by Anayeli Ruiz
One of the hottest races in West Texas pits an incumbent Democrat against a Republican challenger. Jim Landtroop is trying to unseat Joe Heflin to represent District 85 which includes Big Spring. NewsWest 9 got a chance to sit down with both candidates and hear what they have to offer West Texas.
"I enjoy doing what I do, it's very important for me to run again representing District 85," State Representative Joe Heflin, said.
Joe Heflin is a native West Texan. He's been the State Representative for District 85 since 2006 serving one term. While in office, Heflin says he's been able to accomplish several things and serve on many committees like Energy, Environment and Agriculture. Some republicans quickly point out that Heflin is a Democrat in a conservative part of the State but Heflin doesn't see his party affiliation as a liability.
"It's not whether you're a Democrat or Republican. It's whether your doing your job correctly, doing it to protect citizens that elected you. It's very important you have relationships to work across party lines," Heflin said.
Heflin says one of the things that distinguishes him from his opponent is his experience.
"I was a county judge for five years. I understand how a county budget works. I served on City Council, I know what it's like to be a council member. There are those that want to talk about the game from the sideline and referee the game from the sideline but some of us have been involved in the game for a long time and I think experience is very important," Heflin said.
Meanwhile on the Republican side is Jim Landtroop, he's also a native West Texan.
"I actually have ran for same spot 4 years ago. It was the probably one of the closest race in the state. We lost by about 200 votes and so that was a tough loss. We learned a lot,"
Jim Landtroop is a small-businessman; he has served on many different boards like the Brazos River Authority and was part of chamber of commerce, united way and other organizations but has never served in office.
If he gets elected, he plans to bring a few things to the table.
"Three things are important. One thing is smaller government, lower taxes and securing the border," Landtroop said.
Landtroop says that one of the things that distinguishes him from his opponent are his conservative values.
"The people in this district are remarkably conservative and my opponent has shown, over his two years in there, that he doesn't vote in a way that matches up with those conservative values," Landtroop said.
But no matter what the differences each candidate has they both can agree on one thing.
"I encourage everyone to go vote, to make a good decision. Think about who your going to vote for and what's at stake," Heflin said.
"I believe if you get out vote, you will be a part of history," Landtroop said.
Voting will take place on Tuesday at the Howard County Courthouse.