Growing up in rural East Texas, Todd Staples says he didn’t think much about politics until a fateful telephone call from a former high school teacher. There was ‘a mess’ in the local city council: would Staples consider making a bid for local office? At first he declined. Then there was silence on the line. “I’ll never forget the words he spoke to me,” Staples says. “He said, ‘we gave to you, and it’s time for you to give back’.”
Staples’ stint on the Palestine City Council would launch an extended public service career including time in the Texas House of Representatives, as State Senator, and in his current role as Texas Agriculture Commissioner.
Now Staples is trying to win the Republican party nomination for Lieutenant Governor in a field packed with prominent GOP figures including incumbent David Dewhurst, State Senator Dan Patrick, and Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
In this wide-ranging ‘get to know you’ session, moderated by KUT Senior Political Correspondent Ben Philpott and Texas Standard host David Brown, Staples talks about immigration policy, the Obama administration, the ‘war on drugs’, abortion, the condition of state roads, as well as his legislative priorities if elected to the second highest office in Texas.
We have invited all of the top candidates in the major statewide races to come in for extended conversations, and we’ll be sharing excerpts on the air – along with extended versions here online – as the 2014 election season rolls forward. Check back often. And don't forget to vote!