Vicki Truitt has stated that she didn’t get one negative response after the last session of the State Ledge…..I guess she doesn’t read this blog.
KELLER — Vicki Truitt is betting that she knows her district.
The six-term state representative from Keller is facing three opponents in the Republican primary for District 98, more than nearly every other member of the Legislature running for another term.
All three challengers cite Truitt’s prominent push for a transportation funding bill last year as a key reason they are running.
Truitt said she’s confident that her Northeast Tarrant County district will stand with her.
“I’ve never come home to a more positive reception after a session than I did this time,” Truitt said. “I did not receive one negative comment. It was all ‘Kudos. You’re doing a great job. Thank you for your service. We’re glad you’re there for us.'”
Her opponents, Giovanni Capriglione, Rich DeOtte and Diane Thorpe, counter that voters are furious at Truitt’s efforts to pass a local-option bill that would have authorized local elections to finance millions of dollars in road and rail projects.
“I think for three people to come up and all highlight the fact that she has not been conservative enough is a clear message that Republicans are fed up,” Capriglione said.
A private-equity professional, Capriglione has arguably run the most aggressively against Truitt, mailing a brochure tearing apart her record and posting the information on Vickipedia.me and TruittBlewIt.com.
Along with transportation funding, Capriglione has said he wants to reform school finance and make English the official state language.
“I know that these sound like intractable problems, but I don’t think anything is impossible in a world where there’s a Republican senator from Massachusetts,” Capriglione said at a candidates forum in Hurst.
DeOtte has cited his background as a civil engineer as making him uniquely qualified to address transportation.
“I understand the history surrounding our local transportation problems, and I can start with that issue very productively from the start,” he said. “Mainly, it’s a matter of priorities. We do not need to raise taxes to do that.”
DeOtte also touts his support for a constitutional amendment to limit state budget growth and a measure to make it more difficult for hospitals to cut off care for terminally ill patients.
Thorpe, a systems engineer, said her door-to-door meetings with voters have made it clear that the race is dominated by one issue.
“It’s been overwhelmingly transportation-oriented,” she said. “I guess we all spend a little too much time in our car.”
Thorpe said she doesn’t support letting local residents vote on measures like increasing auto registration fees to fund transportation improvements. She said the funding could be found if the state stopped diverting money from the gasoline tax to other parts of the budget.
Capriglione and DeOtte offered similar solutions to the transportation issue.
Truitt said last year that she supports ending diversions but that doing so would solve only half the road-funding shortfall.
“I don’t think they really understand the problem,” she said of her opponents.
When asked whether she will push for a local-option bill again if re-elected, Truitt declined to answer, noting that legislative committees are studying the issue.
“That’s not something I’m focused on right now,” she said. “There are some good people working on it, and we’ll see what ideas come from the interim studies.”
In recent weeks, Truitt has framed the campaign as being less about her opponents and more about the Austin-based Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. The conservative group wants less spending and less government intrusion in business and industry, and it has a history of pouring money into GOP primaries.
The group has criticized Truitt for her stance on transportation funding but has not endorsed any of her opponents.
“I don’t work for them,” Truitt said. “I work for the people in this district, and I will not let them influence me or intimidate me.”
Of course we couldn’t have a group that wants less spending and intrusion from Government influence the Queen of the Rodeo now, could we?