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All I want for Christmas is an independent in the House

Linda Head Shot

Linda Curtis

Please note that this special election has already taken place in early 2015. Linda ran a strong 3rd out of 5 candidates, forcing a runoff between John Cyrier and Brent Golemon. Independent Texans endorsed Golemon, who lost by 2% to Cyrier. We just switched horses and have endorsed John Cyrier in this regular election — with early voting starting on February 15, 2016. Go to the “HD 17” page linked on the menu above for more on this year’s race.

House District 17 Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt (Republican, Lexington) won re-election on November 4th, only to announce 17 days later his intent to resign and become general counsel for the Texas Department of Agriculture. The election was just called with a filing period to close on December 22, three days before Christmas.

The election will be held on January 6th. Wham bam, thank you mam. As usual, these guys are all about transparency and participation. (Excuse our sarcasm.) That is the message from Gov. Perry and Tim Kleinschmidt, to HD 17 voters in Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Lee and Karnes counties.

What did you expect from a guy who sold his family’s water rights and then joined the Legislature? If Forestar Real Estate Group’s lawsuits prevail against the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District and its individual Board members, Kleinschmidt will receive future royalties for the 14.7 billion gallons a year of Simsboro Aquifer water, or his share of millions in “damages.”

His silence in the face of this attack on local control has been deafening.

Kleinschmidt carried water — pardon the pun — for House Speaker Joe Straus (Republican, San Antonio). Again, what did you expect from a guy who hauled in $250,000 in campaign contributions from the Speaker? The Speaker hit pay dirt this October when SAWS (San Antonio Water System, the city water utility) rammed the massive $3.4B Vista Ridge contract on all of central Texas along the 142-mile pipeline route from Burleson to Bexar counties. Unless rural and urban Texans join together across party lines to bust this contract, almost 16 billion gallons per year of mostly Simsboro water will flow from just across the Lee County line from Forestar.

Kleinschmidt’s Democratic counterpart is State Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin). Watson, a “growth real estate machine” leader in Central Texas, somehow wound up representing most of the city of Austin and all of Bastrop County in the 2011 redistricting.

Watson has also been mute on the Lost Pines groundwater wars but exposed his conflict of interest last February. He was at the front of the line of suits at the TCEQ (Texas Commission for Environmental Quality) hearing, crying crocodile tears for his Bastrop County “downstream constituents” as he urged TCEQ to pass LCRA’s emergency request for the draconian cuts in Colorado River flow demanded by Highland Lakes interests.

In November, Watson’s aide stood in for him at a meeting with local officials. When asked about potential legislative efforts on water in the 2015 session, she professed to have no knowledge of any. We are reminded of Kleinschmidt’s similar answer in 2010, just prior to the filing of 30 bills in the 2011 session.

Then there’s Bluebonnet Electric’s CEO, Mark Rose. Rose has been boldly advocating for the Forestar and Vista Ridge deals barely behind the scenes. Rose has been a very active Democrat over the years.

So, who can you trust to keep your water safe? We say, trust the independents who have no conflicts about protecting our water, our property rights and our local control. This legislative session is going to be ALL about the goose that laid the golden egg. That would be Texas groundwater.

No aquifer is safe until citizens join hands across the aisle and across central Texas to throw them all out before the goose is graveyard dead.

Potential candidates are lining up for the HD 17 oh, so special election:

  1. The Republican field reportedly includes Brent Goleman (a Bastrop businessman) and John Cyrier (a former Caldwell County Commissioner).

  2. There are likely two Democrats running. Ty McDonald (who recently ran for Bastrop County Judge) and Shelley Cartier of Cedar Creek, who a few years ago tried to get on the ballot as an independent for Bastrop County Judge and is a friend.

  3. There are rumors that Elgin businessman and Aqua Water Board member, David Glass, is considering running. We hope that if he runs, he runs independent to unite District 17 to defend our water.

Independent Texans has asked the likely candidates to fill out this questionnaire by Monday. It will be very revealingl!

We will hold forums just after New Years – y’all come on out. With such a short amount of time, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you get involved and stay involved.

If we have an independent voter revolt in this special election for House District 17, we can make history. What’s more, the eyes of Texas will be upon us. Texans will begin to reclaim our independence from the party machines, the corruption and the cronyism that has befallen our political system.

Our name is Independent Texans and yes, the name is redundant. We hope to hear from you.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Linda Curtis is a Bastrop County resident who helped found Independent Texans in 2001, a non-partisan Texas state political action committee. Contact Independent Texans at, send an email to or call 512-535-0989.

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