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Water big issue in state House of Representative District 85

By JR Ortega
April 10, 2012 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated April 9, 2012 at 11:10 p.m.

Phil Stephenson

DISTRICT 85

State Representative District 85 includes the following counties: Jackson, Wharton and southeastern part of Fort Bend.

Phil Stephenson

Age: 67City and county: Wharton, Wharton CountyOccupation: Certified public accountant at PW Stephenson & Co. and vice-chairman of Wharton County Junior CollegeContact information: 979-532-5964, philfortexas.com

Lee Duggan

Age: 58City and county: Sugar Land, Fort Bend CountyOccupation: President of Houston Fence Co., Inc. and co-founded American Wall SystemsContact information: 281-924-6638, leeduggan.org

Editor's note: The Advocate is profiling candidates in the May 29 primary election. This profile features candidates for the Republican Party nomination for state House of Representatives District 85. The winner will not have a Democratic opponent in the November election.

Both Republican candidates vying for the newly created District 85 love Texas and love the water.

Phil Stephenson and Lee Duggan want a chance to be state Representative for District 85, which includes Jackson, Wharton and part of Fort Bend counties.

Both agree that one of District 85's biggest issues is water.

The ongoing drought has left farmers in limbo with the Lower Colorado River Authority, which has taken drastic measures in recent weeks to preserve the water Texas does have.

"My real roots run deep," said Lee Duggan, 58, who owns two construction companies. "My father was a rancher and a rice farmer. I understand their water issues."

Other issues the entire state of Texas faces is budget shortfalls, education, border security and healthcare, Duggan said.

Duggan said he is excited to become part of the solution and has seen support from his Fort Bend, his home county, as well as Wharton and Jackson counties.

Stephenson, a 67-year-old certified public accountant, is aware and ready to attack the same issues Duggan sees.

"We have a tremendous water problem in this state," Stephenson said.

As an accountant, Stephenson deals with about 120 farmers, so he has become well versed in the water issue.

Stephenson also said his accounting background makes him a valuable resource with budgets and he may be able to help with Texas' several billion dollar deficit.

Both candidates feel they have a chance at being the best representative for District 85.

"I'm very excited to be able to help become part of the solution," Duggan said.

Stephenson also feels his roots in the area can give him a strong chance.

"We have to have leadership to get the problems solved," he said.

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