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Democratic state lawmaker says her experience gives her chance at Lieutenant Governor

The Democrat says her success in 2018 and her experience inside the Capitol make her the best qualified candidate.

DALLAS — After flipping a state House District in 2018, Representative Michelle Beckley now has her sights on the number two job in the state, Lieutenant Governor. Even though she’s never held statewide office or served in the Senate, the Democrat says her success in 2018 and her experience inside the Capitol make her the best qualified candidate.

“I am the only candidate that is running statewide that has worked in Austin, in the legislature, as an elected official,” Rep. Beckley said on Inside Texas Politics.

And that experience, she says, will be vital in a redistricted Texas that will no doubt see another Republican-led Senate and House. While not naming specific names or groups, Rep. Beckley told us she was asked to run after low polling for other Democratic candidates already in the field. And she thinks she’s the only candidate with the bona fides to stand up to GOP members when needed, but also work across the aisle when that is just as necessary. As an example, she says she managed to get her legislative priority in the controversial elections bill passed by Republicans last year.

“I got it in that bill. So, Denton County, they’re going to get election day vote centers and about 70 other counties can now apply as well,” she said.

One of Beckley’s top priorities would be Medicaid expansion, using it in particular to help stop the closure of rural hospitals. The Democrat says she’s also a small business owner looking for better healthcare coverage for everyone.

“We are at the bottom of the barrel in Texas. And as a wealthy state, we should not be. Most of our people, they should have some form of healthcare, high quality healthcare,” said the Democrat.

RELATED: The death divide in Texas: What rural hospitals have learned during COVID-19

During her short time as a state lawmaker, Rep. Beckley has sometimes been labeled as the most liberal member of the Texas House. While she says he does vote the Democratic platform, it’s not necessarily an accurate description.

“I just think that’s another way Republicans like to label me. They want to label me. They see me as a threat. The former Speaker called me vile and heinous for beating his friend, being outspent 10 to 1 in 2018 when I flipped a state House district from red to blue,” said the Representative.

In 2018, Beckley defeated Republican incumbent Ron Simmons in District 65 in Denton County. She won by fewer than 1,400 votes.

While she’s well known in her district, recent polling shows she has some work to do to garner statewide recognition. Though she hasn’t barnstormed the state as part of her campaign yet, Beckley says she’s traveled plenty already in her role as a state lawmaker

Since she’s running for Lieutenant Governor, the Representative will not be running for re-election in District 65. And that might be a good thing after redistricting.

“They cracked 13 precincts around my house so that I am no longer in the district that I currently represent. I do not live in it. Yet my business and my parents who are a mile away are in that district,” she said.

The Texas Primary is currently scheduled for March 1, 2022.

WFAA's 2022 election coverage is officially underway. Follow Inside Texas Politics and our Y'all-itics podcast for continued coverage on all platforms.

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