Meet Caroline Harris, the 28-year-old conservative who isn’t waiting to run for the Texas legislature
In the past two years, Texas has passed sweeping legislation on issues ranging from abortion to critical race theory to election integrity. The woman who was a driving force behind them, 28-year-old Caroline Harris, is now running for Texas State House District 52.
Shortly after graduating college, Harris joined then-state Rep. Bryan Hughes as a legislative aide, before becoming his policy director after his election to the Texas State Senate. When State Rep. James Talarico (D), moved to Austin to run in a more competitive district, Harris decided it was her turn.
“The America I saw around me looked completely different than the America I grew up in,” Harris said in an interview. “And I was doing a lot of complaining, and I finally just decided, I can continue to complain, or I could do something about what I saw, so I decided to step up and run”.
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Young politicians are a rarity in Texas. At age 28, Harris is just beating out Talarico (elected to office at age 29 in 2019) for youngest representative in the Texas House and is a few years behind legendary representative Sam Rayburn (D), elected to the State House at 24. However, with Talarico and Rayburn both male Democrats, Harris would be the youngest female Republican elected to her position.
Caroline Harris is running for the Texas House.
“Being a female millennial conservative definitely has its challenges,” Harris explained. “In most meetings or situations I’m in, I’m surrounded by men and, on the one hand, I’m so happy to have their experiences and advice. But on the other, I have to make room for myself and say, ‘I’m here for a reason and I deserve to be here,’” she continued. “Winning this election would be exciting because it shows new blood and new excitement in our party, in keeping Texas red, and in keeping the U.S. red because, as we know, as goes Texas, so goes the nation.”
Harris is primarily running on three policy positions: supporting law enforcement, border security, and parental involvement in education. “The State of Texas can make sure we continue to fund efforts in securing the border, especially the wall,” she said. “When I was down there, I asked, ‘Is the wall helpful?’, and it was a resounding ‘yes’ from everyone I talked to. They said it would help funnel individuals coming across, which helps them preserve resources and be able to strategize on how to secure the border better.”
Caroline Harris canvasses and assists with disaster relief after a tornado struck her community in April 2022.
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After advancing to the primary runoff, Harris shared the secrets to her success. “I am working with an organization called Run Gen Z. They have a goal of getting more young people into office, have been successful, and provide mentorship for millennials and Gen-Z running,” she said. “My family has been through a lot, I’m one of 11 children, and every single one of them is absolutely incredible. As a matter of fact, my 87-year-old grandmother came and knocked doors with me, both my grandfathers held a sign for me on Election Day, and they’re my biggest inspiration.”
Caroline Harris helps out after a tornado struck their community in April 2022.
Speaking of being involved as a millennial, Harris said: “I think these days it’s tough to see how you can make a difference, but I’m here to tell you, ‘You can make a difference,’ even if it’s just volunteering on a campaign or calling your state rep to let them know how you think about something. That is work that is important and which makes a change in this world.”
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Additionally, Harris has received endorsements from big names in Texas politics, including Texas Right to Life, Texas Values Action, and Gov. Gregg Abbott, who released a statement endorsing her: “Caroline Harris is a lifelong conservative. Her experience working for conservative priorities with the Legislature will give her constituents a proven fighter with strong pro-life and Second Amendment credentials. I urge everyone in House District 52 to support Caroline Harris.”
The Republican primary runoff between Harris and Patrick McGuinness is on May 24.