By Joyana Richer
Four Candidates vying to represent Texas Congressional District 21 gathered for a forum on Wednesday. While the Texas primary election took place in early March, none of the four remaining candidates received a majority of the vote, resulting in a runoff.
Two Democrats, Mary Wilson and Joseph Kopser, and Two Republicans, Matt McCall and Chip Roy, remain in the race. With just a few short weeks until the runoff election, these four contenders sat down with the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek to discuss issues affecting the San Marcos area. Various members of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, which organized the forum, came to hear the candidates.
They each spent a few minutes explaining their agenda and addressing topics that involve the economic, education, and innovation issues of the area.
Wilson said she is passionate about being a candidate for District 21. She said that her background in ministering and education has taught her the importance of listening to people, because people can feel left out.
Wilson is concerned about student debt; Currently, student debt is over $1 trillion which is $620 billion more than our national credit card debt.
“We are not providing a culture where they can become part of our economic society,” said Wilson. “We are saddening them with debt that burdens them in ways that they can never recover. We need quality education, quality education for all.”
McCall, a small business owner, said the average citizens in the legislature can make a difference. He said he agrees with his Democratic opponent Wilson, in that there needs to be better quality education.
“We need to get rid of the department of education, because the teachers want to,” McCall said. “$21 trillion worth of cash debt, $200 trillion worth of unfunded mandates on a $17 trillion economy.”
McCall said we have to make changes, grow the economy, and cut the size of government.
Kopser said he was inspired by his teacher in 6th grade who he says was a civil rights icon. She told him that when he sees a problem, to go and fix it. Kopser spent 20 years in the army after graduating from Westpoint, and took two trips to Iraq. As a fast growing area in innovation and business, he said it is important to unleash the potential in jobs education and the future of children.
“My story is the story of this region, and the opportunity it has not only to be a leader in Texas but to be a leader nationwide,” Kopser said.
Republican candidate Roy said it is time for genuine proven leadership. He previously served as chief of staff to Sen. Ted Cruz. He believes in getting the dollars back in the the control of the state and local level of Texas. He wants to return power to the people, focus federal government on defending the nation, create an environment for strong economic growth and then getting out of the way.
For the question of concerns for the local area and how to address them Wilson and McCall had a few comments.
Wilson said that the infrastructure and transportation issues the local area is going through are due to rapid growth which can be solved with federal funding and a federal government that is working with local governments, municipalities and agencies. Wilson said flooding around the San Marcos River needs to be addressed as well.
She said one of the most effective ways to address these things is through communication. She wants to eliminate some of the paperwork and then streamline the process, but said we have to have a budget that allows us to do that.
McCall said the roads here in Texas need improving along I-35 and airports need more flights to latin America and the San Antonio airport needs more direct flights to Europe. He said this needs to happen to help personal lives and the business aspect of it too.
Early voting begins May 14 and the election runoff will be held May 22; voting locations can be found on the Hays County website.
Featured image by Joyana Richer.