As the March primary election quickly approaches, residents in House District 97 have three candidates—Cheryl Bean, Leslie Robinett, and John McQueeney—competing for the Republican nomination to the seat. 

The HD 97 seat is being vacated by State Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), who is running for Congress. 

A Texas native, Cheryl Bean has a background in aerospace engineering and home remodeling. After 20 years in the aerospace industry, she served as president of the Greater Fort Worth Builders Association and is a current member of the Texas Association of Builders Board of Directors. She also is a board member of a local public charter school.

Bean told Texas Scorecard she is committed to protecting children from indoctrination, maintaining religious freedom, and preserving the importance of family.

Bean’s endorsements include Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Texas Values, former State Rep. Matt Krause, and Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare. She has also received an “AQ” rating from the NRA. An AQ rating is defined as being for “a pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.”

A 6th generation Texan, Leslie Robinett is a business attorney and a ranch owner. With a family history of public service, Robinett says she is excited “to advocate for our community in Austin.” 

She plans to focus specifically on parental empowerment and job growth if elected. Robinett is also prioritizing border security, defending Constitutional rights, and protecting unborn children.

With a diverse background in franchising, real estate, and business, John McQueeney has worked in logistics for RadioShack and FedEx, while building franchise operations with McDonald’s and Chicken Express. 

McQueeney’s top issues include securing the border, cutting property taxes, increasing school funding, and passing school choice.

Texas Scorecard reached out to all three candidates to get their stances on some hot-button issues from the past year. However, both Robinett and McQueeney declined to answer before publication.

When asked about the potential for gambling expansion in Texas, Bean said, “Despite the potential revenue stream and new job opportunities it can provide, I believe the potential society issues such as gambling addiction, crime propagation, and health hazards [alcohol and drug addiction] that come with it are not whether the risk on our state welfare. In fact, these society issues can counter all revenue benefits from both financial and social perspectives.”

On the matter of school choice, Bean said she supports both funding for school choice as well as funding for government schools. 

“I believe every parent should have the right to place their children in the school that best meets their needs,” said Bean. “This is a basic requirement for empowering our parents and protecting our children.  As a public charter school board member and a parent and grandmother of 4 children and now 12 grandchildren in District 97 schools [public, charter, and private], I understand that different schools excel and fail differently just like children’s needs differ. I firmly believe that competition increases performance and breeds success.”

She added that she supports the current plan backed by Gov. Greg Abbott that “leaves a portion of the money with the original public school so that public schools continue to be funded at the necessary levels.” 

When asked if she would vote for Dade Phelan as Speaker of the Texas House, Bean responded, “NO,” primarily based on the way Phelan handled Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment.

Bean also responded with a resounding “NO” as to whether she supported Paxton’s impeachment. 

“I believe that AG Ken Paxton has done a lot for Texas and has stood strong against the Biden administration, setting the example for many other states to follow,” said Bean. “I believe that the impeachment was ‘dirty’ politics and did not follow due process in that there was no substantiating data provided for impeachment except ‘hearsay,’ nor was there an opportunity for any representatives to hear directly from AG Paxton or his team.” 

Bean further said that despite all that has happened with the trial and acquittal, elected officials need to focus on governing Texas as it should be governed. 

“Republicans hurt themselves when we continue to fight amongst ourselves instead of doing our job,” she said.

The primary election is slated for March 5, 2024. 

Amelia McKenzie

Amelia is a senior at Liberty University in Virginia. She is studying Digital Journalism and is currently a fellow with Texas Scorecard.