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There is an old axiom that says all politics are local. Well, that may have been true years ago, but the political landscape has changed dramatically with the birth of the Tea Party.

Take the District 10 race for the Texas Senate. This is just one of numerous senatorial races that will be decided in November, but the contest between long-time community activist Libby Willis and Tea Party candidate Konni Burton has special political implications. A friend of mine who is a long-time observer of local politics described it as a battle for the heart and soul of the Fort Worth political landscape. Wow, big statement.

The fact is, there could not be two people with more widely differing views of grassroots politics than Willis and Burton.

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Willis was the first executive director for the nonprofit Preservation Texas, which restores county courthouses. She is current president of the Fort Worth League of Neighborhood Associations. Additionally, she serves on the Fort Worth school district advisory committee that assists with the management of Amon Carter Riverside High School. Willis has served on the Pipeline Safety Advocates since 2012 and is a member of the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships steering committee for Tarrant County Public Health.

Couple all of that with endorsements from the associations representing firefighters, police officers, and teachers, and Willis seems more than qualified to represent the district. Just last week Willis received an endorsement from the Texas Medical Association. The endorsement and subsequent fund-raiser were spurred on by Burton’s first mailer, in which she promises to protect elderly and disabled persons “from doctors who want to administer life-ending procedures.”

All in all, Willis’ resumé says loud and clear, “I love this city.”

Burton, on the other hand, has worked for Olmstead-Kirk Paper Company and was a bridal consultant. She is a lifelong Lutheran who’s been active in her church, a mother of two, and a former member of the Auxiliary Board of The Gladney Center for Adoption. She is also active in the Tea Party of North Texas.

I have no doubt that Burton likes Fort Worth, but unlike Willis, she chooses not to live there. It seems Colleyville suits her and her family better. My guess is that Burton just feels more comfortable in Colleyville. The average income there is three times the statewide figure — mighty friendly surroundings for a tried and true Tea Partier.

There was a time when a dedicated community activist like Willis would have been a shoo-in against a candidate with nonexistent civic credentials like Burton. However, Willis (thought of as a “centrist” by most local political observers) has a big obstacle to overcome: the combination of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Tea Party, and Cruz’ fanatical father, Rafael.

While neither Cruz is a candidate for the District 10 Senate seat, you would think both were, after listening to Burton. Her adoration for Sen. Cruz knows no bounds. His thoughts are her thoughts; his positions are her positions; his rhetoric is her rhetoric. It kind of reminds me of my sister’s fascination with Elvis when she was a teenager.

Admirably, Burton has been upfront about her relationship with Ted Cruz. He dominates her talks, her ads, and to the extent he or Rafael is available, her campaign appearances.

Burton’s obsession with the senator is indeed a big obstacle for Willis. Cruz’ endorsement of Burton changes the issue in this race from a question of who can best represent the district to one of pure political ideology. Like her idol, Burton loves nothing better than a good sound bite, and she has quickly mastered the art of painting Willis with the “Obama brush.” Oh, and for good measure, she throws in Nancy Pelosi.

Who knows, Burton might make a fine senator. However, one thing is certain: If she does win, it will be the first time in over 100 years that the district would be represented by someone who chooses not to live in Fort Worth, the city that is home to almost half the district’s voters, far more than any other city. But hey, Ted and Rafael will be mighty proud of her.

Fort Worth freelance writer Frank Matthews can be reached at fmatt23@aol.com or at frankspeakblog.com.

13 COMMENTS

      • Well at least Davis has a law degree and isn’t a former wedding planner and stationery sales lady who helped Ted with his campaign in Southlake –being the only credentials that Burton brings to the electorate… I really don’t think that I have ever seen a candidate less qualified to be a state Senator than Ms. Burton.

      • What do you eat Cliff? Whats the matter with you? Even the average, common, household variety Repugs recognize Burton’s gross stupidity. Get a grip, man.

  1. Burton is another embarrassing Texas candidate… does anybody else mourn the descent into cretinism that the Republican Party seems bent on?

    • Evidently Burton really stepped in it with the Texas Medical Association by declaring that she was “going to protect elderly and disabled patients from doctors who want to administer life ending procedures”. So Burton thinks that doctors function to murder elderly and disabled people? Wow. Bat guano crazy doesn’t even cover it. That’s right up there with the “rape kit” goof ball Tea Party blonde legislator from Parker County, and unfortunately this comes from Burton’s ignorance of Advance Directives which are required to be offered to individuals (they are voluntary) by JCAHO accreditation of hospitals. The Joint Commission accredits hospitals world wide and creates standards for improvement in patient care. I guess Burton also thinks that if a client of sound mind goes to a lawyer to make out a will that the lawyer will eliminate the client.

