42ºF

23rd Congressional District of Texas candidates discuss political issues

Gallego, Hurd face off again in November

The race for Texas' 23rd Congressional district seat is heating up between Republican incumbent Will Hurd and Democratic challenger Pete Gallego.

Representing the people of more than 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border means a lot to both men. Gallego lost his re-election bid to Hurd in 2014. Both understand the importance of working with their neighbors to the south.

Since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994, trade between the U.S. and Mexico has increased exponentially. The two candidates have witnessed the growth of Texas' major ports of entry, and even the smaller ones, such as the one in Presidio, Texas.

"We have to have good rail facilities," Hurd said. "Multi-modal is important and they also have to have the roads and bridges that can support increased truck traffic."

"I'm a big fan of rail because, having been in the legislature for a long time, the expense of maintaining highways (is costly)," Gallego said.

In terms of imports and exports, Hurd thinks the Lone Star State should be selling natural gas to Mexico. Gallego wants more products manufactured, grown and purchased in the U.S.

Both candidates say national security is one of their top priorities.

"There's no question that we want to sleep safely in our beds," Gallego said. "The question is how do you do it? The idea of a border wall is ludicrous. Now, you want additional personnel on the border? I think that matters. I think that makes a difference."

"We should be targeting kingpin drug smugglers and kingpin human smugglers," Hurd said. "These folks aren't hiding in caves. We should be able to find them."

As for who gets to implement their future plans, that's for the voters to decide in November.