Herald/Steven Doll - From top: District 55 Democratic candidate Sam Murphey; District 54 Republican incumbent Jimmie Don Aycock; and District 55 candidate Republican Ralph Sheffield’s representative, Scott Radcliffe, each take a turns speaking at the Killeen Exchange Club’s meeting Monday at Yank Sing restaurant.

By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

The state representative candidates for districts 55 and 54 – sans Republican Ralph Sheffield and the Libertarian candidates – appeared at Yank Sing in Killeen for some food and a little debate at the grace of the Killeen Exchange Club on Monday.

Sheffield was attending a political rally with Texas Rail Road Commissioner Michael Williams, said Scott Radcliffe, who spoke for Sheffield at the event.

District 54 Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen), Democratic District 55 candidate Sam Murphey and independent District 55 special election candidate Danny Daniels received a chance to speak for three minutes about themselves and their platform before being asked questions from the crowd of about 30 people.

The candidates spoke in the order they arrived.

Murphey has spent his adult life dedicated to public service from serving 20 years in the Army to serving under U.S. Rep. Chet Ewards (D-Waco), he said.

"I want to go to Austin and fight to get things done," Murphey said. "In Austin, I will serve our interest, not the special interest."

Sheffield has taken pride in serving his community as a business owner and wants to give back to his community, Radcliffe said. Sheffield will get things done, he added.

"He will get things done not only with representatives in Austin, but also those in Washington, (D.C.)," Radcliffe said, explaining Sheffield will work alongside U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock), U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, (R-Texas), and others.

Aycock spoke about his accomplishments in his first term and the things he will continue to fight for, including the establishment of Texas A&M-Central Texas, he said.

"Most of you know my heart is in education," Aycock said, noting his background in various school boards. "Education is the future of Texas."

Taking over former Rep. Dianne Delisi's last two months would give Daniel a chance to advocate against child abuse, he said.

The questions fielded from the attendees mostly concerned education, including school vouchers and judging the performance of teachers.

Radcliffe was not allowed to answer questions on Sheffield's behalf, and Daniel declined to answer.

Murphey said he is against vouchers.

"I am absolutely against spending public money on private schools," Murphey said.

Aycock said if private schools get public money, they should have the same standards and be held to the same accountability as public schools.

The problem with accountability isn't the teachers, Murphey said. Teachers don't get to pick their students. The administrators should have more tools to help and manage teachers that are having problems.

"All the teacher organizations say one size fits all, and I don't agree with that," Aycock said.

Daniel advocated having a full-term representative that is willing to work with other representatives.

"We don't want people that will pick a fight," Daniel said. "We need someone that is going down to Austin to work together."

Aycock, during his three minute introduction, stated how important it is for people to vote.

"Don't forget to go vote," Aycock said. "It doesn't matter who you vote for. Those in Austin watch the votes."

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7554.

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