Welcome to DFW

Welcome to DFW: Meet Your Reps

There's a lot of people and turf in North Texas, and that means a lot of politicians. We watch closely and it's hard to keep track of 'em all. Here's a field guide to those elected officials who, ostensibly, work tirelessly for you. Or whatever agenda keeps them in office.   — Christian McPhate, Stephen Young

Dallas City Council

Mayor: Mike Rawlings
Elected in 2011 and again in 2015, former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings is the latest Dallas Citizens Council-supported mayor. He’s strongly against domestic violence — he held a giant men’s rally at City Hall in 2013 — and strongly for the Trinity toll road. If he serves his entire second term, he’ll become the first Dallas mayor ever to do so. He was a leading voice in the effort to keep the Exxxotica expo from coming to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

District 1: Scott Griggs
Griggs represents North Oak Cliff. Griggs joined the council in 2011 after knocking off incumbent David Nuemann and survived being drawn into a district with another incumbent, Delia Jasso, in 2013. He’s part of a core group of four council members that provides a consistent check on Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' program.

District 2: Adam Medrano
Medrano represents much of central Dallas, including portions of downtown, Farmers Market and Oak Lawn. He’s one of the biggest advocates for Dallas’ LGBTQ community, and is a member of one of Dallas’ most powerful political families — he inherited his seat from his term-limited aunt, Pauline Medrano, in 2013. A former member of the Dallas ISD board, he, along with Griggs, is part of the so-called fantastic four.

District 3: Casey Thomas
Thomas was the handpicked successor to Vonciel Jones Hill, who represented her southern Dallas district for eight years. He’s the former president of the Dallas NAACP and a former teacher. During his time at the NAACP, he was investigated for misusing organization funds in 2007, an accusation he denied. Along with southern Dallas’ three other African-American council members, he makes up the swing block on the council. When Thomas et al vote with Griggs and Philip Kingston’s crew, like they did to raise the minimum wage for Love Field workers, the mayor gets beat. When they vote with the mayor, like they did to ban the Exxxotica expo from the convention center, the mayor’s program picks up momentum.

District 5: Rickey Callahan
Callahan, a white conservative, represents overwhelmingly Hispanic Pleasant Grove. Few in District 5 actually vote: He’s received less than 1,000 votes in each of his electoral victories. He once said the key to ending panhandling was “breaking [the homeless’] backs.” He’s part of another group of four council members that votes, nearly without fail, with the mayor.

District 9: Mark Clayton
Clayton, who represents much of East Dallas, won Sheffie Kadane’s old seat and, in something of an upset, avoided a runoff. He’s part of the Griggs/Medrano/Kingston gang, and has proved a thoughtful, steady voice during his first year on the council. As an owner of an insurance agency, he often shows a genuine understanding of business issues, which is always welcome on the council.

District 10: Adam McGough
McGough won a basically 50/50 runoff in Lake Highlands to take over District 10 in 2015. His win can largely be chalked up to coming out against the Trinity toll road, which allowed him to pick up the votes of anti-toll roaders, who’d gone with third-place finisher James White in the general election. He used to work in the mayor’s office.

District 11: Lee Kleinman
Kleinman is part of the mayor’s crew, but does go off on his own occasionally, as he did when he voted to allow the Exxxotica trade show to come to Dallas' convention center. He’s for the Trinity toll road and quite conservative, but is a stalwart supporter of Dallas’ LGBTQ community. He represents portions of North Dallas.

District 12: Sandy Greyson  
Greyson is one of the council’s independent thinkers, and represents Far North Dallas. She’s against the toll road, and is actually on her seventh council term, after sitting out because she'd reached her initial four-term limit.

District 13: Jennifer Gates  
Gates' maiden name, Staubach, might’ve had a little to do with her getting elected during an expensive 2013 campaign. She’s on the mayor’s team, and often rumored to be one of his potential successors. She used to be a nurse, which is kinda cool.

District 14: Philip Kingston  
Kingston, who represents parts of downtown, Deep Ellum and East Dallas, is often the mouth of the fantastic four. He’s pugnacious, having picked fights with the mayor and Kleinman, and never fails to stick up for his district. He’s against the Trinity toll road, the Rawlings program and the way Dallas usually does things. Like Gates, there’s a chance he could be Dallas’ next mayor.

Dallas County

Sheriff Lupe Valdez
Valdez was elected sheriff in 2004. Her biggest current battle is a fight with the state that followed her declaration that she would no longer be fulfilling federal immigration detainer requests without evaluation. Valdez, who’s gay, was the first member of the LGBTQ community to be elected to countywide office.

