San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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by PAT MURDOCK

The San Marcos Area League of Women Voters has scheduled two candidate debates leading up to the upcoming San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District’s school board election on May 12 and the spring Democratic and Republican primary elections on May 29.

The school board debate will be held April 23 while the primary debate is scheduled for May 7. Both dates fall on Monday evenings and both are scheduled for the San Marcos Activity Center from 7 to 9 p.m.

Planning for the local non-partisan volunteer organization’s pre-election activities is never an easy chore, but this year’s redistricting battles have made it particularly challenging for the San Marcos Area League.

Four candidates have filed for the two open at-large seats on the San Marcos school board. Early voting for the school board election starts April 30 and continues through May 8 with the election set for May 12. Filing for the board positions by the March 5 deadline – listed in ballot order – are Juan Miguel Arredondo, Paul Mahew, David Chiu and Judy Little Allen.

The primary elections for both parties are scheduled May 29 with early voting conducted May 14 through 25.
The League’s primary election event will be a little more complicated. According to the League’s Voter Services Chair Grace Melcher-Neal, a forum format will be used for the highly contested Republican primary races in Congressional Districts 21, 25 and 35 and State Senate District 25, as well as the contested Democratic races for State Representative Districts 21 and 35, due to the number of candidates who filed for those positions. Candidates for contested local Hays County races will be invited to debate.

Republican candidates for the 25th Congressional District include Ernie Beltz Jr., Bill Burch, Dianne Costa, James “Patriot” Dillon, Dave Garrison, Justin Hewlett, Charlie Holcomb, Brian Matthews, Wes Riddle, Chad Wilbanks, Michael Williams and Roger Williams.
Filing as Republicans for the 35th Congressional District are Susan Narvaiz, Rob Roark and John Yoggerst. Democratic candidates for the 35th Congressional District are Ciro Rodriguez, Sylvia Romo and Patrick Shearer.

Republican candidates for the 21st Congressional District seat are Richard Mack, Richard Morgan and Lamar Smith. Republican candidates for the District 25 State Senate seat are Jeff Wentworth, Donna Campbell and Elizabeth Jones.

Democratic candidates for the 21st Congressional District are Daniel Boone and Candace Duval. Democrats vying for the 35th Congressional District include Maria Luisa Alvarado, Lloyd Doggett and Sylvia Romo.
Debating will be candidates who filed for State Board of Education District 5, 22nd Judicial District Judge, Hays County Sheriff, Hays County Commissioner Precinct 3 and Hays County Constable Precincts 1 and 2.

Republican primary election candidates in contested races are, for the State Board of Education; Ken Mercer and Steve Salyer; for Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler and Tommy Ratliff; for County Commissioner, Precinct 3, Will Conley and Sam Brannon; and for 22nd Judicial District Ronnie Dickens, David Glickler, Bruce Boyer and David Nigh.

Candidates for contested Democratic races include Hays County Constable, Precinct 1, David Peterson and Rodrigo Amaya, and Hays County Constable, Precinct 2, James Kohler and Guy Irwin.

In all instances, candidates listed have been invited to participate in the San Marcos Area LWV events. Issues of the local League’s Voters Guide will be published in the April 29 and May 13 editions of the San Marcos Daily Record.

The local Voters Guides will also be available at www.lwvtexas.org in the Local Leagues section, or on the San Marcos Daily Record website, www.sanmarcosrecord.com. The League is in the process of working out details for live feeds with the area on-line media outlets. The State League’s Voters Guide for the 2012 primary elections will also be available on the LWV Texas website.

The debates, open to the public without charge, and the Voters Guides are the San Marcos Area League of Women Voters’ key voter services and voter education projects.

Open to men and women, the League of Women Voters’ guiding principles focus on the belief in the representative form of government and individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States. A nonpartisan organization, another guiding principle is that “democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.”

The organization’s nonpartisan stance, which members take very seriously, is always evident in League-sponsored debates and the Voters Guides. All candidates for each office will be asked the same carefully crafted questions, with each having the opportunity to be the first to respond to one question.

The San Marcos Area LWV is governed by a 12-member board of directors, led by President Carole Belver. The local league board generally meets the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Price Seniors Center. For more information about league membership, call Margaret Lindsey at 512-353-2872. For more information about voter services issues, e-mail Grace Melcher Neal at LWVTXSM@gmail.com.

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