Killeen voters will head to the polls Saturday to decide four Killeen City Council races. Two incumbents are running to retain their seats, while District 1 and District 3 will see fresh faces representing them in council chambers.
The Herald spoke with the candidates as they made their final appeals to voters to see what issues are top of mind in Killeen.
The District 1 race to replace term-limited Councilmember Shirley Fleming features five candidates, the most in any district this election cycle. Candidates said the city-wide issue of poor road conditions dominated a lot of their conversations with constituents. But the lack of grocery stores in District 1 was the biggest district-specific issue they heard about.
Angela Brown, 55, retired from the U.S. Army after 26 years of service. She has a master’s degree in social work and conflict, and is pursuing a doctorate of education in organizational leadership. Brown has not run or served in elected office, but has served on multiple committees and boards including being on the City of Killeen Capital Improvement Advisory Committee and the Killeen Branch of the NAACP.
Brown said she is spending the final days of the election getting out in the community, knocking on doors, hanging flyers and doing individual Facebook meetings with constituents who want to get to know her better.
Brown said getting a grocery store in north Killeen, looking at adding a bus system, and adding mental health professionals with police were top issues.
Rosalyn, “Roz” Finley, 45, is taking her second turn at running for city council. She finished fifth out of 10 candidates in the November 2020 race for an at-large council seat.
As a candidate last year, Finley made headlines last year when it was discovered that she had two felony convictions, one in Texas, and one in Ohio.
“I have now changed my life for the better, I’ve moved on to bigger and better things, and I refuse to allow anyone to keep me boxed in to that time of my life,” Finley told the Herald last year. “I won’t be bullied or intimidated off this ballot.”
The Herald tried to reach Finley about her final election day push but multiple attempts to contact her were not successful.
Jessica Gonzalez, 44, grew up in Killeen. She is a general manager and a filmmaker. This is her first run for public office.
Speaking at a Killeen Young Professionals “Meet the Candidate” event on Wednesday Gonzalez told the Herald she has been focusing on getting out into the community, sending a mass mailer and doing community forums on Facebook.
She sees issues such as safety, partnering to develop better income and job-producing opportunities, and advocating for fiscal responsibility as top for her district. She said she wants to see better communication between the city and constituents for all issues.
“Communication is huge, and from there we can start to fix all the other issues,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said she plans to be at different polling sites throughout the day Saturday.
Holly Tell, 50, is a retired dog trainer and received a Dr. Mary E. Walker Award from the 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kansas. Her spouse was transferred to Fort Hood and they have made their home in Killeen. She has run for District 1 seat before, but has not been successful.
Teel supports lowering taxes, fixing infrastructure and bringing a better economy to bring better jobs.
“City government should not incur debt, which would burden future generations, that I support and will work towards a balanced budget amendment, exclusively by cutting expenditures and not by raising taxes,” Teel told the Herald in an email.
Teel participated in the Killeen Young Professionals “Meet the Candidate” event on Wednesday. She also spoke out against no-knock warrants at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Latriece Walton, 51, works in the insurance industry with hopes of bringing a storefront to the Killeen area. This is her first run at a city council seat.
She told the Herald she wants to provide leadership and guidance to the community and encourage citizens to participate in city council meetings.
In the days leading up to the election, Walton said she’s been pounding the pavement trying to reach as many voters as possible. She’s also joined a number of social media groups in an attempt to push her message online. Walton said she’s heard many constituents talk about the rising cost of rent and how terrible the roads are.
She told the Herald she will continue to get her message out on Saturday, wrapping up the day at the community center.
William Baumgartner, 42, served in both the Navy and the Army including two deployments. He was stationed at Fort Hood and left the Army in 2015. He is unemployed while attending school for a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. Baumgartner hopes to one day teach history and coach football.
Baumgartner ran for District 2 in 2019 after being unhappy with the council but lost to incumbent Debbie Nash-King.
His main priorities are safety and security, a balanced budget, and bringing jobs with a living wage to Killeen. He told the Herald he would like to see an increase in personnel to the Killeen fire and police departments, including the addition of mental health professionals.
At the Killeen Young Professionals “Meet the Candidate” event on Wednesday he told the Herald he’s been door knocking, handing out flyers and will be doing a social media push later in the week.
