Democratic nominee for Texas Senate hosts Commerce town hall

Kendall Scudder (left) talks with Commerce resident Rebecca Wilson (right) shortly before the town hall officially started. Photo Courtesy | Todd Kleiboer

By Todd Kleiboer | Co-Editor

With November midterms approaching, Democratic nominee for Texas Senate District 2 Kendall Scudder held a town hall meeting for Commerce residents and A&M-Commerce students Sept. 1 at MUGS on the Square.

The town hall was in Q-and-A format, and various topics from public education to public assistance to the local ICE raid in Lamar County were brought forward for discussion.

“We have an obligation to make sure that our kiddos are well-fed before they come to our schools,” Scudder said on the topic of free breakfasts and lunches at public schools. “I would support the legislation proposed by Helen Giddings [D-DeSoto] in the last section that prohibited ‘lunch shaming’.”

According to Scudder, public education and its funding seemed to be the primary issue raised by attendees, some of whom were teachers at public schools.

“It’s a very common theme across the board,” Scudder said. “Public schools are the centerpiece of our communities, particularly in rural areas.”

The town hall “went well” according to Scudder, and he added that the size of the crowd can fluctuate from single digits to over a hundred.

“When we had our event last time in Commerce on-campus in the middle of the summer with Mike Collier, our candidate for lieutenant governor, there were over a hundred people there,” he said. “There’s a lot of excitement now, and there’s a lot of people who are ready to just make government work again for working folks.”

Other policies that Scudder brought up included ethics reform, caps on political contributions, non-partisan redistricting committees and improving rural access to high-speed internet.

Before the town hall started, some attendees knew little about Scudder and looked forward to learning more about one of the candidates on the November ballot.

“I’m trying to be informed about the people I’m looking at voting for,” Commerce resident Rebecca Wilson said before the town hall started. She also said that she did not “know much” about Scudder before the town hall.

After Scudder had finished answering questions, Wilson said that Scudder was “very informed and very aware of the issues in our area” and had addressed the topics of special education and Meals on Wheels she had raised.

TAMUC students Lisa Panelli and Julius Chilundika also attended the town hall. Panelli has been a supporter of Scudder for the past year while Chilundika knew little about the Democratic nominee.

“I really feel like I should get more involved with political discussions because I’m an adult and this affects me,” Chilundika said.

For Panelli, a political science major and vice president of  the political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha, this was one of the few town halls she had attended.

“I was always nervous to show up because I was like ‘What if I don’t know enough’ or ‘What if I look stupid’,” she said. “I gained some confidence today because I said something [during the town hall].”