Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 10:48 pm
THE WOODLANDS – Three of four candidates vying for the State Senate District 4 seat being vacated by incumbent Republican Tommy Williams faced off at a late afternoon candidate’s forum Tuesday on the Sam Houston State University The Woodlands Center campus.
Republican candidates Richard “Gordy” Bunch, Brandon Creighton and Michael Galloway answered questions posed by forum moderator Andrew DuBois.
Candidate Steve Toth, who was unable to attend the forum, was introduced in brief remarks made by campaign manager Laurie Frio. Toth is the incumbent Republican State House District 15 Representative.
DuBois is executive editor of Houston Community Newspapers and editor of The Courier and Villager.
The forum, sponsored by the Greater Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, offered voters a chance to hear candidates’ views on the issues ahead of a May 10th State Senate District 4 special election called for by Gov. Rick Perry.
Each candidate was allowed a two minute introduction followed by a one-minute opportunity to answer questions posed by Dubois.
And in an interesting twist, each candidate was offered the opportunity to play a one minute rebuttal card at any point throughout the forum to rebut another’s candidate’s response to a question.
Bunch, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years fighting drug trafficking and slave traffickers, has been married 19 years with three boys.
He has served on the Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, the Woodlands Township, the Woodlands Convention and Visitors, and in 2001 founded the Woodlands Financial Group.
“I’m concerned about the narrative our children are hearing,” he said. “I want to re-ignite the American Dream.”
Bunch said the next generation used to have higher expectations than the past, but that that was no longer the case. He wants today’s kids to believe they can exceed the achievements of past generations.
Creighton, who currently is in his fourth term as State House Rep. for District 16, said he wants to make sure that Texas (not the Federal government) still runs Texas.
Married for 12 years, he is also the father of a daughter and a son.
Creighton doesn’t want Texas to be “turned upside down” like California, Michigan or New York, he said.
He said the next State Senator representing District 4 does not have time for on-the-job training.
Creighton said he believes as Texas goes, so goes the nation.
Candidate Michael Galloway, a former State District 4 Senator for almost a decade from the mid ‘90’s through the early 2000’s, has been married for 28 years and is the father of a daughter and a son.
Galloway said during his tenure as a Texas state senator he helped pass the most comprehensive tort reform and the most comprehensive education reform in the state of Texas.
He also said he helped return more than a billion dollars in surplus to Texas taxpayers.
Galloway said that since he left office the Texas state legislature has passed one of the largest budgets in its history, has raised taxes and failed in the areas of crime, education and healthcare.
In the course of the forum: Creighton said as budget chair in the house he helped cut $16 billion. Galloway said the state legislature has made it a habit of not saying “no” to new spending. Bunch said as a local politician in The Woodlands he has helped cut debt and “what we do locally I’d like to take to Austin.”
All three candidates said they are not in favor of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Galloway said he is opposed to business subsidies to help lure businesses to Texas and Montgomery County. Bunch said The Woodlands has made good economic decisions in bringing businesses like ExxonMobil to the area, and he will work to take that to Austin. Creighton said he wants to continue the good work of Gov. Rick Perry to recruit businesses to Texas.
All agree that Texas infrastructure projects are behind schedule and need funding, instead of diversion of funds approved for TxDOT and infrastructure projects. Galloway said that the Rainy Day Fund should not be used for infrastructure or other projects, “but saved for a rainy day.”
Creighton said 86 percent of Texans support strengthening borders in Texas, and that Federal government has failed in their duty to protect Texas borders. Galloway said we should end sanctuary cities. Bunch said we have guest worker programs for nannies; we could also have guest worker programs for construction and other economic areas.