With early voting ending on Friday, Pershing Park Baptist Church in Killeen hosted an open forum Wednesday night to give community members a chance to meet their candidates.
While several issues were addressed, one Central Texas man was there with only one issue on his mind.
Candidate after candidate stepped up to the podium to speak on their platform, but then came a change of pace. Scott Henzerling was there to represent Veterans on Watch, an organization hoping to put armed veterans in schools.
"I am not a candidate, but I am here representing VOW," Henzerling said. "I actually didn't come along until after this parkland shooting, I said enough is enough."
Henzerling is now the Texas representative for the group, but before that, he was a member of the United States Military for 20 years and is now looking to continue his service to our country by protecting our youth.
"Please let me tell you personally, I would do anything to protect any person because first I am a man of honor and equally as much I am a soldier. I vow to protect and serve," Henzerling said.
Henzerling attended the event in hopes of speaking with representatives about implementing the plan if they are elected.
"Would I like to seek for our veterans to be hired and be paid, absolutely. But, if we have to start with volunteer, I have got veterans lining up by the door that are ready to volunteer. We've got over a half a million veterans across the nation that are ready to stand and do what it takes to protect our children," Henzerling added.
Henzerling also said not only can this protect our schools, but it can eliminate another huge problem in our country.
"According to a March of 2017 news release from the United States Department of Labor, at the close of 2016, there were 453,000 unemployed veterans. Meanwhile, there are kids and educators being killed," Henzerling added.
Though Henzerling had support from fellow veterans at the event, not all supported the idea.
"I am against weapons of all kind, especially military grade weapons in our schools and in our churches," Congressman Candidate, Kent Lester said.
But, Henzerling said he won't stop until schools are safe.
"We cannot change the kids that have been killed, families that have suffered loss, but we can live from the lives that have been lost and honor them by doing this to prevent future loss and devastation," Henzerling said.
Henzerling said if the State of Texas allows the group to move forward with their Veterans on Watch program, veterans would have to go through a background check and vigorous testing, including a psychiatric evaluation.
The organization said their goal would be to have 2 veterans posted at elementary schools, 2-4 veterans posted at middle schools and 4 or more veterans at high schools.
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