He’s his own man — or is he? Huffines has billed himself as a carbon copy of his twin brother, state Sen. Don Huffines, who represents the adjacent Senate District 16. The two even released this video describing themselves as “two guaranteed conservative votes” and “kind of like getting two for the price of none,” as both have pledged not to accept a dollar of state salary. But on Thursday morning, Phillip Huffines said that his “values are similar to Don’s ... But I’m very independent. I look at things from my perspective, I’ve got a strong personality, and I will be my own person.”
And about the competition ... Asked whether his opponent in the Republican primary — Angela Paxton, a former guidance counselor at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco and the wife of state Attorney General Ken Paxton — is qualified to represent Senate District 8, Huffines hesitated in a long pause that moderator Evan Smith joked was “nine months pregnant.” “The answer’s not that simple,” Huffines finally said.
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Build the wall? Not so fast. Huffines said Thursday that he agrees with President Donald Trump’s plan to “build a wall” on the Texas-Mexico border, but he conceded that, as a practical concern, “there’s places where the wall really can’t be built.” And he waffled a bit — much like Trump himself — on the issue of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which includes 124,000 Texans. “It’s obviously a subject that touches everyone’s heart,” he said. “I think it depends on each individual situation. I don’t know the answer.”
On the issues: Huffines also weighed in on several of the state Legislature's key issues, coming out strongly in favor of school vouchers and the controversial "bathroom bill." Huffines said he would vote to promote private school subsidies for students across Texas and limit bathroom use in public buildings based on the sex listed on a person's birth certificate. "I am all for the privacy act," Huffines said. "We do not want 16-year-old boys in our locker rooms with our 13-year-old girls."
Read related Tribune coverage:
Watch video of our conversation in Austin with Phillip Huffines, Republican candidate for Senate District 8. [Full story]
Phillip Huffines, whose twin brother Don already serves in the Senate, submitted paperwork to begin raising money for a campaign for Senate District 8. [Full story]
Angela Paxton, the wife of Attorney General Ken Paxton, is seeking the seat in Senate District 8 that Van Taylor, R-Plano, is vacating to run for Congress. [Full story]