Candidates turn out for Saturday meet and greet

By PAMELA GRANT
Cove Leader-Press

Sometimes it’s difficult to determine which candidate best represents what you feel is best for the country, state, or county. Having a personal conversation with a candidate, rather than listening to them give a speech or reading about them in the paper can sometimes tip the scales one way or the other in determining who you might vote for.
With that in mind, Ed and Peggy Thompson of Copperas Cove opened up their home Saturday afternoon so that potential voters could meet with some of the candidates from the upcoming election. 
The meet and greet was primarily for Scott Weddle who is running for County Commissioner, Precinct 2; however, other candidates were more than welcome to come, and several took the Thompsons up on their offer. 
Randi McFarlin, running for County Treasurer; Chris Evans, running for State Representative in District 59; Becky Moore, running for District Clerk; Bob Harrell, running for County Judge; and John Derrick, also running for County Judge all attended the event.
“My name isn’t a family name that has been here for generations…I know I have a tough road,” said Weddle. “I just need people to meet me and understand my character.”
Scott Weddle said that he wants to be the voice of his neighbors in Precinct 2. It’s important to him that he listens to what the people want most and to do everything in his power to work towards improving those areas. He asked those at the event to rank the following in order of personal importance: jobs/economic development, education/schools, roads/infrastructure, security/police and fire, and taxes/spending. He said that it’s not about his opinion, it’s about what the people want.
“My guiding post will be what my neighbors are saying, and it’s my job to fight for them,” said Weddle. “I’m a change agent and I’ve been that for every job I’ve worked at. My motto is, ‘I’m going to leave it better than the way I found it’.”
Weddle is against career politicians saying that he’s a firm believer that if someone’s been in a position too long, they become complacent. He said it’s important to constantly get new blood and new ideas.
At the meet and greet, each of the candidates had the opportunity to speak about what they hope to accomplish should they be elected, as well as why they might be the best candidate. After they spoke, the majority of the event was spent allowing individuals to speak with the candidates and ask about whatever they wanted.
Chris Evans, running for State Representative District 59, calls himself a committed, constitutional conservative. He promises to represent rural conservative values including securing our borders, cutting funding from Planned Parenthood, and ending the business margins tax. Evans is a political science major and father of four.
Bob Harrell, running for county judge, served 23 years in the U.S. Army, served as D.P.S Watch Supervisor, and presently is the Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator. Harrell called himself the most experienced candidate for Coryell County judge and promises to hold the line on taxes while balancing the budget. He wants to improve our roads and ensure that law enforcement has the tools necessary to keep the people safe. He hopes to better fund our public schools and work to bring in jobs to increase our tax base. Harrell has been a lifelong public servant and has experience at both the state and local level.
“I’d like to see small businesses grow in our community. That’s our lifeblood,” said Harrell. “That’s why buying locally is so important. It puts money back in our community.”
John Derrick, also running for county judge, has over 20 years of experience as a certified public accountant helping small business owners and feels like he is the most qualified for the position.
“There’s six of us running,” said Derrick. “There are a lot of very qualified people, but I do think that I’m uniquely qualified. I’m the only one that has actually done a county audit and participated in auditing. There’s a lot of things going forward that have to be paid for, and we do have a limited budget.”
Derrick said he feels like it’s important to treat people the way he wants to be treated and that his primary job will be communication and talking with the people. Derrick said he will focus on keeping taxes low, ensuring that the county budgets responsibly, and working to attract new businesses to the area.
Randi McFarlin is currently the Assistant County Auditor and works closely with the current county treasurer who will be retiring. She said that moving up to the position of County Treasurer is a logical next step up for her.
“I love what I’m doing now,” said McFarlin. “I love working for the county. Everything that that office does affects what my office does, so if it’s good from the top, it’s good all the way down.”
The Republican Primary will be held March 6, and early voting will run Feb 20 until March 2.
“There’s some good candidates out there,” said McFarlin about the upcoming election. “It’s gonna be very hard to decide. I think it’s very important to have these kinds of events and the forums. We have six people running for County Judge.”
“Ed [Thompson] used to be the county chairman for the Republican party, so we know how important it is to meet candidates and find out more about them,” said Peggy Thompson, who held the meet and greet at her house. “Until you see and talk with them, eyeball them, you don’t really know them.”

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Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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