COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - Ahead of the midterm elections next Tuesday, KBTX is going beyond just the names on the ballot. Our series starts with Texas House of Representatives District 14 incumbent John Raney and his opponent Josh Wilkinson.
"What you see is what you get," said Raney, as he discussed his potential 5th term in office. "I have said from the beginning when I started running for office, this is a representative position. A representative means I need to hear from you too."
Representative Raney has been active in the Republican party since the 1970's. He currently sits on the House committees on Administration, Appropriations, and Higher Education.
"What better committees to be on for Brazos County with Texas A&M University and Blinn College in our communities," said Raney.
He's owned The Aggieland Bookstore on Northgate since 1969 and though he loves outfitting Aggies and Aggie fans, he says being a State Representative for the last six years has been a bit more exciting.
"I am a fiscal conservative. I want to make sure we get the best we can for the dollars we invest in our state," explained Raney. "I feel like I'm accomplishing something and doing something good for the state of Texas doing this."
Raney's challenger, newcomer Josh Wilkinson, has taken a grassroots approach for his campaign, going door to door introducing himself to voters and encouraging them to cast a ballot.
"It didn't matter which office I ran for, I just felt like after the 2016 election, I had to do something and this one worked best for me," said Wilkinson. "I'm just trying to be the candidate that I'd like to see run."
The Democrat and father of two works at the Texas A&M RELLIS Campus.
"I hope to go to Austin and go to the folks who are making a ton of money in the state and say it's your responsibility to reinvest that money in our communities," said Wilkinson.
He says he has a plan for lowering property taxes.
"If we take care of public education and healthcare, by taking the medicaid expansion and raising revenue from folks making the most money in the state, we can drive property taxes down," explained Wilkinson.
Meanwhile, Raney says he's focusing on workforce and vocational training to try and reduce our need for medicare.
"I'm trying to make sure the CTE students at the new Bryan campus have more money to accomplish what they want to do," said Raney. "It's kind of a cycle. I truly believe we can reduce the number of people on benefits from the state through education."
Raney says if he is re-elected he will also continue to work for retired teachers in Texas.
"The biggest thing is the budget we work on, and I spend a lot of time on it. It controls what we do with our money/ We've put out a lot of money for retired teachers insurance," said Raney. "Now, I know they're not happy because it's going up, but if we hadn't put a sizable amount of money, about $1.1 billion over the last two sessions, it would be worse."
Wilkinson says if he wins, he wants to address global warming and marijuana prosecution. He also wants to make an impact during the 2020 Census.
"We're going to have redistricting in 2020 and I want to draw fairer maps so that incumbents have a chance of losing," said Wilkinson. "That goes for both parties Republican and Democrat. I think we will have better representation on both sides."
Both Raney and Wilkinson agree that above all, educating voters about their options and getting them to the polls is what truly matters.
"Regardless of the outcome, it is important that people cast a ballot," said Raney. "I believe all government is important, we need to participate in local government. You need to listen to what the candidate has to say, question it and make a decision on your own."
Wilkinson said, "I believe in democracy. I just want you to participate. The more people that participate the better democracy we'll get."
The 2018 midterm elections are Tuesday, November 6.