Dallas, Texas 75219
Campaign Phone Number
More than 40 years
Attorney & Shareholder, Winstead PC
J.D., Southern Methodist University School of Law
Institute on Comparative Political & Economic Systems, Georgetown University
B.A., highest honors, B.S., highest honors, Oklahoma Christian University
Member, Texas House of Representatives
Chairman, House Committee on Higher Education
Member, Legislative Budget Board
Chairman, Board of Directors, SMU John Tower Center for Political Studies
Trustee, The Fund for American Studies
Honorary Board Member, Boy Scouts of America Circle Ten Council
Past President, The Dallas Assembly
Commissioner, Education Commission of the States
Board Member, Texas Education Reform Foundation
Board Member, Southern Regional Education Board, Southwestern Medical Foundation
Member, Dallas Breakfast Group, National Conference of State Legislators Education Committee
Representative, Texas House of Representatives, District 108, 2003-Present
Chairman, Texas Public Finance Authority, 1999-2001
Candidate, U.S. Congress, 1991
Please see public information filed with the Texas Ethics Commission for more information.
I have received broad support from across Texas. Please see public information filed with the Texas Ethics Commission for more information.
No. (Note: As an attorney for more than three decades, I have advised numerous firm clients in connection with civil matters, disputes and lawsuits.)
In my first term in the Texas House, I drafted the Texas moment of silence law and worked closely with my colleagues to secure its passage.
Written nearly two decades after a U.S. Supreme Court holding that sought to prohibit prayer in public schools, the Texas moment of silence law provides Texas public school students with an opportunity to say the pledge of allegiance to the Texas and U.S. flags and bow their heads for a moment of silence or prayer each school day.
During its drafting, I worked closely with attorneys in the Texas Office of Attorney General (OAG) to craft the law in such a way that it would pass constitutional muster. It was an honor to lead our legislative team in the Texas House and to collaborate with Attorney General Greg Abbott, Solicitors General Ted Cruz and Jim Ho, and their teams to successfully defend the law when, as we anticipated, the Texas moment of silence law was challenged in the federal district and appellate courts.
As a testament to our teamwork, numerous legislative and executive branch colleagues have voiced their support for my candidacy for Attorney General, including a majority of my House Republican colleagues, ten former legal deputies to General Abbott, several legal advisers to Ted Cruz, and Jim Ho, the Solicitor General who successfully defended the Texas moment of silence law before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last fall, we marked the tenth anniversary of the Texas moment of silence law. When Texas public schools started classes last August, more than 5 million school children had the opportunity to pledge their allegiance to our state and nation and to bow their heads in a moment of prayer or reflection.
The political leader I most admire is President Ronald Reagan.
As a young attorney, I had the opportunity in 1984 to help President Reagan win reelection. Working for President Reagan and his team, I saw first-hand the importance of advancing our conservative solutions with an uplifting and positive message. For President Reagan, fighting for conservative principles was as important as fighting against big government.
In my career in public service, I’ve kept President Reagan’s example in mind. Whether it’s been fighting for limited, effective and open government, defending traditional values, or maintaining low taxes and light regulations, I’ve fought for the kind of conservative, free market solutions that President Reagan championed.
Texas needs an Attorney General to succeed General Abbott who has a results-oriented record of standing up to the federal government, fighting for open and accountable government, and preserving limited government in Texas.
Having worked as an attorney for over thirty years and served more than a decade in the Texas Legislature, I’ve authored landmark constitutional amendments to shrink the size and scope of Texas government and make it more transparent. Moreover, I have stood up to overreaching federal judges and voted to stop Obamacare from expanding into Texas.
As Attorney General, I bring the experience and expertise necessary to uphold the constitutional rights of Texas and Texans, defend the Texas Voter ID law, protect the sanctity of life, promote traditional values, keep the Texas economy open for business, advocate on behalf of children of deadbeat parents, prosecute sexual predators, and secure our border.
The Texas economy is built on a foundation of low taxation, light regulation and limited government. In the Legislature, I helped lay that foundation, working to pass the largest tax cut in Texas history, reduce per capita public spending, and pass model tort reform laws. As the next Attorney General, I’ll help protect our vibrant Texas economy by writing clear and precise AG Opinions and encouraging fair and speedy resolutions to legal disputes.
