When the Legislature convenes in January, more than three-dozen new members will take their seats in the Texas House.
Almost all the newcomers are Republicans — and many of them perhaps as surprised to be there as you’ll be to see them.
Here’s a freshman facebook to help you keep them straight:
GEORGE LAVENDER, HD-1
Lavender, a small-businessman from Bowie County who ousted Stephen Frost, D-New Boston, grew up on the Arkansas side of Texarkana and holds a degree in management from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. A partner in Elco Distributing, a Texarkana electronics distribution company, he only became active in local Republican politics in recent years. He describes himself as pro-life, pro-gun and in favor of fiscal responsibility in government.
ERWIN CAIN, HD-3
The former chairman of the Hopkins County Republican Party and an avowed conservative, Erwin knocked off the perpetually vulnerable incumbent Mark Homer, D-Paris. The attorney and real estate company owner, who graduated from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) and holds a law degree from the University of Arkansas, prides himself on fighting "frivolous" lawsuits.
LANCE GOODEN, HD-4
Gooden, an insurance and risk-management consultant from Terrell, toppled his former boss, six-term incumbent Betty Brown, R-Athens, in the Republican primary and faced no Democratic challenger in the general election. He attended Terrell High, where his father was the head football coach, and earned degrees in finance and government from the University of Texas.
DAVID SIMPSON, HD-7
Simpson, who grew up in Highland Park but served as mayor of his ancestors' tiny town of Avinger during the 1990s, cruised to easy victory after beating an incumbent with an independent streak, Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, in the GOP primary. The president of a timber company, Simpson rode the Tea Party wave to the capitol: He is a devout Christian who has campaigned for 10th Amendment rights and against illegal immigration.
JAMES WHITE, HD-12
White, a Woodville Republican who defeated seven-term incumbent Jim McReynolds, D-Lufkin, attended Prairie View A&M before spending six years in the army. He teaches, coaches basketball and football, keeps a modest cattle ranch and is finishing doctoral studies in political science at the University of Houston.
CHARLES SCHWERTNER, HD-20
Elected without a runoff in a four-way Republican primary, Schwertner is a longtime orthopedic surgeon in Georgetown. The UT grad, who boasted of his strong agricultural roots during the campaign, says he wants to "continue the outstanding service" of outgoing state Rep. Dan Gattis, D-Georgetown.
RON REYNOLDS, HD-27
In a district considered a lost cause by most Republicans before the race even began, Democrat Ron Reynolds easily swept the Fort Bend County seat formerly held by Dora Olivo, D-Missouri City. An attorney with the firm Brown, Brown & Reynolds, he attended Texas Southern University and got his law degree at the Texas Tech.
RAUL TORRES, HD-33
Torres, an accountant and financial consultant and former auditor for the state, upset incumbent Solomon Ortiz Jr., D-Corpus Christi. Torres, who has five kids, went back to college at 35 and is the first in his family to graduate. He earned his degree from Corpus Christi State University, now Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
CONNIE SCOTT, HD-34
Scott, a longtime player in local party politics, beat incumbent Abel Herrero, D-Corpus Christi. The former director of the Bay Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, she pushes for stronger penalties for gang violence.
JOSE ALISEDA, HD-35
Beeville native Jose Aliseda, a former county judge, toppled incumbent Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles. Aliseda earned his law degree from the UT and was appointed to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles by Gov. Rick Perry.
SERGIO MUÑOZ JR., HD-36
The South Texas criminal and civil law attorney and Palmview municipal judge won the Democratic primary and had no opponent in the general election. But he’s got family experience: His father — who shares the same name — used to hold the seat, which was recently vacated by Ismael "Kino" Flores, D-Mission. Muñoz, who attended UT, earned a law degree at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School.
J.M. LOZANO, HD-43
J.M. Lozano, a Kingsville businessman, defeated incumbent Tara Rios Ybarra, D-South Padre, in the Democratic primary and Libertarian Richard Shuey by a wide margin in the general election. He’ll be a freshman this session but not a fresh face on the Capitol grounds: Lozano interned for former State Sen. Carlos Truan while studying government at UT. He has also worked for U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Edinburg.
