Congressional District challenger announces bid today
Robin Y. Richardson
Aug. 9, 2013 at 10 p.m.
Dr. Shirley McKellar, the Democratic challenger for the First Congressional District seat against Republican Louie Gohmert in last year's general election, will return to Harrison County today to announce her bid for the 2014 race.
She will make her announcement, starting at noon at the northeast entrance of the historic 1901 courthouse located on the Peter Whetstone Square downtown.
"I have been called to serve others my entire life. I served as a healer and a warrior in our nation's military, so when I was asked to run for the good of East Texas, my family and I knew that I had to put my boots back on and answer that call to service," McKellar said in a press release.
The prospective candidate said she's been involved in politics since age 18, but learned a lot about the needs of East Texas residents while campaigning in 2012.
"Traveling the district, I met World War II veterans and folk dancers, gamers and hunters," she said. "I met East Texans of every walk of life from Black Cypress Bayou to the Angelina River, and East Texans are concerned about the future.
"They are concerned about gun rights and gun violence, early childhood education and continuing education for adults, student loans and investment in small business, the Keystone XL pipeline and the implementation of the Affordable Health Care for America Act," she said.
Dr. McKellar said she is a conservative Democrat, but has listened to the needs and concerns of East Texans from Progressives to Tea Partiers because she believes it is the duty of representatives to listen to all of the people they represent.
"Louie Gohmert continually refuses to listen to and represent all East Texans - preferring to take his marching orders from RNC headquarters and use the First District of Texas as nothing more than a pawn in partisan political games while the interests of East Texas are further marginalized," she said in the press release. "We may disagree about policies, but our nation is founded on the exchange of ideas; a representative must listen to all sides of an issue. Congressman Gohmert does not and all East Texans deserve a voice in Washington."
She said in the last election when she called for a discussion of fresh ideas, Congressman Gohmert rejected any accountability for his record by refusing to debate.
"The people of East Texas deserve more respect," said Dr. McKellar. "My 45 years of service have been based on the values of justice for all, personal responsibility, and the innovation of entrepreneurship. These are the values I learned on my family's farm west of Tyler and I believe they are the shared values that unite us as one nation and create the individual opportunity for each citizen that is the foundation of American greatness. It is these values which I will bring to Congress and inform my opinions on issues from increased funding for mental health services to public-private partnerships for economic growth.
"I look forward to representing the people of East Texas in Congress," she said.
She encourages the public to come to Saturday's announcement.
During last year's general election, a total of 17,077 Harrison County residents voted for Republican incumbent Louie Gohmert; 8,072 voted for Democratic challenger Shirley J. McKellar; and 454 voted for Libertarian Clark Patterson.