The Exchange Club of Killeen hosted local representatives from the Democratic and Republican parties at its weekly meeting Monday.

Marianne Miller, chairwoman of the Bell County Democrats, said Bell County is “deeply purple,” with the county’s registered Republican and Democratic voters being nearly split evenly.

“We are on the verge of becoming a Democratic county,” she said. “We are deeply purple, and that is especially true for the Killeen-Harker Heights area.”

Miller also used the floor to encourage residents to get out and vote in the coming elections.

“If you go back to the presidential election, you will see that the president carried Bell County,” she said. “It was a strong turnout and we need that strong turnout to continue.”

Michael Johnson, precinct chairman for Precinct 202 in Harker Heights, spoke at the meeting on behalf of

Republicans of Bell County Chairwoman Nancy Boston. Johnson used the floor to inform the Exchange Club members about the foundation of the Republican Party and its beliefs.

“We believe that God created all of us equal; we believe that God endowed us with unalienable rights,” he said. “We believe that the government exists for one thing and one thing only, and that is to secure our rights.”

Johnson said the party stands on the ideal that the government’s power is derived from the people’s consent.

“We believe that the federal government has no powers other than those that are in the black-lettered words of the Constitution. For Congress, the courts or the president to claim any other powers than those in the document, we believe that is unjust and illegitimate. We believe the same hold true for Texas in the state constitution.”

Dick Young, an Exchange Club member, asked the party representative if voters tend to vote strictly within party lines.

Miller said age groups play a factor, with older voters being “hard-core” Republican. She said the Democratic Party is seeing an influx in younger voters who are moving toward the left politically.

“I find that more folks are wanting to hear what the candidates are about,” she said.

Johnson said he believes fewer people are voting on a straight-party ticket.

“Most people ... vote for a candidate who best represents their interests,” he said.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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