North Texas Daily

Democrats for state representative discuss sanctuary cities, marijuana and abortion

Democrats for state representative discuss sanctuary cities, marijuana and abortion

January 28
12:59 2018

The Democratic candidates for the District 64 congressional seat, Andrew Morris and Mat Pruneda, debated sanctuary cities, marijuana and abortion among other topics Thursday night.

The debate, which took place in the UNT Lyceum, was moderated by Rantt Media’s Matthew Reyna and hosted by UNT’s College Democrats.

The candidates are competing for a nomination to run against Lynn Stucky, the Republican incumbent. The Democratic party is seen as the minority party in Denton but Morris thinks it will become a majority.

“We have seen in places like Virginia, Oklahoma and, just last week, in Wisconsin, that districts that have been notoriously red can flip and flip quickly,” Morris said. “It’s going to take a whole lot of work and a whole lot of effort but by no means is it impossible.”

Pruneda urged the audience to look at the number of voters instead of the percentages. Stucky won the election with 62 percent of the vote in 2016.

“If you look at the percentages then you think that is an insurmountable task,” Pruneda said. “If you look at the numbers, it’s doable. Think about all the friends you have that don’t vote but feel the way you do. If everyone that voted came out and brought one friend we would have a landslide.”

Both candidates were against Senate Bill 4, which looks to ban sanctuary cities. Morris saw the bill as racial profiling and encouraged empathy and compassion for all people.

Pruneda urged people to call out racism and said civility will not help.

“The civil rights movement wasn’t always civil,” he said.

When discussing marijuana, both candidates agreed that Texas should have been the first to legalize it.

“We have seen in the west coast, in Colorado and in Massachusetts, that the tax revenues have been raised from this relatively harmless drug,” Morris said. “We can do so much with those revenues. We can fund education. We can start investing in mass public transportation systems.”

Pruneda discussed other benefits of legalizing medical and recreational marijuana.

“It’s not just about the revenue,” Pruneda said. “We know that by legalizing marijuana we will reduce the number of disproportionate prosecutions for minorities for minor offenses.”

An audience member asked if women can trust the two candidates, turning the discussion toward abortion.

“I defend a woman’s right to her reproductive freedom,” Pruneda said. “I’m not hedging on anything. I’m not saying I’m going to lean more toward prevention. I support a women’s right to abortion and that’s a controversial thing to say right now.”

Morris said the Democrats are allowing women to be the most productive members of society.

“Texas has the worst maternal mortality rate in the world overall,” Morris said. “The reason for that is this GOP attack on abortion.”

Former candidate Matt Farmer dropped out of the race on Tuesday. In a Facebook video he said family issues have taken up his time.  

Farmer will be throwing his support for Andrew Morris.

“Ultimately my decision to run for office was a bit premature, which is so hard to see when you are fired up in the moment, ready to take on the man,” Farmer said. “After meditating on it for the past couple of weeks I have decided to withdraw from the race. Not because I want to but because I think that I should.”

Pruneda thinks the endorsement will not have an impact on the campaign and Morris thanked Farmer for his support.

Laura Haines, House District 63 candidate, was in the audience. She thought they both did a great job and did not want to declare a winner.

“I think Mat Prenuda showed a lot of passion,” Haines said. “That’s him and that’s his personality. I think that Andrew Morris showed his personality too. They share the same positions. They share the same platform, but he is more moderate in his tone, not quite as antagonistic.”

Early voting starts on Feb. 20 and ends on March 2. The primary election is March 6.

Featured Image: Mat Pruneda, left, and Andrew Morris, right, stand on opposite sides of the stage at the debate for the Democratic nomination for the candidacy for Texas House District 64. Julian Esparza

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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