2020 Primary Election Guide Q&A: Get to know the Republican candidates for Texas House District 25

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Read more about the candidates in the Republican primary for the District 25 house seat. Patrick Henry is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the seat. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Read more about the candidates in the Republican primary for the District 25 house seat. Patrick Henry is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the seat. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Community Impact Newspaper reached out to the candidates running for the House District 25 seat, held by former Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen. The winner of the Republican primary will face Patrick Henry in November, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Here are the candidates responses on issues facing the district. Troy T. Brimage, Ro'Vin Garrett, Rhonda Seth, Mitch Thames and Cody Thane Vasut are running in the Republican primary. Brimage and Garrett did not respond to requests for comment.

Candidate responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Rhonda Seth



Occupation: Registered nurse-emergency room


Phone number: 979-248-2682

Website: www.rhondaseth.com

How did you choose to run for the District 25 position?


I saw that our current representative no longer listening to all of the people in district of the people in our district and was more concerned with Austin than House District 25. I was tired of the politics as usual.

What qualifications do you bring to the role?

I was a business owner until 10 years ago when I put myself through nursing school and have been serving my community as an emergency room nurse for the past decade. I also am an adjunct teacher in a local nursing program.

Do you think the incident with former Rep. Dennis Bonnen has harmed the district’s image at all? If so, how do you plan to address that?

Absolutely he did and the fact that our district, as a whole, didn’t speak out against his behavior was seen negatively as well. Make no mistake that we are being watched around the state this election to see who we send forward to represent our district. Will it be more of the same or will we stand boldly and truly send someone to represent our values?



What do you feel is the biggest issue facing District 25?



The two issues that I have heard the most about have been protecting our 2nd Amendment rights, especially in light of what is happening in Virginia, and the other has been our out-of-control property taxes. No matter how hard you work, you never truly own your property but will forever rent it from the government. This becomes much more harmful as our citizens retire on a fixed income.



How will you equip the district to handle population growth in the district?



Growth is a good thing to have but it does come with growing pains. We will have to look at everything from our housing and schools to our infrastructure. It would be my job as a representative to steer resources to our district and to work with state agencies to assist us in providing the solid foundation to be able to support that growth.



Anything else to add?



I have been the only candidate in this race that stepped up and directly challenged Dennis Bonnen before he got into trouble. I took the personal risk and stood up against the money, the power and corruption. All of the other candidates waited until he quit before stepping in to use the opportunity for a career stepping stone. What kind of legislators will they be when faced with that same money, power and corruption? Also, I have garnered significant statewide endorsements such as: Texas Right to Life, the oldest and only true pro-life group, Lone Star Gun Rights, Gun Owners of America, Texas Gun Rights, Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller and also former Congressman, Dr. Ron Paul.



Mitch Thames



Occupation: president and CEO of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture


Phone number: 832-595-4168

Website: www.votemitchthames.com

How did you choose to run for the District 25 position?

I see a need in our community for someone to lead that understands the needs of the community. It is easy to get sucked into Republican versus Democrat debates, but what we need is actual leadership that sees a problem and knows how to fix it. We have major problems in our area and I know how to fix them. I’m not a politician, just someone with a unique view of our district and the drive to solve problems.

What qualifications do you bring to the role?

I have been a leader in my community almost all of my life. I have worked consistently for the Matagorda and Brazoria counties for the last 15 years and I will continue to do so as your State Representative. Through my role as the President and CEO of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, I have a firsthand view of what our counties need to succeed. As the county's public information officer I have a unique view of how emergency management is effective and where it has challenges. I am a Past District Governor for the largest service organization in the world, the Lions Club International, and I have seen families that need our help and what concerns them the most.

I have a record a mile long of how I have worked for our community. I am a past Chair of the Texas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. I am a past board member of the Texas Association of Business. I am a current board member and past President of the Matagorda County Economic Development Center. I created the Mid Coast Educational Industrial Alliance and I am a member of the Gulf Coast Alliance of Chamber of Commerce Executives. I am the treasurer of the Lower Colorado River Basin Coalition. I want to continue to fight and work for Texas families in my role as your State Representative.

Do you think the incident with former Rep. Dennis Bonnen has harmed the district’s image at all? If so, how do you plan to address that?

I can’t help the past or help what someone else did. I can only promise to come at the job with integrity and hard work. I do not think our district has been harmed by it as much as the person was harmed by what happened. District 25 is strong and is a force to be reckoned with, with the right leadership. I am concerned with the others being washed out of the House and falling into the background of debates, whereas I will stand up for District 25 and solve our problems.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing District 25?

