Senator Van Taylor (R-TX) recently announced he’s running for U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson’s seat, after the congressman announced his retirement in January. Though Johnson “unquestionably leaves huge, huge shoes to fill,” Taylor hopes to serve the 3rd district in Washington D.C. and bring a conservative voice to the federal government.
“I’m very excited to run for Congress, and I’ve already gotten a ton of support, a ton of positive responses from people across the district. I’m running to make a better America for our children,” he said.
If elected, Taylor hopes to reign in the federal government and return power to the people. “We’re losing our freedom to a government that’s gotten too big and too powerful,” he said. On the state level, he said he’s helped slow the rate of government, and “we need to do that in Washington D.C.”
Taylor was elected to the House in 2010 and has since served in both the House and the Senate. He’s consistently been ranked “one of the most conservative members of the Texas Legislature,” a badge he wears with pride. In his years as a representative and senator, he said he’s most proud of a bill he authored that allowed military men and women to vote overseas, which increased participation by 150 percent, he said. He’s also called for transparency by requiring any bills that propose tax increases to say so in the first line of the bill, and he’s been an advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking.
“I’ve worked on a variety of issues and have been successful with that,” he said.
If elected to Congress, he said “I’m going to work diligently to listen, and at the end of the day, I want to go to where the problem is. The growth of state government is in check. The federal government, by comparison, is out of control. So, it’s important to send people there that understand that and have success in reining in the growth of government.”
Taylor announced his campaign at the close of the state special session, which yielded mixed reviews. During each legislative session, the goal is always “to get things done,” he said, but representatives don’t always tick off every goal on their to-do list. Taylor’s no different. In pursuing a seat in Congress, he’s leaving behind unresolved issues in rising property tax rates and a broken, encumbered school finance system in the state.
During his time on the select committee for Property Tax Relief, he mentioned hearing hours of testimony from retired teachers and residents on fixed incomes being “taxed out of their homes,” due to inflated property tax rates year after year. Statewide, he said local and city tax rates continue to increase, while school rates stay steady. From a statewide lens, Taylor said city taxes are up 70 percent, county taxes are up over 80 percent, “and that’s unsustainable. Something has to give.”
However, in Plano, it’s the opposite.
The Plano City Council is proposing a 0.46 cent tax rate, a 1-cent decrease from last year. Meanwhile, Plano ISD is set to increase its state recapture payment to $155 million.
PISD school board president Missy Bender has openly advocated for a new school finance system but has seen little action.
“The school funding formula is so weird. It so strange. And it wasn’t designed that way...but it is a broken system,” Taylor admitted. “It’s very, very thick, very long with lots and lots of patches on it. And the patches create unpredictability...and they create angst.”
Before the end of the special session, a school finance commission was created to better understand the system, simplify it and hopefully improve it for the next session.
The next senator for the area must address many challenges facing residents today, so Taylor offers these words of advice: “listen to the people.”
The campaign for Johnson’s seat will be a long one, but win or lose, Taylor pledges to always fight for what’s right.
“I’ve always fought for freedom and for the people, and that’s never going to change. I’m always going to stand up for what’s right,” he said.