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First Public Forum for City Council Candidates Sees Engaging Debate

Carlos Morales
District 2 candidate Jake Russell (left) and District 4 candidates Dillon Meek and Ashley Bean Thornton participate in a public forum held by the Texas Voters Alliance.

The three city council seats up for re-election this year are those representing Districts 2, 4 and 5. And as KWBU’s Carlos Morales reports, what was the first public debate for this election saw engaging debate from city council candidates. 

Monday night’s public forum saw three out of the 5 city council candidates come together.  District 2 candidate Jake Russell was joined by Ashley Bean Thornton and Dillon Meek – both of whom are running for District 4. The candidates answered audience questions, ranging from poverty and issues of diversity to economic development and predatory lending practices. Ashley Cruseturner, who teaches history at McLennan Community College, was in attendance. He lives in district 4.

“One of the candidates mentioned voter turnout is pretty low, and I happen to believe that voters can have more influence – very often we don’t think about local races so I wanted to hear what these candidates had to say”, Cruseturner said.

The last turnout for this election cycle, which was in 2013, saw just 2.65 percent voter turnout. Throughout the 90 minutes that the candidates debated, each touched upon their qualifications and their vision for Waco’s development. Victor D. Dunn who organized the event, runs the nonprofit The Texas Voters Alliance. He says that participation during these public forum has increased since the one held last year. 

“Rigth here, these local elections is where government services affect people the most," Dunn said. "And that’s what we’re trying to do, trying to bring the level education, and educate the voters in what’s going on local in the municipalities that we go to."

The election for City Council members will take place May 9th.