Candidates spar over Texas HD114 seat

The full debate for House District 114 can be viewed at:

Republican candidate Lisa Luby Ryan and Democratic challenger John Turner clashed during a candidate forum for the Texas House District 114 seat at the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Oct.5. The event was live-streamed at

Luby, a small business owner, defeated incumbent Jason Villalba in the Republican primary. Turner, an attorney with a Dallas law firm, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary election. The two candidates sparred over the issues of health care, transportation, public education and the quality of water.

The opening topic was the issue public education funding and whether it was adequate for the State of Texas. Ryan opened by saying that the level of funding was not adequate, that the schools need more money and that money needs to go to the classroom.

Lisa Luby Ryan (R), left, moderator Ron Chapman and John Turner (D) during Oct. 5 debate.

Lisa Luby Ryan (R), left, moderator Ron Chapman and John Turner (D) during Oct. 5 debate.

“It [money] needs to go to teacher pay and it needs to go to make our classrooms safer,” said Ryan. “We need more money but through legislation. That’s what our state constitution says and that’s how I think we go about.”

On the other side of the aisle, Turner believes that the state needs more funding for public schools and adds that it is a critical time for public education in Texas.

“Texas is far down in the rankings among the states in our funding for public education, but even more significantly were even below the levels we have been in the past even a decade ago if you look at it correctly,” said Turner. “I think if you were to look at it properly, you need to look at it at a per student funding basis and on [an] inflation-adjusted basis.”

The forum switched to the issue of transportation and how it affects the community that commutes through Interstate 635 East. Ryan believes that the transportation budget isn’t adequate and the issue over I-635 was a big topic during the primary season.

“We’ve not raised the gas tax since the early 1990’s and we need to look at that. We need to look at the vehicle registration stickers, how we take those dollars and direct them to transportation and not be redirected,” said Ryan. “As we are growing abundantly in Texas, tens of thousands are coming to Texas every year, we need to provide for the roads and it’s a core government function is transportation and infrastructure.”

Turner also agrees that that the state needs more funding for transportation projects especially within Dallas.

“The most important freeway project that has now finally been greenlighted in this district area is the expansion of 635 LBJ East freeway. The North part of LBJ has already been expanded, however that east side has not yet and frankly it was held up for a very long time by some state officials who had an absolute opposition to the use of managed lanes on that project,” said Turner. “I don’t believe tolls should be the centerpiece of our future transportation infrastructure for Dallas and for Texas, however the money has to come from somewhere in order to make these projects work. We need to do all we need to do to fulfill the growing population of Dallas.”

Lisa Luby Ryan believes that the state needs to fulfill the needs of better water quality. “We need more water. We need to invest more money in it and we need to go get more money for it, and it’s a core function of government that we’ve failed,” said Ryan. “We take it for granted to have clean water, it’s a must to have it.”

“Clearly water is a critical issue for our state as we look ahead in our future with our population growth and projected climate change affects in the future,” said Turner. “I think our state does do a number of things pretty well, and I could say in the area of water I think we have done a pretty good job so far as a state. We have something called a state water plan which is a process that involves regional water planning boards and entities.”

Turner also says the state should do more in testing for lead in the water in our public schools and within the state. Legislation for testing was proposed in the last Texas legislative session.