June 13–The Republican and Democratic candidates in the July 14 primary runoff elections to replace retiring U.S. House District 17 Rep. Bill Flores appeared on stage at back-to-back forums Saturday evening to weigh in on a variety of issues.
KWTV-TV and Bryan’s KBTX-TV aired the forums, with Democratic candidates Marine veteran David Jaramillo of Waco and project manager Rick Kennedy of Pflugerville speaking for about 40 minutes, followed by the pair of Republicans, former Dallas-area congressman Pete Sessions and Brazos Eye Surgery owner Renee Swan of Waco.
KWTX anchor/political reporter Tara Mergener and KBTX anchor-reporter Karla Castillo co-moderated the forums. The moderators began each forum with a series of conversations about George Floyd’s death while in police custody, and on racial inequality more broadly. They also asked the candidates to weigh in on rural health care, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and more…
Kennedy said he sees Congress as divided and dysfunctional and that he wants to see the country elect officials who are committed to “pulling this country back together.” In terms of health care, he said he supports a public option.
“The events of the last four months have not only validated the core message that has carried my campaign of almost three years, but it’s increased the urgency of my personal commitment to carry that message all the way to Washington,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said he believes the country is at a turning point in race relations.
“It’s time to reconcile the history in America of systemic racism that started over 400 years ago when the first slave ship landed at Jamestown,” Kennedy said. He noted his attendance at recent racial justice protests in the area, including May 31 in Bryan. He called for sentencing reform and “getting out of the business of for-profit prisons.”