Congressman Larry Combest is stepping down May 31st. Friday, the Lubbock Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for those candidates hoping to succeed him. NewsChannel 11 spoke with each of the candidates in attendance and asked, "What is the most pressing issue in District 19?" Here is what they had to say, in their own words.
"The most pressing issue is really the Social Security problem, because its being ignored totally by the government and needs to be addressed before the baby boomers start retiring," said Richard Peterson, Libertarian.
"The pressing issue I see is senior care and Medicare. I think seniors need a prescription drug card to help them with their drugs," said Jerri Simmons-Asmussen, Democrat.
"I think there are three primary issues in this race; lower taxes, good schools and colleges and a strong West Texas economy," said David Langston, Republican.
The three most pressing issues would be dealing with the excess taxation, excessive regulation and reworking our education system," said Jamie Berryhill, Republican.
"The most pressing issue in District 19 like in all America is national security, protecting our nation, protecting our people and securing our borders," said Donald May, Republican.
"I think the most pressing issues for District 19 is the redevelopment of our region. We've had a strong agriculture economy in the past and energy, but we need to diversify our economy," said Randy Neugebauer, Republican.
"I think the most pressing issue right now is clearly the war in Iraq and supporting our troops. I firmly believe the single most important role of the federal government is to defend our nation and secure our homeland," said Bill Christian, Republican.
"Everyone talks about oil and gas and agriculture being the top two issues. Indeed they are but equally important is the issue of water and also the moral climate of West Texas," said Kaye Gaddy, Democrat.
"What we're facing right now is an economic downturn, and what I can do as your member of congress is to make sure we have the support you need, particularly by getting federal support for education like Texas Tech University, UT Permian Basin and Community Colleges," said Vickie Sutton," Republican.
"What we've got to look out for is our farmers. From the time I was six-years-old to 16 I worked for farmers. Larry Combest has done a lot for farmers and they can't be ignored," said Stace Williams, Republican.
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Other candidates also running for District 19 but not appearing at Friday's forum include Richard Bartlett, Carl Isett, Mike Conaway and John Bell, all republicans. The special election to fill the seat being vacated by Larry Combest will be May 3rd.