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Group supporting Ranger College expansion asks AG to investigate opposition

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - A group supporting Ranger College's expansion into Brown, Erath, and Comanche counties scheduled a press conference for Friday morning, but canceled it nearly half an hour before it was supposed to start.

The "Vote Yes Ranger College" group organized it Thursday to be held in front of the Brown County Courthouse. But John Hatch with Texas Petition Strategies, who helped put the conference together, said lawyers advised them to hold off until they send a letter to the Texas Attorney General's office.

They're claiming the opposition group is using illegal tactics.

"We're going to be sending a letter to the Attorney General and to the district attorney asking them to investigate this threat," Hatch said.

Hatch is accusing the Citizens Against Ranger Tax Annexation of using coercion and intimidation to get people to vote no.

A treasurer for the vote no group in Erath County called for landlords to send letters to tenants telling them they'll be raising rents if they vote yes, according to Hatch's press release. The release has the treasurer's Facebook posts attached to it.

The issue stems from Ranger College seeking to expand the programs it offers in Brown, Erath, and Comanche counties.

Voters will decide whether to join the college's taxing district on Nov. 7.

If approved, a home valued at $100,000 will be paying an extra $110 a year in taxes.

The Citizens Against Ranger Tax Annexation spoke in Brownwood on Friday at an event held by the Brown County Republican Women's Club.

"To vote against annexation is not to vote against education," Barry Carter, the group's treasurer in Brown County, told the crowd.

KTXS asked Carter about Hatch's accusations against his group.

"We need to discuss it," Carter said. "It mentions the other political action committees in the other counties, and I'll need to visit with them before we can formulate a response."

Early voting for Brown, Erath, and Comanche counties on the Ranger College tax referendum will begin on Oct. 23.

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