Shocking opinions, outspoken posts: E. Texas education election stirring conversation

Published: Feb. 16, 2016 at 10:40 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2016 at 4:40 PM CST
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - There is a  lot of talk about the races that will most affect voters during this Texas primary. One that might not usually get so much attention, though, is East Texas' representation on the State Board of Education. However, thanks to one of the candidates' rather outspoken past statements, a lot of people are talking about this East Texas race.

The 9th district comprises 31 counties, almost all of East Texas. Lufkin school board president Keven Ellis is running.

"When I saw there was a need to help the students of Texas, I wanted to stand up for that," he said.

Also running is longtime educator Mary Lou Bruner, who said, "I'm a traditional educator. I'm for the classics... Old fashioned, I guess you would say."

Ellis outlines his platform.

"We have to be very cognizant and careful to make sure we work to better every single child in this state... I'm a strong conservative Republican who is rational and level-headed and can work with others to accomplish the goals."

Bruner is very passionate about Common Core, and federal legislation she says will mandate the curriculum to all states.

Bruner said, "People do not realize it, they just think 'Oh, it won't ever happen. It's already law,' and it is going to happen. Children are very frustrated. Their parents can't help them. It's just really bad."

It is not these platforms that are garnering an unusual amount of chatter about the race. Bruner has what some may consider rather extreme opinions, which she's shared in the past on social media outlets.

"If they want to laugh at me, let them laugh, but when I say this to large groups of people, no one is laughing and I mean no one. You know, I wrote these Facebook pages before I thought I was going to run for State Board of Education."

An example of one of these posts is the idea of global warming being created to spread Socialism.

Bruner says, "I am not ashamed of saying this because I know I am right."

Or the idea that President Obama paid for a drug addiction in his 20's through work as a male prostitute.

"There is literature out there that says he paid for his drugs as a male prostitute... I don't know. I guess, I'm assuming it's true. Some people assume it's false, who knows."

Statements on Bruner's Facebook page, that she stood behind during our interview, demonstrate strong anti-gay, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim beliefs. Bruner does say she would respect majority rules, if elected.

"If I'm on the board, I'm a law abiding citizen and I will abide by what the majority of the board votes."

Her opponent, Ellis, had this to say about recent controversy.

"I'm going to let her comments stand on her own. She was able to make those and I'm going to leave that for her comment."

Hank Hering is also running for the Republican candidacy in this race; however, he did not provide us with a statement.

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