Local Elections Gain the Attention of Students
As early voting has passed and election day approaches in Texas, Southwestern students may find it helpful to know some of the important county and city election issues for this cycle. For those that live on campus, this election includes State Senate District 5, State Representative District 20, Williamson County Judge, County Court 1 and 3, County Clerk, Williamson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3, and a ballot proposition.
Charles Schwertner (Rep) faces Tommy Estes (Lib) for State Senate. Senator Schwertner’s campaign focuses on securing the border, protecting private property against eminent domain abuse, defending the second amendment, expanding school choice in Texas, reforming Texas nursing homes, protecting children from neglect and abuse, and fighting the Affordable Care Act. Estes’ campaign focuses on pro-life advocacy, government transparency, improving infrastructure, and increasing teacher salaries.
Terry M. Wilson (Rep) faces Raul Camacho (Dem) for State Representative. Representative Wilson’s campaign focuses on pro-life advocacy, creating property tax relief, enhancing parental input in education, winterization of the Texas energy grid, ensuring election integrity, protecting the right to religious expression from government and homeowner association overreach, reforming toll roads, ensuring sustainability for Texas’ water supply, and supporting law enforcement. Camacho’s campaign focuses on pro-choice advocacy, increasing funding to teachers and public schools, regulating corporate investors buying households, ending toll road fees and inventory taxes for businesses, lowering business licensing fees, making healthcare more affordable, legalizing marijuana, and regulating firearms.
Nancy E. Rister (Rep) faces Erica Smith (Dem) for Williamson County Clerk. Rister is campaigning on her Republican credentials of leadership and volunteer roles at conventions, campaigns, and poll working, her community service, and her achievements in preserving records. Smith is a Southwestern University graduate and is campaigning on her ties to the community, her internship at the State Capitol, and prior private sector experience.
Bill Gravell (Rep) faces Blane Conklin (Dem) and Wes Benedict (Lib) for Williamson County Judge. Judge Gravell is a proud conservative who is endorsed by several prominent Republicans including Governor Abbott, as well as groups such as the Austin Police Association. He is campaigning on his support for law enforcement, lower property taxes, economic opportunity, and transportation planning. Conklin is campaigning on working with commissioners to relocate the confederate monument outside of the county courthouse, preserving the environment, providing better access to mental health resources, supporting first responders, and building sufficient infrastructure. Wes Benedict is campaigning on his support of the Libertarian Party platform’s aim to cut taxes and spending, ensure free markets, welcome immigrants, and end marijuana arrests. Additionally, he wishes to lower housing prices, subsidize more business growth, and create reasonable regulations on pollution.
Brandy Hallford (Rep) faces Brian McConnell (Dem) for County Court at Law No. 1. Judge Hallford is campaigning on her experience, leadership, upholding the rule of law, helping victims of crime, advocating for veterans, and ensuring that parents and children get proper legal representation. McConnell is campaigning on ensuring fairness, equality, and enforcing the law to make proper judicial decisions.
Doug Arnold (Rep) faces Thomas Velez (Dem) for County Court at Law No. 3. Judge Arnold is campaigning on his experience as a prosecutor, the endorsements of several police associations and Republican groups, and ensuring that families get proper legal representation appointed. Velez is campaigning on his experience of prosecuting domestic and sexual assault cases, he is seeking no endorsements, and he wishes to create a domestic violence specialty court program.
Evelyn McLean (Rep) faces Renee Schalk (Dem) for Williamson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3. Judge McLean is campaigning on her endorsement from the Round Rock Police Officers Association and Georgetown Professional Firefighters Association, her previous law enforcement experience, serving impartially, and ensuring that people are given a language line to understand in their native language. Schalk is campaigning on equity, juvenile justice, impartiality in her application of the law, and streamlining the process of virtual hearings.
The ballot proposition would reauthorize a quarter-cent sales tax to assist with street maintenance. Voting in favor will reauthorize the sales tax and set it up to be reauthorized in four years while voting against will end the sales tax.
While up for election, Williamson County Treasurer, Williamson County Constable Precinct 3, Williamson County Judge County Court at Law No. 2 and 4, Williamson County Judge 277th and 368th District Court, and Williamson County District Clerk are all unopposed races with Republican candidates having assured victory this November.
Local elections are important because they have a more direct impact on the people living in a specific area. It’s easy for Southwestern students to feel separated from the Georgetown community at-large; we need to remember that the policies enacted by city and county officials affect us too. Local elections affect everything from public health response, to the judicial progress, to the resources provided to our first responders. This is why it is important for Southwestern University students to educate themselves on local political issues. Remember to do your research and vote on Election Day this November 8th!