PHARR, Texas – Pharr Camber of Commerce is hosting a political debate Thursday, Feb. 10, for the primary election candidates seeking to represent the residents of Congressional Districts 15.

CD 15, which includes a majority of Hidalgo County, is deemed an open seat because incumbent U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez has moved to another congressional district. 

The Pharr Chamber is calling its event the “Battle of the Minds Political Debate.” It is being held at the Pepe Salinas Civic Center on W. Kelly Avenue in Pharr from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 10. The co-moderators are Veronica Gonzales, senior vice president for governmental and community relations at UT-Rio Grande Valley, and Steve Taylor, editor and publisher of the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service.

The debate will be structured differently to many of the candidate forums held thus far this primary season. Most forums consist of all the candidates being asked the same question. At the Pharr event, a question will be asked of one candidate only, but, the other candidates have the opportunity to rebut the answer given.

“The ‘Battle of the Minds’ debate is structured to encourage substantive discussion of important issues. It is the intent of the Greater Pharr Chamber of Commerce to encourage discussion rather than deliver scripted answers,” the Pharr Chamber stated in an email to the CD 15 candidates.

Pharr Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez said he is looking forward to the debate.

“The City of Pharr is proud to support the Greater Pharr Chamber of Commerce in hosting this debate for Congressional District 15, which is meant to provide our citizens the opportunity to become more civically-engaged and help them understand the importance of this seat for our community,” Hernandez said. 

“Because we have the seventh fastest growing port of entry in the nation, Pharr prides itself on working collaboratively with our congressional delegation and federal partners for crucial funding of city projects, grants, new partnerships that impact trade and commerce on our border. We are proud to welcome all the candidates and are excited to learn more about their goals, experiences, and how they will work for the best interests of our business and our community at-large.”

Marcela Beas, president and CEO of the Greater Pharr Chamber of Commerce said she was thrilled to be hosting the event.

“Chambers of Commerce across the country are responsible for influencing policy at the local, state, and national levels. Therefore, the Greater Pharr Chamber of Commerce is excited to host this debate for Congressional District 15 Democratic candidates. Giving candidates the opportunity to discuss their platform ensures that our business community learns the value of the congressional seat and the impact policy changes can have on the economic development and growth of our community,” Beas said.

For more information about the Pharr Chamber political debate, call (956) 358 5105.

The primary election for CD 15 takes place March 1. Early voting starts Feb. 14. 

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