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Education key issue to House District 30 opponents

By ALLISON MILES
Oct. 16, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.
Updated Oct. 18, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.


Alex Hernandez Jr.

• Political party: Democrat

• Age: 40

• Job: Owner and attorney with Alex R. Hernandez Jr. Attorney at Law

• Education: Calhoun High School; Victoria College; University of Texas at Austin; University of Houston Law Center, Mexico City, Mexico; St. Mary's University School of Law, San Antonio

• Family: Wife, Roxanna Hernandez, and three children, Sofia, Jordan and Avery Hernandez

Geanie Morrison

• Political party: Republican

• Age: 62

• Job: District 30 state representative

• Education: Victoria High School; Victoria College

• Family: Husband Jack, son Matt, daughter and son-in-law Lauri and Chris Perry, and two grandchildren, Cole and Ella Perry

Education is at the forefront of the race for state representative District 30.

Both candidates, Alex Hernandez Jr. and Rep. Geanie Morrison, said they hope to make a difference in the classroom.

District 30 includes DeWitt, Jackson, Lavaca, Refugio and Victoria counties.

Texas is where it needs to be from a business standpoint, said Hernandez, a Port Lavaca native and small-business owner. The state could, however, improve in both public and higher education.

Hernandez said he hoped to see teachers undergo more thorough training and also receive the benefits they once had.

"Ten thousand people were fired or laid off last year because of budget cuts," he said. "Teachers need to be put back to where they were before."

Smaller class sizes should also join the mix, he said, explaining that overcrowding is detrimental to all involved. Students don't get the one-on-one focus they need, he said, and teachers can't teach everyone when classes are too large.

Morrison said she hoped to continue leading the fight for public education funding, and to help public schools better suit students' needs. That includes offering programs to aid students looking to pursue both higher education and technical professions.

Redistricting means new school districts join the ranks of District 30, while others moved out, she said. And, while each district has its own issues and concerns, the goal is to work with everyone.

"One issue for me is, with redistricting, the rural population has shrunk," she said, noting much of the population gravitated toward larger metropolitan areas. "It's very important that we have rural members who understand what's going on in their districts."

Education isn't the only issue on candidates' plates, however.

Hernandez said he hoped to take a look at the state's criminal and civil justice issues, particularly relating to the juvenile justice and jail systems. He said he also hoped to incorporate bullying, a growing issue, into a pro-education bill.

He said his educational background, combined with his experience working with the public through his law firm, provides him the qualifications to get the job done.

"I have a compassion for people," he said. "I want the ability to represent the people in a public service way."

Morrison said she hoped to focus on keeping taxes low to bring business to the region. Protecting the area's private property and water rights, as well as transportation and public safety issues, are also important.

Serving the district for the past seven legislative sessions, she said, afforded her the experience needed to move forward.

"I know how to get things accomplished, and I think my record shows that," she said, noting half of the Texas House will be composed of first- or second-year members. "I think having experience and seniority will be a great asset going into this legislative session."

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