My successful record as both a top rated attorney and a leading legislator makes me uniquely prepared to succeed Attorney General Abbott. I have a proven record of getting results for Texans.
As an attorney, I am the only candidate with over thirty years of experience practicing law and the only candidate who has been rated at the highest level, both for legal ability and ethical standards, for more than two decades. The individual that Texans elect to write their Attorney General Opinions—-which have the potential to affect millions of lives and billions of dollars—-should have a proven record of solid legal judgment and a seasoned comprehension of the legislative process.
In light of the Office’s authority over open records, Texans deserve an Attorney General who has a record of fighting for open and accountable government. As a legislator, I have spent years working to make Texas government more transparent. In 2007, for instance, I authored a constitutional amendment that required Texas legislators to cast a record vote on final passage of bills that would affect the lives of millions of Texans.
As have many of General Abbott’s top former legal advisers, former Texas Supreme Court Justices, and leading lawyers and law enforcement officers from across Texas, I hope voters will support my candidacy for Attorney General based on my record of defending the constitutional rights of Texans, fighting for thoughtful conservative solutions, and getting results.
I am the only candidate who has worked as an attorney for over thirty years and who has been rated at the highest level, both for legal ability and ethical standards, for more than twenty years.
Whether as a judicial clerk and briefing attorney for the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, the founder of my own law firm, or a shareholder in one of Texas’ largest law firms, I am the only candidate for Attorney General who has consistently worked at the highest levels of the legal profession.
In addition, as a six-term legislator, I have written, sponsored and passed landmark legislation, including several constitutional amendments, which have improved the lives of millions of Texans. On numerous occasions, I’ve worked with the Texas Attorney General and his team to make sure Texas law is effectively defended in court. Based on my record, Texans can trust that as a thoughtful conservative attorney, I have the experience, expertise and competence to get results.
A lifelong conservative, I am a member of the Republican Party because I believe in the liberating power of freedom and opportunity.
I believe in limited and effective government. As an attorney and business owner, I have personally felt the negative effects of the federal government’s high taxation and burdensome regulations. And as a lawmaker who has successfully fought to lower taxes, rein in frivolous lawsuits, and reduce the size and scope of government here in Texas, I’ve seen first-hand the personal and economic benefits that freedom offers.
As a person of faith, devoted husband, and father of five, I believe that our communities must be safe, that children and our most vulnerable must be protected, that traditional values must be vigorously defended and that we must protect the sanctity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I supported the Attorney General’s decision to appeal the activist attempt to ignore the Texas Constitution and declare Texas’ traditional marriage law unconstitutional. I was a co-author of the traditional marriage law and last August, I filed an amicus brief supporting the Attorney General’s position. Moreover, as an author of legislation that guarantees the right of the Texas Attorney General to defend Texas law against constitutional attack, I have a history of supporting the OAG’s ability to defend Texas law.
I stand by the position I stated in my amicus brief when I wrote: “If the opponents of traditional marriage want to convince the people of Texas that Texas law should be changed, they can do so in good faith, by proceeding under the system established by our Constitution for amending Texas law and for ensuring its legality . . . Whatever one’s position on the issue of marriage, surely we can all agree that the people of Texas deserve a voice—in the legislative process, and in the courts as well.”
Please find my amicus brief at http://www.search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?MediaVersionID=7e6b148f-a33e-4747-b0fe-084dfe360fdc&coa=cossup&DT=BRIEFS&MediaID=8163e129-45c1-45a9-96cf-52a721842db0.
I do not support the OAG taking a more aggressive role in monitoring trade practices and competition in the state’s energy markets. The current state of Texas’ energy markets do not justify more aggressive monitoring on the part of the OAG.
As a result of a free market and private competition, Texans pay less in the Texas deregulated electricity market than the average American. Moreover, since 2006, the cost of electricity in the deregulated portion of Texas’ market has fallen as deregulated power continues to get cheaper. As the market continues to mature, and as artificially high gas contracts expire, Texans will continue to reap the benefits of competition.
Unquestionably, the OAG should intervene to protect Texas consumers in the event of market manipulation, fraud or unfair practices. The role of the Texas Attorney General is to help protect free markets and preserve competition, not decide winners and losers.
I oppose this idea. No matter how well intentioned, the OAG should not intervene in every trial conducted by local judges, prosecutors, criminal defense counsel, law enforcement and juries. Likewise, the OAG should not rush to judgment by prematurely reviewing cases that have not reached a final verdict.
