Debates Take Center Stage in Travis County Tax Assessor Race

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Vik Vad makes case for efficient government in First Round.

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As a small business owner myself, I understand [the auto dealer's] needs for the government to be more responsive. They are not taxpayers to me, they are customers, and customer service should be the Tax Office's top priority.

With a lineup of Presidential debates between Democrat Incumbent Barack Obama and Republican Challenger Mitt Romney set for the month of October, the nation's undecided voters are gearing up to make their final choice, and fans of each of the two candidates anxiously wait to cheer on their pick. Debates, and question-and-answer candidate forums are also important in smaller statewide as well as regional races too, for the same reasons. Oftentimes, Independents, swing voters, and those that simply wait until the final days before the election to make their choice, prepare to see the candidates live or on TV, forced to answer tough questions on the spot, and give rebuttals to their opponent's arguments.

Debates go as far back as Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in American history, in an 1858 race for a U.S. Senate seat. There are also numerous cases of candidates literally on soapboxes giving impromptu political speeches, and opponents arguing with one another to attract votes and public attention. Debates as we know them today emerged with the advent of radio, and especially TV, when they could be televised to large audiences.

In the important local race for Travis County Tax Assessor, the Texas Independent Automobile Dealers Association agreed to moderate a candidate forum yesterday morning, to give each candidate some time to speak, answer questions, and articulate his platform, and highlight any differences between himself and his opponent. Vik Vad, one of the candidates, agreed to the opportunity the day it was offered to him in early September, and went on to address his desire to create a better interface online for auto dealers to be able to more efficiently transfer title to vehicles that they sell. He also touched on his platform topic of better e-governance for all taxpayers. "Auto dealers are some of the biggest taxpayers in the vehicle titling division," Vad stated. "As a small business owner myself, I understand their needs for the government to be more responsive. They are not taxpayers to me, they are customers, and customer service should be the Tax Office's top priority."

Vik Vad and his opponent will have a chance to have a full debate in October, as both have been invited by the Austin Area Urban League, who will moderate and host the event. A chapter of the National Urban League, this group guides outreach, programming, partnerships and advocacy as it envisions a community in which all citizens are free from barriers to education, economic and social success, according to their website. "I am grateful to AAUL for offering this debate to the community, so that voters can make an informed choice," says Vad. "I will show why I am the candidate that is better qualified for this job."

Regardless of who wins the general election in November, the candidates stood together for photos, and shook hands cordially at yesterday's forum. "Any deliberation should be meaningful, but respectful," notes Vad. "I even invited my challenger in this race to have coffee with me before the election – perhaps some of each of our proposals could be incorporated into the next Tax Assessor's strategic plan."

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Jay Wiley, Campaign Manager
Vik Vad for Texas
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