ALDINE – With the retirement of Congressman Gene Green from the 29th District, many other candidates have started campaigning for the position.
Last Wednesday evening, civic clubs and the East Aldine District hosted a Candidates Forum at their offices, to meet some of the candidates and hear their positions on various issues.
Candidates attending were Democrats Roel Garcia, Sylvia Garcia, Tahir Javed, and Augustine Reyes, and Republicans Phillip Aronoff and Carmen Montiel. Not present were Democrats Dominique Garcia, Hector Morales, and Pedro Valencia, and Republicans Jaimy Blanco and Robert Schafranek.
Because the district is heavily Hispanic, it is expected that this seat will finally go to a representative of that community. It has been held the last 26 years by Gene Green, a non-Hispanic male quite popular with his constituents, partially due to his hard work to represent their needs and issues in Congress.
The Forum was moderated by Marina Suggs of the Green Forest subdivision civic club, and questions were taken from all the civic clubs and the audience.
Also, each candidate had two minutes at the beginning to state their position, and a minute at the end to summarize. In between they answered questions read by various civic club representatives.
An underlying theme most of the candidates mentioned was the need for a Hispanic delegate to represent their special interests.
Some of them emphasized that they were born and raised in District 29, but Javed was a Pakistani and Montiel was from Venezuela. Reyes said not only was he raised in District 29, but cited his service as a Marine, and later helping to clean up the drug trafficking.
Questions ranged from asking positions on healthcare, and Obama Care vs. Trump’s plans, flooding and drainage, and social security and medicare. One odd question was whether we should make English our national language.
Reyes Garcia wanted to know how the candidates would get more federal funds for sewer and water projects for Aldine.
Tahir Javed spoke about his experience as a healthcare owner, and his interest in providing affordable healthcare services. He also pointed out that through this business, and about a dozen others he owns, that he has created 1000 jobs, and said he knows how to do this for District 29.
Most of the Democratic candidates were in favor of Obamacare as it stands, while the Republicans wanted changes. Aronoff said he wanted government out of healthcare, and favored privatization.
On the issue of gun safety, Roel Garcia said we should ban high caliber guns. Javed said we should improve “behavior health.”
On education, Javed said we need more money from the state and feds for local schools, but not higher property taxes. Aronoff favored the voucher system. Almost all did not want teachers with guns.
Sylvia Garcia emphasized her experience. On guns, she said “No” to NRA, and if you are on a “No Fly List” you should not have guns.
In their closing statements, Aronoff said we need values that made the U.S. great; Roel Garcia said a vote for him was a vote for change; Javed said he was for better healthcare, jobs, and more money for education. He pointed out that there was only one hospital in the district, not enough; Montiel said she represented the Latin culture; Sylvia Garcia said she was proud to work with East Aldine, and the DACA kids needed to stay; and Reyes said he will set an example for kids to follow.