WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Twelve out of the 15 republican candidates running for Rep. Mac Thornberry’s seat in Congress made a splash in Wichita Falls Wednesday night.
They discussed many timely topics at the Wichita Falls Republican party forum including immigration, education and other issues in the 13th Congressional District.
Tobin McDuff was the moderator and would ask a question for three candidates whose names were drawn to answer.
By the end of the forum, each candidate answered four questions with 15 questions in total, and at times the conversations got intense.
“We can’t have and continue to have abortions in this country,” candidate Josh Winegarner said.
Many voters turned out to hear who will represent their voice in Washington DC with family being a big topic of discussion.
“The main duty of government is to protect and preserve life and liberty, and it begins with the unborn,” candidate Elaine Hays said.
As well, others discussed the education system in America.
“Get rid of the Department of Education, it’s long overdue,” candidate Chris Ekstrom said.
The 12 republican candidates vying for the 13th District seat in Congress also got the chance to express their thoughts on healthcare.
“The federal government needs to get out of the way and let free enterprise do its job,” candidate Lee Harvey said.
Others wanted to focus on pharmaceutical companies.
“Getting a lot of the companies and insurance companies out of the picture and make our own drugs and create jobs with that,” candidate Catherine Carr said.
Candidates also focused on the availability of healthcare resources.
“Making sure that the resources that are available to helping us are out there,” candidate Asusena Resendiz said.
Another topic candidates highlighted was the federal government’s staggering $23 trillion in debt.
“I think we are one of the most gracious countries that there is; however, we’re not monitoring ourselves,” candidate Mark Neese said.
While some focused on behavioral measures, others said representatives need to take a more action-oriented approach.
“You could go into the VA and you could 50% of the bureaucracy, and if you knew the right 50% to cut, you’d never know anything even happened,” candidate Ronny Jackson said.
One candidate said limiting foreign spending could help alleviate such high debt.
“We’re continuing to send funding to all these foreign countries that hate us and dislike us and want to kill us every single day, but yet we get nothing in return,” candidate Vance Snider III said.
Immigration was one of the most anticipated topics of discussion.
“Expanding Border Patrol and ICE, adding judges to immigration courts, it means deporting people,” candidate Matt McArther said.
Debate on how to better border safety brought candidates to share how they feel the discussion should be framed.
“The nation’s first line of defense is it’s border and immigration system to make sure we’re safe here,” Diane Knowlton said.
Because immigration is such a debated topic, candidates emphasized the safety regulations they believe should be implemented.
“Build the wall just like the president wants,” Richard Herman said. “Lower the amount of immigrants allowed in this country per year.”
These different opinions left voters with even more to think about before casting their ballots.
The Republican Primary election is March 3.