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Jonathan Hildner to run for Texas State House District 54

Community organizer Jonathan Hildner has announced his intention to challenge Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Salado, in 2022 for his Texas State House District 54 seat.

Hildner, 27, of Killeen, announced his candidacy on social media platforms Wednesday morning.

“I said from day one that my focus and my passion, what got me into politics and what made me want to run for office, was the city of Killeen and Bell County,” Hildner told the Herald Wednesday. “This is where I’m from. I’ve seen the lack of progress throughout the years from all levels.”

Rep. Buckley, a Killeen veterinarian, has held the state seat since 2018.

“Jonathan is a Texas native and community organizer who believes that the District deserves a leader who really understands the interests of the folks who live here — and one who will fight for a bold future on their behalf,” a campaign news release said Wednesday.

Hildner will file as a Democrat next week, his campaign said, after he ended his congressional bid in October due to “the blatant and extreme gerrymandering carried out by the Texas GOP.”

“This experience catalyzed Jonathan’s push to run for the Texas State House. Jonathan would be the youngest person to serve in the Texas Legislature and is excited for the opportunity to be a millennial leader,” the news release said.

Hildner said it’s time for Bell County to have a representative in Austin who reflects the true diversity of the area.

“I would bring representation and a voice to younger Texans while also understanding the issues that military families and veterans of all ages deal with in a community like this,” he said.

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