Citizens get to meet the city council and school board candidates
By PAMELA GRANT
On Monday, Copperas Cove citizens had the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the candidates running for Copperas Cove City Council and those running for the Copperas Cove Independent School District Board of Trustees.
The Meet the Candidates event, which was hosted by AARP, took place at the Grace United Methodist Church starting at 12:30 p.m.
Each candidate had three minutes to speak about whatever subject they felt was most important. Many talked about their qualifications and what they hoped to accomplish.
Afterwards, the candidates were available to speak one on one.
The most hotly contested position on this year’s ballot is for City Council Place 6 with three candidates running: John A. Hull, E. Marcus Payne, and Danny Palmer.
Hull talked about his extensive experience and how it will help him should the community vote for him.
Payne said that he believes that he’s the best candidate for place six, talking about his involvement within the city. Payne is pro EDC on the EDC versus MDD issue.
“I believe that the EDC is the better option for Cove because of the way that Copperas Cove is set up,” said Payne.
“There’s only one real reason why I’m running, “said Palmer. “I flat-out don’t like what’s going on.”
Palmer said that he wants to put responsibility where it belongs, especially with regards to FATHOM, the company with which the City of Copperas Cove entered into a 15-year agreement for management of its utility accounts.
He thinks the citizens deserve to be shown where their dollar goes. Palmer said that he listens and talks to the community. He believes that we need to take care of our current community first rather than worrying about bringing in new people.
Incumbent Matthew Russell will be running against Charlie Youngs for City Council Place 7.
“I believe I still can help the city move forward and prepare for the future,” said Russell. “I want to continue to have an impact on the economic development of the city.”
Russell is a retired colonel who said that he deals with facts, asks the tough questions, and finds solutions. He said he lives by the saying, ‘Do right always’. He is against raising taxes and hopes to start the process of lowering taxes.
“Why am I running? Because I’m not a happy camper,” said Youngs.
Youngs said that he feels our current council has done a terrible job and hurt our city. Youngs hopes to try to bring harmony back to our city. One of Youngs’ big complaints was their handling of the water company. Youngs argued that the removal of the senior discount was ridiculous as research showed him that many of the surrounding cities do offer senior discounts.
Places 5 and 6 of the CCISD Board of Trustees will be up for grabs this election. Dr. Karen Harrison is running unopposed for Place 7.
Incumbent Bob Weiss will be running against Jeffrey Gorres for Place 5.
Weiss was unable to attend the meeting, but had someone speak for him. Weiss was employed by CCISD for 36 years. He acknowledges that the board members have no power as an individual. His main goal is to help ensure that all students are able to achieve their highest potential and promises to listen to all ideas, ask questions, research, and carefully consider all sides before making decisions.
Gorres served 26 years in the military and said that he will bring scrutiny and an eye for detail to the board should he be elected. He said that he hopes to provide the level of exceptionalism that the students deserve. He said that he understands the impact and consequences of decisions made by the school board. He said that he understands how hard teachers work and says that it’s important to equip them with what they need.
Incumbent Jim Copeland will be running against John Gallen for Place 6
Copeland said that he’s been around long enough to know what the students need. He feels like the current board has been doing a good job.
“We’ve got the best school district in Central Texas…And the school board is where it starts,” said Copeland.
Gallen, a retired teacher, said that the school board is very important to him. He said his family chose to live in Cove because of the school system. Gallen hopes to bring a new perspective to the table and says that he will be a productive member and team player. He hopes to be a good steward and a good role model that others can rely on.
After each candidate had the opportunity to speak, many of the attendees stayed to learn a little bit more about the candidates that had piqued their interest.
“It was interesting, but only one candidate mentioned something that’s on the top of most people’s complaints, and that’s the water issue,” said Mike Graham, who attended the meeting. “I thought Mr. Youngs and Mr. Palmer did good…I agree, the city council shouldn’t be a rubber stamp. You need people that are going to question ‘Is this good for the citizens?’”
Citizens will have the opportunity to learn more about the candidates Saturday, Oct 21 at 1 p.m. at the VFW where they will be holding a candidates’ forum.
Early voting begins Oct 23 and runs through Nov 3.