North Texas Daily

Midterm elections: Denton bans fracking, allows liquor sales

Midterm elections: Denton bans fracking, allows liquor sales

November 04
22:40 2014

Dalton LaFerney, Joshua Knopp and Paul Wedding

UNT-led fracking ban passes

Hydraulic fracturing was prohibited within the city limits after a petition lead by assistant philosophy professor Adam Briggle, making Denton the first city in Texas to ban the drilling method known as fracking. The movement was a hard-fought effort and the city’s most expensive campaign, with more than $770,000 spent on either side of the issue.

The city is now vulnerable to numerous mineral rights lawsuits because of the ban, which will go into effect in December.

UNT student and Frack Free Denton activist Angie Holliday said the group was ecstatic after the ban’s passage.

“It passed! Oh my gosh,” she said. “I feel so incredibly proud of my community. We all knew that Denton was ready for this, but to see it actually play out has been one of the most beautiful experiences in my whole lifetime. We’re all crying and hugging and laughing and screaming. It’s been a long time coming.”

Liquor allowed in Denton

The local option election to allow the sale of liquor within Denton city limits passed as well. It is now legal to sell liquor in Denton. Before, citizens had to drive to neighboring Corinth or other towns to purchase anything harder than wine.

Business profits are expected to increase, and Denton could have an additional $700,000 in tax revenues.

The petition is notable for being started and run by a large group of Denton bar owners. Dan’s Silverleaf co-owner Marcus Watson, who helped with the petition, said the passage is a matter of freedom for private clubs from government oversight.

“We don’t need the state of Texas coming in and getting involved in our business,” he said. “Denton is growing so fast. We need every sales tax dollar we can get. Lots of folks agreed with what we were thinking. It’s an indication that we made the right call.”

Republicans sweep executive and representative elections

Despite a large public push by the Democrats, Texas remained a red state Tuesday with election victories across the board. Republican Greg Abbott became the governor elect, defeating Wendy Davis in a bid to replace Rick Perry. Davis made a campaign stop at UNT, but it was not enough to surpass Abbott, who has been Attorney General since 2002. Abbott will be replaced by Republican Ken Paxton.

Republican Dan Patrick will join Abbott in Austin as Lieutenant Governor. Patrick overcame Democrat Leticia Van de Putte.

Incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn will return to Washington D.C. His Senate colleagues enjoyed a wave of momentum as Republicans overtook the incumbent Democrats in West Virginia, Arkansas, South Dakota and Montana. The GOP is expected to gain a majority in the Senate, but the final Senate numbers are undetermined, with a runoff in Louisiana to take place in December. Republicans Michael Burgess and Kenny Marchant were re-elected to the U.S. House.

Most of the local partisan elections featured Republicans running unopposed, but UNT student and Democrat Daniel Moran fell to Republican incumbent Tan Parker by a wide margin. Joining Rep. Parker in the Texas House is Republican incumbent Myra Crownover, who defeated Democrat Emy Lyons.

Republican Judge Margaret Barnes of the 367th Judicial District reclaimed her seat over Democratic challenger David Heiman. Barnes was the only county district judge to be challenged.

Vice president of the North Texas College Republicans Baileigh Poston said the Republican sweep was what Texas needed.

“Those were definitely vital races for us to keep the state the way it is, and even though they’re new, they’ll bring a breath of fresh air,” she said. “They’re not going to do anything that’s going to drastically hurt Texas, whereas in my opinion the Democrats would have done that.”

Regardless of the heavy loss, College Democrats of UNT president Billy Poer said they’d made their mark.

“Despite an Abbott victory, we have made a real difference in the state and in the county, especially in this county,” he said. “No matter what happens, we will win in 2016, and I think there is a good chance that Republicans will prove to us that they need to be removed from office come the next election.”

Road ordinances approved

Proposition 1, the bond allocating $61.7 million for road and infrastructure construction, passed along with the other construction bonds. Money will now be allocated to repair parks, two fire stations and numerous Denton roads.

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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