Phil Stephenson, Republican, will square off against Joey Cardenas III, Democrat, and Michael L. Miller, Libertarian, for the Texas House of Representatives District 85 seat in the November election.

House District 85 includes Jackson, Wharton and southern Fort Bend counties.

Phil Stephenson, of Rosenberg, was first elected state representative of House District 85 in 2012, according to his website. Stephenson is a practicing certified public accountant who has had his own firm since 1976. Stephenson’s primary concerns are property taxes and teacher retirement.

If reelected, he intends to introduce bills to decrease property taxes paid by businesses and homeowners, make Appraisal Review Boards county elected officials and shore up unfunded liabilities in public retirement, particularly teacher retirement. He also intends to introduce bills to help property owners and property values in rural counties.

Stephenson had a legislative victory in the 86th Legislature with House Bill 191, which establishes a statewide collection program for dangerous agricultural chemicals.

Joey Cardenas III, of Louise, has been a public school educator for more than 25 years, according to his website. For Cardenas, the main issues are education, tax relief, rural development and agricultural innovation.

Cardenas does not believe in raising taxes to fund the needs of school districts, and he does not believe in “high-stakes testing,” which he calls a “money-making business.”

As for taxes, he said the state keeps more than half and little comes back to the community, which he would like to change. He also wants members of Appraisal Review Boards to be elected rather than appointed. He wants to improve the condition of farm-to-market roads for farmers and eliminate medical deserts in rural areas, among other initiatives.

He also wants to promote healthier green farming and alternative farming methods, such as indoor and vertical farming.

Michael Miller, of Richmond, works for Amazon, according to his website. His priorities are lowering property taxes, agriculture, gun rights, civil liberties, legalizing marijuana and education.

Miller wants to support farm bill program provisions, crop insurance and risk management strategies to increase aid at the local level.

He believes the means to defend oneself is an inherent human right that should not be reinterpreted by any governing authority.

He is against incarceration of those who commit victimless crimes, and he wants to end marijuana prohibition. He also believes school taxes should not be reliant on personal property taxes.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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