The four candidates vying for the seat being vacated by Texas House District 60 Rep. Mike Lang spoke at the forum Tuesday night at Victory Life Church.
The four are:
• Jon Francis, a Cisco businessman
• Christopher M. Perricone, mayor of Mineral Wells
• Glenn Rogers, a Palo Pinto County veterinarian and rancher
• Kellye SoRelle, a Granbury attorney
After making introductory statements, forum moderator Randy Turner read questions complied by a committee of the Brown County Republican Party.
“I didn’t have to move into the district to run for this seat,” Francis said in his introductory comments. “I didn’t have to change parties in order to run for the seat, either. I didn’t get into this race until our current representative, Mike Lang, decided to get out of the race.”
Francis said he is a “very committed, solid conservative.”
Saying he’s been asked about his legislative priorities, Francis said the Republican Party of Texas “made it very clear to the candidates who are on this stage and I’m in agreement with the Republican Party platform.
“If you entrust me with your vote, I will not only support but I will advocate for those planks. Donald Trump has shown there is a swamp in Washington, D.C. But I want you to also understand very clearly that there is a swamp that exists in Austin.”
Francis said he’s heard it said that “all we need is a seat at the table. And quite frankly I don’t have a white flag and I won’t raise a white flag,” Francis said.
“Our values are worth fighting for. I get frustrated when we have priorities that the Republican Party of Texas delegates have made extraordinarily clear what is important to the (party). Often they get done with the session and they’ve ignored all of the priorities. The top 10 priorities pretty much got ignored last session.”
Christopher M. Perricone
“You need to elect someone who is going to adhere to the same values that you have,” Perricone said. “We all subscribe to the Republican platform and yet we’re not getting the Republican platform accomplished.
“So we need to find people who will actually do what they say they’re going to do. When you evaluate a tree, you need to evaluate the fruit. What have they actually done? I’m the one candidate who can not only say I’m a conservative, I can actually show you how I’ve tried to end abortion in the city of Mineral Wells, how I’ve tried to not only vote to lower taxes but to completely eliminate all property taxes. So I can show you a track record of conservatism.”
Perricone asked voters to consider who will go to Austin or Washington, D.C. and be able influence other representatives. “We’re all going to be the same tree with the Republican platform. But who is it that’s going to be influential to go down and impact others?” Perricone said.
Perricone said when an abortion ban was put on the Mineral Wells City Council agenda, the council “refused to even have a conversation. Why? They’re fearful. Will you be more fearful of men or of your God that you serve?”
“To keep rural Texas and America strong, we must focus on the issues that face Brownwood — public education, health care and jobs,” Rogers said. “My core beliefs, career and broad leadership experience make me uniquely qualified for this position.
“I’m staunchly pro life and an adamant defender of the Second Amendment. I’m opposed to all illegal immigration. I’ve been active in the traditional Methodist church for over 50 years and I’m immersed in God’s grace.”
Rogers said he has served in leadership positions on the local, state and national level.
“While I was serving as president of a national organization, that’s when I decided that I wanted to defend rural Texas and represent rural Texas,” Rogers said. “If you look at the areas of greatest support for the president, it’s in rural America. The future of this party, the ability to elect strong leaders, and the future of our great state, depend on thriving communities.”
Rogers said he’s spent his working life developing trust and relationships, which, Rogers said, is required for governing.
“Incremental positive change is better than no change,” Rogers said, noting that extremist views are held by some on “both sides.”
“I believe you hold to your values but you also have to govern,” Rogers said. "That’s what I’m about — relationships and trust, not compromising my values but working with people.”
SoRelle said she is from a family of public servants and an advocate by trade. In 2017, when SoRelle lived in Cameron County, she was named prosecutor of the year there, SoRelle said.
“I am a strong advocate for border security and constitutional carry,” SoRelle said. “I am definitely pro-child. Pro-life to me is more than just the unborn. You’ve got a whole spectrum of life that deserves protection.”
SoRelle said attorneys spend the majority of their careers “working with others, working on behalf of parties, working with agencies, working with courts and court staff. I have always understood that you kill people with kindness, you try to get along.
“In 2017 I was the prosecutor of the year in Cameron County and I earned that because I stood for what was right. So even though you’re supposed to work well with others, and respect their opinions, I have no problem doing what is right.”