Tuesday, July 17, the Llano County Republican Party hosted a candidate forum in anticipation of the upcoming July 31 election at Quail Point in Horseshoe Bay.
Each candidate echoed the same theme, taking back control of the government, being fiscally responsible, and ousting the current President.
Presentations were heard by the approximately 174 attendees from representatives of Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst, candidates for the US Senate, Railroad Commissioner Candidate Christi Craddick, and Justice Supreme Court Place 4, David Medina and John Devine. Railroad Commissioner Incumbent Barry Smitherman was present and spoke on his own behalf.
Although representatives for John Devine spoke at the forum, Devine had his invitation officially rescinded and sponsorship money returned earlier this week following confirmation of racial comments made by him in an interview. Republican Party Chairman said that the board agreed 7-3 to the action and that he wanted to send the message that discriminating remarks would not be tolerated. However, he did say that should one of Devine’s representatives show up to the forum, they would be allowed the opportunity to speak, and Joe Pool Jr and his son were allowed to speak on behalf of Devine.
In local races, Angela Dowdle and Sonny McAfee each took turns giving their qualifications and plans for the office of District Attorney.
McAfee listed his many endorsers, including Sheriffs from each of the four counties that would be covered in his district. McAfee is a former police officer, and has been a prosecutor for the last 22 years.
Dowdle outlined her plan for the office, including her desire to make the DA’s office more available to law enforcement. She has been a prosecutor for twenty years.
The final speakers of the night were candidates running for the position of Llano County Commissioner Precinct 1, Peter Jones and Tom Engler.
Tom Engler spoke first, beginning with a statement regarding the financial stability of the HSB POA, alluding to rumors that the POA, which he is the General Manager of, is in financial trouble. Engler denied those rumors and stated that the POA is in very good shape financially. The remainder of his speech was regarding his background and qualifications, including a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and an MBA. He said that his experience in managing the HSB POA, he managed 120 miles of roads, which is one of the main focuses of the Commissioners.
Peter Jones followed, outlining his qualifications, including certifications in financial planning and consultation. He said that his extensive background in finance made him the best candidate for the position.
During the wrap-up of the speeches, things became heated as Engler issued accusations regarding misrepresentation and Jones rebutted.
Fermin Ortiz stepped in and ended the impromptu debate, closing the forum.