Phil King (Texas politician)
|Phillip Stephen "Phil" King|
|Texas State Representative from District 61 (Parker and Wise counties)|
1999 – Incumbent
|Preceded by||Richard F. "Ric" Williamson|
February 29, 1956 |
Place of birth missing
|Residence||Weatherford, Parker County, Texas, USA|
|Alma mater||Dallas Baptist University
|Religion||Trinity Bible Church (Weatherford, Texas)|
Phillip Stephen "Phil" King (born February 29, 1956) is a Weatherford, Texas, attorney who has been a conservative Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives since 1999. He represents District 61, which encompasses Parker and Wise counties to the west of Fort Worth.
King was named "Outstanding Legislator of the Year" by the Texas Alliance for Life. He has been cited by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national bipartisan interest group of more than 2,400 state legislators committed to Jeffersonian principles of limited government, free enterprise, federalism, and individual liberty.
King was nominated without opposition in the 1998 Republican primary when the incumbent, Ric Williamson, did not seek re-election. In the general election, King defeated the Democratic candidate, Brenda Brown Rotramble, 21,200 (64.6 percent) to 11,626 (35.4 percent). (At the time, the district included a portion of neighboring Cooke County.)
King ran unopposed in 2000.
In 2002, King defeated the Democratic candidate Mack Dobbs, 25,525 (69 percent) to 11,475 (31 percent).
In 2004, King once again ran unopposed.
In 2006, King defeated the Libertarian candidate Richard Forsythe, Jr., 27,470 (80.4 percent to 6,696 (19.6 percent), in the general election the Democratic Party did not field a candidate.
In 2008, King faced two opponents in the general election, Democratic candidate Charles William Randolph and (once again facing) Libertarian candidate Forsythe, defeating them 48,879 (72.52 percent) to Randolph's 16,308 (24.19 percent) and Forsythe's 2,205 (3.27 percent).
Legislator of the Year
In 1999, King's colleagues named him "Freshman Legislator of the Year", and Texas Monthly magazine designated him "Rookie Legislator of the Year". He received the designation "Crime Fighter of the Year" from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.
In his second term, King was named a "Fighter for Free Enterprise" by the Texas Association of Business for his work on pro-business issues. He was cited by the Texas State Rifle Association for legislation implementing a firearms safety program in public schools.
King was recognized as "Legislator of the Year" by the Texas Association of Builders for his work on HB 730, which was designed to reduce litigation costs for home builders and buyers, and has been utilized as model legislation in other states.
Staunchly anti-abortion, King has supported legislation that would institute parental notification and parental consent. In 2006 he received the "Defender of Life" award from The Justice Foundation. He has been awarded the "Freedom and Family Award" by Texas Eagle Forum, an interest group founded by Phyllis Schlafly of Missouri. He has also been recognized by the Free Market Foundation for his support of legislation they consider to be pro-family.
Other legislative initiatives
In 2005, King was the House sponsor of Senate Bill 5, which modernized Texas telecommunications laws. SB 5 has been hailed nationally for its groundbreaking provisions in opening the cable television market to greater competition and increasing opportunities for technological investment in Texas. It was for leadership on SB 5, in particular, that ALEC named King a "Legislator of the Year". In a perk to telecommunications companies, a provision of the bill banned Texas cities from participating in projects that offer free wi-fi in airports and public spaces . However, later that year Texas Monthly listed Phil King as one of the worst legislators on their annual "Best and Worst Legislators," saying, "Unfortunately, negotiation is not among King’s strong points. He is a zealot, a true believer in his own rightness."
In the 2005 special session on school finance, King proposed a one-cent increase in the state sales tax (6.25 cents) in order to lower the property tax cap for school district funding. The "tax switch" failed and was opposed by many conservatives with whom King had been allied. Had the legislation cleared both houses of the legislature, it would have still required voter approval.
King has been involved in many other legislative matters, including tests for steroid use by high school athletes, ways to prevent abortion clinics from circumventing the parental notification law, and the proposal that voters at the time of registration be able to furnish proof of U.S. citizenship. His opponents referred to the latter measure as King's "Voter Suppression Law" on the theory that it would discourage registration by the poor and downtrodden.
King was mentioned as a potential candidate for Speaker of the House at the start of the 2007 legislative session, but he quickly deferred to Tom Craddick of Midland, who was elected to his third term as the presiding officer. Opposition broke out against Craddick during the 2007 session from a group of Democrats and disaffected Republicans.
In the regular and then the three special legislative sessions of 2003, King authored the congressional redistricting legislation favored by the Republican Party, which won more than 55 percent of the total votes cast in thirty-two separate congressional races in the 2002 midterm elections even though the Republican Party obtained just fifteen of the U.S. House seats. The changes led to a temporary 21-11 Republican majority within the Texas delegation to the U.S. House. After the 2006 elections, however, that margin was reduced to 19-13 Republican. After 2008, it became 20-12 Republican.
Ethics Violations and Claims of Corruption
In 2005, King drew criticism for a dinner hosted by lobbyist Neal "Buddy" Jones whose clients include AT&T and FPL Energy, companies that are regulated by the Regulated Industries committee that King was the Chair of at the time.
In 2008, an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram found that the president of AT&T had written a letter urging employees to help re-elect King, then head of the House Regulated Industries Committee. During the 2008 primary election cycle, King was given over $200,000 from utility and energy company PACs. King's primary opponent, Joe Tison, stated, " "While he was accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from utility companies and their representatives, the rest of us were paying an average of 56 percent more to heat our homes and keep the lights on in our businesses." Texas Monthly reporter Paul Burka observed that even the Fort Worth Star Telegram had documented this problem, claiming, "You have to hand it to Phil King. No matter how many stories the Star-Telegram writes about his taking campaign cash from the industries he represents, the chairman of Regulated Industries keeps right on doing it." King also took gifts from CenterPoint Energy Vice President Scott E. Rozzell, a violation of the state’s law governing gifts to public officials.
In 2014, Phil King, along with Tom and Christi Craddick, were accused of laundering $25,000 in campaign funds. Furthermore, Tom Craddick reported making this $25,000 donation to King on his semiannual campaign finance report, though King's campaign finance reports do not make note of it.
Prior to his legislative service, King was a captain in the Fort Worth Police Department, an instructor at his alma mater, Dallas Baptist University, and a Parker County justice of the peace. He currently serves as an officer in the Texas State Guard.
King obtained his Bachelor of Arts and M.B.A. degrees from Dallas Baptist University in Dallas. He procured the Juris Doctor degree from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. King and his wife, Terry, are active members of Trinity Bible Church in Weatherford. The couple has six children and eight grandchildren. Terry King is a direct descendant of Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford.
- "Phil King Biography". Texas House of Representatives. 2008. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
- "Wireless networks don't click with some: Telecom bill would ban free Internet access like that in model East End program". Houston Chronicle. 2005. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- Phil King
Richard F. "Ric" Williamson
|Texas State Representative from District 61 (Parker and Wise counties)