Primary election matters to political newcomer


Bengie Aguilar

Primary elections don’t often matter in political races that have only two candidates; both are going to be on the general election ballot.

But the primary election coming up on Tuesday, August 7, will be anxiously watched by Bengie Aguilar.

“I hope we see a good number of votes,” she said.

Aguilar, 57, is running as a Democrat against a popular, long-serving Republican, Jim Honeyford.

Aguilar has had only two political races in her life, years ago. She won the first time for a seat on the Sunnyside City Council. She lost the second to Bill Gant.

She was not going to run because she thought name recognition alone would give the well-known school administrator the win.

“Everybody liked him. I liked him,” Aguilar said. “I ran again because a lot of people asked me to stay in the race.”

Aguilar finds herself in a similar situation. She considers herself a friend of Jim and his wife Jerri.

“I thought he was going to retire. People were saying he was,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar is woman of faith.

“I pray about everything,” she said. I’ve prayed about this, too, after I started to feel I was being called.”

Aguilar said she made her decision before Honeyford announced he would run again, and she decided to stay in it. She had committed herself to the party after it had run a year-long voter education and registration campaign. That group is helping the volunteers in her campaign make contact with the public.

“We’re knocking on doors everywhere in the 15th District,” she said.

The small business owner is one of her priorities. He or she is over-burdened with taxes, she said.

“I visited with Ben Sartin the other day,” she said. “He’s big in this town in the insurance business. He told me he pays two employee salaries worth in taxes.”

Aguilar also wants to see an effective sunset law. She said there are too many laws that have worn out their usefulness still on the books.

Voters will have an opportunity to learn more about Aguilar at Meet the Candidate on Thursday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Navarro’s Community Event Center at 544 S. Sixth St. in Sunnyside.


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