Two more Republicans and a Democrat have joined the crowded field of candidates vying to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Bill Flores in the Congressional District 17 seat.

The new filings bring the total of candidates to 12, although the filing deadline is not until Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.

Waco business owner Renee Swann announced Tuesday that she will seek the Republican nomination in the March 3 primary election for District 17.

Swann and her husband, Russell Swann, opened Brazos Eye Surgery of Texas in 1981, according to a news release. Her husband is the medical director and senior ophthalmologist, while Renee Swann handles the business operations.

In her statement, Swann swears to stand by President Donald Trump, stating that he needs “an outsider and businessperson, not a career politician.”

“I am not beholden to anyone,” she said in the press release. “Our district needs an outsider, a lifelong conservative and someone who will be an outspoken advocate for hard-working Americans all the time. I’ve spent a lifetime serving people, proudly helped build a business and have fought for patients to receive the best care. I’ll take that same fight to Congress.”

William Foster III, who grew up in Hearne, announced Tuesday that he would seek the Democratic nomination in the March primary election for District 17. Foster has been a NASA employee; math instructor at Houston Community College and Prairie View A&M University; and a teacher at Houston and Aldine school districts, according to a news release.

Foster serves on the board of directors of the Prairie View Federal Credit Union. In his announcement, he states that it is time to demand for “better economic security, better health and safety for our young and elderly” and gun control solutions.

Meanwhile, College Station City Councilwoman Elianor Vessali has announced that she will seek the Republican nomination for the District 17 seat, the Bryan-College Station Eagle reported. Vessali resigned from the city council late Friday after making her announcement.

“After serving you for the past year on College Station’s City Council, I believe it’s time we take our tested and true Texas values to a place that truly needs them — Washington,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Vessali said in a 2017 candidate profile by The Eagle that she worked for Ernst & Young in Geneva, Switzerland, and taught chemistry and French in the Spring Branch school district before moving back to College Station in 2013 to manage her family’s real estate business.

The other Republican congressional candidates include former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, Waco business owner Scott Bland, Austin-based financial adviser Ahmad Adnan, Pflugerville-based aerospace engineer and business owner George Hindman, Waco real estate agent Kristen Alamo Rowin, Marine Corps veteran Trent Sutton, and former Texas A&M University professor Todd Kent.

Other Democratic candidates include Marine Corps veteran David Jaramillo and Rick Kennedy, a software engineer from Travis County who opposed Flores in the 2018 election.

Katherine Turner-Pearson (left), Charles "Doc" Anderson

Turner-Pearson (left), Charles “Doc” Anderson

Meanwhile, Katherine Turner-Pearson was expected to file late Tuesday for the Democratic nomination for Texas House District 56, running against incumbent Charles “Doc” Anderson again. Anderson defeated her in the 2018 election with 65.8 percent of the vote.

A registered professional archaeologist and owner of Central Texas Archaeological Resources, Turner-Pearson grew up in the Waco area and attended Baylor University, according to her campaign website. She also has taught as an adjunct professor at Central Texas College at the Gatesville Women’s Correctional Facility, working with incarcerated women. Currently, she serves as the volunteer archaeologist for the Waco Hispanic Museum at La Pila Fountain excavation, an historic fountain in the Calle Dos neighborhood of Waco.

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Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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