Democratic forum

District 73 Texas House candidate Stephanie Phillips speaks during the Democrats of Comal County candidate forum at Landa Haus on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. WILL WRIGHT / Herald-Zeitung

A small but enthusiastic crowd of local Democrats turned out to hear from candidates seeking party nods in the March 3 primary election.

Democrats of Comal County hosted Thursday night’s two-hour event featuring state, county and local office candidates, attended by about three dozen supporters at Landa Haus in Landa Park. 

Stacey Ford Osborne, DOCC communications chair, gave each candidate or their surrogates five minutes on their own, with each fielding audience questions about the issues. All offered progressive solutions on affordable health care and housing, immigration, expanding Medicare, green energy and more.

“She is an ideals candidate and has a plan for everything,” said Kevin Nash, representing presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren. “The first thing on that plan is taking down (President) Donald Trump.”

Nash said Warren “brings out a large coalition of Democrats, which is something we really need in November.” 

The message that Democrats should not only vote in the March primary but rally to bring out the party base in the fall were also shared by others, including Julie Range, representing Chrysta Castaneda (railroad commissioner); Jennie Lou Leeder and via video Wendy Davis (District 21 U.S. House).

“I’ve learned it’s very important to believe in your values and vote for there they are,” Leeder said. “District 21 needs someone who is from and is vested in this district, and my family has lived and farmed in Kerr County since 1882.

“This district is my home, and where my neighbors, friends and family live – and it’s time we had a voice in Washington D.C. that is one of us.”

Rafael Alcoser III, an insurance broker from San Antonio, said “it’s time for a change” and why he’s challenging long-time incumbent U.S. House Rep. Lloyd Doggett in District 35, which includes portions of Comal and Guadalupe counties.

“We need more progressive candidates, and we need people who are going to be around not just when they need your votes,” Alcoser said. “I come from a huge military family – four generations – and I have strong feelings when it comes to immigration, where we need to bring back all of our deported veterans.”

Rebecca Bell-Metereau (Texas Board of Education District 5 commissioner) wants to end the GOP stranglehold over the kinds of publications used to educate school children.

“We rank 49th in the number of high school graduates – which is pretty shocking,” she said. “The (state board) has picked bad text books and bad curriculum. It has allowed the Texas Education Agency to absolutely dominate those decisions and allowed the assessments industry to dominate our students.

“They are punished if they don’t get good grades on those tests. Teachers now teach to the test, which has a very detrimental effect on education.”

Local candidates Stephanie Phillips (District 73 Texas House) and Lindsay Poisel (Precinct 1 county commissioner) and Colette Nies (Precinct 3 commissioner) said they entered politics as novices to change the status quo.

All three, running unopposed in the primary, will face Republicans on Nov. 3.

“With all of the people running, we are going to make a huge difference in this district,” said Phillips, a Wimberley resident making her second run against incumbent Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) this fall. “We’re going to flip several precincts, and I’m inviting all of you to join us in making an incredible difference in Comal County.”

The DOCC urged all to get out the vote in the primary. Several universal polling sites in Comal and Guadalupe counties will be open during the 11-day early voting period that begins Tuesday and ends Friday, Feb. 28. 

Primary runoff elections, if needed, will be Saturday, May 26. For more, visit Comal County’s elections website, www.co.comal.tx.us/Elections.htm, or the elections link at the Texas Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.state.tx.us.

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