The Texas Environment Wins at the Ballot Box!

November 5th, 2008

At this singular moment in American elections, voters nationwide and in Texas embraced change, and our environment will be better for it.

Conservation voters made real progress at the ballot box, again. From El Paso to Texarkana, Houston to the Metroplex, conservation candidates and incumbents won tough races, in part because of their clean air, clean energy positions. In each recent election including this one, pro-conservation leaders picked up seats in the Texas House. Our future clean energy economy is closer to becoming a reality because of yesterday’s election.

Download TLCV-PAC’s full list of wins and losses for the Texas House and Senate here: Election%20Night%202008%20for%20Public.pdf

Twenty-six of 34 leaders in contested races endorsed by the Texas League of Conservation Voters Political Committee won at the ballot box, possibly setting the stage for the election of a pro-conservation Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. In our 14 top priority races for the Texas House, the pro-conservation leader won 11.

Conservation Incumbents Returned to Texas House of Representatives
The League’s Political Committee’s victories include helping return the following incumbents, all in difficult races, to office:

  • Rep. Hubert Vo, District 149, Houston. Thanks in part to the financial support of conservation voters, our mail efforts and our telephone calls, Rep. Hubert Vo can continue to be a clean air leader in the House.
  • Rep. Allen Vaught, District 107, Dallas. Last session, Rep. Vaught championed efforts to stop dirty coal plants. Our efforts helped Rep. Vaught get re-elected, and his leadership will continue to benefit the Texas environment in Austin.
  • Rep. Stephen Frost, District 1, Northeast Texas. Rep. Frost earned and deserves re-election because of his commitment to stopping the harmful Marvin Nichols reservoir. The League looks forward to work with this expert ‘water guy’ in the next session.
  • Rep. Chuck Hopson, District 11, East Texas. Rep. Hopson earned our endorsement because of his true commitment to protecting wildlife habitat and strengthening our state parks system. He eked out a very narrow victory over an anti-conservation challenger, and we look forward to working with him to secure parks funding next session.

Conservation challengers win big in Texas House
These challengers were able to upset anti-conservation incumbents or win open seats:

  • Joe Moody, District 78, El Paso. Voters sent a powerful message with the election of Joe Moody, who will bring common sense leadership to El Paso to urgent conservation issues such as keeping Asarco closed, reforming clean air policies that encourage pollution, and expanding our ailing state parks system.
  • Carol Kent, District 102, Dallas County. Carol Kent is more than just an alternative to a mealy-mouthed, false-promise-making incumbent – she’s ready to be a clean air leader for Texas. Rep. Goolsby lost this campaign because he’s out of touch with voters in his district, who needed, and elected, a leader ready to work on improving North Texas’ abysmal air quality.
  • Diana Maldonado, District 52, Williamson County. Education leader Diana Maldonado won an impressive victory in a formerly conservative district. She earned our support and endorsement because of her commitment to building Texas’ future green economy.
  • Robert Miklos, District 101, Mesquite. In this Dallas suburb, Robert Miklos’s clean air leadership won a clear victory over his opponent, a former mayor.
  • Kristi Thibaut, District 133, Harris County. The incumbent lost in a close race to pro-conservation Kristi Thibaut in a real victory that can lead to cleaner air quality for Houston.
  • Chris Turner, District 96, Tarrant County. Defeating a bad incumbent, former U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards’ staffer Chris Turner picked up this critical seat in the Fort Worth area. Chris joins a slate of pro-conservation officials from Tarrant County, including Reps Lon Burnam, Paula Pierson and newly elected Senator Wendy Davis.

The Speakers Race
One of the most important questions to be answered during the election remains unanswered: is there going to be a pro-conservation Speaker of the Texas House? Speaker Craddick’s anti-conservation practices are well known, and they have cost him dearly. His leadership of the House remains extremely tenuous, with, as of today, a razor-thin 76-74 Republican majority, with one key race so close there will likely be a recount, possibly resulting in a 75-75 tie.

The Texas Senate
The League’s Political Committee endorsed three leaders for the Texas Senate, only one of whom lost:

  • Chris Bell, District 11. Former gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell garnered the most votes in this special election for this Gulf Coast district, but not enough to avoid a runoff. TLCV-PAC will be active in the runoff election in order to elect Chris Bell to the Senate.
  • Wendy Davis, District 10. In a difficult race against an entrenched incumbent in Tarrant County, Wendy Davis pulled off a narrow victory. She will be a new conservation leader in the Senate.
  • Regretfully, Joe Jaworski was unable to topple “Toxic Mike” Jackson for District 17 in Galveston.

Our Pro-Conservation Agenda for the Texas Legislature
As the Political Committee’s electoral efforts are wrapped up in the coming days, the League will shift our focus to preparing for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which begins in January. There, the League and our partner organizations will advance a common agenda for a cleaner future for Texas, including:

  • Clean Air
  • Clean Energy
  • Clean Water
  • Recycling
  • Parks, Beaches and Open Space
  • Wildlife Habitat
  • Outdoor Recreation

All New Website!
The League ‘goes live’ with our new website today at The new website makes it easier for conservation voters to get informed, take action and make a difference for the Texas environment.

Conservation Voters Deserve Thanks
On behalf of the Texas League of Conservation Voters and our Political Committee, please accept our most sincere appreciation for all you’ve done in this urgent, important election. Stand with us now as we take our powerful agenda for Texas’ future to the Legislature in January. Together, we’re turning environmental values into real priorities for Texas’ future. Thank you.

Download a list of Election Results from TLCV-PAC races here: