FORT WORTH - Attorney J. Steven “Steve” Bush is requesting that his name be placed on the Democratic Party ballot as a candidate for the Sixth U.S. Congressional District seat held by Republican Joe Barton since 1984.

“The Republican Party has returned to its role as the minority party nationally, a role it filled from the New Deal to the election of Ronald Reagan,” Bush said in his announcement. “In the future, this trend is likely to accelerate, because swing voters and some moderate Republicans are increasingly dissatisfied with the failure to implement health care reform, protect the environment while seeking new sources of energy, and disengage the U.S. from a costly conflict in Iraq that is driving up the deficit.”

Protection of the environment is one of the issues Bush said he will focus his campaign on, noting a “significant local concern.”

“A long-awaited report on air pollution in Ellis County recently confirmed that certain industries centered around Midlothian are releasing arsenic, lead and other noxious substances into the air, but said more study is needed to decide if they produce a risk to public health,” Bush said. “The current congressman has been supportive of those industries, whose PACs have supported his campaigns in the past.”

In his announcement, Bush referenced a Dec. 11 editorial in the Star-Telegram entitled “Pedal to the metal” that didn’t mention any particular individuals but pointed out that Republican Senators opposed a just passed House bill to raise fuel efficiency by 40 percent by 2020 and to encourage the further development of alternative energy resources. “Republicans object to the rollback of certain tax breaks for oil companies and to the goal that electric companies provide 15 percent of their energy from alternative sources,” Bush said. “Joe Barton had voted against the bill in the House, which passed 235 to 181 with 16 Republicans voting in favor. The president has indicated he would veto the bill if it passes both houses of Congress.

“I would have voted for the bill. It is that simple,” Bush said. “The re-election of the incumbent may contribute to obstructionism and even gridlock, but it cannot produce positive results for the people, who are ready for change. The people deserve ‘A Better Deal’ than that.

“If the people elect me, they will have a congressman on their side, working for their interests, not the special interests,” he said.