The race between former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne and former Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD trustee Candace Valenzuela for Texas' 24th Congressional District is in the national spotlight.
Commercials from both the candidates and outside groups have flooded the North Texas television market. Democrats have high hopes of flipping the district, which Republican Kenny Marchant has held since 2005. Marchant announced in August 2019 he was retiring.
Van Duyne was mayor of Irving from 2011-17 and later served in the Trump administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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“I think our focus needs to be on opening the economy back up safely, and I have had a little experience with that," she said. "When I was elected to be mayor in 2011 we were coming out of a recession, and I focused on bringing jobs into the community."
Valenzuela overcame homelessness as a child and is the first in her family to graduate from college.
“I am running to take care of folks who have urgencies that are not being met by members of Congress who have never experienced what it is like to struggle to put food on the table, or keep a roof over their heads, or to see their children succeed,” Valenzuela said.
Health care is an important issue for voters in this election cycle. Van Duyne said she is a strong proponent for plans that protect preexisting conditions. She does not support the Affordable Care Act.
“What we have seen through the Affordable Care Act is increases in costs, decreases in access, and quite honestly decreases in quality," she said. "I think people. given the choice. would choose to have their own plans and be able to personalize them, as opposed to a one size fits all government plan."
Valenzuela advocates for a public option and pledges to protect pre-existing conditions.
“The system of care I am advocating for is a robust public option so folks can choose not to have it, but it covers 100% of costs for people making under $50,000 a year and 90% of costs for folks that make more than $50,000 a year,” she said.