By Michelle Guffey
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON The One Spirit Exchange Club of Killeen hosted 11 candidates at the Oriental Cafe No. 1 in a political forum Thursday night for Bell County candidates running in the March 7 primaries.
The packed house welcomed individuals running for District 54 state representative, Precinct 2 and 4 Bell County commissioners, county clerk, county court-at-law No. 2, and U.S. Congress, District 31.
Three candidates for District 54 state representative started the evening off Republicans Dan Corbin and Jimmie Aycock, and Democrat Ed Lindsay.
Corbin, an attorney and former Killeen City Council member, promised the group that he would not accept political contributions from special interest groups.
I will represent all the people of the 54th District not just the special interest groups, he said. Corbin told the group that, as a council member, he has fought for fiscal responsibility and said that the unfunded mandates from Austin need to stop.
Aycock agreed with Corbin about the unfunded mandates, saying that there needs to be a smaller government that is more efficient and said education was important.
I think we can cut costs in education while improving education, he said.
Lindsay, who ran for the office two years ago, said that he was here to represent the people.
I did not accept a dime two years ago from special interest groups and I have not accepted a dime this time, he said.
The incumbent Precinct 2 County Commissioner, Tim Brown, commented that he found the gathering at the cafe very interesting because it reminded him of his years at college.
One of the most interesting thing about a university is its an international experience, he said. Bell County is an international community.
Killeen City Councilmember Richard Dick Young has served on the city council for six years.
I want to take those issues that are important to you and fight for them at the county level, he said.
The incumbent Precinct 4 County Commissioner, John Fisher, said that he has appreciated the last three years as county commissioner.
My heart is in the community, he said. We do a lot of things that affect your daily lives.
Killeen Mayor Maureen Jouett, who is challenging Fisher for the Precinct 4 seat, said that in order to serve people, it is important to know them and to love them.
Everything I have done has been done to help me better serve you, she said.
Businessman Doyle Dickens said that the day he decided to run for Precinct 4 county commissioner was the day the county started building the new district courthouse.
We lost the Democratic process when the commissioners went ahead and built it, he said. The majority vote does not rule anymore.
Temple attorney John Mischtian is one of three lawyers running for the vacant judgeship of county court-at-law No. 2.
I believe that our courts are a crucial part of what makes our country great because our courts are the place where everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, he said.
Temple Attorney Bob Barina said that he has put his heart into his practice.
The problem we have is judges who have never practiced the kind of law that comes before them, he said. If you follow the law, things will turn out the way they are supposed to.
Candidate for county clerk, Shelley Coston, said she could not fill longtime county clerk Vada Suttons shoes but had the experience to to the job.
I have daily interaction within the county clerks office, she said. I am the most qualified person running.
Contact Michelle Guffey at email@example.com