BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The decision of Brazos Valley Republican Congressman Bill Flores not to seek a sixth term triggered the largest flood of candidate filings in the 16-year history of the 17th Congressional District, which was drawn during a contentious remap following the 2000 census and stretches between Waco and Bryan-College Station.
From 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, KBTX in Bryan and KWTX in Waco will host back-to-back forums on the Texas A&M University campus featuring all 11 of the Republicans and two of the three Democrats running for the seat, and we’re interested in what you would like to ask the candidates.
Email your questions for the candidates to firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday Jan. 17.
The Democratic forum will be broadcast live simultaneously on KBTX and KWTX, streamed on the stations’ websites and social media pages from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 25, followed immediately by the Republican forum from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The 11 Republican candidates who have committed to participate include former Dallas area Congressman Pete Sessions, a Waco native; Waco homebuilder Scott Bland; George W. Hindman of Round Rock, who works in research and development; Ahmad Adnan, an Austin financial advisor; Todd Kent of Bryan, who works in higher education; Marine Corps veteran Trent Sutton; Waco real estate agent Kristen Alamo Rowin; Robinson real estate agent Laurie Godfrey McReynolds; civic activist David Saucedo of Waco; College Station businesswoman and former City Councilmember Elianor Vessali, and Brazos Eye Surgery co-owner Renee Swan of Waco. Army veteran Jeff Oppenheim of College Station was previously committed to attend, but has since dropped out of the race.
Democrats William Foster III of Hearne, a retired business owner and Richard Kennedy of Pflugerville, a project manager, have agreed to participate as well.
Democrat David Anthony Jaramillo of Waco declined because of a fundraising commitment.
The forum will be moderated by KBTX anchor-reporter Karla Castillo and KWTX anchor-political reporter Tara Mergener, who will pose a series of questions to each of the candidates formulated with your input.
The forum is not open to the public, but will be televised live from Texas A&M's Rudder Complex thanks to the support of the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service.