Rep. Dukes a no-show at East Travis Co. Democratic primary forum


MANOR, Texas (KXAN) — Voters got a chance to hear from and visit with Democratic candidates at an east Travis County forum a week before early voting starts for the 2018 March Primary.

The East Travis County Democrats gave candidates — from the local to Congressional level — an opportunity to tell their stories at the Performing Arts Center at Manor High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The East Travis County Democrat members will make their endorsements Wednesday.

“Too many people come into the polls to vote and have no clue who is on the ballot or what the candidates stand for. The forum helps with that so you don’t have to look up each candidate but can meet them, hear what they have to say, and decide who to vote for,” organizers wrote on their Facebook page.

Additional information on the event can be found here.

House District 46

One of the few competitive races in Travis County is House District 46 that includes east Austin, Manor and Pflugerville.

It’s currently held by Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, but five others want her out.

Four candidates made their pitch Tuesday night to the East Travis County Democrats on why they should replace her. That group will make their endorsement in the race Wednesday.

One begins with her speech with a dig at Rep. Dukes, who’s been criticized for not showing up at the State Capitol.

“I am Sheryl Cole, I’m running for House District 46 and I show up,” she told the small crowd.

Cole says her experience as Austin Mayor Pro-Tem and on the PTA sets her apart from the pack. “I have extensive governing experience representing all types of people,” said Cole.

Immigration attorney “Chito” Vela is running at a time when many Democrats say state leaders are discriminating against Hispanics and immigrants.

He says the district is looking for “someone who will push to the left and be unafraid to say that they’re a liberal Democrat and advocate for issues that are important to liberal Democrats.”

Veteran Casey McKinney doesn’t believe anything is “wrong” with incumbent Dukes but she’s still running.

“I believe that District 46 has changed. It has evolved and I believe we need new ideas, fresh perspectives,” said McKinney.

What Manor ISD Trustee Ana Cortez says will put her over the top is how she currently oversees a multi-million dollar budget.

“I’ve done it at the local level. I can do it at the Capitol,” said Cortez.

Candidate Warren Baker wasn’t at the forum. The incumbent, Representative Dukes, wasn’t either. She was absent for the majority of her votes last year. That, she says, was caused by complications after a car accident.

Tuesday she told KXAN she couldn’t come because a heavy object fell on her and she’s getting X-rays at the moment. She later posted on Facebook that a “varidesk hurts real bad when it slides into you and pens you on hard concrete. OUCH!”

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