      • I’ve heard the term “low information voter” but this may be the original “low information Texas Senate candidate”–(lol)

  2. I have to admit that Burton is repugnant and all that “Fed Up” and” honest” have stated.
    Ted would have done the Tarrant County voters a big service by just staying out of this one .Willis is unacceptable also, being a quintessential Democrat “lightweight” though IMHO.
    It is time for Fort Worth to get over the idea that you have to live in Fort Worth to love it. The School District and Hospital District (JPS) are enough to make one run for the hills…

  3. I have to admit that Burton is repugnant and all that “Fed Up” and” honest” have stated.
    Ted would have done the Tarrant County voters a big service by just staying out of this one .Willis is unacceptable also, being a quintessential Democrat “lightweight” though IMHO.
    It is time for Fort Worth to get over the idea that you have to live in Fort Worth to love it. The CORRUPT School District and Hospital District (JPS) are enough to make one run for the hills…

    • Reader….your ability to recognize Burton’s stupidity and sense of intitlement is commendable, but clearly you have no other choice. A child can recognize that fact. Good grief, my bird-dog Roxy can recognize that fact. Additionally, Fort Worth’s School Board and Hospital Board both have been composed of tea-sipping, well-connected big-shots since their beginning way, way back in time. I moved here to Cowtown in 1949, the boards been the same from then to now. And one other thing, your opinion isn’t worth much, whats wrong with you? Willis is loved and respected by more Republicans than Democrats, everyone who knows her loves her. She is smart as a whip, comes from a family devoted to serving their community, can run faster, jump higher, shoot straighter, than every Peckerwood in Tarrent County combined. You need to wise up or shut up.

      • The problem with your comment about the school and hospital board is that in 1949 all the “big shots” running things were Democrats and now all the big shots running things are Republicans with a few token others–and it is still a corrupt tax funded mess! I am not going to vote for Burton because the “my way or the highway” Tea Party talks about fiscal responsibility and being for small business etc but then puts up–with a few exceptions- nasty cretins for candidates who have never governed and have no idea of how to govern because, in reality-on the local level- these Teabillies are only interested (obsessed) with a prolonged anti abortion campaign or interference with a family or individual’s end of life decisions. They really have crude ideation about medicine and medical facts take the “legitimate rape” comment of Todd Akin or the “rape kit” gaffe of the Parker County Teapartier legislator. Now “Krazi” Burton wants to “save disabled and elderly people” from those “murdering” doctors. She screams at the doctors when they ask her about Medicaid. Memo to Burton: in this state many of the elderly and disabled can only afford medicaid–so your plan to kick them off of Medicaid will probably kill them–but at least they won’t waste your Colleyville bubble rich entitled people’s tax dollars will they suffer or pass on faster by going to a doctor. Burton is a real “let them eat cake” fool.

  4. By the way–Everyone should watch the most recent debate on channel five and read Bud Kennedy’s column before they vote in District 10. Burton refused to answer the moderator’s questions, rudely interrupted the moderators and Ms. Willis–taking Ms. Willis rebuttal time. At the end she (Burton) waved her hands in the air like a crazy person. (How mature) Is this the best that the Tea Party can do?. Burton did not even understand the issues. When the lost $22 million from Rick Perry’s enterprise fund was discussed –she said nothing about ending corruption. Burton spoke about “less government spending” but never gave specifics.

    • Burton waved her hands like a crazy person simply because she is a rich Tea-Bagging nit-wit, crazy person. Whats new here? They are as plentiful as fire-ants in Texas. One of them is close to becoming Governor of Texas as I write. What does this say about Texas?. Remember G.W.Bush? Remember Dick Cheny and Gonzo? Baggers wear tri-corn hats and side-arms to public rallies. Their feet stink , they are ignorant knuckle-heads. The problem with your comment about the big-shots running things in Texas in 1949 being Democrats and now the big-shots running things being Repugs is that they are the identical, very same, lame-brain Peckerwoods. Every racist Democrat in Texas , every Peckerwood, every single one, left the party and became a Repug when Lyndon Johnson made Negros equals under U.S. law. Broadway Baptist Church recently lost over 80% of it’s membership when its Board of Elders insisted that Gays could get into Heaven. It left the Soutthern Baptist Convention, no choice. Texas Peckerwoods write our nations textbooks. Everything I’ve stated is easy to verify. Nothing new here. When will we become honest, decent Americans, not hammer-headed nit-wits? Well…Bagers??? Startle-Gram heros? When will we ever learn?

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