In office since 2004 and chairing the House Agriculture Committee, U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway seeks another two-year term against the opposition of fellow Midland Republican Paul Myers and Democrats Eric Pfalzgraf of Odessa and Jennie Lou Leeder of Llano.
Odessa Libertarian Nicholas Landholt, 62, who got 23,677 votes or 10 percent of the total cast in November 2016, is campaigning for his party’s nomination at its state convention April 13-15 in Houston.
The 11th Congressional District covers 29 counties from Odessa-Midland to Lamesa, San Angelo, Brownwood and Granbury. The primaries are March 6 and the general election Nov. 6.
Conaway is a 69-year-old Borger native who graduated from Permian High School, got a bachelor’s degree in accounting at East Texas State University in Commerce and served two years in the Army. He has four children and seven grandchildren. His wife’s name is Suzanne.
Conaway’s principal issues are immigration, national security and the national debt and deficit. He backs securing the U.S.-Mexico border “by using the most effective tools across each sector,” he said, “standing strong against threats against our country” from ISIS, North Korea and Iran and passing a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget.
He said the Defense Department audit he had long pushed for as an Armed Services Committee member had found 29 Blackhawk helicopters the department didn’t know it had, although they were being flown.
Myers is a 37-year-old Abilene native who majored in political science at Cisco Junior College and Texas State University in San Marcos. He was district manager for Rig Testers Inc. for 15 years and is an agent for the Keller Williams real estate company. He and his wife Emily have two children.
“Mike Conaway has shown that he will vote for budgets we cannot afford,” Myers said. “I will not vote for a budget that is not balanced. My opponent’s voting record shows that his alliances are to the big money donors from outside the state. The district deserves better.”
Myers is a proponent of the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to keep and bear firearms. “The Second Amendment is a right granted to us by our creator,” he said.
“That right is the spine that supports all the others. We are a republic, a nation of laws. We have laws regarding border security and immigration that must be enforced. I am pro-life and would not vote in favor of a budget with any money designated for clinics that provided abortions.”
Pfalzgraf is a 38-year-old native of Glendale, Ariz., who has lived in Odessa for 24 years, having worked the past four years as an ECISD bus driver and tire technician after attending Odessa High School, Odessa College and UTPB. Pfalzgraf has three children. His wife’s name is Onnie Marie.
“I believe our representatives should truly represent their districts,” he said. “As a blue collar, paycheck to paycheck average American worker, I can better gauge how a bill will affect us. The career politicians don’t understand what it’s like to live a normal life, given that most of them have never had to deal with the things we have.”
Pfalzgraf supports term limits and a government-sponsored app to make information about bills and issues easily available to the public.
Leeder is a former Llano County Democratic chair who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education and athletic administration from Texas State and Ohio University. She is a former schoolteacher and coach who worked in educational curriculum sales.
Leeder was her party’s nominee in the 2016 District 24 state senate race but lost to Lakeway Republican Dawn Buckingham. “The infrastructure in Texas and our nation is appalling,” she said.
“This is evident in the state of our roads, bridges and energy grids. Solar and wind power are the energy sources of the future. Global warming and environmental pollution are also serious concerns that need to be addressed.”
- First day of early voting: Tuesday.
- Last day of early voting: March 2.
- Election Day: March 6.
- 11th Congressional District
- Two-year term.
- Salary: $174,000 per year.
- Pension: based on age and years of service, the average is $36,732.
- Health care: through the Affordable Care Act.
- Administrative budget: $1,268,520 annually to operate the office in Washington and offices in Brownwood, Granbury, Llano, Midland, Odessa and San Angelo.