Debbie Nash-King, 55, is the incumbent for District 2, running for her third term. She was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army out of college, and was later medically discharged. She has since earned two master’s degrees and works at Fort Hood as a career counselor.
Improving infrastructure (like the city’s mangled roads), retaining and training first responders, and recruiting higher paying businesses to the area are Nash-King’s top priorities. She and other council members voted this week to prohibit Killeen police from participating no-knock warrants — a controversial police tactic — in a 6-1 vote.
Even though she’s a two-term incumbent, Nash-King isn’t taking it easy. She spoke with the Herald at the Killeen Young Professionals “Meet the Candidate” event on Wednesday and said her campaign has hung 3,000 door flyers and has been working the phones. Weather permitting, she will block-walk her district through Friday, and then work the polls on Saturday.
Ramon Alvarez, 42, is a life-long Killeen resident, a product of KISD, and small business owner (Nolan Creek Builders). This is his first run at elected office, but he has served on multiple nonprofit boards including the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity and the Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce.
He told the Herald if elected, he would work to eliminate the “crime and grime” of Killeen by revitalizing aging areas of the city. He wants to focus on economic development to bring better paying jobs and improve overall quality of life to residents.
Alvarez will continue to engage residents by walking the blocks, phone calls and through social media outreach.
“My final message is simply to vote for a representative who possesses the experience to bring solutions to the table, and not just words,” Alvarez said in an email to the Herald. “More walkin’ and less talkin’.”
Jason Carr, 52, is a caregiver for his mother. In a profile for the Herald he said he is running because he thinks it is time for a change in the city.
He listed his priorities as employment for people not working and for veterans, and fixing the city’s road system.
The Herald tried to reach Carr via email and phone about his final election day push but did not get a response by press time.
Nina Cobb, 54, is an outreach educator and COVID hub nurse, and serves as on the Killeen Arts Commission. This is her second run for office, her first being an unsuccessful bid for an at-large seat in the fall.
She told the Herald she wants to ensure every citizen has a right to live in a community that offers them safety, economical housing, programs for advancement, education, employment and the best quality of life.
Cobb said she will continue her outreach strategy of getting out in the community, using social media and phone calls.
“The vote is more powerful than a bullet or any amount of wealth,” Cobb said in an email to the Herald. “It must be handled with care!”
Michael Boyd, 36, has been in Killeen for over 30 years and works as a government data collector in western Bell County. He has not run for elected office, but serves on multiple boards including the Planning and Zoning Commission, the city’s Parks and Master Plan Workgroup and Capital Improvements Advisory Committee.
Boyd, who hopes to replace incumbent Steve Harris, sees economic development, balanced growth and creating and executing a community vision as his priorities.
He has spent the election season primarily out in the community knocking on doors, speaking to residents and handing out flyers.
“We want to get out and see people. People want to see someone in their neighborhood,” Boyd told the Herald at the Killeen Young Professionals “Meet the Candidate” event on Wednesday.
He said residents he’s spoken to have expressed concerns about crime and asked for an increase in police patrols on the streets. Downtown development and more youth programs and facilities has also been a hot topic with residents.
Boyd said he hopes people will still get out to the polls on Saturday even if it’s raining.
Steve Harris, 51, is the District 4 incumbent and running for his third consecutive term. He also served in the seat from 2011-2013. He is a teacher and former coach.
Quality of life and the overall balanced growth of the city will be a top priority for Harris’ final term.
Harris was the lone vote this week against banning no-knock warrants in the city by the Killeen Police Department, saying he felt the citizens should have voted on the issue, not just the council. When asked by the Herald if he felt the vote would affect the election he said he didn’t think so based on discussion with constituents, but wasn’t sure.
“I’m not a politician, so I don’t do whatever I have to do to keep this position,” Harris told the Herald at the Killeen Young Professionals “Meet the Candidate” event on Wednesday. “If I leave this position, I leave with my integrity intact.”
He will spend the final days of the campaign knocking on doors and continuing to post on his Facebook page to get his message out.
Brockley Moore, 53, is running for the District 2 seat he held from 2015-2017. He retired from the military after a 23-year career and is self-employed.
Moore said street and water maintenance, maintaining a balanced budget and getting funding for first responders are a top priority. Moore said fixing the city’s pot-hole-filled roads are the issue he’s heard from constituents the most.
Moore said he has been knocking on doors and making phone calls to connect with voters, something he will continue to do until Election Day.