Texas House candidate makes stop in Copperas Cove
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Dublin-area native Chris Evans, candidate for District 59 of the Texas House of Representatives, was on the incumbent’s home turf this weekend when he made stops in Coryell County, one of those being a meet and greet at Lil’ Tex Restaurant in Copperas Cove.
A lifelong resident of Erath County, Evans owns Stephenville Custom Cabinets, along with a grave-digging service. Evans is also part owner of an insulation company, with which he also assists with sales. He graduated with honors from Texas A&M University - Texarkana.
Evans described himself as a “farm kid” whose dad carried mail after his days in the Marine Corps. Evans said his mother worked at the local Winn-Dixie, and he worked his way through college.
There are three things at the top of his priority list, should he get elected, he said. The first is to work on fixing the teacher retirement system.
“For 82 years, it has never been fully funded or fully functional, taking care of our teachers. It’s a plan that has 1.5 million people as members and is the 6th largest pension plan in the United States right now. I would love to make that retirement system solvent, and in so doing, shore up that healthcare,” Evans said. “There are $147 billion in assets, so there’s a possibility they could self-insure other than catastrophic care. I think there’s a great way for them to keep the profit that the insurance companies re keeping right now and independently do it outside of the state’s control.”
Evans is also the self-avowed “anti-abortion” candidate in the race and will make that another top priority.
“I want to make it as difficult as possible to get an abortion. I disagree with the Roe vs. Wade decision. I believe it’s murder. I will do everything in my power to make abortion illegal if I can, or make it hard to get one as long as the federal government says it is legal,” Evans said. “God hates the shedding of innocent blood, and I won’t be responsible and have that blood on my hands.”
Third, he believes the citizens need a smaller, less intrusive government.
“I think we need property tax reform. Right now the big argument is how fast the rate can increase without voters’ approval. Just trying to slow down the growth of our government isn’t enough; we have to stop,” Evans said. “We have to have a maximum amount that property taxes and other taxes can be.”
Evans believes in stopping unfunded mandates from Austin.
“If there’s no money behind the law they make, then they don’t need to make the law,” he said.
Evans also addressed a charge he faced back in 1998, when in his early 20s he was the subject of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms due to having explosive items in his possession for making pipe bombs, as reported to the authorities by a former roommate. Evans was indicted for possession of a prohibited weapon and pled guilty, receiving eight years of probation which included a requirement of community service. He ended up serving four years of the probation.
Still, the 20-year-old incident and subsequent legal proceedings followed him into his campaign.
“We grew up on a farm; I still live on 80 acres. Was it the best idea?” Evans said. “We blow up stumps. We do it all the time…I had my first gun when I was five years old. By the time I was seven, I was training with a pistol. We come from a tradition of safely handling guns and explosives and things like that. Do I think every kid ought to be doing that? No.”
Evans said he was glad for the learning experiences the incident provided him with, but he said his campaign isn’t about that incident, something he calls “pretty small” and that the ATF has given him a federal firearms license since.
“We have to own the explosives thing, but it’s not part of me; it’s something that they would like us to talk about instead of my opponent’s record,” Evans said. “If you like moderate to liberal politics, then you’ll like Dr. Sheffield; if you like conservative politics, then you’ll like me.”
Evans is the third candidate to face off against Rep. J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville since Sheffield’s election to his first term in office in 2012. Brent Graves ran against him in 2016, and prior to that, Danny Pelton of Stephenville ran against Sheffield in 2014.
The two will be at a forum led by the Coryell County Republican Party on Thursday, set to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Gatesville City Auditorium, located at 110 N. 8th St. in Gatesville, where the two will field questions.