Candidate views office as chance to help others
For The Record
One candidate in the November General Election for the Texas Legislature describes himself as a “good old boy” from Nederland who just wants to help others.
Bruney is running as a Democrat for State Representative, District 21.
He was born and raised in Lake Charles, La., but he has lived in Nederland for 21 years and previously in Port Arthur for eight years. His wife is an attorney and also a manager for Ed Hughes Enterprises. They have three children- two sons who graduated from Nederland High School and a daughter who’s in the 7th Grade at C.O. Wilson Middle School in Nederland.
Bruney graduated from LaGrange High School and McNeese State University in Lake Charles, the same schools Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux also attended.
“There’s a lot of people from Louisiana living in Southeast Texas,” he said. “I love Southeast Texas. I love the fishing and hunting here. Raising kids here is great. They’re involved in sports, the outdoors and other activities here. It’s a positive upbringing.
Bruney moved to the area in 1985 to work here. He was already familiar with Southeast Texas, however, because his grandparents lived in Port Acres. He and his grandfather would spend the weekend in his grandfather’s houseboat on Taylor’s Bayou.
Next, Bruney switched to the topic of politics and why he’s running for the Texas House of Representatives.
“I first became interested in politics when Edwin Edwards gave a speech at Louisiana Boys’ State. He was governor at the time and it was really neat to hear him talk,” he said. “I also remember going to the ballot box with my grandfather when I was 5 years old.”
Some of the main political career accomplishments Bruney pointed out included sitting on the Care Community in Nederland that opposed a $120 million school bond issue in 2008. The bond issue was defeated by voters in 2009.
“I was elected to the Nederland School Board then and I was chairman of Capital Improvements,” he said.
Ironically, Bruney began his race for the school board because he didn’t like the district’s dress policy.
“My two boys were in high school and they were prohibited from wearing shirts that had like a Nike emblem, or an alligator, or a penguin on them. I thought that was prohibitive,” Bruney said. “The principal at the high school presented a Mickey Mouse T-shirt as being a gang symbol. I decided to change things. It prompted me to run and to make some changes in the district.”
The first step was forming the Care Committee for those opposed to the bond issue. After that bond was defeated in 2009, however, the committee got together to present Propositions 1 and 2 in 2012.
This $28 million bond was approved by voters to refurbish schools rather than purchasing a new artificial turf and press box for the football stadium as the 2008 bond issue called for.
“We wanted to put money back into the classrooms. That turf only has a lifespan of seven to nine years. We save the taxpayers $100 million,” Bruney said.
Propositions 3 and 4 were also introduced that year on the ballot to fix the existing schools rather than build new ones.
Bruney also wants to address school financing if he’s elected to the Legislature.
“There’s been a public lack of financing. It has been an assault on public school education,” he said. “Texas has the 11th largest economy in the world and what we spend is 49th in the U.S. per student.
“As rich as Texas is, we’re not putting money in our infrastructure which is our children.
Related to public school financing is Texas Code 42.26 3C, what Bruney calls a loophole for large refineries to sue county governments to have the tax assessments reduced.
Bruney then addressed meeting water needs in the State of Texas.
He said the 2014 city of Dallas Water Plan calls for a pipeline to be laid to the Neches River at Lake Palestine.
The Neches River runs from there to the Steinhagen Reservoir and the pipeline will affect that body of water and downstream from there.
The Lower Neches Valley Authority supplies water to the other side of Dayton a short distance from Houston. I am concerned they will start selling off our resource to Houston.
The LNVA, meanwhile, supplies water to the other side of Dayton which is a short distance from Houston. Bruney is concerned they will start selling off Southeast Texas’ resources to Houston and he wants to prevent that from happening.
“It will cost us in Southeast Texas,” he said.
Another item Bruney would like to see happen if for the Golden Pass LNG terminal in Sabine Pass be permitted to export natural gas. Currently, tankers are going to Chenierre on the Louisiana side while Golden Pass is going through renovations.
“Golden Pass would be a boon to us financially. Europe could get natural gas from the U.S. and not from Russia,” he said.
He gave as another example of a successful export from the area is shipping wood pellets from Port Arthur to Germany who use them as heating fuel.
“We need more of these kinds of enterprises in Southeast Texas,” he said. “There’s a project on Pleasure Island that can offload tankers’ supplies of crude to refineries. It also helps Southeast Texas. I will work to ensure permits are expedited in a timely manner.”
Bruney then transitioned by saying his Republican opponent, Dade Phelan, makes money off of major public works projects such as Ford Park, the Carroll “Butch” Thomas Stadium and Interstate 10 expansion.
Bruney then said he’s not in favor of marijuana legalization, but he does favor it for medical use.
“Everyday that I get on Facebook and I visit friends with cancer. I put them on my prayers list everyday and I hear their stories about chemotherapy and the rigors of radiation treatment. It makes me wonder if medical use may help their condition. We treat our animals better than human beings,” Bruney said.
Bruney closed by stating he wants jobs in the area to keep young people interested in staying here.
“I want to provide opportunities. The cost of living in Houston, Austin and Dallas is so high. Here, it’s not so bad,” he said.