Recap: HD 64 Democratic Debate II

Democratic candidates, Andrew Morris and Mat Pruneda, running for House District 64, met for a debate on Feb. 25, Sunday evening, at Backyard on Bell.

“We have an opportunity in November,” debate moderator Oliva Justice Countryman said. “To show the world that the Texas Legislature, run by extremists is not what Texans are.”

The candidates answered questions from the community regarding tax breaks, public education, immigration and voter apathy.

On the topic of political polarization, Pruneda said that we can overcome disagreements by talking about ideas which are actually good for people.

Morris said people should start with asking questions about what they want to accomplish and achieve, and hold conversations with everyone across the spectrum.

“We have to make sure that when we are talking to voters we are true to who we are as Democrats,” Pruneda said. “We have to be true to the people who rely on us, and if we don’t there will be no blue wave.”

Pruneda said tax breaks are a difficult issue to talk about. As a citizen, he said he does not like excessive tax breaks.

“As a person running for state, I think it would be ill informed of either one of us to make a statement either way,” Pruneda said.

Morris said if we overuse, overextend and eliminate tax breaks for companies, not only will the companies not come to Denton but the tax break gets lost. He said that the issue has to be a two-way street.

Both candidates spoke on how they would propose to work on improving the roads and highways.

Morris not only spoke on improving roads, he also used his time to speak on ways to improve the air quality in Denton.

There were “rapid fire round” questions the candidates could only answer in one to two words, the questions varied in personal opinions and political opinions.

One question asked in the rapid fire round was if either candidate was accepting Super Political Action Committee funds, both responded with a firm “no.”

Another question asked in the “rapid fire round” was if either candidate thought Denton law enforcement should work with the United State Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in detaining undocumented immigrants.

Pruneda responded with “F--- no.” Morris also said no, saying humans aren’t “illegal”.

Morris said having strong and compelling candidates who stand strong and firmly on their progressive stances and democratic ideals will give the voters faith when voting.

“If we have issues amongst those communities that they are feeling aren't addressed then we are failing,” Morris said. “We have to ask them questions -- find out what it is that they need addressed so that we can actually get through to them as a whole.”

According to the Texas Secretary of State, in the 2016 primary elections, there was a voter turnout of one million. Compared to the nineteen million voting age population.

Those that do not vote do not believe someone will go and stand for them, said Pruneda.

“How do we defeat voter apathy?” Pruneda asked rhetorically. “We put our lives and our hearts and our minds on the line for everybody who feels unrepresented.”

The candidates spoke on fixing school funding and private school vouchers

“School vouchers are stealing from our children’s future,” Morris said. “We cannot allow any diminishing of our public education system.”

Pruneda said Republicans are intentionally using old metrics to underfund education.

“We have to treat education as an investment in our future,” Pruneda said.

Local activist Willie Hudspeth said he was very impressed by both of the candidate’s responses, especially when the response included the protection of some civil rights issues.

“This is one of my most difficult choices they’re both very capable and trustworthy – I trust what they’re saying” said Joanne Nicolle, Denton resident and voter registrar.

Democratic Congressional District 26 candidate Will Fisher was in the crowd and said, “I thought both candidates did a good job of making their case to voters. Now the choice lays in the hands of HD 64 constituents.”

Linsey Fagan, also Democratic Congressional District 26 candidate, was also in crowd watching and supporting Andrew Morris.

“Morris is one of the most brilliant candidates in North Texas,” Fagan said. “He’s very effective at reaching the right and he’s running for all the right reasons.”

Videos by Brenda Hernandez.
Photos by Zendra Morales.
Header image layout designed by Christopher Rodgers