Texan Republicans and Democrats will race for their party nomination on March 5 for a seat in their respective House district. With calls to political action preceding the primaries, Texan political candidates now have to appeal to a group whose voter turnout has risen by 14% over the past 10 years: college students.
Texas is the fifth state to hold primary elections this year, succeeding Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Texas is also one out of 19 states in the country that allow open primary voting, meaning that regardless of registered political party affiliation, anyone can vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries, as well as for third-party options, which gives a greater incentive to Texan Republican and Democrat candidates to appeal to beyond just those who are faithful to one political party. And with the increase in student voter turnout, political candidates now also have to reach the newest generation of voters. For Texas House Districts 24 and 32, that means reaching students at UT Dallas.
The races in Districts 24 and 32 contrast greatly from each other. In District 24, which covers parts of Richardson, Grapevine and Carrollton, Democratic candidates Francine Ly and Sam Eppler aim to take over incumbent Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne’s seat in the House of Representatives.
Ly, a former child refugee from Cambodia and now a certified court manager, has lived in Dallas since the age of nine. Being a former refugee and a mother herself, Ly is determined to create infrastructure in District 24 to support future generations of children. She hopes to do this by promoting inclusivity, cracking down on gun violence without infringing on the Second Amendment and supporting efforts to lower the student loan interest rate. Above all else, Ly said she plans to run for office because she loves America.
“I have utmost pride and gratitude and love for our country,” Ly said. “Commitment, honor, maybe it’s just words to them, but those words have meaning for me.”
However, Ly doesn’t plan to hold the seat forever, citing her belief in term limits.
“You should be able to just go in, do your work, help the community and uplift the future generation,” Ly said. “Get them in to replace you, you get out and you’re still there if they want advice and mentorship.”
While the race in District 24 is tight-knit, the race for incumbent Colin Allred’s seat in the House for District 32 consists of a large pool of candidates as the primaries commence. Consisting of 11 Democrats and five Republicans, the race for District 32 — consisting of Dallas, Collin and Denton County, which also includes UTD—is a fight for keeping the district blue or turning it red.
“I feel and believe it’s divinely orchestrated calling in my life to step up and provide the right leadership for Texas District 32,” Gulrez Khan, a Republican candidate for District 32, said.
Khan, an immigrant from India and former professional cricket player, is a businessman who co-owns American Star Home Health & Hospice Care and Global Consultants of Texas. He also fully owns Gulrez Khan Management, LLC. He also serves as a GOP precinct chairman. As a man in business and a proud patriot, Khan believes in the power of standing up to the plate when faced with a system you disagree with.
“I met a lot of people,” Khan said. “They said, ‘oh, man, don’t talk to me about politics’. I said, well, so you’re okay when the gas prices quadrupled?”
Khan calls for financial literacy in college students and wants to ensure they have clear pathways to careers in order to ease the financial burden of college. Khan also believes in lowering the tax rate to cultivate a thriving environment for businesses. Khan is staunchly anti-abortion — believing in fetal personhood — and has plans to defund Planned Parenthood if elected. He supports fierce protection of the Second Amendment.
Though the candidates running for a seat in the House of Representatives differ greatly in policy, their one uniting sentiment regardless of their political affiliation is their desire to bring a positive influence to their respective district.