The authority of state government to take an individual’s life represents awesome power. For this reason, the OAG must remain vigilant for legitimate claims of procedural or substantive injustice, especially when that injustice has the potential to result in a wrongful execution.
The responsibility for oversight falls on the public pension boards and trustees empowered as stewards on behalf of the public and the beneficiaries. I have a strong record of fighting for statewide and local pensions that are actuarially sound, prudently invested, solvent and, where appropriate and to the greatest extent possible, locally controlled. For instance, I have worked to make the management of public pensions more transparent and to improve and segregate the pensions for law enforcement. The OAG should continue its practice of being vigilant for imprudent management of public pensions.
As Attorney General, I will seek to build on current successes and advance best practices for all aspects of this important responsibility entrusted to the OAG. By devoting roughly half of its financial and human resources to investigating and prosecuting child-support scofflaws, the OAG has taken important strides in helping to protect children of irresponsible parents. The OAG must adopt the most efficient and effective methods for prosecuting parents who fail to timely pay their child support payments pursuit to valid and lawful court decrees.
I have a strong record of fighting for open and transparent government in Texas. From my first term to my most recent session, I have authored numerous bills to improve open meetings and advance the transparency of public information.
In 2007, I authored a constitutional amendment that would require Texas legislators to cast a record vote on final passage of all bills that would affect the lives of millions of Texans and I defended it before grassroots groups and on editorial pages across our state. That November, when Texans voted on the measure, 85 percent supported the amendment, making lawmaking more transparent.
Just as the OAG has increased transparency in our government, I will continue to ensure that our state government remains open to the citizens of Texas so that they may hold their public servants accountable.
have handled it differently?
As the longest serving Attorney General, Greg Abbott has a strong record of defending Texas and Texans and, even when unpopular, his informed judgment deserves our respect. Not having access to all the facts available to General Abbott, I am not in a position to say how I would have handled the case.
From early on, General Abbott committed to working aggressively toward a quick resolution, which he obtained. This resolution preserved the world’s largest airline and kept its headquarters in Texas with expanded service and thousands of jobs for Texans. Moreover, many have argued that the quick settlement by Texas paved the way for the early resolution of the case.
Given the current administration’s aggressive, overreaching posture toward Texas, I strongly support Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s commitment to defending the Constitution and standing up to the expansion of federal government power at the expense of Texas.
Whether it’s the IRS’s selective targeting of conservative political groups, the DOJ’s refusal to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision or the EPA’s unconstitutional application of the Endangered Species Act, this administration has repeatedly violated the rights of individuals and states, including those of Texans and Texas. In the current environment, the Attorney General who succeeds Greg Abbott must have the legal experience, judgment, competence and toughness to stand up to federal encroachments. Moreover, the next Attorney General must hold our national government responsible for enforcing international treaties and securing our state’s long, international border, including the reimbursement of Texas for the tremendous personal, property, law enforcement and criminal justice costs resulting from an unsecure border.
The state’s top lawyer must not allow federal overreaches or failures to undermine Texas. Texas is an exceptional place. As Attorney General, I’ll fight to keep it that way.
McKinney, TX 75070
Campaign Phone Number
Over 30 years
Attorney and Businessman
Baylor University, B.A. in Psychology (1985); Baylor University, M.B.A. (1986); University of Virginia School of Law, J.D. (1991)
Board member, Prestonwood Pregnancy and Family Care Center in Dallas; Board member, Centennial Medical Center in Frisco; Advisory Board member, Texas Health Resources Hospitals; Advisory Board, Lifesavers Foundation. Member, McKinney Rotary Club; Founding Board member of the Collin County Student Aviation Initiative; Advisory Board Member, America’s Futures Series; Board member, Texas Veterans Leadership Program; Member, Prestonwood Church, Plano.
Member of Allen, Frisco, Plano, and McKinney Chambers of Commerce; Honorary Chair, Prosper Open Foundation; Advisory Board, Marketplace Ministries, a Dallas-based employee assistance program; Advisory Board, Frisco Association for the Arts and Cross Timbers Youth Orchestra; Member, Board of Directors for the Tax Increment Financing Reinvestment Zone for the City of Allen. In 2005, named one of the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century by Inside Collin County Business; Baylor University Student Body President.
