City Councilman Sal Espino has heard a lot of frustration from constituents about what state lawmakers did not accomplish in the recently completed legislative session.
Now, he’s trying to see what he can do about it and is considering whether to challenge state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, for the District 90 state House seat in next year’s Democratic Party primary.
“There’s a lot of frustration about what is happening in Austin,” said Espino, who has served on the City Council since 2005. “There are a lot of issues [about] cities and local governments that are not being addressed.
“Fort Worth is the largest city in Texas without a Hispanic representing a House seat,” he said. “I don’t think [Burnam] has been able to get much meaningful legislation passed, although I admire his battle against the prior speaker.”
Burnam, who was elected to District 90 in 1996 on his third try, said he believes that Espino should stay where he is, especially because he was re-elected this year to another two-year term on the Fort Worth City Council.
“Sal has no experience in this arena,” Burnam said. “There is a role for people like Sal, but more importantly, there is a role for people like me . . . to stand up against [former House Speaker Tom] Craddick, to stand up over and over again. It takes people with experience and leadership to make a difference.”
I like Rep. Burnam, and as I said before I think he needs to be judged on a different set of criteria than some other Reps, as he plays a different role. I can understand the frustration his constituents may have about a lack of action in the Lege, but let’s face it: This was the first session since 2001 that was reasonably conducive to Democratic interests, though that was only to the point where the Republican insistence on voter ID derailed everything in its path. In short, there’s only so much that could have been done. Whether Rep. Burnam’s constituents agree with that, or see his role as I do, that’s the question.