Cedar Park and Leander primary election ballot listings and Q&A's

This guide contains statewide voter information on candidates and voter ID, as well as Q&A's with candidates in some contested races. The candidates listed in this guide will be on the 2018 primary election ballot in the communities defined by Community Impact Newspaper’s Cedar Park and Leander coverage area. Only contested races are listed.

**Name listed on ballot


Statewide candidates

Democratic Party

U.S. senator
Sema Hernandez
Edward Kimbrough
Beto O’Rourke

James Jolly Clark
Cedric Davis Sr.
Joe Mumbach
Adrian Ocegueda
Jeffrey Payne
Lupe Valdez
Tom Wakely
Andrew White
Grady Yarbrough

Lieutenant governor
Mike Collier
Michael Cooper

Comptroller of public accounts
Joi Chevalier
Tim Mahoney

Commissioner of the General Land Office
Tex Morgan
Miguel Suazo

Railroad commissioner
Roman McAllen
Chris Spellmon

Republican Party

U.S. senator
Ted Cruz*
Bruce Jacobson Jr.
Mary Miller
Geraldine Sam
Stefano de Stefano

Greg Abbott*
SECEDE Kilgore**
Barbara Krueger

Lieutenant governor
Scott Milder
Dan Patrick*

Commissioner of the General Land Office
George P. Bush*
Davey Edwards
Jerry Patterson
Rick Range

Commissioner of agriculture
Trey Blocker
Jim Hogan
Sid Miller*

Railroad commissioner
Christi Craddick*
Weston Martinez

Presiding judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
David Bridges
Sharon Keller*

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8
Jay Brandon
Michelle Slaughter
Dib Waldrip

County and district candidates

Democratic Party

U.S. representative, District 10
Kevin Nelson
Madeline K. Eden
Matt Harris
Mike Siegel
Richie DeGrow
Tami Walker
Tawana Walter-Cadien

U.S. representative, District 25
Chetan Panda
Chris Perri
Julie Oliver
Kathi Thomas
West Hansen

U.S. representative, District 31
Christine Eady Mann
Kent Lester
Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar
Mike Clark

State senator, District 5
Brian E. Cronin
Meg Walsh
Glenn “Grumpy” Williams

State representative, District 47
Candace Aylor
Elaina Fowler
Sheri Soltes
Vikki Goodwin
Will Simpson

Judge, County Court-at-Law 1
Don Morehart
Todd T. Wong

Republican Party

U.S. representative, District 10
John W. Cook
Michael T. McCaul*

U.S. representative, District 31
John Carter*
Mike Sweeney

State senator, District 5
Harold Ramm
Charles Schwertner*

State representative, District 47
Jay Wiley
Patty Vredevelt
Paul D. Workman*

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8
Dib Waldrip
Michelle Slaughter
Jay Brandon

Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District, Place 6
Donna Davidson
Kristofer Monson
Michael “Mike” Toth
Jennifer S. Freel

Judge, County Court-at-Law 1
Brandy Hallford
Warren Oliver “Wow” Waterman

Williamson County judge
Bill Gravell
Frank Leffingwell

Williamson County treasurer
Lee Ann Seitsinger
Scott Heselmeyer*

Williamson County commissioner, Precinct 2
Bart Turek
Cynthia Long*

Williamson County justice of the peace, Precinct 2
Bronson Tucker
Edna Staudt*


Williamson County treasurer

Scott Heselmeyer*

Experience: Williamson County treasurer since March 2017; practiced law in Williamson County for 14 years; has served on the board of local community banks.


What are the top issues Williamson County is facing?
Heselmeyer:  It’s no secret that Williamson County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. This places significant strain on our infrastructure and tremendous pressure to improve infrastructure in a fiscally responsible manner. Skilled management of the county’s financial assets in the treasurer’s office can help ease some of this fiscal burden by ensuring that county funds are kept safe and earn appropriate returns while in the treasurer’s hands.


Lee Ann Seitsinger

Experience: part-owner of a real estate company; chief financial officer for a local business.