Texas State Senate, 2013 - current
Texas State Representative, 2003 - 2013
As of the due date of this voter guide, our year-end report due January 15th was being finalized. Our campaign finance reports are publicly available at the following link: http://ethics.state.tx.us/php/filer.php?acct=00051407COH.
Though not the primary target, I was named as defendant in a local lawsuit. All claims against me were dismissed quickly.
As a member of the Texas House and Senate I have a record of leadership for the conservative agenda. In 2006, I was one of the few Republicans who opposed the creation of the Texas margins tax in House Bill 3 because the tax was harmful to small business owners and the Texas economy. I began working on legislation immediately to reduce the harmful impacts of the margins tax. In 2007, I worked on tax rate reductions and methods of calculations with House members. In 2009, I worked with the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to pass a bill that decreased taxes for thousands of small business owners. In 2011, I continued to press the Legislature to reduce taxes for small business owners and make the margins tax fairer to business owners and we successfully continued some small business exemptions. In 2013, I continued to work with both Senate and House leadership to pass House Bill 500 that would reduce taxes for small business owners and reduce the harmful impacts of the margins tax on the overall economy. Ultimately, I want the franchise tax repealed in full.
I most admire President Ronald Reagan. My father served as an Air Force pilot, and I spent some of my early years in California. At the time, California was a prosperous state under the leadership of then-governor Ronald Reagan. He inspired me and I became interested in politics at a young age. As president, Reagan demonstrated political courage, developed sound economic policies that helped the economy grow, inspired Americans through optimistic, principled leadership, fought Soviet communism ushering the collapse of the Soviet Union, and promoted traditional family values. Among current elected officials, I have a great admiration for Senator Ted Cruz and the political courage he has shown in working to defeat Obamacare.
Texas is the last, great hope against complete federal intrusion upon the states and the office of Attorney General is the front line of that battle. This office is the line in the sand – the only thing standing between President Obama and the State of Texas. It is critical that the next Attorney General be a trusted, committed, constitutional conservative – someone Texans know they can count on to demonstrate political courage, regardless of the personal consequences.
Throughout my time in elected office, I have had the courage to fight for what is right, even if it wasn’t popular. I voted against bloated budgets. I offered myself as a conservative alternative for Speaker of the House. I cast vote after vote, sometimes against my own party leadership, to protect conservative values. I have the experience, credentials and political courage to stand for Texas as your next Attorney General.
The position of attorney general is one that requires strategic planning, vision, and analytical skills. It will be my job to help shape the future landscape of the state. It is critical that the next Attorney General be a trusted, committed, constitutional conservative – someone Texans know they can count on to demonstrate political courage, regardless of the personal consequences.
I had the good fortune to attend the University Of Virginia School Of Law, a premier law school founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson’s vision for American independence and self-governance still resonates with me today. After law school, I moved back to Dallas to take a job with the law firm of Strasburger & Price, LLP, where my practice areas were corporate law and banking. I then joined JC Penney as in-house legal counsel. I then moved to a midsize firm where I honed my strategic skills in the area of business and estate planning. I currently am a named partner in the law firm of Pittenger, Paxton, Nuspl & Crumley.
The attorney general must be a strategic thinker and experienced lawyer. My current law firm handles many civil matters in the areas of complex civil litigation, real estate, estate planning and business law. We represent clients from small to large businesses with contracts, commercial disputes, and debt collection. We also work with families and individuals in estate planning, litigation involving wills and trusts, real estate, probate and guardianship matters, and elder law. We handle matters for clients all over North Texas and across the state.
As a state legislator, I have been involved in issues related to the Office of Attorney General. For example, in November 2009, I joined a large bi-partisan group of state legislators and other elected officials from all 50 states and signed an amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," brief. This brief encouraged the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that Second Amendment rights must be upheld by the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The brief was in response to McDonald v. City of Chicago, a case filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by Army Veteran Otis McDonald, who challenged a 28-year old city ordinance in Chicago that banned private ownership of handguns.
The Republican Party stands for upholding the U.S. Constitution, limited government, state sovereignty, traditional family values, economic freedom, and a strong system of education. I agree with these principles of the Republican Party of Texas. Those principles are essential to the conduct of the office of Attorney General since one of the principal duties of the office is to defend the constitution and laws of this state. Those principals will guide me in defense of the work of the legislature.
Yes, I support General Abbott’s decision to appeal the case. The Texas Constitution recognizes marriage as between one man and one woman. The courts should decide cases based on the laws as passed by the Legislature and the original intent of lawmakers, as well as those of the people. The constitutional provision pertaining to marriage is clear and explicit.
The primary role for monitoring practices and competition lies with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and ERCOT. As a matter of principle, I believe the free market, meaning the men and women who own and operate businesses, working competitively with each other and cooperatively with consumers, are the best determinant of competitive prices and ethical practices. Of course, there is a role for the Office of Attorney General in these matters, but that authority need not expand.
I would not support the Attorney General’s office review death-penalty cases since the Attorney General must defend the state in court in certain death penalty cases. OAG can’t both review and defend the state’s actions. The courts are designed to allow parties to provide evidence and our laws recognize that a person is innocent until proven guilty. These decisions are exclusive to the judiciary branch of government and do not need a further review by the Office of the Attorney General. The appellate courts and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals are constitutionally authorized to evaluate cases on appeal and making rulings.
The public pension funds are currently managed by the respective retirement system agencies and local governments. The primary entities which oversee public pension funds are ERS, TRS and others. If the legislature were to grant the Attorney General additional authority to evaluate public pension funds, I would ensure the office is capable of performing the job efficiently and effectively.
The Office of the Attorney General has the unique position of enforcing court-ordered child support. Each child and each family is priceless and we have a moral responsibility to ensure that child support is properly collected on behalf of those families that are in circumstances where child support is necessary.
The child support division of the Office of the Attorney General is the largest division of the entire office with over 60 percent of the budget and personnel dedicated to the child support enforcement. I want to continue General Abbott’s work on collecting court ordered child support payments, which exceeded $3.6 billion in 2012, so that those families that are affected can maintain their self-sufficiency and minimize welfare payments.
The work of the child support division fulfills a social responsibility with respect, sensitivity, and protecting personal privacy
Attorney General Greg Abbott has been a forceful advocate of open meetings and open records laws, and I would continue that advocacy if elected. I have filed and helped pass transparency legislation.
As a matter of course, the Office of the Attorney General is required to provide resources to local governments in how to operate under the open meetings and open records laws passed by the Legislature. The information provided must be factual and based on the laws so there will be little difference in these trainings and instruction.
The Office of the Attorney General is also required to provide opinions on open records based on the requests and evidence that the office is asked to review. Each of these cases will be handled individually based on the laws the legislature has passed to govern open records.
To fully analyze this matter requires access to data to which candidates for the office to not have access to, as this is highly confidential and proprietary. However, as Attorney General, I would evaluate these cases using the same guiding principles I applied in the Legislature: federalism, limited government, state sovereignty and free markets. The Office of the Attorney General evaluated the case based on the merits of the case then made a decision to make a settlement with the airlines based on their evaluation.
The United States of America is an exceptional country, the first in the world founded on an idea – that of individual liberty. We fought a revolution to win independence from England to form a republic in which the people directly elect their representatives. “We the People” established the Constitution of the United States to prohibit the government from seizing our liberties and our God-given rights. In addition, it was the states that created the federal government, not the converse, and the Founders clearly intended the powers of the federal government to be few and were specifically enumerated in the Constitution. As an example, the first amendment is emphatic that Congress shall make no law in regards to our rights to press, religion and association.
Over the course of decades, starting with the advent of the progressive movement in America and accelerating in this last decade, the U.S. Constitution has been under assault from those seeking to centralize power, expand government, and disregard the protections that the Constitution seeks to protect; this document empowers citizens and limits the government’s power and authority.
Texas has been on the front lines of this battle as the “Texas Model” seeks to limit government, expand economic opportunity, protect the sanctity of life and honor traditional family values. The success of Texas is a direct threat to those who seek to shift the balance of power from the individual and states to the federal government. The liberals in Washington have placed a bull’s-eye on our state. We need another Attorney General that will stand up for the U.S. Constitution and the individual liberties it protects, and that is why I am running for Attorney General.
The Constitution must be interpreted in the manner in which our Founding Fathers intended and not based on the whims of individuals in power. As Attorney General, not only do I pledge to defend the Constitution which I am sworn to protect, but I also promise to have the courage to advance the principles it stands for.