Killeen City Council candidates Terry Clark and Michael Lower championed the use of social media during a candidate forum Monday, one week after Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin posted controversial statements about the race.
Redistricting has forced Lower, who currently serves as District 4 councilman and mayor pro tem, to run against the District 3 incumbent Clark, after the two served together for nearly two years.
The District 3 race is the only Killeen contested race in the May 11 election.
Social media has already played a role in this year’s council race, after Corbin chose his popular Facebook page, “Dan Corbin for Mayor,” to publicly endorse Lower in a post last week. The post also criticized Clark.
Clark responded quickly to the mayor’s comments on his own Facebook page and campaign website, terryjclark.com, defending his past decisions.
At Monday’s debate, both candidates acknowledged the role social media can play in city politics.
“You either get on the train or get left behind,” said Lower, an unemployed 54-year-old car sales manager.
Lower, who campaigns on his Facebook page, said many constituents look to forms of media other than the newspaper for information about their city, including websites such as Facebook.
“You have to cater to both of them, and social media is a great tool,” Lower said.
Clark, a 50-year-old technology support specialist at Timber Ridge Elementary School in Killeen, said council members need to consider the appropriateness of their social media use before publishing their beliefs.
He compared the combination of politically charged ideas and Facebook to alcohol and guns: a dangerous mix.
“Write what you want to post, and sit on it for a couple of hours before you just go out and start striking,” Clark said.
The forum was moderated by Mark Hyde, Americanism director at the Killeen Exchange Club.