What are the top issues Williamson County is facing?
Seitsinger:  I believe some of the top issues are mobility and public safety.

Texas State Senate, District 5 (Democratic Party)

Brian E. Cronin

Hometown: I live in Austin, Texas, Williamson County
Experience: Have earned two advanced degrees, including a doctorate, focusing on industrial and organizational research. For nearly 20 years, worked as an expert in workforce and organization development.
Top priorities: public education, health care, reducing property taxes, improving transportation, family programs for all residents and bringing integrity to government


Why are you running for state senator?
Cronin: I have a true passion for serving as your next Texas state senator. I understand that people and communities thrive when our government is unified and operates quality education, health, infrastructure, workforce, justice, and revenue systems. I want to shape these programs for Texas and ensure that all people are represented in government.

What are the top issues the area faces?
Cronin: Our area needs to focus on improving public education, providing access to quality health care to those in need, reducing traffic, fixing the broken property tax system, reducing public college costs, and providing opportunities for all people to succeed.

What are your thoughts on growth and development in the area?
Cronin: I welcome economic growth and believe it must be carefully planned to ensure infrastructure, public transportation, school, tax, and social programs keep pace. Also, we must protect our green space and quality of life as our area expands. This can be done with sound planning to ensure our communities thrive together.

Why should people vote for you?
Cronin: My combination of personal, family, and professional experiences have given me the skills to represent this community. I’ve enjoyed serving as a foster parent and feel blessed to be an adoptive parent, and resident of District 5. I am personally committed to making sure all people in our state have a brighter future.

Meg Walsh

Hometown: Round Rock, raised in Boston, Massachusetts
Experience: Managed audits at dozens of state agencies and have 25 years of experience as a project manager negotiating multimillion-dollar contracts.
Top priorities: school funding reform, access to health care for women and children, environmental priorities, reducing gun violence


Why are you running for state senator?
Walsh: I was a single parent in the ’80s and ’90s, and despite having a college degree and working two jobs, I often lived paycheck to paycheck. This struggle inspired me to help other people. Over the past two decades I have worked with survivors of domestic violence and at-risk youth. I volunteered in Round Rock schools, was recognized by Williamson County in 2008 for my years of service and am an advocate for women’s rights.

What are the top issues the area faces?
Walsh: Our foster care system is still broken. The Legislature can take steps to address these problems. Texas has the sixth-highest property taxes in the nation and is constitutionally required to fund public schools; instead, they pass the costs down to taxpayers. In the 2017 legislative session, our “leaders” allowed important issues to be overshadowed by partisan disagreements.

What are your thoughts on growth and development in the area?
Walsh: The Travis County and Williamson County area are in a hyper-growth mode. As a state senator I will work to facilitate solutions to housing and traffic issues, which will include public transportation and affordable housing, while protecting green spaces.

Why should people vote for you?
Walsh: Texas needs representatives that will do the right thing and stand up to help those in need. I have a proven record of serving Texans in need. I have decades of experience that qualifies me to sit across the table from my colleagues and find solutions to the complex problems that continue to plague our great state.


Glenn “Grumpy” Williams**

Hometown: Austin
Experience: More than 41 years as lawyer, with 39 years being in public service. More than 28 years as a regional Child Protective Services attorney.
Top priorities: improve protection of vulnerable citizens by engaging all Texans, level the playing field when in excessive force allegations against police officers, address the lack of exercise epidemic by implementation of physical fitness voucher


Why are you running for state senator?
Williams: To bring to attention of voter’s problems with current response (or lack thereof ) to issues regarding protection of vulnerable citizens, police excessive force investigation and prosecution, lack of exercise epidemic, and unfair tax policy and to offer alternative responses.

What are the top issues the area faces?
Williams: Meeting the needs of vulnerable citizens, such as abused and neglected children, the elderly and disabled; providing adequate educational funding that is fair and equitable; and addressing the lack of exercise epidemic.

What are your thoughts on growth and development in the area?
Williams: [Growth and development] should continue in managed and orderly fashioned without offering special incentives that disadvantage current residents.

