By Alicia Lacy

Killeen Daily Herald

Two Copperas Cove City Council hopefuls received endorsements Wednesday from the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors.

The association has officially endorsed Place 3 candidate Michael Zehr and Place 5 candidate Bill Stephens, following a candidate interview panel conducted on Jan. 22.

"These two candidates will bring a new face to the city council with new ideas and both have a passion to work to change the perception and effectiveness of Copperas Cove city government," FHAAR Government Affairs Committee Chair Michael DeHart said.

FHAAR, 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, but only four participated.

"Only four accepted the invitation. We had the option to support one or more of the candidates," DeHart said.

The four participants were Stephens, Charlie Youngs, Zehr and David Wilson.

"I would like to say thank you to the FHAAR and TAR for the campaign support. It will help me get the word out that we need to elect a good city council and help get Copperas Cove headed in the right direction," Zehr said.

The nine candidates,

Cheryl Meredith and Youngs, vying for Place 1; Zehr and Chuck Downard for Place 3; Danny Palmer and Joseph Solomon seeking Place 4; and Konrad Kohler, Stephens and Wilson vying for Place 5 were first introduced to Cove residents on Saturday during the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8577 candidate forum where the candidates and Cove voters discussed tax rates and bulk waste fees.

Property tax rates are a major issue for 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.

FHAAR interviews candidates on the local, state and national levels. The TAR Political Action Committee has 90,000 members statewide.

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."

"We believe that our grass-roots support of these two candidates will send a clear signal to the voters of Copperas Cove that the real estate professionals of the area will work closely with these candidates and others to better serve them and protect their property rights."

The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce was scheduled to host the second forum for the candidates Tuesday, but because of the icy roads, the forum was canceled; however, questions were e-mailed to each candidate and can be found at

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.

On Nov. 4, Mayor Pro tem Robert Reeves, Place 3 Councilman Mark Peterson, Place 4 Councilwoman Charlotte Heinze and Place 5 Councilman Ray Don Clayton all were voted out of office. A special election to fill the four vacant seats is set for Feb. 10.

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 or (254) 501-7476.

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