By Robert Nathan

Killeen Daily Herald

Basing his re-election campaign on previous accomplishments in Congress, U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, is seeking a third term representing the 31st Congressional District because he wants to continue his proven track record of representing the people of Central Texas.

Carter was first elected in 2002 and was re-elected in 2004. His congressional seat is being challenged in the Nov. 7 general election by Democrat Mary Beth Harrell of Killeen and Libertarian Matt McAdoo of Thrall.

Since coming to Congress, he has addressed policies that support the military, securing America's borders and those that bolster the American economy.

He said he works regularly with leaders at Fort Hood to address their needs in Washington and makes regular visits to Fort Hood.

As a supporter of the war on terrorism, he said the military must continue its "in your face battle" to those who bring harm to the United States. He feels confident about the military's progress in the war in Iraq.

"I support the great work that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have done in Iraq," he said. "They are giving us much better than we deserve in service.

"One of the great concerns they tell us is the support they get back at home. We owe it to them to support them and their efforts."

On the issue of illegal immigration reform, he supported the House-passed bill and has been a leader in calling for policies that begin by protecting America's border. He said he opposes any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

"They say the first thing you do to stop the bleeding is to go to the border, and I was one of the early voices on we have to defend our nation's border, especially our southern border, because that is where the bleeding is," he said.

He said Congress is investing very seriously in securing the southern border and sending the National Guard to the United States-Mexico border has helped control illegal immigration.

"It has reduced crossings already by 35 percent," he said.

He said the country's visa program needs to be re-worked along with the entire immigration and naturalization system.

Locally, Carter recently addressed transportation funding issues with area leaders by focusing on seeking federal appropriations for U.S. Highway 190 improvements.

Carter serves on the prestigious House Appropriations Committee. He also serves on the Homeland Security Committee, Foreign Operations Committee and the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Committee.

"I have been a voice for Central Texas on issues that are important and I am very proud that I have been able to do a lot to help our veterans and our soldiers," he said.

He also has been a member of the Education, Workforce, Judiciary and Government Reform committees.

Carter consistently touts what he terms a tough stance on crime. He sponsored the Identity Theft bill. The bill, passed into law in July 2004, makes identity theft easier to prove and prosecute and also defines and creates punishment for aggravated identity theft.

He said he has proposed a House bill calling for a terrorist death penalty for those who commit terrorist acts on American soil.

He said his first achievement while serving in Congress was becoming an effective leader from the beginning.

Carter bears the nickname of "Judge" in Washington because he served 20 years as a judge.

In 1981, Carter was appointed the judge of the 277th District Court of Williamson County and was elected district judge in 1982. Before becoming a judge, Carter practiced law. He also served as municipal judge in Round Rock.

As an attorney, Carter represented the Round Rock and Williamson County communities through their first booming phases of growth and continues to support and guide today's growth.

Carter was born and raised in Houston and has spent his adult life in Central Texas. Carter graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in history. He was a graduate of the University of Texas Law School in 1969.

Carter and his wife, Erika, met in Holland and have been married since June 15, 1968.

"We are so blessed," he said. "We live in a place where there is not a bad place to live in the entire 31st Congressional District. Everybody in America would be proud to live anywhere in our district. We've got beautiful countryside, great people, good work ethic and we're patriots.

"It doesn't get any better than the 31st Congressional District of Texas. That's enough pride by itself."

Contact Robert Nathan at

By Robert Nathan

Killeen Daily Herald

Focusing much of her platform on the Iraq war, Democrat Mary Beth Harrell is seeking the opportunity to represent the 31st Congressional District because Congress, she says, has failed to act as an equal branch of government for the past five years.

Seeking her first term in Congress, she wants the opportunity to serve her country, just as her husband and two sons have in the military. Harrell, 49, is a Killeen attorney and never considered running for office until she became frustrated with American leaders not living up to the promise of their country with their failed policies.

"The war has a lot to do with most Americans' dissatisfaction with this Congress because the situation over there is obviously falling apart very rapidly," she said. "We need a political and diplomatic solution and we cannot continue to go alone indefinitely."