JASON ISAAC, HD-45Isaac, a Republican transportation consultant, defeated Hays County Democrat Patrick Rose in the general election. The 1996 graduate of Stephen F. Austin University founded his college lacrosse team and “worked, borrowed and utilized grants” to put himself through school, which he says makes him an advocate for new funding methods for students who want to go to college.
PAUL WORKMAN, HD-47
A Texas A&M alum, Workman logged a general election win over twice-elected incumbent Valinda Bolton, D-Austin. Workman founded his own commercial construction company in 1971, served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10 years as an engineering officer and is currently the national director of the Associated General Contractors of America. He sits on the board of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas.
LARRY GONZALES, HD-52
A former aide to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and the owner of a direct mail firm, Gonzales bested freshman Diana Maldonado, D-Round Rock, on Election Day. A native of Alvin and a father of three, he was backed by the newly formed Hispanic Republicans of Texas and prolific donor Bob Perry. Gonzales makes the case for fiscal conservatism and, more generally, a return to Williamson County's conservative roots.
Beck, who received considerable financial support from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, unseated Democratic lion Jim Dunnam, D-Waco — and she’s already talking about a voter ID bill, fighting federal health care reform and creating job growth in the Waco area. Beck has had what some would call a tragic life: One of her sons died in an auto accident, another died in a boating accident and her husband died of cancer. She formerly worked for the Post Oak Resource Conservation and Development division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
VAN TAYLOR, HD-66
By the time he starts his first full term as a state representative, Taylor will be an old hand relative to many of his peers. Unopposed on Tuesday, the Plano Republican has been serving as a replacement for veteran member Brian McCall in April. The Harvard-educated businessman and former Marine officer has a passion for military matters and fiscal conservatism.
LANHAM LYNE, HD-69
Lyne, who spent the last four and a half years serving as mayor of Wichita Falls, steps into a seat occupied by retiring Democrat David Farabee. A graduate of Midwestern State University, he has logged decades in the oil and gas industry. Currently he serves as president of Lyne Energy Partners.
After toppling Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, in a contentious primary, Gonzalez was unchallenged in her general election bid. She’ll be the only female face among the new Democrats in January. Gonzalez received her bachelor’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University and her law degree from St. Mary’s University. She is an assistant county attorney in El Paso.
The third time was the charm for Margo, who twice ran unsuccessfully for this El Paso seat defeating freshman Democrat Joe Moody on Tuesday. Margo, who grew up in Midland, Dallas and Alabama, is chairman and chief executive of the insurance agency John D. Williams, which he joined in 1977. He holds an undergraduate degree in history and economics from Vanderbilt University, which awarded him a football scholarship.
CHARLES PERRY, HD-83
Perry, a Tea Party supporter who owns an accounting firm and is a land developer, faced no Democratic opposition after knocking off incumbent Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock, in a spring Republican primary runoff. He grew up in Sweetwater and received an accounting degree from Texas Tech University.
JOHN FRULLO, HD-84
Frullo replaces Carl Isett, R-Lubbock, who chose not to seek re-election. He defeated Mark Griffin, a former Texas Tech regent, in an April GOP runoff and subsequently claimed the seat after defeating Democrat Carol Morgan on Nov. 2. A member of the of Lubbock Chamber of Commerce board of directors and the former chairman of the MidAmerica region of the Printing and Imaging Association, Fullow earned a degree in accounting from the University of Wyoming in 1984.
JIM LANDTROOP, HD-85
Landtroop, a Tea Party-approved Republican and State Farm insurance agent, beat incumbent Joe Helflin, D-Crosbyton. The A&M graduate and active church member from Plainview is pro-life and counts stopping "any attempts at state control of water rights" as a priority for the session.
WALTER “FOUR” PRICE, HD-87
Price, a Republican, claimed the open seat left by David Swinford, R-Dumas. He describes himself as a pro-life, pro-business, pro-private property and pro-gun rights candidate. The Amarillo native graduated from UT in 1990 and attended St. Mary's Law School in San Antonio.
BARBARA NASH, HD-93
A Republican real estate investor who grew up in Fort Worth and has lived in Arlington for 40 years, Nash narrowly defeated Democratic incumbent Paula Pierson. The former city council, school board and PTA member who attended Texas Wesleyan University lists education, crime, and cutting taxes as her main priorities.
