In his weekly district-wide emails, Granbury ISD Superintendent Jim Largent – who is now running against a conservative incumbent in the Republican Primary for state representative – repeatedly criticized Republican officials and conservative legislation.
For example, Largent used district resources to oppose bills to end the automatic deduction of labor union dues from public employee paychecks. Those bills have been a top priority of the Republican Party because labor unions funnel the fees given to them by local governments to the Democratic Party.
Likewise, Largent praised Democrat efforts in the House to tap the Economic Stabilization Fund, commonly called the Rainy Day Fund. That fund, which remained intact after Gov. Abbott made clear that he opposed tapping it, is now being looked at as an important source of funds to pay for clean-up in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Largent also repeatedly called for private schools to be saddled with the same regulations forced on public schools by state and local governments. In one email, he criticized State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R–Granbury) for voting against an amendment that would have forced private schools who receive public funds to administer the same standardized tests that public school students take.
While Largent wasn’t specific about whether he thought the testing regime ought to apply to home schools, he was clear that he opposed the Tim Tebow bill, legislation to allow home school students to participate in UIL programs at their local public school. That bill is named after the Heisman Trophy winner because Tebow was able to participate in high school football because of a similar bill passed by Florida legislature in 1996.
“I don’t believe you should be able to choose the parts of our school you want to be a part of, but stay home for the parts you don’t like,” Largent wrote.
In a school district-sponsored blog post, Largent bashed the Texas Privacy Act, a bill designed to keep men out of women’s showers, locker rooms, and restrooms, calling it “a solution searching for a problem” despite cases in Texas being fought over the issue since 2012.
Throughout his emails, Largent continued his criticism of privacy legislation. Largent used liberal terminology, deriding it as the “bathroom bill” and said it would “dictate the bathroom use for transgender students.” In one email he complained that a school funding bill died because of the conflict over the bill.
In a May 26th email, Largent attacked Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the conservative Texas Senate, saying they had turned the session into an “embarrassment”:
I will add that in my opinion, this session has been a real embarrassment, as the entire state budget, public education, and many, many bills that would have been good for Texans, have been hijacked by the Lt. Governor. He has controlled the Senate, and other than a very few members, they have followed lock-step in whatever he has told them to do.
It’s clear that Largent gets his news on the legislature from liberal teachers’ unions. In one email he promoted a scorecard published by Texans for Public Education that gave top marks to liberal Democrats.
Since entering the race, Largent has received criticism from local Republicans for his refusal to say whether he agrees or disagrees with the Republican platform on a host of key conservative issues. In January, the Hood County Republican Party passed a resolution objecting to Largent running for office as a Republican.