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Candidate forums provide valuable feedback for voters

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Now that the dust has settled from the March 4 state primary election, Central Texas residents can turn their attention to the upcoming municipal and school board elections.

While May 10 may seem like a long way off, early voting in those elections begins in just six weeks, and candidates will be striving to air their views in the interim.

As such, it’s important that local voters make the effort to become informed on the issues and familiarize themselves with those on the ballot.

In Killeen, voters will choose from among three candidates for mayor, with two former councilmen — Scott Cosper and Richard “Dick” Young — seeking the post, along with retiree Hal Butchart. Current Mayor Dan Corbin is not seeking re-election.

Seven candidates are vying for three at-large seats on the Killeen City Council, including incumbents Jared Foster, Jonathan Okray and Elizabeth Blackstone. Also seeking election is former Councilman Juan Rivera, along with newcomers Randy Doyle, Gary W. “Bubba” Purser Jr. and Doris Mims-Owens, a candidate in several recent council races.

The Killeen Independent School District board of trustees election features five candidates, but only one contested race. Four candidates — Lan Carter, Ava Fubara-Eneli, Brockley Moore and Marvin Rainwater are vying for the Place 4 seat, while incumbent Terry Delano is unopposed for the Place 5 seat on the board. Incumbent Place 4 Trustee Kenneth Ray is not seeking re-election.

In Harker Heights, the political climate has changed dramatically over the past six weeks.

Over that span, the incumbent mayor, Mike Aycock, resigned because of a delinquent-tax issue but remained a candidate for re-election until the last day of filing. Then, in the space of 12 hours, Aycock withdrew his name from the ballot and the interim mayor, Rob Robinson, filed for election to the post.

The same day, political newcomer Oscar Dominguez filed to challenge Robinson for the mayor’s post, and another new office-seeker, David Brown, filed for a ballot spot against former Councilman John Reider, who had been unopposed for Robinson’s old council seat.

As the May 10 election approaches, one of the best ways to stay on top of the campaign issues is to attend one of the many political forums planned in the area.

The first of these forums is scheduled next week, with a host of others to follow.

On March 24, LULAC Council 4297 will host a forum of all area municipal and school board candidates at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Killeen.

On March 27, the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a luncheon featuring a forum with Harker Heights and Killeen school board candidates. It begins at 11:30 a.m. at St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church.

On April 7, the Killeen Daily Herald will conduct a forum for the Killeen mayoral and council candidates at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The following Monday, April 14, the Killeen Branch NAACP will host a forum featuring Killeen, Harker Heights and Killeen school board candidates. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Lions Club Park Senior Center.

On April 21, the Exchange Club of Killeen will host Harker Heights and Killeen ISD candidates for a forum at Yank Sing restaurant, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Please mark these dates on your calendar and plan to attend as many as possible.

An informed electorate is crucial to the democratic process. To that end, the Herald has established The Center for Politics, an online resource for local election information. The website address is KDHnews.com/centerforpolitics.

On this site, viewers can find biographies, photos and video interviews of candidates in a number of area municipal and school board races, with new features and information added continually.

The May 10 election will be here soon enough. It’s time to get involved.

Contact Dave Miller at dmiller@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7543

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