The Ellis County Tea Party hosted a candidate forum Saturday, Jan. 11 to introduce the public to candidates running in the March primary. The crowd gathered at the civic center heard from four out of eight candidates running for the Texas U.S. Senate seat among many other local and statewide race candidates.

The audience first heard from Dwayne Stovall whose campaign motto is “Putting Texas First.” Stovall said the role of a senator is to be an ambassador for your state to the federal government. Senators are not to help grow the government or to see the fruits of their constituents' labors taken from them before they themselves see them.

Stovall told the audience the principles that the country was founded on including federalism, republicanism and limited government have declined over the years.

“We had a constitution that created a republic based on federalism. I don’t think that it is a stretch that we have declined into a nation based on socialism,” Stovall said. “I come with no political affiliations. Citizen statesmen are what you want. That is what I want. I have Jeffersonian principles, which means I understand the constitution as it was written and amended.”

If elected, Stovall promised that he would not vote to raise the debt ceiling and never expand the role of the government. He remarked that the country made up of 316 million people is being managed by 546 elites in a town far, far away. What is need at this time are citizen statesmen, Stovall said.

Following Stovall, Reid Reasor spoke to the audience about why they should cast their vote for him in the upcoming primary. Reasor is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and has served more than 20 years.

Some of the issues that our country currently faces, Reasor explained to the audience, are inner-city decay caused by failed education, no jobs and ownership, debt and currency collapse, economic stagnation and depression. Reasor said finding a solution to these problems requires outside-the-box thinking.

Reasor told the audience that incumbent Sen. John Cornyn has not helped Texans during his time in office, but instead has had a negative effect. Reasor said that Cornyn has voted in non-election years for every federal increase, every tax increase, the expansion of federal powers, the expansion of federal spying and does not support the Forth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Candidate Chris Mapp spoke after Reasor on his reason why he should be chosen to represent Texas in the Senate. Some of Mapp’s reasons behind his run for Senate include out of control spending, government entitlements, the broken nationally mandated healthcare system and immigration.

“I want to tell you why I wanted to jump in at this level. Well when you see a house on fire, you run for a hose or run for the water,” Mapp said. “You do what you have to do. That is what I am doing just like my father taught me and your father taught you. We have an obligation to help this country.”

Mapp said this campaign is not about him, but it is about the people of Texas and providing them with the representation that they desire, instead of the status quo.

The final candidate was Midlothian resident Ken Cope.

“Many of you are wondering 'Ken who?' I have never run for public office. This is my first opportunity and I am excited about being able to represent you in the future. First off, I am a Christian and I am proud of it. I am a social and fiscal conservative. I believe in defending the constitution going forward,” Cope said. “I am a term limits type of guy. I have made a self-commitment of two terms. I am also a capitalist. I believe that the fundamentals of capitalism are being lost.”

Cope said he has been a republican for the past 42 years and has never left the party, but has felt that the party has left him. He added that the current Republican Party has done a remarkable job in alienating many different groups including minorities, women, the poor and Tea Party members.