Herald/David Morris - Killeen City Councilman Otis Evans speaks to members of the Central Texas Homebuilders Association during its monthly meeting, in Harker Heights. Candidates endorsed by the Homebuilders Association from Harker Heights, Killeen and Copperas Cove shared their views and ideas during a brief introduction Thursday afternoon.

By Don Bolding

Killeen Daily Herald

City council candidates invited to a luncheon by the Central Texas Homebuilders Association Thursday pledged to do their best to look out for the interests of the construction industry and all their constituents.

Association officials invited candidates they endorsed in council races in Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove. The only candidate present with no opponent was Cove council candidate Cheryl Meredith.

The others were Killeen District 1 candidate Kenny Wells, Killeen District 3 candidate JoAnn Purser, incumbent Killeen District 4 candidate Otis Evans; Heights Place 5 candidate Spencer Smith; incumbent Cove Mayor John Hull; and Cove Place 2 candidate Mark Peterson.

Killeen District 2 candidate Juan Rivera was not present. Neither was Heights Place 2 candidate Sam Murphey, but his daughter Kitty Corsi represented him.

Wells, emphasizing the importance of each individual's vote, said the last time he ran for office, he won by just 288 votes.

"Just a few votes can make a difference," he said. "I intend to support all our communities' life. My guiding principle is to give back more than I get."

Purser, who heads Bentina Homes, said, "I believe in education and job opportunities. We need Texas A&M-Central Texas, and the only way we'll get the numbers to establish and sustain it is to grow our population."

Her four-way race has been hotly contested over proposed restrictions on lot sizes, which she opposes.

Evans said he originally came from Washington County near Brenham and graduated from Prairie View College, now Prairie View A&M.

Evans praised the area's low cost of living and said he will work to ensure a "level playing field" for all residents.

"We need to turn the negativity about the construction industry around with a positive public relations program," he said. "We need to fight myths like the one that says high density produces slums. People produce slums."

Corsi said she and her family are longtime Central Texas residents. She said her father was on the Heights planning and zoning commission for six years and the Chamber of Commerce board for 10.

"He's committed to respecting property values and providing a high quality of life for all residents," she said.

Smith, a military retiree, said he was a Marine aviator for 23 years and has lived in Central Texas since 1997. He is now an independent in-house financial adviser with the accounting firm of Lott Vernon & Co. "I was on the planning and zoning commission for six years. I'm up to date on the issues. I'll say that Heights is fortunate to have blue-chippers in all positions.

"I've been a volunteer for many years. I'm ready to get a little deeper into matters," Smith said.

Hull, a Cove native, said, "I've served on the school board. I was a county judge for 12 years and a county commissioner for eight."

Peterson, a military retiree, said he looked forward to the construction of Cove's 1 million-square-foot open-air mall and said he wants "responsible completion" to avoid a city tax increase.

"We'd like to see a tax decrease, but we all know that won't happen," said Peterson, who has lived in Cove for 33 years.

Early voting is from April 27 to May 5, and election day is May 9.

Contact Don Bolding at dbolding@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7557.

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