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Edwards, challengers prepare for new district

Jan. 21, 2004

By Lindsey Gomez, reporter

Due to the Texas Legislature's recent ruling that upheld congressional re-districting, McLennan County will no longer stand alongside 11 other counties as part of District 11.

The change will become effective in January 2005. It will be part of the newly drawn District 17, which is set also to encompass 10 other counties including Johnson, Brazos and Hood counties.

Chet Edwards, current U.S. Rep. for District 11, has announced that he will campaign to represent District 17 next January.

As a senior ranking member for the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee, he has worked to improve life for the military community of Fort Hood in Bell County. Fort Hood will be part of the new District 31.

Edwards said he has strong ties with both the Waco and Fort Hood communities. Though he said he will continue to support the Fort Hood area through his membership on the appropriations subcommittee, he has chosen to run for re-election in District 17.

'Waco is our home,' Edwards said. 'And while powerbrokers in Austin, on a partisan basis, can draw any map they want, they can't make us change our home.'

Karen Petree, a Waco freshman and Edwards' supporter, said that she was angry about Sen. Kip Averrit's decision to vote in favor of re-districting.

'He was only voting for party and that just reiterated how much re-districting was a party issue,' Petree said.

Thus far Edwards has no Democratic opponents. Yet, he does still have to contend with the Republicans Arlene Wohlgemuth, Dot Snyder and Dave McIntyre.

Rep. Wohlgemuth was the first person to file for candidacy .

'I am proud of my record of working with then Gov. George W. Bush to pass the largest tax cut in the history of our state, and I look forward to contrasting that record with Congressman Edwards .... ' Wohlgemuth said in a press release.

Snyder, former board member and president of Waco Independent School District and past director of the Baylor Micro Computer Information Center, will focus on educational issues if elected.

'I think my conservative views and beliefs are more aligned with the constituents of both the old and new districts - liberal beliefs are not,' Snyder is quoted saying in the Oct. 22, 2003 issue of the Bryan-College Station Eagle.

Retired Colonel McIntyre, a lecturer at several schools including Texas A&M University's George Bush School of Government, will focus on homeland security if he is elected.

'...Most in Washington don't understand how to bring a federal program down to a local or regional level,' McIntyre said in a press release.