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More Senate candidates visit Bandera

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Four candidates vying for Texas Senate District 24 spoke to members and guests who attended the Friday, Oct. 9, meeting of the Bandera County Republican Women.
Current State Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay has chosen not to run for another term. He was first elected to the office in 1996, representing Bandera, Bell, Blanco, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Coryell, Gillespie, Hamilton, Kerr, Lampasas, Llano, Mills and San Saba counties, as well as portions of Taylor and Travis counties. Unhappily, longtime elected officials in Bandera County have managed to meet Fraser on their home turf.
No so, however, happily, were State Senate hopefuls, Ryan Downton, CJ Grisham and Dr. Brent Mayes with a return engagement by Jon Cobb.
Downton, a resident of Salado, described himself as not a career politician, but rather as "a small businessman and big government survivor." Currently, he serves as president of Little River Health Care in Temple. In 2008, Downton left practicing law full-time to found Platinum Diagnostic Imaging. However, as a result of the cuts to independent imaging imposed by Obamacare - aka Affordable Care Act - he was forced to sell the business in 2010. His currently company provides health care to rural Texans.
While serving as general counsel to the Texas House of Representatives, Downton worked on the redistricting map. "We've been before the United States Supreme Court twice and won both times," he said. "The feds cannot impose unconstitutional rules on states."
As the father of a 6-year-old boy, education is important to Downton. He deplored the idea of the state taking over parental choice in that area.
"I also think student loans will be the next financial bubble," Downton said. Posing a rhetorical question, he asked, "Why can't the state provided competition in the private sector for student loans? The problems began once student loans were federalized."
He suggested that a percentage of a student's earned income be diverted to any county making an investment in a young person's future. "We need different ideas because the current ones are not working."
Noting the increasing importance of water, Downton said that rice farmers don't pay market rate for water because, if they did, they couldn't grow rice. "Well, I say, maybe they shouldn't (grow rice)," he said, adding that rice farmers are currently subsidized by electric rates charged by the Lower Colorado river Authority.
A resident of Bell County, Grisham and his wife and children live on the family farm. He also serves as president of Open Carry Texas, which he founded. In 2014, his efforts to protect the Second Amendment led to him being named one of the five finalists for Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News.
Grisham noted that one way to curb an unending flow of undocumented aliens across Texas' border with Mexico would be to make the environment hostile to illegals. He advocated using eVerify and fining employers who hire illegal's. "We also need to cut off taxpayer funded services to illegal immigrants and stop Spanish only classes," he said. "If they can't find work or services in Texas, they will go to Arizona, New Mexico and Louisiana." Additionally, he would support, cutting off state funds to cities with sanctuary policies.
As a retired US Army first sergeant Grisham also wants to increase funding to the Texas State Guard. "Although mandated by the state Constitution, there is not one weapon in the guard. I want to make Texas free and strong. A free Texas is a strong Texas."
Grisham explained, "I'm running for Senate District 24 because I'm frustrated. There is no backbone in Austin. No one there can just say no."
Statements and platforms of Mayes and Cobb will be covered in the Nov. 5 edition of the Courier.