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The latest news for Abilene and the surrounding communities.

Dana Glover / KACU

As we wrap up our coverage of the candidates on the ballot in Taylor County, we are taking a look at the contests for Place 3 and Place 4 in Abilene’s City Council.  One incumbent faces two challengers, while the other is unopposed.

KACU

Anthony Williams was elected in 2016, and is the first Black mayor of Abilene. In this election year he has faced the challenge of leading through a time of increased racial tension, a global health pandemic, as well as surviving his own bout with COVID-19. Williams' campaign is focused on bringing the Abilene community together.  But he has faced harsh criticism from his opponent Cynthia Alvidrez.

 

Find out more about Anthony Williams:

Anthony Williams Facebook Campaign Page 

Big Country Ballot 2020: Cynthia Alvidrez

Oct 28, 2020
Heather Claborn / KACU

Cynthia Alvidrez has thrown her hat into another election ring, this time challenging Anthony Williams to become Abilene’s next Mayor.  She previously ran for a spot on Abilene ISD’s  board in 2018, against longtime board member Danny Wheat. Wheat kept his position.  Last year Alvidrez ran for City Council Place 5, losing to incumbent Kyle McAlister.  This time around Alvidrez has focused her campaign on being a voice for people that get overlooked. 

Find out more about Mayoral Candidate Cynthia Alvidrez:

Courtesy Dr. Dawn Buckingham Campaign

District 24 in the Texas State Senate stretches from Killeen to Abilene.  The district has been represented by a Republican since 1996.  That’s also the last year a race for the seat was actually competitive.  State Senator Dawn Buckingham is a doctor and a member of the Health and Human Services Committee in the state senate.  She's running for a third term.

Find out more about Dr. Dawn Buckingham:

Dr. Dawn Buckingham's Campaign Website

Ballotpedia

DeWayne Crable

Clayton Tucker is the Democrat who’s challenging Republican Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham for the seat in the 24th district.  Tucker is a rancher in Lampassas.  His experience includes environmental research in China, teaching kindergarten in Taiwan, and advocating with former Texas Agricultural Commissioner Jim Hightower for healthcare for all.  We spoke over Zoom.

Find out more about Clayton Tucker:

Clayton Tucker's Campaign Website

Ballotpedia

Courtesy of Texans for Stan

Stan Lambert represents Taylor, Jones, and Nolan Counties in the Texas State House.  He’s running for reelection to a third term, after being targeted by the Republican Speaker of the State House, Dennis Bonnen, for a challenge this election.  The upcoming legislative session promises to be a busy one with a number of new issues to tackle, brought about by the events of 2020. We spoke with State Representative Stan Lambert by Zoom.  

Find out more about Rep. Stan Lambert:

Zach Snyder

Democrat Sam Hatton is taking a second shot at unseating Republican State Representative Stan Lambert.  Hatton jumped into the race in 2018, and is on the ballot again for the 71stdistrict seat.  His campaign website highlights three issues that he sees as key to creating a "Competitive, Compassionate Texas": public education, roads & infrastructure, and rural healthcare.  KACU's Heather Claborn spoke with Sam Hatton  by Zoom.

Find out more about Sam Hatton:

Sam Hatton's Campaign Website

Big Country Ballot 2020: Rep. Jodey Arrington

Oct 21, 2020
Courtesy Jodey Arrington For U.S. Congress

Republican Jodey Arrington is running for a third term in Washington D.C. representing Texas’s 19th Congressional District.  Arrington fended off a primary challenge by Vance Boyd earlier this year, winning nearly 90% of the vote.   Since his first term in 2017, Arrington has been a strong supporter of President Trump’s policies from immigration to international trade.  And he praises the President’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more about Rep. Jodey Arrington:

Jodey Arrington's Campaign Website

Big Country Ballot 2020: Tom Watson

Oct 20, 2020
Courtesy Tom Watson for U.S. Congress

  

Republican U.S. Representative Jodey Arrington has a new challenger this election in the race for Texas’s 19th Congressional District.  Arrington won by large margins in his first two campaigns.  But Democrat Tom Watson is undaunted.  Watson is a Vietnam War veteran and an attorney from Abilene who wants to bring change to the district’s representation in Washington D.C.  

Find out more about Democratic candidate Tom Watson's challenge to Rep. Arrington:

Tom Watson For Congress

Heather Claborn / KACU

The 2016 Presidential Election brought a strong showing for President Trump in several parts of Texas.  One of the regions with the largest turnouts for Trump, in the state and the nation, was in the Big Country.   

A number of voters at the West Texas Fair and Rodeo last month shared their opinions on the presidential election.  Retiree Jim West described the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden as “crazy as a runover dog”.  And when he was asked who he would vote for, he responded enthusiastically, “Trump!  There ain’t but one candidate as far as I’m concerned.”

Courtesy of Hardin Simmons University

The racial reckoning after George Floyd’s death has sparked change across the country including at some high profile universities in the Lone Star State. At Texas A&M this summer, black students shared their stories of racism on campus. A&M leaders responded by committing to a race relations task force, a large scholarship fund to support diversity and a commission to evaluate statues and monuments on campus. Some students are still calling for the school to remove a statue of Sullivan Ross, a confederate general. 

Scott Delony / ACU

The racial reckoning following police killing several unarmed black people this summer has caused some institutions to take a hard look inward. Street murals supporting “Black Lives Matter” have been painted across the U.S. Corporate policy statements have changed. Even the NFL retracted their own stance discouraging players from protesting against police brutality and encouraged members of the league to speak out against racial injustice. 

Courtesy of Elizabeth Behlen

The racial reckoning since George Floyd’s death has made many institutions, individuals, businesses and local governments take a hard look at how they do things. Statues honoring Confederate figures have been removed. Products, like Aunt Jemima, re-branded. 

Higher education is also making changes. Take UT Austin, for example. After calls to address racism on campus, the university announced it would add statues honoring Civil Rights leaders, and rename some public spaces. And that movement extends beyond Texas’s flagship university. 

Dana Glover / KACU

Abilene Christian University is bringing staff back onto campus after most employees have spent more than three months working from home.  The university is on track to welcome students back to campus August 24th.

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, ACU established three working teams focused on different aspects of the university’s response.  Recent positive test results at ACU's clinic have given the university a chance to start practicing contingency plans.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Tape on the floor of the polling center at the Taylor County Plaza shows voters how to keep six feet of distance while waiting in line.  A hand sanitizer dispenser stands just inside the door, and jugs of it sit on tables.  This election, poll workers are offering voters disposable gloves and face masks. 

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