Judge Clay Jenkins
Clay Jenkins was elected Dallas County Judge in the President Obama-inspired 2008 landslide. He acquired a national profile during the 2014 Ebola crisis, and has been rumored as a candidate for higher office ever since.

U.S. Senators

Senior Sen. John Cornyn
2002 - present
Term ends 2020

Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip, is a former Texas Supreme Court justice and Texas Attorney General who made a number of controversial decisions that landed him on the front page of newspapers across Texas, and he's made a few more since he became senator. For example, he voted to end a debate to allow Senate Democrats to re-insert funding for ObamaCare, to approve a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street and to allow warrantless data collection on American citizens as well as to raise the debt ceiling eight times.

Junior Sen. Ted Cruz
2013 - present
Term ends 2018

Cruz, a Republican Tea Party candidate from Canada, surprised everyone when he beat the Republican establishment’s choice, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and challenger Paul Sadler, a Democrat, to win the Senate seat in early 2013. He’s a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, and a rising star in the Republican Party. Like many other politicians, Cruz’s relationship with the truth is fragile. Some of his most notable claims include 12 communists “seeking to overthrow the government," teaching at Harvard Law and Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel’s accepting money from North Korea for “speaking engagements.” He’s also struggled with his campaign finance reports, failing to disclose $1 million in loans from Goldman Sachs and Citibank.

U.S. House of Representatives

District 26
Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville
2004 - present
Term ends 2017

Burgess serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as its subcommittees of Health Care, Energy & Environment and Oversight & Investigations. The Denton native has also received numerous awards, including the “2008 House Legislator of the Year” and the “2005 Legislator of the Year.” He’s voted to pass bills that increased defense spending — it was later vetoed by President Obama — that suspended sanctions on Iran and that created an information sharing program that allowed federal agencies and private entities to share information.  He’s often the token republican on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show.

District 5
Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas
2003 - present
Term ends 2017
Hensarling is considered a safe vote for Republicans. He serves on the Financial Services Committee and the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing. Some of the issues that he’s voted to support include defense spending. He also voted to suspend the president’s power to suspend Iran sanctions until January 2017.

District 3
Sam Johnson, R-Richardson
1991 - present
Term ends 2017
For more than 24 years, Johnson has been representing the Richardson area in Washington, D.C. He sits on the House Committee on Ways and Means. The veteran pilot in the U.S. Air Force is another Republican that the party considers a “safe vote” for their party in Congress. Like other congressional representatives from Texas, he voted yes to increase defense spending but unlike some of his other statesmen, he voted to approve the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, although he did also approve to delay the president’s ability to waive Iranian sanctions until after the new year, when the next president is sworn into office.

District 24
Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell
2004 - present
Term ends 2017
Marchant is one of those guys who’s spent his life in politics. He won election both to Texas House Districts 99 and 115 over the years before heading to Washington, D.C. He serves on the Committee on Ways and Means and Committee on Ethics. He’s known as the “Hero of the Taxpayer,” a “Small Business Champion” by Americans for Tax Reform. Like other Republicans representing Texas in Washington, he voted to give the President the authority to waive providing Iran relief from sanctions after Jan. 2017. He also voted to continue the Patriot Act, now known as the USA Freedom Act of 2015, extending the scope of government oversight.

District 30
Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas 
1993 - present 
Term ends 2017

Johnson has been in congress since 1992. She was a psychiatric nurse at the VA before being elected to the Texas House and operates a patronage machine — she gave more than $20,000 in Congressional Black Caucus college scholarships to family members, for example — in central and southern Dallas that has never been significantly threatened in an election.

District 32
Pete Sessions, R-Dallas
1994 - present
Term ends 2017

Sessions serves as Chairman of the House Rules Committee. He voted to deny the 2015 budget which would have increased military and domestic spending levels, although the Senate voted to approve it and the President signed it into law in November 2015. He voted to continue the Patriot Act, now known as USA Freedom Act of 2015 and also voted to increase cyber security protection by passing a bill that created an information sharing program allowing federal agencies and private entities to share information about cyber threats.

