LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The May runoff for the Texas Education Board is just over a month away and the two candidates fighting for the Republican nomination for the District 9 spot are not letting national and global headlines get in the way of the race.
Voters in 31 East Texas counties will have to decide between Mary Lou Bruner, a former teacher from Mineola, and Lufkin ISD School Board President Kevin Ellis. The winner will enter the November election to run against Sam Houston State University Professor Amanda Rudolph.
A quick search of the Internet will bring up a large amount of global articles featuring the two candidates. The names of Bruner and Ellis have appeared on the pages of "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," "The Daily Mail" and "Gawker" to name a few have all covered the race in East Texas.
"I had no idea. I am just a country girl," Bruner said.
The two have gained that attention because of comments Bruner has made on her Facebook page in the past. The comments range from global warming being a creation of socialism to President Barack Obama being a male prostitute to pay for a drug addiction.
"Everyone should have the right to express their religion and freedom of speech, and I don't think those rights stop at the school house door," Bruner said.
Ellis is concerned the headlines have taken away from the actual issues at hand.
"This race is about the school children in Texas, and my opponent is real good about making national headlines, but none of those are going to benefit the school children in Texas," Ellis said.
Both opponents are blocking out the national headlines and focusing on campaigning in the district and listening to the teachers. Ellis and Bruner said the main thing they are hearing from teachers and administrators is a need to fix a broken test system.
"We have an over-reliance on one test for one day to judge our students, teachers and school," Ellis said. "We need a more holistic approach."
"We are taking one step forward and two steps backwards," Bruner said. "We have got to figure out what we are doing wrong and do better."