Spriester Sessions: State Rep. John Kuempel on being targeted by Gov. Greg Abbott over school vouchers

Kuempel faces challenge from former state Rep. Alan Schoolcraft for GOP nomination for Texas House District 44

Long-time state Rep. John Kuempel faces perhaps the toughest test of his political career when he faces former state lawmaker Alan Schoolcraft for the Republican nomination for Texas House District 44 in the Texas Primary runoff election.

Kuempel, a Seguin native, has been a reliable Republican vote in Austin for 13 years.

That was until last year when Gov. Greg Abbott asked lawmakers to tackle school vouchers for Texas parents to help them pay for private school. Kuempel joined Democrats and two dozen other Republicans to torpedo Abbott’s school voucher push in April 2023.

Four special sessions later, no school voucher legislation made it to Abbott’s desk for him to sign, infuriating the governor, who promised to go after the rebellious Republicans in the March Primary election by supporting the challenger(s) over the incumbents. That includes Kuempel. Schoolcraft is for school vouchers.

“I think that’s the defining difference between the both of us. I’m supporting a system that, you know, we can see from other states, that just doesn’t work. Just from a basic economic standpoint, the cost of it would be debilitating for my communities, my schools (and) our local economies. And I’m just not going to stand for it and watch it go,” said Kuempel, who recently sat down for a Spriester Sessions interview. Watch the video at the top of this article.

Kuempel said despite being “targeted” by Abbott, he wouldn’t change his stance on school vouchers.

“Sitting here today, what I’ve gone through, if that vote was in front of me right now, I’d take the same exact vote,” he said.

The winner of the May 28 runoff will face Democrat Santos Limon, a civil engineer and small business owner, in the November General Election.

Find out why Schoolcraft supports school vouchers in the Spriester Sessions interview below:

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Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

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