District 33
Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth 
2012 - present 
Term ends 2017

Veasey, who represents a gerrymandered strip of Dallas and Tarrant County, began political life as a staffer for Martin Frost, the longtime Dallas Democrat who got knocked out of congress in 2004 because he was drawn into a district with his fellow incumbent Pete Sessions. Veasey is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton and a pretty middle-of-the-road Democrat.
State Senators

District 12
Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound
1993 - present
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @SenJaneNelson
Phone: 512-463-0112

Nelson represents portions of Denton and Tarrant counties. A businesswoman and former teacher, she is the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate who serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which shapes the state budget and policy. She was also voted the worst state senator in 2011 by Texas Monthly. She’s battled the horse racing industry over historical-racing slot machines, taking a holier-than-thou stance against gambling (while the Texas Lottery, another form of gambling, rakes in billions each year). She also fails to mention that she receives campaign contributions from out-of-state American Indian nations who run several casinos in states bordering Texas. Nelson is unopposed in her 2016 reelection campaign.

District 9
Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills
2012 - present
Term ends 2018
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 512-463-0109

First elected in 2012, Hancock has been roaming the legislative halls in Austin since 2006 when he won the house representative seat for District 91 with 60 percent of the vote. As senator, the “Courageous Conservative,” as he’s known in Austin, has served on the Natural Resources and Economic Development, Finance and Transportation committees in the 2015 legislative session. Hancock was voted the worst senator of 2013 by Texas Monthly. Campaign contributions from more than two dozen companies and organizations within the insurance industry were the first indication, but a bill to eliminate the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, the public’s watchdog over the insurance industry, confirmed his willingness to be bought.

District 10
Konni Burton, R - Colleyville
2014 - present
Term ends 2018
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @KonniBurton
Phone: 512-463-0110

Burton won her seat in 2014 but not simply based on past political experience. She’s a wife, a mother and a lifelong Christian, and she received U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s stamp of approval. Burton faced some controversy in her bid for office when she publicly said she opposed a budget that would have restored most of the $5 billion cut in Texas public schools, according to a KXAS Channel 5 news report. Of course, she later denied ever saying it. Since taking office, she’s served on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations, Higher Education, Criminal Justice and Nominations committees.

District 16
Donald Huffines
, R - Dallas
2014 - present
Term ends 2018
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @DonHuffines
Phone: 512-463-0116

Huffines, another first-term senator to win his seat in 2014, has rocked the senate floor a time or two fighting for Texans’ constitutional rights to open carry handguns. Huffines is the founder of Huffines Communities, one of the largest real-estate developers in Dallas, and he is a staunch protector of the Fourth Amendment rights of handgun license holders. His most notable achievement so far is ushering in legislation that allows concealed handgun license holders in Texas to open carry handguns. Since assuming office in 2014, Huffines has served on the Administration, Business & Commerce, Education and Transportation committees.

District 23
Royce West, D - Dallas
1993 - present
Term ends 2018
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @SenRoyceWest
Phone: 512-463-0123

West has been a mover and shaker in Austin for two decades now. He was named one of the 25 most powerful people in Texas by Texas Monthly, a publication that also nominated him twice as one of the 10 best legislators in Texas. A Dallas-based attorney, West’s list of legislative accomplishments is long and includes everything from fighting for stiffer penalties for adults who buy or give alcohol to minors to creating a zero-tolerance law for minors who drink and drive.

District 2
Bob Hall, R-Edgewood
2014 - present
Term ends 2018
Phone: 512-463-0102

Hall, a former consultant to aerospace and defense corporations, serves on the Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs, Natural Resources & Economic Development, Transportation and Veteran Affairs & Military Installations committees. He’s also a vice chair of the Subcommittee on Border Security, and he’s also tackled traffic offense laws. He’s most notable for changing a 70-year-old senate rule called the “two-third rule” that allowed a small minority of senators (mostly Democrats) to block legislation. “No longer will moderate Republicans be able to hide behind an outdated rule,” Hall wrote in a Jan. 22, 2015, press release. He called the voters “the real winners with this increase in transparency and accountability.”

State Representatives
House District 105
Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Grand Prairie
2010 - Present
Term ends 2016
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @rodneyanderson
Phone: 512-463-0641 or 469-713-6581

A native of Grand Prairie, Anderson serves as a member of the Urban Affairs Committee and International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. The second-term representative, who’s been a Tea Party favorite, works as senior vice president at Alliant National Title Insurance Company. He’s also a former banker. Since taking office, Anderson has sponsored bills that made it a crime to sell or purchase shark fins or products derived from shark fins and that designated #TexasToDo as the official state hashtag for Texas Tourism.

