As I write this, voters are heading to the polls Tuesday for the primary elections, which traditionally don’t get much turnout.
Military members and civilians alike just don’t show up to the polls unless there’s a big name or big issue on the ballot. Locally, voter turnout was expected to be less than 10 percent.
But people in the military really should take the time to vote in these types of elections. Whether one lives here for three years or 30 years, the people in office are making decisions that affect all of our lives. On Tuesday, a number of issues were on the ballot, including several county leadership positions, a couple of judges and others.
On May 10, area voters will be asked to go to the polls again, this time to vote for new mayors in Killeen and Harker Heights and other city and school board positions.
Also on Tuesday’s primary ballot was a position that represents Fort Hood in Congress. Republican John Carter holds that seat now and is running for re-election. He will face Democrat Louie Minor in November. Both men were unopposed on the primary ballot, therefore getting a “free ride” to the November election.
While Carter is the heavy favorite, I don’t rule out a long-shot win from Minor. The 34-year-old Belton resident is a captain in the Army Reserves and an Iraq combat veteran.
If elected, I’m sure both Minor and Carter would do everything they could to keep Fort Hood strong and growing.
There is, however, a stark difference between Carter and Minor.
Minor is openly gay, and has made headlines in the past couple of months in his quest to become the first openly gay member of Congress from Texas.
Carter voted yes on constitutionally defining marriage as one man one woman and, as far as I know, hasn’t supported anything that might resemble equal treatment for gay or lesbian couples.
The days of “don’t ask, don’t tell” are over, but they are not forgotten. I’d wager that being openly gay in the military still comes with a heavy dose of discrimination and risks for soldiers brave enough to say: “I am gay.”
The laws that affect homosexual individuals and couples are being rewritten, and that will likely continue for the next few years.
Perhaps that is one thing to consider when heading to polls this November.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.