All candidates for state and county races were invited to the forum, but there were four who attended: District 106 State Rep. Jared Patterson; District 106 challenger Jennifer Skidonenko; Ryan Williams, a candidate for Denton County Precinct 1; and Susan Fletcher, Collin County Precinct 1 commissioner.
Williams is facing Sandy Swan for the Denton County Precinct 1 commissioner position, while Fletcher is seeking re-election over challenger Courtney Brooks.
The District 33 Texas House race will see incumbent Rep. Justin Holland challenged by Andrew Rose. The District 12 Senate race is between incumbent Jane Nelson and challenger Shadi Zitoon. The Collin County tax assessor-collector race will see incumbent Kenneth Maun face challenger John Turner-McClelland.
Early voting begins Oct. 13 through 30. Election Day is Nov. 3.
After a three-minute introduction to Fletcher and Williams, the rest of the forum focused on asking questions to Patterson and Skidonenko for their contested race. The following are closing statements from them.
Jared Patterson, District 106 state representative
[For] those of you at home, I'm Jared Patterson, and I’m your state representative down in Austin. I worked hard not only to represent the people here in the district on issues that I think that they care about, like property tax reform, improving our public schools, getting more money for teachers, those sorts of things, but I also fought for our first responders. I'm endorsed by the Frisco Police Officers Association and the Frisco Firefighters Association because of the work that I did last session—helping them with their workman's comp, helping them get covered for certain cancers and certain things that haven't been done before. I'm pledging to do that again. We're going to go down, and we're going to work hard to increase the benefits to our first responders. I've just got to say: God bless our police officers right now. They are completely under fire and literally in all of our communities. I mean, there's very likely a police officer going into a dangerous situation right now at this very moment somewhere, so, prayers for them. We have got to stand behind our public safety officials [and] our law enforcement officers, and we have got to continue to pray for them in our communities during this time. With that, I would just encourage every single Republican to vote all the way down the ballot. This is the first time that we don't have straight-party voting in the state of Texas, and in Denton County, we have paper ballots, and that's going to take a little while. But we've got three weeks of early voting. We've got Election Day. You have plenty of time to get out there and vote. And I would just ask that you start at the top and that you vote for every single Republican all the way down the ballot.
Jennifer Skidonenko, District 106 state representative
I'm running to be your representative here in [District] 106 because beyond helping our first responders with getting cancer treatments, we need to be helping more Texans get their cancer treatments. And by doing that we need to expand Medicaid and unfortunately, it's been voted against in every session. Since the [Affordable Care Act] went into place. With millions of Texans without coverage right now. It's only costing all of us more money, and with the pandemic that hit, it's only a put a giant spotlight on that problem. So we can't just focus on one type of people in our state. We need to focus on everybody. That’s one of my priorities, aside from helping us recover from COVID[-19] even better. We talk about public safety and the danger of police officers. Sensible gun laws is one way to do that. Law enforcement is in favor of sensible gun laws—red flag laws, especially. You know, when they are answering a domestic violence call, they're four times more likely to be shot and killed just answering that call, and just the other day, we had a situation in Little Elm where a person had barricaded themselves in the house, and somebody was shot. And this just happened in 2017, and we lost an officer to gun violence. So, I think when we talk about public safety, we need to talk about the safety of everybody. Here in HD 106, it's peaceful and quiet, for the most part—obviously, aside from the situation I just mentioned—but I think our police officers are a little safer here than they are in Dallas, obviously. But we can support law enforcement while also holding them accountable. And I just want to mention that when we talk about being endorsed by these organizations, the organization should probably give the other candidate a chance to speak before they decide on an endorsement.
To see a video of the full forum, click here.
Additional reporting by William C. Wadsack