With her irresponsible voting history and a real estate redevelopment boondoggle overshadowing the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R–Fort Worth), her challenger plans to bring what revolutionized his city when he served as a councilman: transparency.

At a campaign event Wednesday evening, Chris Putnam, former Mayor Pro Tem of Colleyville and current Republican primary candidate for the 12th Congressional District in North Texas, outlined his agenda of strengthening border security, defending life, and reining in out-of-control federal spending. As evidence that he’s a man of his word and not just another politician, he talked about his business background and record of changing local politics.

Putnam served 30 years in the private sector, working for IBM and later for the legendary Ross Perot, before working at a startup that went public in 2006. Putnam retired from that company as the global head of sales around 2018. But it’s Perot he credits for teaching him how businessmen can change politics.

“[Perot] believed you could apply business principles to government—particularly from a budget point of view—and make it work, and that business people just fundamentally look at the problems of government [differently] than politicians.”

Putnam encountered such a problem when he built his family home in the city of Colleyville. The city wanted him to build a sidewalk for $20,000, even though there were no other sidewalks around and the one the city requested wouldn’t connect to anything.

“I got really, really frustrated because I couldn’t ever get anybody [on council] to have a cup of coffee with me,” Putnam said. “And this is like in a town of 25,000 people.”

Such lack of openness is something he finds in his opponent as well.

“Miss Granger is, of course, notoriously unavailable to constituents,” he told the audience. “As a U.S. congressman, half of your job is being with your constituents, listening to them, and talking to them.”

“She’s not been willing to do that job for a long, long time.”

His fight with Colleyville ended with the city council dropping its demand for the sidewalk and asking Putnam to pay $10,000, instead. “Stone-cold government theft. Period,” Putnam alleged.

On top of that, Colleyville’s then-mayor closed down an open meeting instead of allowing Putnam to speak on the issue. For Putnam, that was the last straw.

What he did next is exactly what he proposes to do regarding Granger: run for office, defeat an incumbent, and be transparent.

“One thing that politicians don’t like is a lot of sunlight or accountability,” he told the audience. “That’s all I was doing. I was in the sunlight and accountability business.”

Putnam’s efforts inspired voters to replace everyone on council, except Putnam, with a new mayor; the new council focused on serving the voters by cutting the tax rate, addressing the debt burden, instituting term limits, and passing strong ethics and transparency laws.

After doing that, Putnam didn’t stay on the council. “Public service should not entitle you to a career, and that should not be there to enrich yourself and your children.”

Putnam also zeroed in on the huge taxpayer sinkhole Granger has shepherded while in Congress: Panther Island. “The only person she’s standing up for is [her son] J.D. Granger, who’s made millions of dollars on this black hole here, north of downtown.”

“People come up to me all the time, and they’re like, ‘It’s a Hunter Biden situation.’ I’m like, ‘It’s worse.’ Because Ukrainians were paying Hunter Biden. We’re paying J.D. Granger.”

In drawing the final contrast between himself and Granger, Putnam posed a question to the audience in the room. “Do you want another career politician who’s self-interested at this point, running for her 13th term just to be there?”

“We need fighters, and that’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to go fight.”

Putnam is endorsed by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. The primary is on March 3, and early voting begins February 18. The deadline to register to vote in the primary is February 3.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.


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