Republican candidates of two contested races in Wichita County answered questions generated by the community on Wednesday evening during a public forum.
Donna Long, Wichita County Republican Party Chairman, says the primary is less than six weeks away and this is the only opportunity voters will have to hear from candidates directly before early voting starts next month so, it's important for them to learn more about what each candidate stands for.
Registered voters in Wichita County filled the seats at Akin Auditorium at Midwestern State University who were eager to learn more about the candidates in the U.S. Representative District 13 race and the Wichita County Clerk's race.
Long says the public forum gives voters a chance to learn the views of each candidate firsthand.
"I'm a firm believer that you should not vote for a given office unless you have made up your mind that you know where that candidate stands on certain issues," Long says. "When you go to the polls, you don't have to vote for every single office and you certainly shouldn't vote for someone just because you've heard their name someplace."
Candidates for the 13th District, incumbent Congressman Mac Thornberry, Elaine Hays, a financial planner from Amarillo and Pam Barlow, a Bowie veterinarian were all on hand to voice their opinions on certain issues.
Candidates for Wichita County Clerk, incumbent Lori Bohannon, Lisa Talley and Caroline Nicholas also answered questions that were submitted by the community.
Voters say these types of events help to educate them.
Pamala Stephenson, a registered voter in Wichita County, says, "I have heard all the candidates basically that they'll be talking tonight but sometimes they say something different and I'm still very open minded. I quite honestly sometimes don't know who I'm going to vote for until very late."
Also, voter undecided Stan Thomas says, "They are going to go up there and represent you and if you don't know what they stand for, why would you want to vote for them?"
Early voting starts on Feb. 18 and the Republican primary election will be held on Mar. 4.
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