Why should people vote for you?
Williams: With over 39 years of experience working for the government, I know that government is about protecting the little people—those who would otherwise be powerless in today’s society.

Texas State Senate, District 5 (Republican Party)

Harold Ramm

Hometown:  Florence, Texas
Experience: I am a retired public school superintendent with more than 30 years of experience in budgeting, facility management and human resources.  I am also a Realtor with 30 years of experience managing and selling properties.
Top priorities: education funding


Why are you running for state senator?
Ramm: The district I was supervising lost [Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction] funds. The answer we were given from Austin was to raise local taxes.  Raising taxes was not the solution.  The recapture monies to fund public schools would more than suffice if they were used to raise the basic allotment equitably for all districts.

What are the top issues the area faces?
Ramm:  Many public schools in District 5 have lost a tremendous amount of funding, including ASATR funds, over the past three bienniums.  We must fund public schools adequately and ensure that teachers are paid competitively for the work they do and the qualifications they are required to have.

What are your thoughts on growth and development in the area?
Ramm:  Funding for our Texas infrastructure, such as water and transportation, must be given precedence by the Legislature. This is done by prioritizing spending and streamlining costs whenever possible.

Why should people vote for you?
Ramm: I bring common sense and both educational and business expertise to the table. I am solutions-orientated and have solid ideas on how to address public education funding without raising additional taxes.


Charles Schwertner*

Hometown: Georgetown, Texas
Experience: State senator, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. Current practicing physician.
Top priorities: securing the border, getting tough on bad nursing homes that abuse or neglect our seniors, lowering property taxes and protecting private property rights, protecting Texas children from abuse and improving the state foster care system, defending the rights of responsible gun owners, increasing mental health resources for all Texans, especially our veterans


Why are you running for state senator?
Schwertner: It’s been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your voice in the Texas Senate, and I am proud of all that we’ve accomplished for Texas families. As your state senator I will continue to fight for our community and our shared conservative values.

What are the top issues the area faces?
Schwertner: Too many families in Senate District 5 are being taxed out of their homes. We need real property tax reform that will continue to allow Texans to realize the dream of home ownership.

What are your thoughts on growth and development in the area?
Schwertner: We need to encourage the kind of economic growth that will bring new jobs and opportunities, while still respecting the rights of individual property owners.

Why should people vote for you?
Schwertner: Because I’m the only true conservative in the race and the only candidate with a proven record of delivering results for Texas families.

Williamson County Commissioner, Precinct 2

Bart Turek

Experience: served as deputy coordinator for Williamson County Emergency Management and worked at the Williamson County Sherriff’s Office.


What are the top issues the county is facing?
Turek: Staying ahead of the growth: The county must stay ahead of the growth by working with the cities in Precinct 2 to ensure progress is made in the most fiscally responsible ways. Transportation: Work with the cities and the state to enhance our current roadways, build new roads if needed, and investigate mass-transit options to move our citizens in the fastest and safest ways, but the most cost-effective for the county. Funding county departments: Funding must be provided to ensure each department has the staff and tools it needs to operate at the highest level, but at the most cost-effective way.

Cynthia Long*

Experience: served as Williamson County commissioner; has served on YMCA board; served on Cedar Park City Council, Cedar Park Planning and Zoning Commission and the Cedar Park Regional Medical Center board; chair of CAMPO Finance Committee; past chair of Capitol Area Council of Governments Executive Committee.


What are the top issues the county is facing?
Long: Keeping our taxes low. Keeping county government growth in check. Recruiting more quality businesses to the area and creating more jobs for our citizens. Expanding, improving and maintaining the roadway system in the county. Continuing to provide the funds needed for law enforcement to ensure Williamson County remains one of the safest counties in the state.

Williamson County judge

Frank Leffingwell

Experience: served on YMCA of Williamson County board; board of Baylor Scott & White Central Texas; chair of Round Rock Planning and Zoning Commission; currently serving as Round Rock City Council Place 3 council member.


What are the top issues the county is facing?
Leffingwell:  The central issue facing Williamson County is how can Williamson County confront all of the challenges brought about by our growth successfully—that is how can Williamson County keep taxes low and maintain the family- and business-friendly quality while we continue to grow?

