Richland Student Media

The Student News Site of Dallas College - Richland


Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media


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Richland Chronicle 4/09/24
Richland Chronicle 4/09/24

Richland hosts congressional election forum

32nd District primary candidates talk about issues facing voters
Candidates running for the 32nd Congressional District, alongside SGA president Tony Ramirez (top left), pose for photos after the forum on Feb. 9 in Fannin Performance Hall. (Staff Photo/Aislyn Smith)

Slogans such as Christopher Panayiotou’s “I am the working-class candidate,” Justin Moore’s “I’ll be the fighter that you need” and Kevin Felder’s “Experience makes the difference” are a few examples of what audiences took in on Feb. 9 when Dallas College Richland campus hosted the 32nd Congressional District forum through Lulac, Ecolatino and Richland’s Student Government Association. Seven candidates running in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House Texas District 32 March 5 appeared at the forum.
The candidates present were Zachariah Manning, Panayiotou, Jan McDowell, Felder, Dr. Brian Williams, Callie Butcher and Moore. Tony Ramirez, president of the Richland Student Government Association, served as moderator at the forum. Hosted in Fannin Hall, the forum lasted from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and started with the explanation of the rules presented by Ramirez.
Each candidate was given three minutes to introduce themselves. The candidates become artists painting pictures of their experience, visions and accolades while representing themselves with catchy slogans. Coming from different backgrounds and careers, each candidate presented the experiences that got them to run for Congress. The candidates were then each asked different questions to give the audience a better understanding of their stance on issues and policies.
Ramirez presented unique questions to each candidate giving them two minutes to answer and explain their position. Topics such as firearm safety, foreign wars, healthcare, economics, education and immigration policies were covered. Some candidates recognized that the rising cost of living is an issue for the common citizen.
Panayiotou said in his introduction, “The price of rent is putting people on the street,” when asked about their view on the economy. “People can’t afford to live and provide for their families, and I think that this massive disconnect between everyday people and what people are saying in Washington is a problem,” Butcher said.
Not all candidates spoke on the same ideas since they were all asked different questions. When asked about improving healthcare access, Williams addressed the cost of drugs as one of the biggest issues for citizens, providing details of previous work in Washington passing laws that make drugs more accessible.
Manning was asked about his views on how President Joe Biden is handling the situation in the Middle East, and whether he would call for a ceasefire. “Cease-fire now, um, you know, civilian lives are being lost. We need to get a handle on who are we really fighting,” he said.
Some candidates addressed others in their statements. However, few words were ex-changed between candidates during the forum. Each candidate spoke independently on his or her topic due to the limited interaction. Candidates ended their time with a four-minute outro summarizing their credibility and views.
In her closing statement, McDowell gave her views on the current economic state of the U.S. “It’s not just about surviving, it’s about thriving and that is because we all do better when we all do better. Everyone is at an advantage if everybody can do well in America,” she said.
Emphasizing the power of community, the Democratic candidates had moments of over-lapping viewpoints and few if any moments of audible disagreement. Through independent questioning and speech, each candidate presented themselves to the audience in hopes of receiving their vote.

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