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Two Republicans Are Competing To Challenge Longtime Democratic Incumbent Lloyd Doggett

Jenny Garcia Sharon (left) and William Hayward (right) are competing in the Republican primary runoff election for Texas' 35th Congressional District.
Courtesy of the candidates
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Jenny Garcia Sharon (left) and William Hayward (right) are competing in the Republican primary runoff election for Texas' 35th Congressional District.

Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett is running for his 14th term as a congressman this year, in Texas’ 35th Congressional District. But there are still two candidates vying to be his Republican challenger in November — William Hayward and Jenny Garcia Sharon.

The historically Democratic district includes parts of Guadalupe, Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Comal and Bexar counties.

Hayward is from St. Johns, Michigan, and lives in San Marcos. He served in the U.S. Air Force in the 1970s and has been a longtime contractor for the military. He studied electrical engineering at Arizona State University and leadership at Grand Canyon University.

He says his varied background in engineering and working with foreign governments overseas as a contractor have made him a good problem solver.

“I'm probably one of the best problem solvers as far as whether it be data issues, personnel issues or even, you know, electronic issues, and I'm well-trained in body language and understanding how to make things happen,” Hayward said.

He’s running, he said, because he wants to get back to the “old days where congressmen and senators actually had authority to address local issues.”

Hayward says he sets himself apart from his Republican colleagues in terms of which issues he wants to focus on.

“My opponents in the Republican Party want to talk about old things, but I believe as a congressman, we have to address the issues that are going on today,” Hayward said. “The issue we have going on today is we're being manipulated, being told to wear masks, being told to act a certain way and everything where government wants to control. This is not our constitution.”

Hayward believes that mask-wearing, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is hurting more than it is helping. He recently posted on his website that he was verbally assaulted at a Target for not wearing a mask.

Gov. Greg Abbott and several cities and counties in Central Texas have issued orders requiring masks in public, and medical professionals have said that wearing masks does slow the spread of the virus.

Hayward also wants to reform policing by exploring hyperlocal alternatives through the Boy Scouts of America.

His opponent, Garcia Sharon, was born and raised in Houston. She’s a self-described third-generation American of Mexican descent, and she studied administration and psychology at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Garcia Sharon did not respond to multiple requests for interviews.

On the issues section of her website, she says she will "fight against any and all legislation which would allow the federal government more power or control over the healthcare system." 

She says she’s a firm supporter of legal immigration and the construction of a wall on the southern border. She also says she would vote against any legislation that grants “illegal immigrants” the right to vote.  

In regards to education, Garcia Sharon says she will promote policies that maximize positive outcomes for students with "diverse skillsets, that come from diverse economic backgrounds and that aim to provide the next generation the best opportunities to succeed in a fulfilling career.” Her focus is on promoting parents’ access to choices for their children’s education.

Got a tip? Email Riane at rroldan@kut.org Follow her on Twitter @RianeRoldan.

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