Bexar County Pct. 4 candidates lay out priorities
When Tommy Adkisson announced he'd run for Bexar County Judge, that left the Precinct 4 Commissioner seat open for the first time since 1998.
Nine candidates are on the ballot for the primary election. Here is some information on them.
Debra Guerrero is a former San Antonio city councilwoman and life-long resident of Precinct 4. Guerrero, a breast cancer survivor, said she wants to take care of the health needs of residents is a priority.
"We need to take care of the most vulnerable of populations – both seniors and those underinsured or uninsured – and that is the number one priority the county should have," said Guerrero.
Guerrero currently serves on the San Antonio Independent School Board. She wants to serve the community on another level.
"I have the public service experience," