DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — Some politicians might adjust their stance on the issues once the ballots are tallied and they’re headed for Austin, but Dawn Buckingham isn’t one of these.
“I’m going to work on the same issues I campaigned on,” she said. “Nothing has changed.”
Buckingham will be sworn in Jan. 10 as the new state senator for District 24, a seat held by Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) since 1997. Fraser did not seek re-election and is retiring from the Texas State Senate.
His retirement left open a seat that covers a wide swath of Texas over 17 counties, reaching from southwest Travis County, across to Bandera County, and all the way up to Abilene. Burnet, Blanco, and Llano counties sit in the heart of the district.
“I put 60,000 miles on my truck this year,” said Buckingham, referring to her campaign trips crisscrossing the district.
Buckingham was in a large field of candidates during the Republican primary and found herself in a runoff against state Rep. Susan King. Buckingham won the runoff and then defeated Democrat Virginia Leeder in the General Election on Nov. 8.
“The take-home message for me is that the folks in this district are such an amazing group of people,” she said.
Buckingham (R-Lakeway) is a practicing oculoplastic and reconstructive surgeon, a physician who specializes in tumors around the eye as well as reconstructing patients’ eyelids.
It might seem like an odd jump from surgeon to the Texas State Senate, but Buckingham sees both as service roles. The senate, though, opens up an opportunity to help even more people.
“I became a doctor to help people,” she said. “As a doctor and surgeon, I can help my patients, and I love doing that. As a member of the senate, I can help millions of people.”
One of the things that led Buckingham to run for state senate was seeing how the government tried to meddle in patient care.
“I realized the government and insurance companies were trying to tell me what was best for my patients,” she said. “I, as a doctor, and working with my patients, we’re the ones who know what’s best for them, not the government or an insurance company.”
Throughout the race, Buckingham stressed the importance of less government, something she said she will carry into her senate term.
“Government should be smaller and easy to understand,” Buckingham said.
Another big issue for which she plans to continue advocating as a state senator is border security. Buckingham pointed out that this is already a topic other state leaders such as Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick support and have worked to strengthen.
The state senate isn’t Buckingham’s first foray into elected office. She previously served as a member of the Lake Travis Independent School District board of trustees. During those years, Buckingham said she worked to reduce unnecessary costs while maintaining high-quality education. Lake Travis ISD is arguably one of the best school districts in the state with a high percentage of students going on to post-secondary education.
One of Buckingham’s goals as a senator is helping parents across the state find the best education for their children. Part of this includes empowering them.
Buckingham said she isn’t changing her tune just because she’s taking office. She plans to stay keyed in to her constituents, though her focus in the coming months will shift some to settling in and governing at the state capitol building in Austin. However, she’ll maintain a network of people who will listen to constituents and pass on their questions and concerns to her during the upcoming legislative session.
Of course, people can contact her through her Texas State Senate office. After the swearing-in ceremony, her contact information can be found at senate.state.tx.us, the official website of the state senate.
While the coming months mean more time in Austin and less time crisscrossing the district, Buckingham sees it as her way of continuing her service to people and tackling the issues that are important to them.
“I’m ready,” she added. “The only thing I’d like to add is we’d like to thank all the people who supported us.”
Then, Buckingham pointed out, the work has really just started.