Local elections just as important as high-profile races


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Early voting is underway in Texas for the March primary elections. Your vote has a lasting impact beyond the box you tick or office your candidate is vying for.

“There is not an office that is up for election that doesn’t personally affect you,” Cinde Weatherby with the League of Women Voters said. The non-partisan organization provides information guides for voters to learn about candidate positions and platforms.

Every name on the ballot has a story. Some are career politicians, bouncing from elected office to elected office, moving up in the ranks and possibly making a bid for a national slot. Everyone starts somewhere.

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, speaks to reporters after casting his ballot on the first day of early voting on Feb. 20, 2018. (Nexstar Photo/Steffi Lee)

Gov. Greg Abbott, before becoming the state’s chief executive, was a lawyer, then a judge and was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 1995. In 2001, he ran for lieutenant governor, but switched his candidacy to attorney general and won. After serving as AG for more than a decade, he ran for governor and has held that office since 2015.

As he cast his ballot — for himself, he shared — on the first day of early voting, Abbott encouraged other Texans to exercise their civic duties.

“Participate in the democratic process,” Abbott said Tuesday. “We strongly encourage everybody across the State of Texas to come out and vote.”

Name recognition can help people at the polls too.

For example, Julian Castro was the mayor of San Antonio, before getting tapped by then-President Barack Obama to be the secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

“If you want better health care, better education, better-paying jobs than the best way to make that happen is to vote,” Castro told KXAN after speaking at an event in Austin on Monday night. The panel featured Castro, his twin brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio and their mother, political activist Rosie Castro.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (right) speaks to attendees of a panel discussion with his mother and brother, U.S. Rep Joaquin Castro (left), at UT Austin on Feb. 19, 2018. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

Rep. Castro, who was elected to the Texas House before winning one of Texas’ seats in Congress, said some people are inspired by certain issues, rather than candidates.

“There is so much going on right now in our country and our state,” he said. “The stakes are high on so many issues that I hope that maybe people who haven’t voted consistently before will find plenty of reason to go out and vote in 2018.”

Whatever your point of view, Weatherby says the choices made in the voting booth have local, state and nationwide ramifications, as they choose the decision-makers.

“You name it, anything that you’re talking about that the government is involved in providing, is going to be directed by an elected official,” Weatherby said.

Early voting runs through March 2. The Texas primary is March 6. To find your local polling place, click here.

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