There are multiple races in the Central Texas area for the Nov. 7 election, and residents are preparing to cast their votes.
The Copperas Cove City Council and Nolanville City Council both have contested seats on the Nov. 7 ballot, as well as the Copperas Cove Independent School District and the Gatesville Independent School District.
Copperas Cove residents will also have a chance to vote on whether or not to create a municipal development district. If it passes, a future vote would be scheduled to dissolve the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Some city officials want the municipal development district to take the place of the EDC.
Texas residents across the state will also be able to vote on seven constitutional amendments proposed by the state legislature.
Early voting for the election is from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3.
The last day to register to vote is Oct. 10.
The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is Oct. 27. The last day ballots by mail will be accepted is Nov. 7.
Ten candidates will by vying for five spots in local government in Copperas Cove.
Five candidates will be seeking two positions on the City Council in places 6 and 7. Another five candidates will be attempting to fill three positions on the Copperas Cove Independent School District school board.
Here is a rundown of the races:
CITY COUNCIL — PLACE 6
This sets up to be the most interesting of the five races in Copperas Cove. Former Economic Development Corporation Chairman Marc Payne faces John Hull, a former Cove mayor, and Danny Palmer, a former council member.
Current Councilman George Duncan did not seek re-election.
Payne was dismissed by the City Council earlier this month from the EDC. He registered to run for the office prior to being dismissed by the council.
“We need to keep the EDC ... it was put in by voters,” Payne said at a candidate’s forum Saturday.
Palmer served for two terms on the council and Hull served as mayor.
Palmer said he wants to be the voice of the people. “If I see you, I always stop and talk to you,” Palmer said Saturday. “I enjoy living here.”
Hull has experience at all levels as a mayor, city council member and CCISD board member.
“I have lived in Copperas Cove for 84 years,” Hull said. “It is my love and joy.”
The term of the position is three years.
CITY COUNCIL — PLACE 7
Incumbent Matthew Russell will face off against Charles Youngs for the three-year seat.
Russell is a retired colonel and the incumbent on the board. “The city has done a lot of great things over the years,” Russell said. “Look at the services and quality of life in our city.”
Youngs is also retired from the military, but says he is not a “happy camper” in relationship to how the city has been operated the last few years.
“The city has done everything it can to destroy programs,” Youngs said.
COPPERAS COVE ISD BOARD — PLACE 5
Incumbent Bob Weiss will face off against Jeff Gorres in an unexpired term. The position expires November 2019.
Weiss was in Washington, D.C., Saturday discussing federal impact aid. The district expects to lose $12 million in impact aid over the next three years. Weiss was a teacher and administrator in the district and has served on the school board for 12 years.
Gorres has children in all levels of Copperas Cove ISD. He has been active in the PTA, booster club and other committees. “The district is sure to face tough financial situations in the coming years,” Gorres said. “We need to be able to provide the necessary tools for our teachers, staff and administrators.”
COPPERAS COVE ISD BOARD — PLACE 6
John Gallen will face incumbent Jim Copeland for a three-year term. Copeland said the district has a good board and needs to keep it going.
“We need to keep the team together,” Copeland said. “There are three former administrators on the board right now.”
Gallen said his four children graduated from Copperas Cove and now has four grandchildren in the district.
“We chose Copperas Cove because of the school district,” Gallen said. “Sometimes the team needs to be changed.”
COPPERAS COVE ISD BOARD — PLACE 7
Dr. Karen Harrison is running unopposed for the three-year term.
SPECIAL ELECTION IN COVE — PROPOSITION A
A yes vote on proposition A will create the Copperas Cove Municipal Development District and the imposition of a sales and use tax at the rate of three-eighth percent for the purpose of financing development projects beneficial to the district. The city would have to hold a separate election to eliminate the Economic Development Corporation.
Three seats will appear on the Novanville ballot in November; two incumbent council members are unopposed for re-election and one is facing a challenger.
Incumbent Lawrence Butch Reis is running unopposed for a two-year term in Seat 2.
David C. Williams II, also an incumbent, is running unopposed for a two-year term in Seat 4.
Lynn Bilberry, the incumbent in Seat 5, will face off against Dennis K. Biggs.
Bilberry, who is running for his second term on the council, said, “I hope residents will look at my record over the past two years and the part I’ve played in supporting the decisions that have made by the council to enhance, beautify, renovate and improve the quality of life in the city. I want to serve and do what I can to help the city of Nolanville especially in the infrastructure arena.”
Biggs, having served as mayor for one year and as a councilmember, said, “I see growth potential for the city that the council hasn’t thought of. I hope someone sponsors a forum that will give the residents a better idea of who we are and allow them to ask questions. Lynn has done a good job and I believe it will be a close race.”
Also on the Nov. 7 election ballot will also be a proposition for residents to cast votes concerning the reauthorization of local sales tax and use tax.
The proposition states, “The reauthorization of the local sales and use tax in the city of Nolanville, Texas at the rate of ¼ of one percent to continue providing revenue for maintenance and repair of municipal streets. The tax expires on the fourth anniversary of the date of this election unless the imposition of the tax is reauthorized.
City Manager Kara Escajeda told the Herald that passage of the proposition is important to the improvement in the quality of life in the city. “This is critical to keep moving forward with a repairs and preventive maintenance over the next several years,” she said.
The November election for three councilman seats has been cancelled, according to documents provided by the clerk. Three citizens will be running unopposed for three seats. David Mitchell will become the Ward 1, Place 1 council member; Meredith Rainer will be elected as the Ward 1, Place 3 councilman; and Ronnie Viss becomes the Ward 2, Place 5 councilman.
