Friday, January 04, 2008

"We need someone who is going to say 'no' to some of this crazy stuff, like selling our highway systems and making them into toll roads."

McReynolds gets last-minute opponent in state House race

January 04, 2008

Lufkin Daily News
Copyright 2007

An East Texas businessman on Wednesday filed to run against state Rep. Jim McReynolds (D-Lufkin) in the November general election.

Republican Van Brookshire, 40, a facilities and construction manager who lives on a ranch near Coldspring, filed the paperwork with the state Republican party to contest McReynolds, who has held the office for six terms.

A story in Thursday's paper indicated that McReynolds would be running unopposed, as the GOP's site did not list any candidate for Texas House District 12 — which serves four counties, including Angelina — as of late Wednesday night.

Brookshire, who said he filed at noon Wednesday, ran for the state Senate in 2000, losing in the primary election, and for the U.S. House in 2002, losing to Democrat Jim Turner.

"In each one, I've learned," he said Thursday. "I've made friends and contacts. I'm older and wiser now, too."

Brookshire said he has been considering re-entering the political arena for some time.

"I had been thinking about it for the better part of a year, or even longer than that," he said. It was contemplating the futures of his three young children, ages 12, 8 and 4, that made him decide to go forth, he said. "I want a voice in the future of Texas and what Texas becomes. My goal is to make East Texas a better place to live and work."

Although, he said, he has nothing against McReynolds, "It's time for a change."

A 1990 agricultural economics graduate of Texas A&M University who worked his way through college, Brookshire has owned several small businesses and served as the San Jacinto County Republican chairman for a year.

"My business background is setting up budgets, managing large budgets and creating a lot of jobs for people," Brookshire said. He was also appointed by the San Jacinto County Judge to temporarily fill in, while the judge recuperated from an illness. The judge who appointed Brookshire was a Democrat, and that bipartisanship is something Brookshire is counting on to make his campaign a success.

"I have lots of friends who are Democrats," he said. "It's not about parties. It's about having conservative ideas, wanting lower taxes, lower property taxes, and going back to the core beliefs we have drifted away from. It's about keeping people's money in their pockets and letting them spend it the way they want — not taxing people and then calling it something else."

Taxes and immigration issues will be on the forefront of Brookshire's campaign, he said.

"I think we need someone who is going to fight harder for things for East Texas and lower taxes," he said. "Immigration is a concern, and we need someone who is going to say 'no' to some of this crazy stuff, like selling our highway systems and making them into toll roads. Some of the things I hear coming out of our Legislature are just insane. I want to go over there and make a difference."

Also on his agenda is education, he said. Brookshire's wife of 14 years, Kristi, is a teacher, and his mother and mother-in-law are both retired teachers.

Subscribing to the belief that "you don't have the right to complain if you're not going to do something about it," Brookshire said he intends to work hard on his campaign in order to bring a conservative voice to East Texas.

"I think it's time for East Texas to have conservative representation," he said. "I want to fight for conservative values. We need a new, fresh energetic voice fighting for East Texas."

On the Web: Brookshire can be reached by e-mail at

Denise Hoepfner's e-mail address


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