By Alicia Lacy
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – As the prospect of a new city council for Copperas Cove quickly nears reality, area organizations have played active roles in the Feb. 10 special election so voters are more educated about the candidates.
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce will host the second forum for the candidates at 7 tonight at the Civic Center. The candidates were first introduced to Cove residents Saturday during the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8577 candidate forum where the candidates and Cove voters discussed tax rates and bulk waste fees.
"The purpose of the forum is to provide a public format citizens can attend," Chamber of Commerce Vice President Betty Price said.
The chamber's governmental affairs committee formulated the questions for the candidates concerning city issues to give voters a better point of view on the candidates.
The chamber is awaiting confirmation from Rich Kaye, the potential moderator for the forum.
The candidates are Cheryl Meredith and Charlie Youngs, vying for Place 1; Michael Zehr and Chuck Downard for Place 3; Danny Palmer and Joseph Solomon seeking Place 4; and Konrad Kohler, Bill Stephens and David Wilson vying for Place 5.
The Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors, which falls under the umbrella organization of the Texas Association of Realtors and National Association of Realtors, recently extended an invitation to all nine of the council prospects to participate in a candidate interview panel.
For many Cove residents, property tax rates are a major issue in the election so FHAAR's government affairs committee wrote up questions for the candidates that included issues like property tax appraisal caps, tax rate increases, eminent domain and other property issues.
The FHAAR interviews candidates on the local, state and national levels. The TAR Political Action Committee has 90,000 members statewide.
FHAAR Government Affairs Committee Chair Michael DeHart said in an e-mail, "FHAAR is very interested in local elections because decisions made at this grass-roots level have a ripple effect on property rights throughout the local community and the state."
DeHart said all the candidates received the same questions and the TAR position for each question.
"Only four accepted the invitation," DeHart said. "We had the option to support one or more of the candidates."
Four candidates, Stephens, Youngs, Zehr and Wilson, were interviewed by the FHAAR government affairs committee Thursday.
The FHAAR will announce today the candidates they will endorse after a vote by the FHAAR board of directors.
On Nov. 4, Mayor Pro Tem Robert Reeves, Place 3 Councilman Peterson, Place 4 Councilwoman Charlotte Heinze and Place 5 Councilman Ray Don Clayton all were voted out of office.
The recall was the result of a petition from Cove resident Diane Steele, who began collecting signatures from residents on May 27.
Contact Alicia Lacy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7476.