MCALLEN, Texas – Bitterly disappointed that their proposed candidate forums did not materialize, Futuro RGV still found a way of educating voters ahead of this year’s general election.

Working with AIM Media, the McAllen Citizens League and the League of Women Voters, Futuro hosted in-depth video interviews with candidates in order to learn where the candidates stand on some of the top issues. The videos were then posted on the Futuro and MyRGV websites.

Futuro, the McAllen Citizens League and the League of Women Voters had planned to have a full day of candidate forums at the McAllen Convention Center on Sept. 17. However, they were thwarted because many of the Republican candidates would not respond to the invitation. As a nonprofit, Futuro did not believe it could host a candidate forum with one candidate and an empty chair.

The candidate forum many wanted to see happen was the marquee race in this year’s election, Congressional District 15. It has been the marquee race because it is an open seat. Neither of the candidates running for the seat, Democrat Michelle Vallejo and Republican Monica de La Cruz, have served in elected office before. So, there was tremendous interest on seeing the candidates go head-to-head. That way voters could see which candidate is the most intelligent, articulate and knowledgeable. 

However, the eagerly anticipated forum did not happen. De La Cruz did not respond to Futuro’s invitation. 

De La Cruz also did not respond to invitations from the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the Pharr Chamber of Commerce for their candidate forums. So, the forums had to be scrapped. Vallejo agreed to participate in all three candidate forums. 

Nedra Kinerk, president of Futuro RGV, said her leadership team sought other ways to help educate voters on the local candidates. She said Futuro approached AIM Media, owners of The Monitor, the Brownsville Herald, and Valley Morning Star about doing a series of in-depth candidate interviews. AIM Media liked the idea, she said, and agreed to have their reporters interview the candidates at the Monitor offices.

“Futuro RGV was pleased to partner with AIM Media newspapers to provide voters informative interviews with candidates for the November 8 mid-term elections. McAllen Citizens League and the League of Women Voters, two other non-partisan community groups, assisted in getting information to the voters from the candidates who want to serve them if elected,” Kinerk said.

“These interviews were an informative alternative to the Futuro RGV Candidate Forums originally planned for September 17. The Forums were cancelled because so many candidates did not respond to the invitation to present their views to the voters. Federal law requires both candidates to be present for a debate or forum.”

Kinerk said the AIM Media interviews with candidates who responded to the invitation are available for voters to watch on myRGV.com & futurorgv.org. 

“Futuro RGV reminds citizens that a democracy is not run by the people. It is run by the people who vote. Be informed and vote,” Kinerk added.

The candidates that did agree to be interviewed included:

  • Vicente Gonzalez, Democratic candidate for Congressional District 34
  • Michelle Vallejo, Democratic candidate for Congressional District 15
  • Juan Hinojosa, Democratic candidate for state Senate District 20 (incumbent)
  • Morgan LaMantia, Democratic candidate for state Senate District 27
  • Oscar Longoria, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 35 (incumbent)
  • R.D. ‘Bobby’ Guerra, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 41 (incumbent)
  • Armando Martinez, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 39 (incumbent)
  • Luis Villarreal, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 37
  • Letty Hinojosa, Democratic candidate for the 13th Court of Appeals judge (incumbent)
  • Richard Cortez, Democratic candidate for Hidalgo County Judge (incumbent)
  • Terry Palacios, Democratic candidate for Hidalgo County District Attorney
  • Juan Tijerina, Republican candidate for Hidalgo County District Attorney
  • Arturo Guajardo, Democratic candidate for Hidalgo County Clerk (incumbent)
  • Minerva Diaz, Republican candidate for Hidalgo County Clerk 
  • Victor Perez, Democratic candidate for State Board of Education, District 2. 
  • LJ Francis, Republican candidate for State Board of Education, District 2. 

Here is the interview with Vallejo, conducted by AIM media reporter Matt Wilson:

Video

Editor”s Note: Click here to watch in-depth interviews with all the candidates.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Congressional District 15 candidate Michelle Vallejo.


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