Star-Telegram adding conservative columnists to write about local issues. Here’s why

·3 min read

At the Star-Telegram, we’re always looking for ways to better serve — and expand — our audience.

One area in which we’ve observed a dearth of content is conservative commentary on local and state issues. We’re moving to fix that by creating a group of right-of-center contributors to write monthly opinion columns. One piece will appear each week.

These won’t be hot takes on the latest news out of Washington. We’ve asked these writers to focus on Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be provincial, either.

In defining local news, I’ve often argued that news about state government and politics is as important as coverage of your county or city, encompassing the taxes you pay, the schools in your community, healthcare issues and much more. In Texas, border security and immigration are local issues, too. Our new contributors are keen observers of the state and local scene, and they’re well-equipped to weigh in on a variety of topics.

While we’ve deliberately sought out conservative writers, we believe these pieces will be of broad interest. One of the well-established limitations plaguing our politics is the existence of “bubbles,” in which too many of us aren’t exposed to ideas and arguments we disagree with. Knowing how “the other side” thinks is the best way to sharpen your own views and move the conversation forward.

We remain committed to balance on our Opinion pages. We’ll feature plenty of liberal and center-left writers, as always, and continue to seek opportunities for guest writers to broaden the viewpoints we present.

Let me introduce you to the contributors:

Fort Worth Star-Telegram conservative opinion contributors. Top left: Brian Byrd; top right: Tom Giovanetti; bottom left: Carlos Turcios; bottom right: Susan Wright.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram conservative opinion contributors. Top left: Brian Byrd; top right: Tom Giovanetti; bottom left: Carlos Turcios; bottom right: Susan Wright.

Brian Byrd is a former Fort Worth City Council member and mayoral candidate. Byrd, 51, is a physician and small business owner who lives in west Fort Worth.

Byrd said he is looking forward to driving discussion about issues facing his “beloved hometown,” such as COVID-19, police oversight and redistricting.

Tom Giovanetti is president of the Institute for Policy Innovation, an Irving-based conservative think tank. He lives in Copper Canyon in Denton County. He aims to bring a free-market perspective to local issues.

“I’m a Reaganite, not a populist, and I am as willing to criticize my own side as I am the other side,” he said.

Carlos Turcios, 20, is a student at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he’s majoring in political science. He’s a Republican Party precinct chairman and has gained attention for his activism on education issues in the Fort Worth school district.

Turcios said he’s looking forward to sharing conservative perspectives on “education, immigration and other social issues that have an effect in the community.”

Susan Wright is an Arlington political veteran who is a member of the State Republican Executive Committee and a Tarrant County GOP precinct chairwoman. Wright, 59, has been a district director for two state House members. She ran for Congress last year in the race to succeed her husband, the late Rep. Ron Wright.

“I’ve been on the ground in our community witnessing first hand the real issues that affect people’s lives,” she said. “I’m excited to share my perspective on how our current politics work, and don’t work, for the people of Tarrant County.”

In addition to this talented group, we’ve recently added a new full-time opinion writer, Nicole Russell, who is bringing her perspective as a political veteran to our Editorial Board. And we will soon announce new members of our Community Advisory Board, a group of engaged citizens we ask to weigh in on important issues of the day as the Editorial Board deliberates.

I hope you find our expanded Opinion offers interesting, engaging, even a little entertaining. And as always, I invite you to contribute to the debate with Letters to the Editor; just email letters@star-telegram.com.

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