AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Four Republicans are seeking to fill the Texas State Senate District 31 seat that will be vacated by Kel Seliger.
It comes after State Sen. Seliger (R-Amarillo) announced he would not run for office.
Kevin Sparks is an oil and gas businessman in Midland who is backed by former President Donald Trump.
Tim Reid is athletic director and teacher at Ascension Academy in Amarillo. He is also a former FBI agent.
Stormy Bradley is a business owner and nurse from Big Spring.
Jesse Quackenbush is an attorney from Amarillo.
All of these candidates are running for this seat, campaigning on similar issues, including border security.
“I think it’s important, though, that we have someone who has real world experiences with other countries and how we work on these safety and security issues,” Reid said.
Bradley said she would start with a temporary closure of the southern border.
“I think the first step to doing that is a temporary border closure and then doing some things towards Mexico, in terms of penalties, fines and sanctions,” she said. “So we have some buy-in from them to help solve this problem.”
Sparks said Texas should step in if the federal government doesn’t.
He said: “I support the continuation of the work on the wall started by President Trump. And that, thankfully, the legislature has budgeted nearly $3 billion to spend on continuing construction of the border wall, as well as adding additional law enforcement.
Applicants are also focused on schools in Texas.
“I’ve really been a fan of asking other parents in their school districts as I travel to ask about the curriculum your students are learning,” Bradley said. “I think there’s a difference in the literature and CRT curriculum, but I’m definitely trying to be a parent advocate in that aspect.”
Quackenbush spoke about school control saying, “I believe our rural school districts should have all the power and all the ability to control how their schools are run in these rural areas.
Reid suggested looking at standardized tests and determining if they are helpful to students. He also said the state may need to increase funding to help improve schools.
“Do we have any areas we need to focus on? We do. There are underperforming school districts, there are underperforming schools, and that’s what we need to fix with legislation, not come up with a law that we cover everybody up with and inconvenience them,” Reid said.
According to Sparks, competition could improve schools.
“I’m a proponent of opening up our public education and allowing dollars in some shape, form, or fashion to follow students,” Sparks said. “So that we create new entities to help educate our students.”
In Amarillo, Quackenbush said he was showing up to give the Panhandle a voice.
“I’m still very confident that unless someone from the Panhandle gets this job, that the frackers that Mr. Sparks represents, in Midland, Odessa will be here taking our vital resource that could lead us into a spiral that we can’t recover without water, our farming community, our herding community can’t survive,” Quackenbush said.
Reid said he wanted to monitor the entire area, including rural Texans in the district.
“41 of our 45 district counties are rural and therefore have different issues than we have in Amarillo and Midland-Odessa,” Reid said. “We have to be, we have to be to recognize these differences.”
Watch the full interviews with each candidate below: