Democratic Primary runoff candidates debate to a packed house in Kyle

Texans looking to change the tide of a historically red state and county held high hopes as they listed to Democratic Primary candidates talk the issues in a debate prior to a key May 22 runoff.

The standing-room only event, hosted by the Hays County Tejano Democrats and the Kyle/Buda-Area Democrats at Kyle City Hall, featured Erin Zwiener and Rebecca Bell-Metereau, who are in a runoff for the Democratic nomination for State Representative, District 45.

Also taking part in the debate was Chris Perri and Julie Oliver, who are running for U.S. House District 25. A debate was to occur between Joseph Kopser and Mary Street Wilson, who are running for U.S. House, District 21. However, Wilson was involved in a car accident en route to the event and could not attend.

For the Democratic candidates at the debate, there was a consistent theme with political issues stemming from the party’s traditional views.

Education, healthcare, environmental impact immigration and gun reform where the major selling points from the candidates.

“Our citizens are a hospital bill away from bankruptcy,” said Zwiener. “We need universal healthcare for all of our citizens.”

Kopser spoke about finding common ground with Republicans to reach conclusions on major partisan issues; a problem he said can be alleviated with civil discussion.

On immigration reform, Kopser said the government must quit ripping families apart, citing the potential actions against dreamers in the United States.

“Breaking that promise to dreamers, who are here at no fault of their own, is unethical and un-American,” Kopser said. “We need a clear path for people to become citizens of this country.”

All the candidates believed in strict environmental conservation, finding common ground on investing in renewable energies to help bring jobs to the state and stepping away from fossil fuels.

But one theme that maintained throughout the night is the need to find candidates who can challenge Republican opponents. Andrew White, who is running against Lupe Valdez in the race for the Democratic Primary in the Texas Gubernatorial race, said the nation is “seeing strong moderate Democrats winning in historically red states.”

“This election is one of the most important of our generation,” White said. “This race is all about who can beat the Republicans, and we have an opportunity to do that.”

A full recap on Thursday’s debate can be found in this week’s edition of the Hays Free Press. 

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