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Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 11:01pm
EL PASO - The battle for Texas's 16th congressional district seat is a four-man race. Tonight, all the candidates vying for the job squared off in a local forum.
The economy, education and Fort Bliss; those are some of the topics that took center stage, as incumbent Congressman Silvestre Reyes, and his three democratic challengers, former City Representative Beto O'Rourke, Jerome Tilghman and Ben Mendoza, addressed tonight's forum.
"I think that we have...to take a common sense approach to improving the long-term economic development in this country and this community, and that's in the classroom," said Tilghman.
"We have a very high unemployment rate, almost 10 percent, and there are tens of thousands of our fellow El Pasoans out of work," said O'Rourke.
"At this pivotal time, it's important to protect our investment in Ft. Bliss, White Sands and Holloman, and I think I'm in the best position to do that with my seniority on the armed services," said Rep. Reyes.
After hearing the candidates for an hour on the big ticket items, two El Pasoans said one candidate came out swinging.
"Beto O'Rourke did a fantastic job in the way he answered," said Octavio Gonzalez.
"I think Beto O'Rourke brings new energy. new ideas. He's young, he's energetic," said Marjie Day.
In a few months, we'll know whether Rep. Reyes will keep his job, and serve a 9th term in congress. But, regardless of who gets to represent El Paso, voters told us that whoever wins should make jobs the priority.
"The economy is bad all over the country," said Day.
We'll find out who the democratic nominee is on April 3rd, when the primary takes place.