AUSTIN, Texas — Early voting in the November mid-term election starts in two weeks, and many Central Texans are in new political districts.
Before the 2021 redistricting process, District 19 of the Texas House of Representatives was in East Texas. It didn't include any counties in the KVUE viewing area. The Republican incumbent for the district, State Rep. James White (R-Hillister) decided to challenge Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in the primary and his district was divvied up and District 19 was moved to Central Texas.
Now, District 19 includes four counties in our area -- Travis, Burnet, Blanco and Gillespie Counties plus Kendall County, which is south of our viewing area.
Voters will select between former Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair (R) and Pam Baggett (D).
Pam Baggett (D), candidate for Texas House District 19
Ashley Goudeau: First, I want you to introduce yourself to our viewers and tell us why you want to serve in the Texas House of Representatives.
Pam Baggett: "I have worked on campaigns for decades for people from Sarah Weddington forward. Well, actually, at age five I was out pushing push cards for my grandfather, who was running for county clerk in Archer County. So I have lived in Archer County. I've lived, grew up basically in Fort Worth, came to Austin. I stayed until we retired a few years ago, and now I'm in Blanco County. But professionally, I worked for government. I used to be a reporter for the statesperson. I have worked for state associations and I've had my own business ... We have this new district, and we had no Democrat prepared to run. And I sat and watched and watched. And finally I went, 'Wait a minute, I have to participate.' It's important to me. I want to be a part of restoring a woman's rights. I want to be a part of funding schools. I want to be a part of, well, I'm really concerned about our National Guard and along the border. I although that's so much we can talk about how that's basically a federal issue. I want to be a part of gun safety. I want to be a part of all the things that will lead to a better life for all of us and that includes better access to mental health."
Ashley Goudeau: What do you believe is the most pressing issue for Texans living in District 19, and how will you work to address it?
Pam Baggett: "That's like asking which of your children you love best. This is really challenging and every issue is so critical. Obviously, we don't want our children killed, and if we go backwards a little bit on that, we have to get in to gun control. And I don't like that word, 'control.' I prefer the word 'gun safety.' There's a lot of things we can do to make that a better situation. But because I have lived in all of these districts, these communities, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding. I have friends who are helping me campaign in all basically 4.5 of counties."
Ashley Goudeau: In the wake of the Rob Elementary School shooting, there have been calls to create new gun laws related to – excuse me – new laws related to guns. Do you think there is room for new regulations, new laws.
Pam Baggett: "New and restored. I believe in profiles, gun background or purchases before you buy in a gun store, at a gun show, online. We must return to the background checks. If you own a gun, you must keep it in a safe place so that children don't get into them. We've seen too many accidents from that. And if you don't keep your gun in a safe place and a child does hurt someone, you are liable for it. I believe in red flag laws so that those of us who know our neighbors and family members, or even people we see on a regular basis, in the grocery store, if that's where we work, we need to have the right to alert law enforcement. And law enforcement needs to have the right to go and check on that individual. I also, and this is a biggie, I don't see any reason or anyone who is not in the military to own a military weapon. I don't believe we should be selling AR or AK weapons. And, in fact, at the federal level, I wish they would stop allowing them even to be manufactured."
Ellen Troxclair (R), candidate for Texas House District 19
Ellen Troxclair's campaign tells KVUE News she is not available for interviews before the election. KVUE News was able to interview Troxclair ahead of the May primary runoff for this seat. Below is a portion of that interview.
Ashley Goudeau: Talk to us about why you believe you're the best candidate to represent District 19.
Ellen Troxclair: "Yes, absolutely. I'm a mom of three kids. I'm a Christian conservative. I'm a small business owner. And I'm the only one in the race with a proven record of actually following through on campaign promises, which I sure wish we had more of these days ... And I'm running because I'm tired of being sold out. We have got to secure the border. We have to protect our kids, and we have to stand up for truth. I feel like our country is at risk and Texas must lead the way back to sanity."
Ashley Goudeau: What do you believe is the most pressing issue for the residents in District 19?
Ellen Troxclair: "Honestly, it's securing the border. I don't know ... maybe you thought property taxes or natural resources or pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and all of those things are certainly at the top of my list. But securing the border, if we do not get that under control, it is impacting all other parts of our government, all other parts of our schools. It is an absolute financial and a humanitarian and a public safety crisis. I have been to the border personally. I think it's only getting worse and that should be priority number one for the legislature and the governor. And from there, of course, we can do more things at once. And I will still continue to be an advocate on all the other issues that I listed. But I think, first, border security is priority number one."
Ashley Goudeau: So let's talk about border security. What do you believe should be Texas's role in securing the border?
Ellen Troxclair: "Yep. Well, unfortunately, Biden has just completely abandoned our state and clearly has no interest in making sure that we have a secure border. And I am a true believer that to have any sovereignty, any sovereign nation has to have secure borders. Of course, we were going to be following the governor's lead. And I know that he is doing as much as he can to make sure that we're pouring resources and people to making sure that happens. But I have a plan to get rid of the magnets that are bringing people here in the first place, like the free government handouts, whether it's housing or whatever else. We don't have citizenship checks for a lot of our state-funded programs. We need to make sure that the magnets that are bringing people here in the first place are done away with. Second, more boots on the ground and better technology. The cartels are absolutely beating us, hands down. And the technology that they are using to get to smuggle drugs and people across our borders. And we have to do a better job of investing in technology that is going to help us have the information that we need to effectively combat them. And then, last, I just think part of it is a moral issue. We need our border security personnel, whether it's state troopers or whatever else, to know that they are supported. They are giving up so much. They are away from their families to spend time at our border to apprehend people. And yet they don't even have basic supplies like water and sunscreen."
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