Two of the four candidates running for Kyle City Council in Districts 1 and 3 gathered on Oct. 17 at the Kyle Public Library for a candidate forum.
The event was organized by District 1 incumbent Council Member Dex Ellison. Ellison’s challenger, Yvonne Flores-Cale, as well as District 3 incumbent Council Member Robert Rizo and challenger Amanda Stark were invited to join the event, which was moderated by Justice of the Peace Beth Smith.
The forum was scheduled to run from 6:30-7:30 p.m., but with only Ellison and Stark attending, the session ended early.
With no more than 10 people in attendance, the candidates addressed what they would do for Kyle if elected and their opinions on other issues concerning the city.
The following are closing statements both candidates in attendance:
Dex Ellison, District 1
“I’ve been blessed to have an opportunity to be of input in my community whether it was volunteering with football organizations or different programs, the chamber of commerce, learning about the city with different programs and then spending time with [the Planning and Zoning Commission] and learning. I’m forever grateful for that, and that’s one of the things you’re going to get from me if you re-elect me to City Council—that experience and understanding of how the city works.”
Amanda Stark, District 3
“If I’m elected a City Council member I will always be up-to-date. If I don’t know the answer right then, I will always find out the answer. I will know what I need to know; I will make sure that your concerns are heard; I will discuss your concerns; I will be a voice—I will be a positive voice—I will listen and I will stand behind what I say I will do.”
Both District 3 Council Member Robert Rizo and District 1 challenger Yvonne Flores-Cale sent statements to Community Impact Newspaper on why they chose not to attend the forum.
The candidates each said that there were a number of last-minute changes to the plan for the forum, and that they did not feel there was not enough time given to notify the public.
“The public was notified less than 24 hours before the event on the Citizens for Dex Ellison Facebook page. Only three people attended the forum and the audience was not allowed to ask questions,” Rizo wrote in an email. “In my three campaigns, I have been very transparent and have participated in forums and questionnaires from the press, the Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters. I have much confidence in these groups to be fair and impartial to all the candidates.”
Flores-Cale wrote that she, too, did not think voters had enough notice.
“I felt we would not have enough time to inform the public regarding this forum. [On Oct. 16] there still was no plan and I felt it was unfair to anyone who wanted to be there, and I felt our citizens deserved better than a video of the forum,” Flores-Cale wrote. "I have participated in previous forums, I have been recorded, I have answered questions for different media outlets. It is not a fear of participating in these that bothers me, it is the idea that we would knowingly excluding people from being able to attend the forum that bothered me.”
To see a video of the full forum, see campaign Facebook pages for Ellison or Stark.