BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER–Democratic Party nominees for four Upshur County elective offices, and the Democratic nominee for a Congressional seat in the Nov. 6 general election, spoke to a forum Saturday afternoon at Lantana Activity Center outside Gilmer.
About 40-45 attended the gathering, according to this newspaper’s count.
The speakers and the offices they are seeking included Joyce Peoples, district clerk; Claudette Bennett, county clerk; Henrietta Smith, county treasurer; Jurel White, precinct 2 county commissioner; and Catherine Krantz, running for the District 4 Congressional seat.
Peoples said the office she seeks needs to not “negatively affect the taxpayers’ pocketbook.” She called for “quality business management services,” touting her experience as a restaurant manager and her current post as general and financial secretary for a Diana church.
Saying she is currently a counselor in “behavioral health” to incarcerated persons, Peoples said the district clerk should display a “quality work ethic” and have a professional staff which understands the office’s business and legal requirements.
She is challenging Republican incumbent Karen Bunn, seeking re-election.
Bennett, declaring the Democratic Party should “stand up” to “unequality” in the county, cited her past experience as a librarian in three East Texas school districts, where she ordered books, as a qualification for county clerk. She also cited her work in her onetime post as director of communications in Nacgodoches for a program to serve special needs children.
In libraries, she said, “if someone came in, it was my job to know who had the material (the patron wanted), or who destroyed the material,” said Bennett. She faces Republican Terri Ross, seeking re-election.
Smith, a self-employed hairdresser and co-owner of a garage/towing service, said that as treasurer, she would make sure all funds were dispersed as the county commissioners court directs.
Noting the treasurer is “in charge of the payroll for the county,” she noted she had done payroll for several employees and pleged to take all necessary training for the office she seeks. She opposes Republican incumbent Brandy Vick, seeking re-election.
White, a retired educator who cited her 37 years experience in that field, said the commissioners court “needs a change” and pledged to “represent all the people of Upshur County.”
White, now a manager and co-owner of a farm, said she has degrees in mathematics and that her experience in that field gives her the ability to “properly appropriate funds,” fill vacancies in elective and appointive offices and handle contracts. She also pledged to maintain county buildings and roads.
Krantz opposes Republican U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe of Heath in his bid for re-election. He represents part of Upshur County, while Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), who is being challenged by Democrat Dr. Shirley McKellar, represents the rest.
Krantz stressed the importance of infrastructure, including her desire to bring broadband service to rural communities. She also touted “Medicare for all. . .We’re already paying for it.”
She additionally said she favored legalizing marijuana as “way too many people (are) in prison for non-violent drug offenses,” and that “the more people we send to prison, the more crime goes up” since they come out “hardened criminals.” She also alleged there is a “rampant epidemic” of bruality and excessive force by police.