The Daily Light sat down with Ryan Pitts on Friday, Nov. 1 to ask a few questions about his candidacy for Texas House District 10.
Pitts, a fourth generation resident of Ellis County, is the son of Jim Pitts, who served as House Representative for District 10 from 1993 to 2015.
Q: What is your take on the policy on the border and the immigrant situation that we currently have going on?
A: “Protecting our borders is one of those fundamental aspects of government, and our federal government has largely failed Texas in being able to do that. Governor Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Patrick have done a great job this past session passing $800 million dollars towards additional border security. I applaud them for doing that, we need to continue to make sure that we’re being smart and providing effective border control.”
Q: Texas ranks at the bottom in the nation in public education. What is your take on what we need to do to get our kids more educated, and how can we afford to do that?
A: “I think it starts with our teachers. Our teachers are (the) most important part of our schools, and our teachers need to be happy. ... Legislature did a great job this last session with HB3 in giving the pay raises that they were able to give. Next session is going to be crucial: Teacher retirement and teacher insurance will have to be looked at...”
Q: What do you feel is the number one concern of your constituents and what do you plan to do to help that?
A: “I think property taxes are still a big concern. Last session they’re touting they did property tax relief with capping the local tax rates, and that’s great and all, but if your home value continues to rise, that tax rate is not going to move the needle because you’re still going to be paying higher taxes. I believe next session we look at our appraisal districts and kind of ring them in a little bit and what they are doing on house values to really give property tax relief.”
Q: Your dad, Jim Pitts, was a state representative. What do you feel like you can learn from his time in the office?
A: “I learned a lot watching him through his twenty-two years of service, and one of the greatest things that I learned was the way to represent a district. He listened to his constituents, he voted the way that would best suit them, and if ... there was something that maybe didn’t jive with a certain group, he would sit there and listen to them and explain maybe why we should go this way, and he was very open and transparent. In being that way, I believe he was also able to get a lot done for the district. He was largely responsible for the 287 bypass in Midlothian and Ennis. He was a big part of getting TSTC in Red Oak. I think there’s a lot of good things you can do as a state representative and that’s why I’m running for this position. I know I can go to Austin and make a difference in everybody’s daily life here in Ellis and part of Henderson county. I learned a lot from him and I’m looking forward to being able to use that knowledge that I learned.”
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: “This is something that is personal to me. I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat in Austin growing up, and being able to see what good can be done for the district and having a good positive voice for the constituents of House District 10 is one of the most important things. That’s my biggest goal … to go down there and be an effective conservative who can get things done. … I have ties throughout the whole House District 10 but especially in Ellis county, and the people here are my friends, neighbors. Most people watched me grow up, helped me grow up and I’m ready to serve…”
Current representative John Wray announced that he would not seek reelection in July, and his term is set to expire Jan. 1, 2021.
District 10 includes all of Ellis County and part of Henderson County. According to the 2010 census, a total of 163,063 residents live in District 10.