Texas House District 65 candidates: Ron Simmons, Michelle Beckley

Democrat Michelle Beckley is running against Republican incumbent Ron Simmons.

Incumbent Republican Ron Simmons in Texas House District 65 is running against Democratic candidate Michelle Beckley.

Simmons has served in this position since 2013.  According to his website, he supports pro-life legislation and wants to improve public education while making higher education more affordable. He also wants to promote jobs and a strong economy and stop illegal immigration.

In the 2017 special legislative session, Simmons wrote the two house “bathroom bills” – HB 46 and HB 50, requiring transgender people using public bathrooms according to their gender assigned at birth. Simmons called it a common sense solution.

Simmons filed HB 253 in the special session, which would have established a voucher-like system specifically for disabled students. He also supported HB21, the $1.8 billion school finance bill passed in August 2017.

Simmons said last year he is a common sense conservative businessman applying his expertise in Austin.

“We must preserve Texas as a place where we have proven that a conservative governing philosophy results in jobs, opportunity, and an economy that is the envy of the nation,” he said.

Simmons has received endorsements from the National Rifle Association, Dallas Morning News and Denton County Conservative Coalition. He is the co-founder and chairman of Retirement Advisors of America, an investment services firm based in Addison.

Simmons ran against Democrat Alex Mendoza in both his two re-elections, winning with around 56 percent of the vote in 2016 and about 64 percent in 2014.

Simmons’ opponent is Michelle Beckley, a born and raised native of Carrollton.

After graduating from Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, she earned a degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M. The 48-year-old moved home and is now the second-generation owner and manager of Kookaburra Bird Shop.

Beckley ran for mayor of Carrollton in the May 2017 election, winning 23 percent of the votes, placing her third of the four candidates on the ballot.

Now running her second political campaign, she raised more than $24,000 by the end of September, according to her campaign finance report filed in early October.

“Most of [it] I raised myself with calling, texting or emailing,” Beckley said. “We [didn’t] have a democratic infrastructure so we have had to build it.”

When asked why she was running for this specific position, she said she felt like she is in a good position to do so.  

“I feel like state representative is where I belong,” Beckley said. “My business is stable and established.”

She wants to focus on efforts toward expanding Medicaid. She said she hears from voters how healthcare is a common concern. She also wants to improve the public education system, saying Texas should have more public colleges.

“What’s important to me is that everybody has healthcare and everybody can get an education,” Beckley said.

Beckley has received endorsements from Mom Demands Action, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes and Texas Democratic Women.

Early voting continues until November 2. For polling locations and times visit votedenton.org.