By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

A field of 19 candidates in the local election circuit made a pit stop Thursday night to take part in the NAACP's speed round forum at the Killeen Community Center – an event in which candidates from the three races answered as many questions as possible in the time allotted.

It was non-stop for nearly three hours, but all the candidates – 11 of the 12 Killeen City Council candidates, five Harker Heights City Council candidates and three of the four Killeen Independent School District school board candidates – each had an opportunity to personally address those in attendance for two minutes.

While the school board and Heights candidates answered every question, the 11 Killeen candidates, who were all seated up front, had to jockey for position as they volunteered to answer or address some of the hot-button topics.

The coordinated chaos unraveled at times toward the end of the evening as several candidates chose to address or clarify comments made by their opponents earlier in the evening, or bring up a separate topic while ignoring the posed question.

And while not every question was answered, every candidate spoke, and most stayed behind after the forum to answer specific questions from audience members.

Topics ranged from housing density to transportation, but in nearly every case, the challengers in Killeen's districts 3 and 4 demonstrated the most desire in answering questions.

District 2's race features current Councilman Juan Rivera and former longtime Councilman Dick Young, who used the opportunity to trivialize Rivera's original election.

"I think there is a myriad of ways we can go about solving the election location problem, but we can make sure that the districts have a voting opportunity," Young said. "When Mr. Rivera was put into office, there was no election because he had no opponent."

Rivera responded later in the forum, stating that progress is continuing in Killeen.

"Mr. Young is right in saying that I wasn't opposed so there wasn't an election, but I didn't make that decision," Rivera said.

Due to deadline constraints, complete coverage of the forum was unavailable at press time. For more on Thursday's forum, read Saturday's Killeen Daily Herald.

Contact Justin Cox at or (254) 501-7568.

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