ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) — With Texas gubernatorial elections just weeks away, Yourbasin.com asked two political party presidents from Ector County to weigh in on top voter issues.
In the first in-person debate between Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, border security, gun reform and reproductive rights were among the topics debated.
Ector County Republican Party Chairwoman Tisha Crow said the one issue that likely resonates with most West Texas voters is border security.
“For many, especially within 300 miles of the border, I think you’re going to find the border issue top of mind for a lot of voters,” Crow said over the phone.
Crow said border security is likely an issue voters will care about, regardless of political affiliation. She said Governor Abbott has made it a point to voice the need to keep communities safe as migrant crossings hit record highs.
Crow said another topic that is on the minds of West Texans and most Americans more than ever is the current economy, coupled with high inflation and rising prices.
“They’re worried about the price of gas, the price of beef, the price of anything when they go to the grocery store,” Crow said. “People are distressed. They are upset about what is coming out of Washington. They are upset by the amount of their monthly bills. And they are afraid. They are really afraid of being able to meet the monthly expenses of the next month, for example.
Ector County Democratic Party Chairperson Hannah Horick said there was an increase in young people registering to vote. She said she believes young voters could be a key force in the next gubernatorial election.
On reproductive rights, Horick said the upcoming election will be “revealing” about what Texans think about the reaction of state and state Republicans to the Roe V. Wade decision.
“I really hope we see a really fruitful conversation around what both candidates think. Texans should have access to all forms of health care, but especially reproductive rights in these really critical times when it comes to the life safety during pregnancies, in regards to incidents of child abuse, in regards to incidents of rape…” Horick said over the phone. “How do we respond in a state that tries to criminalize all kinds of forms of reproductive access and really, really get doctors and women to think about what kind of decisions they have to make?”
Horick said another critical pre-election issue for voters is O’Rourke’s platform on tougher gun laws, including expanded background checks and a new age limit. for the purchase of assault rifles. Horick added that in the months since the mass shooting in Uvalde, lawmakers haven’t made any fundamental changes.
“So many mass shootings could be avoided by common sense, bipartisan gun reform, including raising the age at which people can buy assault-style weapons from 18 to 21,” Horick said. “It’s a really, really simple, really popular change that Republican leaders in Texas, including people like Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott, haven’t supported.”