Incumbent Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) secured his place for Texas House District 70 representative after winning 62% of the vote for the November 2020 election.
Sanford ran against challenger Angie Bado (D-McKinney), who won 38% of the votes. The incumbent will now return to the Texas State Legislature for its upcoming 87th session, which convenes Jan. 12.
Sanford said he was pleased to see the election results, especially amidst talk that Collin County was “turning blue.”
“So I think the expectation was probably to slip several points, and instead we were able to just marginally increase it,” Sanford said. “So we were pretty happy, with many more voters than we had in previous election cycles.”
With the legislative session approaching, Sanford said the first order of business will probably be to figure out how to get the session going in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We've got to figure out a way to safely and responsibly do the work that people expect us to do (and to) maintain that productivity that we've always had safely and responsibly while allowing citizens to interact in the process, as is the custom in Texas.”
With a budget to settle in the midst of a global pandemic, Sanford said the process will be extremely challenging.
“Every area that receives some state funding is going to be nervous, and rightly so,” he said. “And we'll lean on all of our state agencies to become super efficient, even more so.”
However, he said he is sure schools will be prioritized.
“We want to try to keep the funding levels for our schools that we passed in the historic reform bill last session,” he said. “So a lot of big items to tackle, but then there are many small things of course that will make a difference as well.”
As Sanford looks ahead to the upcoming session, he has a personal point of priority. A bill he authored during the previous legislative session wasn’t completed, he said, and he’s looking to give it another go.
The bill, HB 2969, is captioned as “relating to prohibited adverse employment action against a first responder based on mental illness.”
“We don't have good protections for our first responders who have identified a need within themselves for mental health help,” Sanford said. “The culture just doesn't support that, nor does the law.”
He uses the example of post traumatic stress disorder. Multiple veterans are first responders, he said, and first responders are likely to experience trauma.
“So we want to put in a statue, some protections for them,” he said. “That's going to be an important priority for my office.”
After introducing the bill during the previous legislative session, Sanford is looking to take what he learned last time into account.
“There's so many technicalities that you just can't anticipate until you go through that hearing process and you hear from the small rural police departments and the large urban fire departments,” he said. “So we will use that extra time to incorporate all those things and do another go at it this session.”