• October 21, 2014

Political changes aplenty in store for Central Texas

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Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 10:10 am, Mon Feb 17, 2014.

By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

Central Texas politics were dynamic in 2007.

State Rep. Dianne White Delisi, R-Temple, announced she would not seek another term in the House after she completes the remaining 15 months of her present term, and there has been a scramble by several people wanting the position.

Delisi, 64, represents eastern Killeen, Fort Hood, Harker Heights, Nolanville, Belton, Temple, Troy, Salado, Holland, Rogers and Little River-Academy.

A nine-term lawmaker, Delisi is chair of the Select Committee on State Health Expenditures, a member of the Defense Affairs and State Federal Relations Committee and the Energy Resources Committee. She is chair of the Salary and Benefits Subcommittee of the House Select Committee on Public School Finance.

Several people have thrown their hats in the ring. Republicans who filed for the District 55 seat include Martha Tyroch, Michael Pearce, Ralph Sheffield and John Alaniz. Samuel Murphey, a Democrat from Harker Heights, has also filed to run for that office. Less than a month after Delisi announced her resignation, the aforementioned candidates said they intended to run.

While Delisi is on her way out, state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, just got in. Aycock completed his freshman year in the House and started work getting input for priorities in the next session.

One of the lessons he learned as a freshman legislator is that much of the budget is virtually spent before the legislative session starts.

"Most of that money ... has been set in place," Aycock said at a meeting he called in October.

On the more local level, the city of Killeen had its first district-only council races. Residents could vote for only the candidates representing their district. Previously everyone in the city could vote for candidates who did not represent their district.

Council members Juan Rivera, District 2; and Claudia Brown, District 4; got in automatically as they ran uncontested and elections in those districts were canceled.

Former Councilman Dick Young left office in May in the midst of a controversy. As the term-limited councilman left office, he said allegations in an anonymous letter circulated around town were false.

A letter sent the first week of May accused Young of illegal activity and accused a law enforcement officer of not arresting Young.

"I was shocked," Young said about first hearing about the letter.

The letter accuses Young of being caught by "a law enforcement officer" having sex with a minor and not being arrested because of the "good ole boy" policy.

The letter the Killeen Daily Herald received was postmarked May 5. On May 8, the Killeen City Council passed an ordinance, authored by Young, to make it tougher for registered child sex offenders to live in the city.

Young said he has only theories about the motivation behind the letter, but believes it could be connected to the ordinance he championed.

"They wanted me to see what it was like to be labeled unjustly," Young said.

Elsewhere in Central Texas, voters in the Copperas Cove Independent School District said "No" to setting the tax rate 13 cents higher than the $1.04 set by the state. The question in the November election was turned down 1,139 (65.76 percent) to 593 (34.24 percent).

By paying an additional 13 cents per $100 valuation, taxpayers would have been building an interest-bearing savings fund, school officials said. Those funds would have been subsidized by an additional $2 paid by the state for every dollar paid by the taxpayers.

Lampasas County will not be getting a new jail, not through bonds anyway.

In November, voters were asked for a $20 million bond to build a new jail including 144 beds and 10,000 square feet for offices.

Businesses in Salado can now sell beer and wine. A referendum went to voters in November asking for expanded liquor sales.

In the election, 485 (78.22 percent) voted in favor of expanding sales while 135 (21.78 percent) voted against it.

A petition by residents prompted the ballot question in the village along Interstate 35. Before the election, only restaurants could serve alcohol.

Temple residents said they wanted improved park facilities in November.

There were 2,153 votes (64.83 percent) for park bonds and 1,168 votes (35.17 percent) against.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at ksmith@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7550

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