Incumbent Democratic state representative Lon Burnam, born in Tarrant County in 1953, has served in the Texas house for 16 years, eight legislative sessions.
Burnam, first elected in 1996, edged Democratic primary opponent Carlos Vasquez in the spring. The margin of victory was much closer than in previous primaries with Burnam winning 51 to 49 percent, or a slim 150 votes. He is running unopposed for the Texas 90th House District seat.
Currently, Burnam serves as a member of the environmental regulation and public safety committee. During his previous sessions he has served on other committees such as the House Insurance Committee and the House Urban Affairs Committee.
A graduate of Fort Worth public school growing up, Burnam has turned his attention of late in Austin towards education and issues that face the future of the youth. As a co-creator of the Texas Grants Program, a program that helps send high school graduates to college regardless of financial situation, Burnam is still working to solve educational issues.
“In the coming session we will see some legislative leaders continue to de-fund public and higher education,” Burnam said. “I am also very concerned by the efforts of some legislators to steal money from the public school system to provide vouchers to wealthy kids to subsidize their private school tuition. It’s fine if someone wants to go to an expensive private school, but we should not be taking money from inner-city schools to help them pay for it.”
Recently, Burnham battled Tea Party Republicans in Austin to prevent layoffs and the firing of teachers in the state school system.
After attending the University of Texas at Austin and earning his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, Burnam became a city planner for Fort Worth. During his stint as city planner he worked to stimulate economic and environmental growth in neighborhoods across Fort Worth. This is an effort Burnam has not forgotten while in Austin.
“In the coming session I will also be working hard to restore the cuts in funding to our education system,” Burnam said. “And I will also continue to try and improve our environment so the children of Fort Worth will no longer suffer from some of the worst urban air quality and rates of asthma in the country.”
The biggest challenge that Burnam has faced during his most recent term in office is the impact of the economic downturn not only in Texas, but nationally. Burnam admits there are several reason the downturn has had an effect on Texas economically. Members of legislature are focusing attention on “not closing tax loopholes” or using the rainy day fund when the real focus should be on adequate roads, schools, hospitals and community clinics, Burnam said.
Because Burnham faces no challenger in the general election this year, District 90 will have an experienced and familiar face in the Texas House of Representatives in 2013.
“My record shows that I have never wavered in my fight for the less powerful and wealthy in our society,” Burnam said. “I have proven that you can always trust that I’ve got Fort Worth’s back and that I will never sell out to special interests. I bring a passion to this position.”