By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

"It's a great time to be a Democrat."

That was the overwhelming message given by Justice Jan Patterson of the 3rd District Court of Appeals during a "Get Out and Vote" rally Tuesday by the Bell County Democratic Party at the Central Texas Home Builders Association in Harker Heights.

The event featured many of the party's candidates who gave their reasons why that statement rings true.

Democratic candidates who spoke at the rally were District 31 congressional candidate Mary Beth Harrell, state representative candidates for District 54 Edward Lindsay and District 55 Bill Smith, as well as 3rd District Court of Appeals candidate Bree Buchanon.

"Passion is the hallmark of the Democratic Party," Patterson said. "As a judge, I'm not supposed to endorse a candidate, but I can support my party."

She spoke about the pride she had in the Democratic Party, noting the accomplishments made by Democratic leaders in the past such as John F. Kennedy. She repeatedly emphasized a motto of "we care" when speaking about some of the issues in Texas, including the low high school graduation rate in Texas, the possible loss of Social Security benefits and the ever-growing national problem of health care.

Mary Beth Harrell discussed her reasoning behind becoming a Democrat.

"Why? Because it's always been a party of opportunity, not a party of opportunists," she said, a statement that drew roars and thunderous applause from the crowd. "This is the greatest country in the world. Democrats have always had a vision of America, and I'm proud to run as a Democrat."

She said that if elected, she wants to be held accountable.

"If we do something wrong, I better hear from you," she said.

Edward Lindsay entertained the crowd with jeers against his rival party, commenting that he believed "there is a virus in the country, a virus of denial, and it's only infecting Republicans."

He also said if he is elected to office, the first thing he would push for is to record the votes of state legislators, because "people need to know how their representatives vote."

"It's time our government started working for citizens instead of corporations," he said.

In his speech, Bill Smith said that as an educator, he had three reasons for running for office: "education, education and education." He also said teachers are starting to get more involved in government, because "we're tired of legislatures telling our teachers how to run their schools."

All candidates will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Contact Justin Cox at

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