Tyler (KYTX) -- Opening statements kicked off the State Representative Dist. 6 debate sponsored by Grassroots America We the People.
Incumbent Matt Schaefer argues he's stood by his principles in Austin, and doesn't mind ruffling feathers.
"When you go down to Austin, and you take a strong conservative approach, you stand in contradiction to the status quo," Schaefer said.
Challenger Skip Ogle took the opportunity to introduce himself to the crowd of more than 200 people.
"I own my own small business, I manage a family farm, and I also work for large employer Suddenlink," Ogle said.
The first topic was government spending and growing state debt.
"I know how to make payroll for a small business, I know the challenges of that," Ogle said.
Schaefer responded, "Texas has a spending problem. When you oppose the budget down in Austin, you anger the leadership. They did not present a budget I could live with," Schaefer said.
Both addressed illegal immigration, promising to fight to secure the border.
"There are hundreds of miles wide open. We need people who understand the problem," Schaefer said.
Ogle argued "It's an economic killer to our hospitals today to have to take care of whoever walks in the door whether you are a citizen or not a citizen," he said.
Ultimately it will be up to voters. Early voting for the March 4th primary begins February 18th.