Wharton County’s state representative announced he will be seeking a fifth term.
“It’s been one of the greatest honors of my life to have the opportunity to serve the people of Fort Bend, Wharton and Jackson counties. I hold a special regard for those I represent and have labored hard to give them a voice in Austin,” State Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton) said.
A Certified Public Accountant, District 85 Rep. Stephenson has used his background in finances throughout his tenure in Austin, initially starting in the Pensions, Government Efficiency and Reform committees.
In the latest session, he worked in the Corrections, Pensions, Investments & Financial Services committees. Among other bills, Stephenson offered a proposed fix to teacher retirement funding via life insurance policies in which no one actually had to die.
For those in agriculture this last session, he wrote HB 191, now enrolled, which requires the Texas Department of Agriculture to create a new Pesticide Disposal Fund.
HB 4680, which is now in effect, gives the rail-supported warehouse project just east of El Campo the authority to issue bonds to pay for its own infrastructure, levying assessments on developments only within the park.
“This past 86th legislature the House and Senate took significant steps toward relieving overburdensome property taxes, reforming school funding and coming to the aid of our teachers, both active and retired. But there is still much work to do, including redistricting in the 87th legislature,” Stephenson said.
In previous sessions, he’s worked to increase funding for transportation without raising taxes.
In 2018, Stephenson beat Democratic challenger Jennifer Cantu 32,019 to 24,668 to win his re-election bid.
In 2016, he faced and beat Democratic challenger John Davis, 35,594 to 23,334 while in 2014, Stephenson beat Democratic challenger Cynthia Drabek 19,215 to 9,630.
To claim the District 85 seat in 2012, he won 28,626 to 20,435 over Democrat Dora Olivo. To earn a spot in the General Election, Stephenson beat Sugar Land Republican Lee Duggan 5,944 to 5,208 in the March Primary.
The seat had been created just prior to then via re-districting.