Mary Lookadoo, the school superintendent in Mineola, was a late entrant into the race against incumbent Bryan Hughes. Ratliff”s endorsement reads, in part: “I don’t often get involved in campaigns. I was happy to serve my area and my state in the Texas Senate, but have taken a step back from being publicly involved. However, on occasion a candidate comes along that I feel strongly enough to support. Mary Lookadoo is such a candidate.” “When I served in the Texas Senate, and as Lt. Governor, there were three things that were constant throughout my time in office: Supporting public education, tort reform aimed at reducing frivolous lawsuits, and standing up for Northeast Texas.” “Because Mary Lookadoo is currently a school superintendent in Mineola, she understands better than most the challenges facing our public schools. She has seen first-hand the increase in unfunded mandates and the draconian budget cuts our schools face as a result of the last few sessions of the Texas Legislature. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to help lead us out of this mess than Mary.” I mention the endorsement because Ratliff’s name still carries considerable weight in East Texas. * * * * This is one of several races in which candidates with school backgrounds are challenging incumbents. These are important races, particularly if public education funding is to be restored. Another such race is Trent Ashby vs. Marva Beck. Attorney general Abbott has endorsed Beck.