On Tuesday, Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient Joshua Hamm announced he will challenge incumbent Republican State Rep. Kyle Kacal (College Station) to represent Texas House District 12.

When Texas Scorecard asked why he was running, Hamm said:

My elected representatives were not protecting my children. My children were being forced to wear masks in schools and I realized I’m going to have to step up and volunteer to fix that problem.

Continuing to express his disappointment with Texas’ response to regulations in the wake of the pandemic, among other issues, Hamm said:

The First Amendment was destroyed in the last year in a way that I never thought possible. Combine that with the pornographic content being given to children in schools. That is not acceptable. Why is Texas consistently trying to lead from behind?

Hamm concluded by saying:

Texas should not ask for permission nor forgiveness to protect Texans, ever.

The Incumbent

Kacal was rated the lowest Republican on Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s Fiscal Index, scoring 28 out of 100. He was also considered among the most liberal Republicans according to Rice University’s Index, where he was rated as the 80th most liberal out of 82 Republicans.

During the 87th regular legislative session earlier this year, Kacal was among six other Republican lawmakers who joined with Democrats to author legislation seeking to expand Medicaid in Texas, the opposite of what his own party platform calls for.

The Republican Party of Texas’ platform states the party’s direct opposition to the expansion of Medicaid:

  • Plank 257: “We support Medicaid block grants to the states and return Medicaid to its original purpose to be temporary assistance. We oppose any further expansion of Medicaid.”
  • Plank 265: “We recommend the creation of the State of Texas Health Savings Account, with funds in excess of those needed in the Rainy Day Fund, with the purpose of enabling the state to develop reserves sufficient to exist the federal Medicaid program, which will not expire nor be utilized for any other purpose.”

Kacal was also one of a handful of Republicans who voted with Democrats to reject a proposal to ban mask mandates as the Texas Pandemic Response Act was being debated in the House of Representatives.

And when Democrats fled for Washington, D.C., to break quorum earlier this year, Kacal immediately called for compromise, saying Democrats should be given “a victory or two.”

What is Next?

The candidate filing deadline is Monday,  December 13. It is still possible for other candidates to join the race.

The primary election is currently scheduled for March 1, 2022.