GATESVILLE SCHOOL BOARD
Fourteen people are running for three at-large seats on the Gatesville Independent School District Board of Trustees.
All three incumbents are seeking reelection to the GISD board.
Lisbeth Graham Appelman, 44, lists her occupation as a homebuilder who has lived in Gatesville for eight years.
Deborah Crosby Ford, 52, is a homemaker who has lived her entire life in Gatesville.
Stephen A. Norris, 68, has served on the GISD board since 1984. He is a physician who has lived in Gatesville for 37 years.
Those incumbents are being challenged by 11 others, including a high school student.
Ryan Coggins turned 18 in July. He’s a senior at Gatesville High School and president of the student council.
He’s also a candidate for one of those three GISD seats.
“I can best represent students because I am a student,” Coggins said, which gives him a unique perspective.
He wants to bring a “younger vision” to the GISD board.
Bringing technological updates to the district is also important to Coggins. He proposes live streaming board meetings, as well as integrating digital textbooks and mobile devices into the district classrooms.
Coggins assisted with the creation of the first recognized Neighborhood Watch program in Coryell County when he was just 14. He’s helping organized the annual Veteran’s Day program at Gatesville High School. Once he graduates next spring, he plans to study accounting at McLellan Community College in Waco. Eventually, he wishes to earn a degree in political science and pursue a career in politics.
Lisa Pruitt Bankhead, 45, manages her family’s business, Pruitt Shell. She’s lived in Texas her entire life, most of those in Gatesville.
Bankhead believes her adminstrative and financial experience, leadership skills and ability to create new ideas would make her an asset to the GISD board.
She currently has two sons attending schools in GISD, and is a graduate of the district. Her plans, if elected, are to work with teachers and administrators to move forward with positive ideas to improve the school district.
Charles Alderson, 71, is retired, having spent 40 of his 50 years in public education in the Gatesville ISD.
Alderson served as teacher, coach, assistant principal at junior high and high school levels, alternative education administrator, district textbook coordinator and attendance officer.
If elected, Alderson plans to “listen to the concerns of the community, support their values, and give them honest answers to their questions and inquiries.”
Increasing transparency and using technology are important to Alderson, who wishes to see plans implemented which provides computers to all students to facilitate completion of their school work.
“I believe technology is the future of education,” Alderson said.
Joseph Campbell, 42, is president/CEO of V2R Masonry in Gatesville. He has lived in the area for six years.
Campbell sees himself as bringing a new voice to the board. As a parent and citizen, “The goal I wish to accomplish with GISD as a board member is to rebuild the breakdown between the educator administrator and citizens.”
Working with those who wish to restore the district’s image and curriculum to one which meets the needs of the students is key for Campbell.
“I am very much a believer in ‘it isn’t who’s wrong it’s what’s wrong’ and I will use that approach to reenergize the board, teachers, students and parents to become active in the future of our district,” Campbell said.
Rob Erwin, 58, has lived in Gatesville his entire life. He is a haul truck driver for TTG Utilities.
Erwin previously served on the GISD board for one term. Three generations of his family graduated from GISD, with his grandsons currently attending schools in the district.
“I am very concerned about a number of policies that have been adopted by the current members of the Board of Trustees,” Erwin said.
Board members should be informed of all aspects of the operations and budget, and be willing to ask the difficult questions, Erwin added.
Tony Fernandez, 45, is assistant manager for Micobe, Inc. in Hamilton. He is a life-long Texas resident, with most of that spent living in Gatesville.
Fernandez believes his sheer desire and ambition to be the best representative of the student body, parents and community would make him an asset to the GISD board.
Three of Fernandez’s children have graduated from GISD, with his youngest still in high school. He is bilingual, and has volunteered at Friday home football games.
David Fincher, 59, has lived his entire life in Gatesville. He is self-employed, working in auto body repair.
Stephen Minton, 34, is a hazmat truck driver, who has lived in Gateville for 10 years.
Minton has two children in GISD schools. He believes his attention to detail and practice of working hard to get things done in a timely manner would make him a good addition to the GISD board.
“I would need to see what’s already in place and being planned,” Minton said about how he would approach future projects, if elected.
Katherine Lowrey Sullivant, 67, is retired. She has lived in Gatesville for 25 years.
“I have been involved in education at both the local and state levels writing curriculum and training teachers,” Sullivant said.
Many members of Sullivant’s family have graduated from GISD. She served as the first director of technology in the district.
Sullivant sees the job of the GISD board to create policy and, if elected, will see what plans are brought before the board to move the district forward.
Bruce Thoms, 43, has lived in Gatesville for 15 years. He serves as director of special operation command programs for a defense company.
Thoms serves on the GISD Strategic Planning Committee as well as the Action Team. “We established the vision, mission, and goals for GISD implementation,” Thoms said.
Thoms sees where GISD is going through “growing pains” as changes are implemented. “There is some confusion on the strategy and the long term plan that is guiding these changes and the communication and explanation of these policies.”
Seeking out feedback from parents and students is something about which Thoms feels strongly. He would participate in town hall meetings, student organization sessions and speak at community organizations and churches to keep the lines of communication open.
“I want to reintroduce the school board to the community and parents,” Thoms said.
John Westbrook, 60, is an educational consultant who has lived in Gatesville for 35 years.
Over a 32 year period, Westbrook served in Gatesville ISD as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal of Gatesville High School.
If elected, “I would listen to the issues that are important to parents, teachers, students, and administrators in the district,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook believes in the ability of GISD to provide a quality educational experience to its students.
“I simply wish to make certain that all district efforts are directed toward meaningful academic achievement opportunities for all students,” Westbrook said.