Tony Tinderholt has large shoes to fill as the possible next District 94 State Representative after current representative Diane Patrick, those who know Patrick said.
Tinderholt defeated Patrick in a close race on Tuesday night with 7,489 votes, or 55.45 percent of the vote. Patrick had 6,018, 44.55 percent, in her favor. The total number of votes was 13,507, according to the Tarrant County Election website.
Patrick looked after the university as a representative and monitored appropriations in various programs, associate professor Allan Saxe said.
UTA needs to reach out to Republican candidate Tony Tinderholt for District 94 State Representative to acquaint him with the university and let him know he is needed, Saxe said.
“He can perform a very important service to UTA as well, so we need to reach out to him immediately,” Saxe said. “I think he’ll be fine. He wants to look after all the big institutions in his district just like she did.”
Patrick had deep connections with UTA because she used to work as an education assistant professor under Jeanne Gerlach, College of Education and Health Professions dean. Patrick has a broad frame of reference in all aspects of education and is one of the most educated people in the legislature in higher education, Gerlach said.
“She was aware of all the issues of the programs,” Gerlach said. “She became our strong advocate in the legislature. She knew the mission and our vision. She was well equipped to represent us from multiple aspects.”
Accomplishments involved with UTA fall under what Patrick is most proud of.
“To author and pass anti-bullying legislation, to reform the public school graduation requirements and to secure funding for the University of Texas at Arlington,” Patrick said were some of her major accomplishments.
Patrick helped secure $5 million to increase nursing graduates, wrote a bill that would help move along university development and held the Education Policy Summit each year at UTA as a representative.
The Education Policy Summit brought stakeholders in education together to learn about education issues, Gerlach said.
Without Patrick, UTA's administration will work with whoever the representative is, Gerlach said. She said she hopes whoever the representative is comes to know the university and champion UTA just as much as Patrick did.
Max Hart, recruitment officer for the College Republicans, said he thinks Tinderholt will pick up where Patrick left off with her support for the university and that he understands the role he will take on.
Hart said he was mildly surprised at Patrick’s defeat.
“I was a bit surprised being that she was an incumbent, but a lot of the Political Action Committees endorsed Tony Tinderholt, so I wasn’t that surprised,” Hart said.
Patrick thanked her community for their support during the race.
“I respect and appreciate the honor of having served our community," Patrick said. "I look forward to continue in that role until January 2015.”