Race for TX SD30: Keely Briggs' Unconventional Run
District 2 Councilwoman Keely Briggs is not only a major proponent of transparency in government and a hands-on approach politician, but someone who puts those tenets into practice. In a blog post about reducing the tax burden for 2017-2018 on City of Denton residents, she outlines how this transparency and increased communication led to serious work in the right direction. The city’s budget was lowered without cutting wages or benefits to government employees and citizens of Denton saw immediate benefits for themselves. In her own words, it’s just good government at work. She’s hoping to put that same brand of government to work at a larger scale - Briggs is running for the Senate District 30 seat in 2018.
Briggs said she believes her approach to politics will translate to the District 30 constituency of 800 thousand just the same as it does for the 34 thousand residents of District 2 and 134 thousand citizens of Denton.
“Public service is public service. You have to talk with people. You have to work with people,” Briggs said. “And, you can’t just talk to and work with the people who vote for you or agree with you – everybody is paying the taxes that support our government, programs and infrastructure. No matter what level of government, elected officials have to remember that the job is to represent all citizens.”
As of December 31, Incumbent Craig Estes, Pat Fallon, and Craig Carter are running for the Republican party primary for the district, while Kevin Lopez is filed as a Democrat for the primary.
Briggs is running as an independent, meaning that she will not appear on the March 6 primary ballot. She will need to gather 500 signatures to appear on the November ballot and will only have a limited time, from after the March primaries to June 21. Any District 30 citizen who votes in the primaries cannot sign Briggs’s petition.
“The truth is that I am like a lot people in Texas and in our society who realize that they don’t really fit into a strict ‘this-or-that’ political definition,” Briggs said. “I am not comfortable squeezing myself in to conform to and assume the identity of one of two established political parties. I want people to have engaged representation and adult, fact-based conversations about the direction of our state and our society. In my mind the best way for that to happen is to reject the polarizing politics of left versus right. I want to bring people to the table and find the best way forward for all of us.”
Briggs said that she is hearing a lot of the same criticisms she did upon running for her first term as city council person, where she said many saw her as a “complete dark-horse candidate” and a “naïve” person who was “in way over her head.”
“This community and the people in it are something that I love and respect dearly,” Briggs said. "There was a certain moment that I didn’t see anyone stepping up to represent and serve my neighbors, my friends, my family and me in the way that my heart told me that we deserved. I learned that you don’t have to do things conventionally to make a difference–especially in politics.”
Briggs’ current city council term ends in May 2019. She can hold the position while campaigning, but if elected, she must resign before the January 2019 swearing-in. If elected, Briggs said she is looking to “take what works” for her in Denton “and amplify it.” She plans to hold regular town hall meetings in each of the 14 counties that make up Senate District 30 and regularly keep in touch with the constituency through blogs, social media, videos, online live discussions and surveys.
Briggs has an ambitious list of issues to tackle if elected. From specific issues like reducing violent deaths and improving electric reliability, to stopping corruption and cronyism and the toll it takes on citizens. She has put a lot on her plate and believes she can assemble a team that would make serious strides for District 30 if given the chance.
Although city council members were just approved to receive $750 monthly stipends, Briggs has opted out to keep her intent to run for the Senate District 30 seat separate from her work on the city council. Donations to her campaign will be critical, and District 30 voters will need to check back after the March primaries to add their names to her petition.
“Representing people is my only job,” Briggs said. “Aside from raising my family with my husband, it is my highest calling in life. While I seek a spot on the ballot for this Senate seat, I will continue to serve the people of District 2 and the City of Denton with the same dedication and commitment that I always have. I see my efforts to be a State Senator as an extension of my desire to give my friends and neighbors in this community the representation that they deserve.”
To help Briggs and her campaign, you can visit her website at briggsfortexas.com.
Header image courtesy of Keely Briggs
Header image layout designed by Cristopher Rodgers