Freshman Representative John Wray is not new to public service. Prior to being elected to the Texas House of Representatives he served on Waxahachie's city council and later served as Mayor. He shared with me that his proudest moment as an elected official thus far was his time spent serving as Waxahachie's Mayor.
“We were able to rearrange priorities in my city, including spending priorities, and really address some much needed public health, safety, and infrastructure needs. We were able to build a new fire station, and were able to rehab a number of streets and utility lines that were very much in need and had been put off. We accomplished those things, and I was really excited about that,” said Representative Wray.
Representative Wray continued to get things done as a first-term House Member. As a freshman, he was assigned to two powerful committees, Ways & Means and Homeland Security & Public Safety. During his time on the Ways & Means committee, he was instrumental in passing nearly $4 billion in tax relief. In addition, his seat on Homeland Security & Public Safety afforded him the opportunity to work on Texas’ new border security plan that includes hundreds of new State Troopers assigned to the border region.
The principle of public service was instilled in Representative Wray from a young age. “I grew up in such a way that my mom and grandmothers took me to church every time the doors were open. And growing up, there was always an opportunity to collect cereal boxes or to help a cause and make a difference- I was encouraged to participate in that, and it stuck with me,” he said.
Like Texas, House District 10 is experiencing rapid growth. District 10 is a mix of rural and suburban areas and has four major highway corridors passing through it, making transportation a priority issue for the region. The 84th Legislature addressed transportation issues in a big way. For the first time in decades, the entirety of the State Highway Fund will be used for transportation, instead of funds being diverted to other programs as has occurred in the past. This change increases transportation funding by $1.3 billion over the next two years. House Republicans, like Representative Wray, also helped to pass Senate Joint Resolution 5 that will annually dedicate at least $2.5 billion of state sales tax revenue to non-tolled highway construction.
John identified as a Republican from a young age thanks to an interest in economics, which would lead him to pursue a minor in economics at Texas A&M. He enjoyed learning about economic theory and how taxing and government spending impact the economy. He was also intrigued by politics at a young age, especially the policies of then-President Ronald Reagan. “When Reagan became president, I was 10 years old, and I was very interested in politics even at that age. The whole Reagan message appealed to me, I understood it, and thought it made sense. That is probably the main reason I identify as a Republican,” Representative Wray shared with me.
Despite Texas' legislative sessions abbreviated length, the 140 days that Members of the Texas House and Senate meet every two years can be harrowing and require many sacrifices. As a freshman lawmaker, John effectively contributed to an extremely productive and conservative session. This contribution notably includes legislation he authored to repeal two state taxes with the help of
Comptroller Hegar, and another elevating the Texas State Technical College in Red Oak from an extension center to a campus. He was also proud to pass legislation designating a segment of U.S. Highway 287 as the Chris Kyle Memorial Highway and directing the Governor to posthumously award the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Chris Kyle.
When Representative Wray is not at the Capitol or working in the district he enjoys spending time with his family, especially during college football season. He is also very active in his community and frequently contributes his time to a number of civic and charitable organizations.