House District 111
Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas
1992 - present
Term ends Jan. 9, 2017
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 512-463-0598 or 214-941-3895

Davis, a small-business owner, serves as the vice chair of the Redistricting Committee and Ways & Means Committee as well as a member of the Transportation and Subcommittee on Long-Term Infrastructure planning. The long-serving representative has sponsored dozens of bills relating to everything from the Commission on Jail Standards to urging governmental entities to display the Freedom and Heritage Flag instead of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam flag.

House District 113
Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale
2010 - present
Term ends 2016
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @cindyburkett_tx
Phone: 512-463-0464 or 972-278-7276

Burkett represents parts of Seagoville, Rowlett, Balch Springs, Mesquite, Sunnyvale and Garland. A franchise owner of several Subway sandwich shops, she serves on the Local & Consent Calendars Committee, the Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Article II, the Transportation Committee and Subcommittee on Long-Term Infrastructure Planning. The Texans for Fiscal Responsibility awarded her with the “Taxpayer Advocate Award," and the Texas Association of Businesses awarded her with the "Champion for Free Enterprise” award. Burkett also isn’t a fan of welfare but a firm believer in people taking responsibility for their actions instead of taking advantage of the system.

House District 114
Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas
2012 - present
Term ends 2016
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 512-463-0576
Twitter: @jasonvillalba

Villalba, a business attorney, serves on the Business & Industry and the Economic & Small Business Development committees. He’s also a member of the development committee at the Dallas Zoo and of the Dallas Children’s Trust. He’s sponsored bills relating to everything from prosecution and punishment for prostitution, to protecting victims of child abuse and neglect, to requiring personnel of abortion facilities and certain other facilities to complete training on human trafficking.

House District 115
Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving
2014 - present
Term ends 2016
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MattRinaldiTX
Phone: 512-463-0468 or 972-247-8994

Rinaldi, a commercial litigation attorney, serves on the Agriculture & Livestock and the Business & Industry committees. He’s also active in Republican clubs across Irving. Since taking office in 2014, he’s sponsored bills that required certain governmental bodies to make audio and video recordings of open meetings available on the Internet (a bill appreciated by journalists) and that authorized patients with certain terminal illnesses to access certain drugs, products and devices that are currently in clinical trials.

House District 63
Tan Parker, R - Flower Mound
2006 - present
Term ends 2016
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @tparker63
Phone: 512-463-0688 or 972-724-8477

Parker serves as the chair of the Investments & Financial Services Committee and also sits on the Redistricting, the Ways & Means and the State & Federal Power & Responsibility committees. Parker, an executive vice president of Tri Vac Limited, is known for his willingness to promote government by developers, which many critics claim simply puts more burden on the taxpayers. He’s sponsored bills related to school district policies addressing sexual abuse of children and to increasing the punishment for certain individuals convicted of possessing or promoting child pornography. He’s currently seeking reelection.

House District 64
Rep. Myra Crownover, R - Denton
2000 - present
Term ends 2016
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MyraCrownover
Phone: 512-463-0582 or 940-321-0013

Crownover, a former school teacher and co-owner of Robinson Drilling Company, serves as the chair of the Public Health Committee, and the Texas Association of Business recognized her legislative accomplishments as a “Champion for Free Enterprise.” The March of Dimes also recognized her, and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association awarded her an honorary membership. She’s sponsored bills related to open carry and to the rights of certain religious organizations and individuals regarding gay marriage violating their religious beliefs. She also signed a brief stating that same-sex marriage could lead to legal recognition of polygamy, incest and pedophilia. She is not seeking reelection.

House District 65
Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton
2012 - present
Term ends 2016
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @RonSimmonsTexas
Phone: 512-463-0478

Simmons, a businessman and entrepreneur, serves as the vice chair of the Business & Industry Committee, sits on the Transportation Committee, and is also chair of the Subcommittee on Long-Term Planning. His legislative focus revolves around protecting First Amendment rights and the integrity of the elections process as well as pro-life legislation. He’s a member of the National Board of Directors for the Autism Society of America while also participating in the NRA and supporting the Liberty Institute, an organization seeking to protect religious liberty, marriage and the sanctity of human life. He’s sponsored bills relating to suicide prevention training for educators in public schools, to the addition of territory to a crime control and prevention district and to other party favorites.

House District 106
Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco
2012 - present
Term ends 2016
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @FallonForTexas
Phone: 512-463-0694

Fallon serves on the Elections Committee and the Special Purpose District Committee. He’s been a supporter of open government, and he has one of the most conservative voting records among representatives. He also voted to support limited use of THC for medicinal purposes, a move that many liberals could stand behind. He’s currently seeking reelection.   
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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.
Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young