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first in Texas. District 112, which borders Collin County and includes parts of Richardson and Garland, is increasingly diverse. Minorities compose 35 percent of the district, according to the last census. The fast-growing Asian-American community accounts for at least 12 percent. Though the area has grown more Democratic in recent years, the GOP likely still has the edge here. The Republican nominee is Angie Chen Button, a marketing manager at Texas Instruments. She won the GOP primary over right-wing former Garland City Councilman Randy Dunning. Button was the more moderate choice. She has even given money to Democratic candidates in Dallas. Born in China, Button, 55, came to the U.S. on a student visa to earn a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. Dallas attorney Sandra VuLe, 38, is the Democratic candidate. VuLe was 6 years old in 1975 when her family fled to the United States as refugees from the Vietnam War. In a phone interview, VuLe’s enthusiasm is almost palpable. Asked why she decided to runand raise the minimum $300,000 she expects to need for the campaignVuLe says she’s living the “American Dream,” and wants to ensure others have that chance. Her top issue is public education. “I came here as a refugee, and not having any money, everything was dependent on public education,” VuLe says. She wants to give teachers a pay raise and opposes private school vouchers. That could be a flash point in the race against Button, who’s expressed support for vouchers in the past. \(Button didn’t return two calls seekever to run for the Texas Legislature. If she wins, she says she would be the first Vietnamese-American woman ever elected to a state legislature in the United States. That would be quite a change from state Rep. Fred Hill, the 68-year-old Republican moderate who’s represented the district since 1989. \(Hill is retiring after a session in which he “Now their choices are two Asian-American women:’ VuLe says. “I think that’s wonderful.” Whoever wins will be the only Asian-American woman in the 150-member Texas House. Dave Mann COORDINATED EFFORT DISTRIOT 133 ITWhat a difference two years can make. In 2006, Democrat Kristi Thibaut ran in Southwest Houston’s District 133 a House seat long held by Republicans. A novice, Thibaut started late, executed a poorly conceived campaign strategy, and failed to raise enough money. She lost to Jim Murphy, board chairman of Houston Community College, in an election that drew fewer than 21,000 voters. “Last cycle it was so incredibly difficult to get anyone interested,” Thibaut says now. Not so this year. This time around, Houston is the epicenter of Democratic efforts statewide. A massive, coordinated campaign is in motion to turn Harris County Democratic and replicate what happened in Dallas in 2006. Independent organizations are working to register and turn out Democrats in the district. Contact us and we’ll send a FREE Observer to your friends! For your referral you’ll get the option to extend your Observer subscription for one year at a discounted rate!