BILL ZEDLER, HD-96
Zedler, a 30-year Arlington resident, succeeded in reclaiming his seat from incumbent Chris Turner, D-Arlington, in a heated rematch of their 2008 race. A self-proclaimed “conservative defender of limited government, limited taxation, and free enterprise” who was first elected in 2003, Zedler received his master's degree in business administration from Sam Houston State University in 1967. The former hospital personnel officer during the Vietnam War is retired from the health care industry.
ERIC JOHNSON, HD-100
One of the few Democrats joining the Lege this session, Johnson, a Dallas attorney, defeated embattled and indicted incumbent Terri Hodge in the Democratic primary and was unopposed in the general election. A neighborhood boy who went to college at Harvard, then got graduate degrees at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton, Johnson will set his sights on education legislation.
CINDY BURKETT, HD-101
Republican Burkett, co-owner of a company that runs five Subway sandwich shops, defeated freshman Rep. Robert Miklos in the Mesquite district. The UT-Arlington graduate and former assistant to state Sen. Bob Deuell thinks welfare has gotten out of control and that the U.S. is becoming “way too European."
STEFANI CARTER, HD-102
RODNEY ANDERSON, HD-106
Grand Prairie native Anderson, who narrowly defeated Democratic incumbent Kirk England, built his platform on promising to cut spending, balance the budget and revive small businesses. Anderson graduated from UT-Arlington with a real estate degree and is currently the vice president of Commerce Title Company.
KENNETH SHEETS, HD-107
In a race between two Iraq War veterans, Mansfield native Sheets, a Republican who serves as a captain in the Marine Corps Reserves, defeated Democratic incumbent Allen Vaught. A graduate of UT-Arlington with an honors degree in political science, he wants to address the state’s growing student dropout rate and strengthen Texas’ economy by lessening the burden on small businesses.
JOHN GARZA, HD-117
In a rematch of their 2008 race, Republican Garza eked it out over incumbent Democrat David Leibowitz. An architect and founder of a Rio Grande Valley housing company, Garza earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Denver in 1977.
LYLE LARSON, HD-122
Larson, a former Bexar County Commissioner, came up short in his attempt to unseat U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, in 2008, but he handily defeated Democrat Masarrat Ali on Tuesday to succeed Frank Corte Jr., R-San Antonio. Larson is a small-business man who received his degree in business administration from Texas A&M University in 1981.
DAN HUBERTY, HD-127
Huberty replaces veteran Republican Joe Crabb, R-Kingwood, who decided not to seek re-election in 2009. A trustee of the Humble Independent School District who served as its board president during the 2009-10 school year, Huberty defeated Democrat Joe Montemayor on Nov. 2. He is the vice president of business development for Clean Energy, a natural gas provider. He received his MBA from the University of Phoenix and an undergraduate degree from Cleveland State University.
JIM MURPHY, HD-133
If you’re sensing some déjà vu, it’s because Murphy has held this Harris County seat before. He won it in 2006, only to lose it to freshman Democrat Kristi Thibaut, D-Houston, in 2008. A real estate executive and UT graduate, Murphy will emphasize job creation and border security, which he says is a “federal obligation … but can be addressed at the state level.”
SARAH DAVIS, HD-134
The Republican defense lawyer swept out two-termer Ellen Cohen, D-Houston. Raised in Sugar Land, Davis went to Baylor for college and got her law degree from the University of Houston. She says she’ll work to implement voter ID to “protect, and in some cases restore, voter integrity.”
BORIS MILES, HD-146
Miles returns to the House after defeating Democrat Al Edwards, D-Houston, in the March primary. He lost to Edwards in 2008 after he allegedly brandished a weapon and kissed another man’s wife at a Christmas party. Miles is the owner of Borris L. Miles Insurance. He holds a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice and criminal science from Sam Houston State University.
Morgan Smith, Kate Galbraith, Elise Hu, Julian Aguilar, Reeve Hamilton, Becca Aaronson, Tristan Hallman and Ryan Murphy contributed to this story.
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