servant FIRST. This isn’t my career, I don’t have to do this, I WANT to do this as a service to my community. I’m not going to leave this district high and dry and try to run for a higher office the first chance I get, I’m here for the long haul.

FDN: What are your main objectives if you win the election?

Like I said, I’m here for the major concerns to HD 10, so my biggest priorities are as follows:

1. Alleviating homeowners from rising property taxes- I know this issue cannot be solved overnight but I have several ideas to help people get fast relief while we figure out a real solution.

2. Spearheading an investigation into ERCOT regarding the Feb. disaster that left tens of thousands of my constituents without power, this is something that can not and will not happen again and we need to find out exactly what happened.

3. TRS reform- we need to get rid of old legislation that has harmful penalties for retirees trying to go back to work.

4. STOP the high speed rail project

What experience do you have and how will that experience help you, if not experience how will that help you if you win?

I started my public service duties when I was 18 years old by being placed on the Midlothian utility advisory board, I then when on to serve the parks & rec and the zoning boards. I am now a sitting councilman for the great city of Midlothian as well as a small business owner and successful realtor.

FDN: A little background – how long have you lived in Ellis County and where are you from originally?

I am a 6th generation Ellis county resident- my family has been here since 1860, and I don’t plan on breaking that streak.

FDN: If you could give me one sentence to define your take on the political climate in the state right now, what would it be?

This great state, a long-standing bastion of conservative values and beliefs, is now divided. We must look for solutions that benefit everyone in this state so we can move forward towards a better future.

 

From his official Facebook page “When I ran for city council, I ran on the promise of transparency, which I delivered immediately by approving the recording of council meetings. Governmental transparency is much needed at the Texas House, and I am confident that I am the candidate to provide this for the people of District 10. I also believe that I am the MOST accessible public servant in this race; my office in downtown Midlothian is open to walk-ins and my personal cell phone number is displayed everywhere. And just in case you don’t have it my phone number is 972-765-7765”

 

John Wray, Republican, Midlothian

John Wray at desk
Photo courtesy John Wray

 

Focus Daily News: Why are you the most qualified for the District 10 seat?

 

John Wray: Simply put my experience and established relationships with state leaders are what make me the most qualified to serve as State Representative. I previously served three full terms as State Representative from January 2015 until January 2021. Due to my prior service, I am very familiar with the legislative process, the procedural rules of the Texas House, and the key players in passing conservative Republican legislation. The Legislature is currently meeting in Special Sessions, including an all-important Special Session anticipated in November on the topic of Re-Districting. I do not need any orientation or on-the-job training. I am ready to go on Day 1 with an impactful voice to protect our area’s interests in these Special Sessions.

 

FDN: What are your main objectives if you win the election?

JW: My first objectives are to assist with passing Republican priority legislation during the Special Sessions, and to carry our local values and concerns to Austin for the Re-Districting Special Session during November. For the 2023 Regular Session of the Legislature, I want to continue my history of fighting for border security, lower property taxes, and fighting the High Speed Rail. I also support other Republican priority legislation, such as support for the Second Amendment, fighting for the unborn, opposing mask mandates, opposing over-reach and abuse of executive power as experienced during the pandemic, banning the teaching of CRT in public schools, and lowering government regulations.

 

FDN: What experience do you have and how will that experience help you, if not experience how will that help you if you win?

JW: As noted above, I served three prior terms as State Representative. Prior to serving as State Representative, I served six years on the Waxahachie City Council, including one year as Mayor. While serving as State Representative, I spent two terms on the Ways & Means Committee where I consistently voted to approve legislation that cuts your taxes, including a $5B tax cut that was passed by the Legislature in 2019. I spent two terms on the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee where I helped enact into law Texas’ Open Carry and Campus Carry laws.

In 2017, as a member of the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, I joined with the other Republican members of the committee to favorably approve HB 1911, the first Texas Permitless Carry (Constitutional Carry) Bill to be voted out of a Texas House Committee in recent memory. I also supported the legislation that banned partial birth abortions and defunded Planned Parenthood. I also consistently supported Border Security, voting for legislation that deployed additional DPS troopers and law enforcement assets to the border, and which afforded Texas law enforcement more options for arresting and charging criminals illegally entering the United States.

Locally, I filed more bills in opposition to the High Speed Rail than any other member of the Texas House during the 2015 to 2019 period, and I honored and supported veterans and first responders, including (among other things) renaming a portion of Highway 287 the Chris Kyle Memorial Highway, in honor of Ellis County native, Chris Kyle. I want to continue the fight on behalf of House District 10!

 

FDN: A little background – how long have you lived in Ellis County and where are you from originally?

JW: I proudly grew up in Ellis County and am part of a long term Ellis County family (my ancestors arrived in Texas in the 1850s and in Ellis County in the early 1870s). I attended Waxahachie public schools, graduating from Waxahachie High School in 1989. I attended Texas A&M University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1993, and I graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1996. My wife, Michele, is also a Waxahachie native. We currently live in Midlothian with our son, Patrick, who is a senior at Waxahachie High School. Our daughter, Morgan, is a junior at the University of Texas.

 

FDN: If you could give me one sentence to define your take on the political climate in the state right now, what would it be?

JW: This is an era of strong Republican solidarity in Austin among members of the Legislature who are ready to stand strong against the many problems occurring in our state due to the Biden Administration and the quorum busting Texas House Democrats, and I am ready to lend my voice and support to the Republican lead efforts.

Early voting begins Monday, August 23 through Wednesday, August 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday, August 26 and Friday, August 27 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

 

Edie Villetas

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