The main issues I see in our area are based around the lack of support for Texas families. Our windstorm insurance keeps increasing and there is oversight with our appraisal process. We need equitable water rights from the Brazos and Colorado Rivers for our rural farmers and business owners. Most importantly, our schools, including our teachers and our students, need our support. Our local teachers are not paid enough and our students are walking out unprepared for the workforce. That should be a major concern to anyone looking toward the future. The good news is there's no learning curve here. I don't have to spend valuable time in office playing catch up and learning how to be a State Representative. I already know and I am already working hard for my community.

How will you equip the district to handle population growth in the district?

Wow. Our district is growing at a fast rate, isn’t it? I have worked hard these last 15 years to facilitate this growth and I intend to continue working hard. I work with the Economic Development Corporations of our areas to help bring strong businesses to our area. Bringing businesses here benefits our economy, helps our labor force, and brings more families to our area. I will be in constant communication with county elected officials and city elected officials to make sure that they have the resources needed from the state to handle the influx of citizens. We need to work closely with our drainage districts, Texas Department of Transportation to handle the transportation growth, the school districts, and the local officials. The key is communications and making sure that we are partnering with elected officials on the growth and the needs of the district.

Anything else to add?

I am a family man and have worked hard all my life to provide for my family. I have 3 children and 6 grandchildren with my beautiful wife of 35 years, Carolyn. Carolyn and I get up every day thinking about how to better our community and what roles we can take to improve the lives of the families just starting out. I have seen firsthand what we need and how to make the changes happen. With the resources and staff of a State Representatives office, I will have an even better chance of enhancing the lives of those around me.



Cody Thane Vasut



Occupation: attorney with BakerHostetler



Phone number: 979-922-5156

Website: www.votevasut.com



How did you choose to run for the District 25 position?



I got into this race because I felt led that this was the best way for me to serve my community. I believe we need a conservative voice representing our interests in Austin who will protect the unborn, rein in government, and push for further property tax reform. If you agree, then I am your candidate.



What qualifications do you bring to the role?



For four years on Angleton City Council, I have listened carefully to every issue brought to me by constituents, advocated for solutions, and served my community. I will continue that record in Austin. I am a proven conservative: I voted to lower Angleton’s property tax rate three times to its lowest level in decades and I brought public prayer to our meetings. I am a proven Republican: I served as a delegate to the 2018 state convention. And, I am a proven pro-life advocate: I have served on the board of the Pregnancy Help Center of Brazosport for years.



Do you think the incident with former Rep. Dennis Bonnen has harmed the district’s image at all? If so, how do you plan to address that?



First, I want to remind everyone of two things: no one is perfect and Speaker Bonnen accomplished many great things for this district that he should be thanked for. That said, yes, he made a grave mistake that has harmed the district’s image. To address that, I plan to conduct myself with the highest degree of integrity, limit my time in the House to no more than 8 years, author a term limits bill for all state lawmakers, listen openly to every concern brought to me by constituents—no one will be ignored, and strengthen ethics rules.



What do you feel is the biggest issue facing District 25?



My team and I have met with thousands of residents across the district. The biggest issue we hear about is property taxes. Tax bills are rising faster than many can afford to pay due to rising appraisals. While the property tax reform was a step in the right direction to give citizens the power to vote on tax increases over a certain threshold in certain cities, more needs to be done. If elected, I will author legislation to lower the property appraisal cap for residential homesteads from 10% to 5% or less to protect homeowners from ballooning appraisals.



How will you equip the district to handle population growth in the district?



Most of my time on council has been spent addressing issues relating to growth. We’ve overhauled codes, entered into development agreements, and worked with existing residents to address drainage, infrastructure, and traffic concerns. I’ll bring that problem-solving experience to Austin and work with our local officials to make sure they have the resources they need to accommodate and manage growth. I will preserve the ability of school districts to enter into economic development agreements, vote to free up hotel/motel revenues to be used by local cities to fund infrastructure projects and fight to protect Matagorda and Brazoria County water rights.



Anything else to add?



Many candidates are going to flash endorsements in your face, emphasize that they filed first, or tell you a whole bunch of political speech. Do your homework. I encourage everyone to decide about who will represent their values in Austin based on proven record and stances on issues that align with you. Compare the candidates. Watch the Matagorda County and the Facts debates and forums. When you do so, I believe you will see clearly that I am the most qualified candidate to fight for your God-given rights in Austin, end abortion, rein in government and protect taxpayers.

By Haley Morrison
Haley Morrison came to Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after graduating from Baylor University. She was promoted to editor in February 2019. Haley primarily covers city government.


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