She said the needs at Fort Hood are critical. She said, if elected, when she represents Fort Hood before Congress she will be on the phone daily asking military leaders what their needs are.

She agrees there is a need to continue to have a military presence in Iraq, but its role and mission should be re-evaluated.

"There is never going to be a perfect solution for Iraq," she said. "Whatever we do is going to have problems. Just like anything else, we have to plan for them and fund them."

She does not support a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq and said she would never support an exit strategy that would squander her two sons' service in the country.

She said she believes a plan to divide Iraq into three regions for the three ethnic groups and making Baghdad a federal city may have some value. By bringing an international group to oversee the oil profits, everybody would get their fair share.

"It's painfully obvious that this war is not only hurting our national prestige, or international prestige and it's hurting our moral authority, but it is also absolutely hurting our military," she said.

On the federal deficit, she blames the Iraq war for adding to the deficit. She stressed the need to hold government to the same standard that is set in homes and businesses.

On illegal immigration, she stresses the importance of securing America's borders. She stressed the need to fix the country's visa program and to allow immigrant workers the opportunity to earn citizenship.

"If we can't control our borders, we can't call ourselves a country," she said. "It hurts our sovereignty."

She is an advocate of increasing the minimum wage because there hasn't been an increase in 11 years. She said increasing the minimum wage would not hurt small-business owners. She said it would hurt big business corporations who could afford to pay employees more, but do not want to.

She is seeking universal health care insurance for all Americans and stressed the need for Congress to examine the over-inflation of health care.

"The cost of health care in this country is hurting our ability to compete globally," she said.

She wants to renew the commitment to public schools and wants education to be in the hands of the state. She complains students are forced to spend too much time learning the TAKS test rather than learning curriculum.

Her goal is to have every child graduate from high school, but Harrell made it clear that not all academic classes should be college preparatory. She said there are other opportunities for students other than college.

"The bottom line is we need a renewed commitment to public education in this country," she said. "Privatizing public schools – which is what they're trying to do whether its through public school vouchers or other means – is not good for our democracy and its not good for our kids."

Harrell and her husband, Bob, have lived in the Greater Killeen-Fort Hood area since both were stationed at Fort Hood in 1987. They have a married daughter and two sons on active duty in the Army.

Contact Robert Nathan at

By Robert Nathan

Killeen Daily Herald

Libertarian congressional candidate Matt McAdoo is seeking votes in the Nov. 7 general election because he does not agree with where the government is going in terms of its domestic and foreign policy.

Seeking his first term in the 31st Congressional District, he is running a self-financed campaign motivated largely by his love of politics.

"I've always been interested in politics since I was 13 or 14 years old and since I've qualified for the age, I figured this was the time to start going at it," he said.

"Instead of me yelling and giving my opinion to C-SPAN, I figured I might as well do my part by getting in there and see about making some changes."

The 26-year-old resides in Thrall and works in technical support for Dell. He said he holds the Libertarian view because he is an advocate of small government. If elected, he said, he will work to reduce the size of the federal government by 95 percent.

"It's way too intrusive into our lives," he said. "It's overstepping the U.S. Constitution by leaps and bounds in pretty much every aspect you can think of."

He said he would work to bring soldiers back to United States soil, not just those who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I believe our military is here to protect America, not Japan, not Germany, so I believe in closing down all of the foreign bases and bring the personnel and equipment back to the United States," he said.

On immigration, he said he does not follow the Libertarian Party's philosophy. He hasn't any notions of having an open border. He said instead of having troops patrol Iraq and Afghanistan, he would rather see troops patrolling America's borders.

On the economy, he said he is against having a national sales tax. He said it would just shift the tax burden from a pay check to paying for items over the counter. He said he does not support abolishing the Internal Revenue Service because there would need to be an agency overseeing the collection of taxes.

He believes businesses should regulate the minimum wage rather than government. He said it is not up to Congress to regulate minimum wage, but he said it would be OK for states to regulate minimum wage.

He said he plans to win the congressional race based on principles and upholding the U.S. Constitution.

"I believe principles and values hold out more than money in the long run," he said.

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