Laura Haines of Flower Mound will be on the Democratic ballot for District 63 of the Texas House of Representatives after deciding to run against incumbent Tan Parker.
A former self-proclaimed conservative Republican, Haines said her decision to run stemmed from watching the direction her party was going in and coming to the realization her views lined up more with the Democratic party.
She began looking at the Democratic ticket and who was on the ballot.
“A lot of my fellow Democrat friends, and me included, were desperate for someone to run against the current representative in this district,” Haines said.
With nobody stepping up and the deadline fast approaching, Haines made the decision to run.
Despite her decision coming around last Thanksgiving, she called the lead-up to it a culmination of events. After the 2016 election, she said she began watching her state legislature and paying attention to what they were doing.
“[I watched] their deliberate pursuit and efforts to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people,” Haines said.
She defined this discrimination with Senate Bill 3, or the “bathroom bill,” which would make people use the bathroom of their assigned gender at birth in public facilities, and House Bill 3859, which gave adoption agencies more power to turn away prospective parents that may not align with their religious beliefs.
With the legislation passed and introduced last year, she said it was evident the far right had made its way into the Texas Legislature.
“I looked around the party at the candidates nationally and I realized very quickly that they did not represent me,” Haines said. “And I knew I needed to make a decision.”
It was at that point she realized she needed to begin with a grassroots movement.
“It is a sort of new phenomenon for me to be this involved civically,” Haines said.
Prior to her involvement with politics, Haines said she has spent the last couple of decades helping her husband with his business and raising her children. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences with a focus in psychology, behavioral analysis and social work.
She has also run a blog for nearly three years, which she said along with social media she uses to try and bring attention to issues and encourage people to get involved.
Some issues Haines said she is passionate about besides LGBTQ equality is the expansion of Medicare, fully funding education, equality, sexual harassment and abuse, as well as women’s health.
“I have passion,” Haines said. “I have an earnest desire to do right and a willingness to fight for what’s right.”
She voted for Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary and voted for Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Before 2016 though, Haines said she was a straight-ticket Republican, having voted for several Republicans, including incumbent Parker.
“I thought if I was evolving in my thinking and in my positions that my party might be evolving with me,” Haines said. “I was surprised to learn that no they weren’t. They moved far right.”
She said she feels part of this running is an atonement for her past votes.
“Right now I’m seeing some regressive stuff going on and I don’t like that direction,” Haines said.
In regards to how she would conduct herself if elected, Haines said she is the type of person who will need to hear all sides before a decision can be made.
“I’m going to have to look at all of it,” Haines said. “I’m going to have to listen to everybody, do my research and then come up with my position. I’m going to do my due diligence, no matter how it looks.”
She said she reserves the right to change her mind, adding if there is a reasonable and compelling argument, or strategy involved that will bring betterment for everyone, she will be willing to make that call.
In regards to voting for Parker at one point in time, Haines said he has disappointed her, specifically with his votes against the LGBTQ community.
“He voted right in line with all the legislation that was aimed at discriminating the LGBTQ community,” Haines said. “It was extremely frustrating and disappointing. They deserve better.
She said the people have to unite against the party that wants to pull us backwards. She said she feels the Democratic party has become more progressive and calling herself a moderate progressive.
“We’ve hovered back for too long and let other people take the lead,” Haines said. “And they’ve led in an extreme direction that is pulling us apart. I think it’s time for us moderate, reasonable voices to stand up and take that microphone, spotlight, pen, podium and start doing better.”
Haines will be facing off against Richard Wolf in the primaries. The winner will face Parker in the general election in November.
For more information about her campaign or read her blog, visit her website at laurahainesfortexas.com/