From left to right, candidates House District 5 will be at the Grassroots America forum — Hayes, Davis and Hefner – Picture by Tyler Morning Telegraph

TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH — Texas House District 5 candidate Philip Hayes has not been able to produce proof that he graduated from Southern Methodist University, as he has repeatedly claimed throughout his campaign, on his websites and in multiple interviews.

SMU directed the Tyler Paper to its official transcript verification service, National Student Clearinghouse, which shows that Hayes attended SMU from fall of 2009 to December 2011 and indicates no degree, enrollment only.

Contacted Thursday afternoon, Hayes said SMU was in error and that he could produce proof he graduated. He also pledged to contact SMU himself to get the issue resolved.

By Thursday evening, he had neither produced any documentation nor contacted SMU.

In an editorial board interview with the Tyler Paper on February 4, Hayes spoke about his education and his undergraduate and graduate degrees. His master’s thesis was on President Andrew Jackson, he said.

Hayes’ campaign website says, “After graduating from Southern Methodist University, he returned home to East Texas to serve on the Hideaway, TX city council.”

According to his business website, Industrial Cleaning Solutions, “He completed his undergrad and masters at SMU in Dallas and is a PhD candidate in American History at the University of Texas at Austin.”

Hayes won a debate scholarship to SMU in 2008 with an estimated value of $150,000.

In a conference call on Thursday, Hayes said he attended SMU from fall 2009 to fall 2013 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in American history. His name did not appear in SMU’s December 2013 commencement program.

Hayes said Thursday he had trouble adjusting to college life as a freshman and was put on academic probation, but with the help of classes at Tyler Junior College, he was able to overcome those early struggles.

He said he had copy of his transcript and degree but did not produce those documents.

Hayes, 25, announced his candidacy for the House District 5 seat in September. He said he’s the most experienced candidate in the race, having served two terms on the Hideaway City Council and as a campaign staffer to Gov. Greg Abbott and legislative aide to state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels.

Hayes faces four other candidates in the March 1 Republican primary election – Randy Davis, Holly Coggins Hayes, Cole Hefner and Jay Misenheimer.

Early voting runs through Feb. 26.

Published on Thursday, 18 February 2016 20:37 – Written by ADAM RUSSELL and ROY MAYNARD