Smithville City Council Member Stan Gerdes has filed his candidacy in the Republican primary for Texas House District 17, which includes Bastrop County.
Gerdes previously served as a senior advisor for the U.S. Energy Department during the Trump administration. He was elected to the Smithville City Council in May to fill the unexpired term for the Place 4 seat after Joanna Morgan stepped down from that office to run for mayor in a special election.
In his November campaign announcement for the Texas House, Gerdes said he is a supporter of the Second Amendment, which protects residents right to keep and bear arms, and will defend “all innocent life.” He also said he is against critical race theory, which some Republicans have rallied against, calling the theory divisive and surmising that it proposes that one race is inherently inferior or racist.
Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at UCLA and Columbia University, is one of the founders of critical race theory, which she helped develop in the 1980s, according to CNN. Crenshaw told CNN in May that the theory pays close attention to race and American institutions, “and how what has happened in this country is continuing to create differential outcomes.”
At the U.S. Energy Department, Gerdes worked under Secretary Rick Perry, who also was his boss at the Texas Capitol when Perry was governor. Gerdes was Perry's director of scheduling and executive aide in Texas.
Gerdes said he helped lead the U.S. Energy Department and was instrumental in helping the U.S. achieve energy independence during the Trump administration — an achievement, Gerdes said, that has been reversed under President Joe Biden.
"We’ve lost so much so quickly under Biden,” Gerdes said. “Our border is open and unsecure, regulations have stifled oil and gas production, and Biden’s inflation is a hidden tax on families. I’m running to uphold the conservative values we all share, and to put an end to the constant threats to our individual liberties from overreaching government mandates.”
Gerdes said that in his seven months on the Smithville City Council he has worked to increase government transparency and uphold fiscal conservatism while supporting police and first responders.
Though Gerdes has filed for state office he will remain a council member in Smithville because there is less than a year left in his term, council terms are less than three years and Smithville is a General Law Type A city and not a home rule city, said City Manager Robert Tamble.
Gerdes will battle against four other Republicans — Jennifer Bezner, Thomas Glass, Paul Pape and Trey Rutledge — in that party’s March primary for the nomination for House District 17. The winner will face off against Democrat Madeline Eden for the House seat in the November general election.
John Cyrier who currently represents District 17 — which covers Bastrop, Burleson, Caldwell, Lee and Milam counties — announced in November he would not seek reelection to a fifth term. The primary elections will be held March 1.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Former Trump official files Republican bid for Texas House District 17