Several outstanding candidates vying for vacant Texas House seat

By Mary Alys Cherrytexasstate

With State Rep. John Davis of Clear Lake retiring from his House District 129 seat after eight terms in the Texas Legislature, voters will have a variety of candidates from which to choose his replacement.

 Texas House District 129 encompasses the cities of Clear Lake, El Lago, Taylor Lake Village, Nassau Bay, Webster, Seabrook, Shoreacres and parts of Friendswood, Pasadena, Houston, Pearland, League City and La Porte.Six Republicans and one Democrat have filed for the March 4 primary election with no clear favorites.Three are lawyers; all six label themselves as conservatives.To better familiarize our readers with the candidates, we put together some background about each. They are listed in alphabetical order. For additional information, visit  their websites. Then try to make up your mind. Yes, it will be difficult.

bergSHERYL BERG

A speech/language pathologist for the past 33 years, Sheryl, a Republican, owned Bay Area Speech Language Learning Associates for the past 10 years until she affiliated her private practice with the Krist Samaritan Center in 2012. Her years as a small business owner, she says, have given her “first-hand knowledge and experience in speaking to the need for keeping taxes low and removing unnecessary regulations that stifle small business growth.”

She also has been a grassroots Republican activist in the Clear Lake area since moving here in 1990, serving as a precinct chairman, senatorial district chairman, a delegate to the state and national conventions, was a founding member of the Conservative View PAC dedicated to electing the next wave of Republican leaders, and is currently a member of the State Republican Executive Committee.

She has campaigned for candidates as far back as Ronald Reagan and as recently as Ted Cruz. Over the years she also has been active in her church, as well as the local PTA, Project Graduation, Assistance League of the Bay Area and the Lunar Rendezvous Festival. She currently is president of Space Center Rotary

While pursuing has master’s degree at the University of Texas, she met her husband of 33 years, Stuart. They have three grown children – Garrett, Grant and Caroline.

BRISCOE CAIN

Briscoe Cain was born in Webster, grew up in Deer Park and lives in Seabrook with his wife, Bergundi. They have one son, Briscoe, and are expecting another this summer.

As an attorney, Cain, a Republican, has offered countless hours of pro-bono time to help conservative organizations craft legislation that supports the Constitution and conservative values such as freedom of speech, religious liberty, protection of the unborn, and is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. The American Gun Rights organization said “Briscoe Cain is exactly the kind of Second Amendment advocate Texans need in Austin.”

“I am running . . . to be a fresh, current, relevant conservative voice for District 129,” Cain said, “and ensure that our conservative principles, our states’ rights and our ability to create jobs for our area and for Texas are not compromised in the Texas Legislature.“

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown with a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law, Cain focuses primarily on family and religious liberty law. He currently serves as legal counsel for Operation Rescue and as chairman of the Harris County Republican Party’s Conservative Coalitions Committee. Cain has twice been a delegate to the Republican State Convention, has worked as an election judge and on statewide campaigns, and traveled as a volunteer for Gov. Rick Perry in Iowa.

johngayJOHN GAY

John Gay of Clear Lake, also an attorney, is the sole Democrat running for the House District 129 seat in the Legislature and classifies himself as a conservative.

A native of Chicago, Ill., where he attended Aurora University and graduated from DePaul University, he has been practicing law in Texas since 1966 in a wide variety of areas and has been both a city attorney and a prosecutor.  He practices with his wife, Becky Reitz, in the Gay-Reitz law firm.

He is Board Certified in Family Law and has represented thousands of people in District 129 in divorce and custody matters, real estate, personal injury, taxes, corporations and partnerships.  He is a certified mediator who has successfully resolved a number of disputes.

Gay is a conservative Democrat, sharing the values and beliefs of the vast majority of his constituents in House District 129.  He believes that the education of children in Texas is the bedrock of society and the great equalizer of the conditions in the lives of our citizens.  He is committed to preparing our students to succeed in the new global technology so there will be economic opportunity for all Texans.

His goal is “to work during the 84th Texas Legislature to continue to restrain governmental spending, keep taxes low and foster the business friendly environment that has made Texas the national leader in job growth for over a decade.”

MARY HULS

Mary Huls, a longtime Friendswood resident and conservative Republican activist, bills herself as a fiscal and pro-family conservative, who has dedicated the last few years to promoting government accountability and to being a grassroots leader. Huls has served as the chairman of the Clear Lake Tea Party and helped expose the IRS discrimination against tea party groups and spearheaded the CLTP to partner with other pro-freedom groups to sue the IRS.

“Texas faces some substantial challenges from opposing Obamacare, to the need to reform education, to securing our borders, to protecting free enterprise and property rights. We must choose leaders who will fight for our shared conservative values. The citizens in HD 129 know that I will be a passionate voice for life, for liberty, and for limited government. We must ensure our state has a strong and growing economy that provides equal opportunity for all Texans. As HD 129’s representative, I will oppose any roadblocks that hinder a vibrant free market, economic growth, and competition.”

Huls worked for over 25 years as a senior financial analyst for research grants at West Virginia University, at Emory University, and at the University of Texas Medical Center. She currently serves as the treasurer for the First Baptist Church of Seabrook and is a life member of the Clear Lake Area Republicans. She volunteered for the Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum campaigns and also worked for the Romney-Ryan campaign in Ohio. She is married to Dale Huls and is a mother of two and a grandmother of five.

JEFF LARSON

Jeff Larson, also a GOP candidate and a conservative activist, has lived in District 129 for 28 years and worked in Mission Control at NASA for 25 of those years. Since leaving NASA, he formed a small aerospace business with former co-workers.

A graduate of the University of Houston, where he earned a Master of Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Houston, he and his wife, Janette, celebrated their 30th anniversary this year. Their daughter, Jenny, is a University of Houston junior.

Larson, a former precinct chairman, has been active in the Republican Party since the 1980s and  served the Harris County Republican Party as a member of the Vacancy, Candidates, and Judicial Candidates Screening Committees. He is also active in the Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas, serving first as a board member and currently as state chairman. He has served as a delegate to numerous precinct, district, and state conventions, and also the 2012 national convention in Tampa.

He is a past president of the Houston Space Society, helped plan the first Houston Tea Party rally at Jones Plaza, and traveled to several Republican National Committee meetings to advocate on behalf of grass roots voters. He is also a member of the Clear Lake Area Republicans.

chuckCHUCK MARICLE

Chuck Maricle, a business owner and entrepreneur who has lived in Houston’s Sagemont area for 26 years, is also a candidate for the Republican nomination and hopes to take his “common conservative sense and entrepreneurial and leadership knowledge to Austin.”

Born in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1960, he says he is “a supporter of pro-life and self defense issues, in tune with pro-business agendas, anchored with a strong foundation in leadership, team building and outreach to the community who knows how to build consensus and create positive action.”

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Canisius College, completed his doctoral studies with a published dissertation in the Journal of Supercomputing in December, 1999, and has served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve for 34 years while working around the world with McDonnell Douglas, General Motors and a number of technology start-ups.

He holds several laser technology patents, is a National Rifle Association instructor, a Texas concealed handgun instructor, a ham radio operator and a airplane pilot. He and his wife, Xia have two children. He is a member of American Legion Post 490, the South Belt Chamber and American MENSA.

In the Legislature, he plans to focus on values, education, jobs, healthcare, helping veterans, securing our safety and reducing taxes, waste and fraud.

dennispaulDENNIS PAUL

Dennis Paul of Clear Lake, is a lifelong resident of Southeast Harris County who owns a small business and actively works as a Republican grassroots volunteer — serving as a local precinct chairman for 15 years and as a member of the State Republican Executive Committee for seven years.

He has served as a delegate to numerous precinct, senatorial, state and national conventions. Given his commitment, he says it’s no surprise that half of the District 129 precinct chairmen are already supporting him. He and his wife, Eliza, have been married for 26 years and have a daughter, Elizabeth, who just graduated from St. Agnus Academy in Houston.

A graduate of the University of Houston, he has been an engineer for 27 years. His family attends St. Bernadette Catholic Church.

As a conservative, he said he desires less government and more freedom. Whether serving as a student leading College Republicans, assisting in campaigns, or engaging in local Republican clubs, he has led the way. He is an active member and leader among a variety of community organizations including: Knights of Columbus, Space Center Rotary Club, Downtown Pachyderm Club, Clear Lake Area Republicans and multiple professional engineering organizations. He says he is a worker ready to get the job done. As an engineer, he volunteers in disaster areas to insure stable structures. He worked to pass a Good Samaritan law in the Texas Legislature to protect volunteers from frivolous lawsuits.

brentperryBRENT PERRY

Brent Perry, an attorney who lives in Clear Lake with his wife of 24 years, Carole, grew up in Baytown, and graduated from Baylor University in 1986 and from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1989.

He is a past delegate of Republican state conventions, a trustee of the Tom DeLay Legal defense fund since 2000, a recognized advocate for religious liberty, an avid runner and veteran of three marathons who is “for standing up for limited government and a strong Texas.”

He also is the board president and capital campaign co-chairman for the Bridge Over Troubled Waters domestic abuse shelter and is active in University Baptist Church.

“Texas,” he says, “is a special state. Our form of limited government helps enable more opportunities for our families, growth of small businesses, and a better future for our children. The Texas economy has the strong track record to prove this model is a success that we must protect.

Our greatest threats often come from outside our state borders.” Our federal government often initiates them – oppressive federal regulations of small businesses or the failure to protect our borders are examples of the government failing in its responsibilities, he added.

“That is why we must preserve strong, conservative leadership in our Legislature” and protect our conservative Texas heritage so that we may empower future generations with the liberties and freedoms with which we have been so richly blessed.

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