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County Judge candidates differ on issues at Interfaith event

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by Kara Nuzback

Mayoral candidates weren’t the only ones answering Austin Interfaith’s questions at Tuesday night’s accountability session.

Sarah Eckhardt and Mike McNamara, who are both candidates for Travis County Judge, also attended the accountability session, where they weighed in on Austin Interfaith’s priorities.

Eckhardt said, if elected, she would work to double funding for workforce training and education efforts, such as Capital IDEA.

Eckhardt also said she would push to mandate corporations to disclose sale prices for property and would advocate for a flat-fee residential homestead exemption on the first $100,000 of a house’s value.

McNamara was the only candidate at the forum to openly disagree with some of Austin Interfaith’s priorities. He said, for example, he would not scale back public safety funding in order to contribute more to education. Public safety funds ensure children have a safe, gang-free school environment, he said.

“We’ll make sure your children are safe,” he said. “It’s of utmost importance.”

McNamara vowed to support Capital IDEA and agreed with the other candidates about the need for a homestead exemption. But he said that if big businesses pay more property taxes, residential homeowners would not necessarily pay less.

As far as incarceration and deportation of detainees, McNamara said, “The county judge has no constitutional authority in this matter.”

The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 6. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

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