2020 Primary Election Guide Q&A: Get to know the Republican candidates for state District 129

Dennis Paul, Ryan Lee, 2020 March primary elections, 2020 March primaries
Incumbent Dennis Paul (left) faces newcomer Ryan Lee in the race for Texas District 129.

Incumbent Dennis Paul (left) faces newcomer Ryan Lee in the race for Texas District 129.

This year’s Republican primaries include two candidates for Texas District 129, which includes the Clear Lake area.

Community Impact Newspaper asked the candidates for their thoughts about district flooding and traffic. Early voting runs Feb. 18-28, and election day is March 3.

The winner of this race will proceed to the November general election against candidate Kayla Alix, the only Democratic candidate who filed for the 2020 primaries for the position. Community Impact Newspaper only publishes candidate Q&A's for contested races.

In this Q&A, candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Their responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

*indicates incumbent candidate

Ryan Lee

Occupation: Houston Fire Department senior captain

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.ryanleefortexas.com

Years in District 129: 5

If elected, I would change: The level of community involvement that our representative has.

What work can be done to mitigate flooding in District 129?

We must start thinking outside the box on flooding: better drainage, detention areas and long-term options such as the Rice University levee. The levee could be completed in seven years, compared to the “Ike Dike” which would take 15 years or more to complete. A public-private partnership along the Houston Ship Channel could get the levee started. Protecting our nation's energy production is important, but industry also should invest to lower the burden on taxpayers and protect its interests.

How can transportation be improved in the area?

The I-45 reroute project is ill-conceived. As a captain on the Houston Fire Department water rescue team, I saw first hand how people lose their lives at underpasses during flooding events. It makes no sense to move portions of I-45 underground. League City is growing, for example. We need more park-and-ride options. From bond issues to mismanagement of resources, METRO is broken. The state legislature should be part of that solution.

What do you bring to the table that your opponent does not?

High energy and a commitment to engaging the district. We have a family-run small business in Clear Lake. Like other residents, we are concerned about crime and homelessness. As a public safety advocate, I am not afraid to take on the liberal Houston politicians that ignore our communities. We have a young family, so protecting our local school districts is a priority. Strong schools maintain our property values, which keeps businesses strong. My opponent supports private schools. His focus is on status-quo political patrons and special interests, not the community.

Dennis Paul*

Occupation: engineer

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.dennispaul.com

Years in District 129: 58

If elected, I would change: I'm currently the State Representative for District 129, and while we've made great strides in the legislature, there is still more work to do when it comes to real flooding solutions, ensuring we get a coastal barrier, border security and meaningful property tax reform.

What work can be done to mitigate flooding in District 129?

While passing the bond in 2018 should significantly help to fund major flood mitigation projects, creating a comprehensive drainage plan that looks at the entire watershed is crucial. That is why I have had the state Water Development Board start developing a comprehensive drainage plan for the state. This is something that I have been pushing for in Austin and will continue to do so. State oversight can also ensure proper coordination by all local organizations to make sure new drainage plans will protect homes from future floods.

How can transportation be improved in the area?

We need to continue to push for the completion of the entire Grand Parkway to ensure that we have transportation capacity for development and storm evacuation. I have been instrumental in pushing for Hwy. 3 expansion, and we need to keep pushing this project to completion. We also need to work on dedicated truck connectors at the container ports to have more truck and car separation at the ports. Additionally, we will be working on local pre-cuts in Hwy. 3 and will push for an expansion to Beamer Road.

What do you bring to the table that your opponent does not?

I have a long and verifiable track record in both the Clear Lake area community as well as in the Republican party. I have put in the hours and sweat equity talking to voters, hearing out their concerns and actually working towards positive solutions in Austin. I believe I have produced real results while in office and look forward to continuing to do so. I'm well respected by my peers in the legislature as well as local community leaders, as evidenced by my endorsements. I also feel my life experiences as a small business owner and involvement in my community and local church qualify me for this position.
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.



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