Bill Gravell

Experience: currently serving as Justice of the Peace for Williamson County Precinct 3; voted “Judge of the Year in Central Texas” in 2015 and “2017 Judge of the Year in Texas.”


What are the top issues the county is facing?
Gravell:  We must lower our taxes to offset skyrocketing property appraisals and get a handle on our spiraling $1.3 billion debt. Williamson County has a reputation for keeping our families safe, and we must make our public safety professionals a priority. And finally, we must improve our infrastructure and mobility to keep Williamson County moving.


Voter ID required

Texas voters are required to present one of seven specific forms of photo identification before they may cast their ballots. Voters must present one of the following forms of ID to vote:
• Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety
• Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
• Texas personal ID card issued by DPS
•Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
• U.S. military ID card containing the cardholder’s photograph
• U.S. citizenship certificate containing the cardholder’s photograph
• U.S. passport

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the ID must be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented at the polling place. Voters can apply for an Election Identification Certificate at no cost at any driver’s license office. Details on how to apply for an EIC are available on the DPS website, www.dps.texas.gov/driverlicense/electionID.htm.

Voters who cannot obtain one of the seven acceptable forms of photo ID due to a reasonable impediment may present a supporting form of identification and execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration, noting the voter’s reasonable impediment to obtaining an acceptable form of photo identification and stating the voter is the same person on the presented supporting form of identification.

Supporting forms of ID that can be presented for voters with a reasonable impediment are:
• Valid voter registration certificate
• Original certified birth certificate
• Copy of or original current utility bill
• Copy of or original bank statement
• Copy of or original government check
• Copy of or original paycheck
• Copy of or original government document with voter’s name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph)

For additional information regarding voter ID laws, go to the Secretary of State Office’s website, www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/need-id.html.


Gov. Greg Abbott announced the date for a second special legislative session. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott announces second special session agenda

The special session will be Aug. 17 with 17 items on the agenda ranging from bail reform to employment.

Judge gavel and law books
Judges may again require masks in Williamson County courtrooms

Williamson County stated judges may require masks in courtrooms at their discretion.

Photo of two girls on a playground with "Live United" shirts
United Way for Greater Austin to merge with United Way of Williamson County

The two nonprofits will combine to focus on combatting poverty in 10 Central Texas counties.

YogaSix will open in mid-September at 14028 N. US 183, Ste. 110, Austin. (Courtesy YogaSix)
YogaSix studio opening at Lakeline Market in Northwest Austin

The locally owned franchise offers six types of yoga classes such as beginner yoga and sculpt classes.

lunch bag
Leander ISD in-person students to receive free meals for 2021-22 school year

Free breakfast and lunch will be offered to all in-person students.

Q&A: Greg Smith, executive director of Fast Growth School Coalition

Greg Smith is the former superintendent of Clear Creek ISD and became executive director of Fast Growth School Coalition in December 2020. 

Williamson County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff’s office requests pay increases during Williamson County budget process

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office said its officers are paid less than law enforcement officers in city departments countywide.

Williamson County courthouse
Williamson County proposes lower tax rate ahead of final budget vote Aug. 31

The tax rate will go to support a recommended $440.5 million total operating budget.

Photo of a doctor with a pregnant woman
Austin health experts warn delta variant could pose higher risk for pregnant women

Maternal medicine doctors across Central Texas have seen increasing numbers of pregnant women coming to the hospital with breathing issues and pregnancy complications as a result of COVID-19.

Wayback Burgers makes cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
6 eateries open or coming to Cedar Park, Leander; Trudy's North Star reopens in Northwest Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area, including Tiff's Treats opening in Hutto.

Atiana's Boutique, a formal wear store for proms, dances, weddings and more, relocated July 10 within the 1890 Ranch shopping center from unit H400 to unit P130. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Atiana's Boutique relocates within 1890 Ranch in Cedar Park

The formal wear store sells dresses for proms, dances, weddings and more.

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.