Dem candidates: ‘Red, white and blue’ best
Photo: Kim Olson, Democratic candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, makes a point during Monday night’s candidate “meet and greet” at the Orange Depot.
For The Record
Kim Olson, Democratic candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, was working in the Pentagon when an airliner hijacked by terrorists crashed into it on Sept. 11, 2001.
The now-retired Air Force colonel told a group of two dozen at the Orange Depot Monday night what made her most proud to be an American was the response.
“On 9/12, 15,000 people showed back up to work in a building that burned for four more days because their nation needed them to.
“Here’s the deal,” she said. “Our stories are not 9/11. Our stories are not [Hurricane] Harvey. Our stories are 9/12.
“That’s what judges us as a person, as a family, as a community, as a state, and I would argue, as a party.”
Two other Democratic candidates joined Olson in asking for votes and support in taking on incumbents.
Jon Powell, a geologist and chemist from Taylor Lake Village, near Kemah, is running for the U.S. House of Representatives from District 36. Former Orange city council member Deborah Mitchell is running for Orange County Commissioner, Precinct 2.
Powell is seeking the seat held by Republican Brian Babin of Woodville.
“Are you aware that the incumbent has a track record of working against the public interest and reducing our freedoms?” Powell asked.
“He has voted to restrict access to health care, allow pesticides to flow into streams, and eliminate the rules that require banks to treat consumers fairly. He has voted to allow your private information to be collected and sold.
“This is not freedom. These are not your values. This is not what makes America great.”
Mitchell is stepping down as chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party to run against incumbent Barry Burton, a Republican from Mauriceville. Also running for that seat is Teresa Beauchamp, another former Orange city council member running as a Republican.
“I have two opponents, but I believe in people, and I’m going to give it my best shot,” Mitchell said.
“I care about Orange County. We’re going to get people registered and get them out to vote.”
The general election is Nov. 6, 2018. Party primary elections will be held March 6, 2018.
A former Air Force pilot and a member of the “Texas Women’s Hall of Fame” who was one of the first women to lead an operational flying squadron, Olson said she decided to run for office as a reaction to the 2016 election.
She had wrapped up 25 years in the Air Force, three more in the Texas State Guard, led a non-profit dedicated to helping women veterans, and was ranching in north Texas practicing and teaching sustainable eco-agriculture.
“After the last election, I thought, you know, I could just sit out on my ranch and pick pecans or I could get in the game and maybe have some influence to make things better,” she said.
Current agriculture commissioner Sid Miller lifted a ban on fried foods and soft drinks in schools. Olson believes access to healthy food and economic health are tied together.
“Yes, Nov. 8 hurt,” she said, speaking of the 2016 election. “It made me physically sick. But now, what are we going to do on 9/12?
“It’s not if we’re red. It’s not if we’re blue. We’re the best when we’re red, white and blue.”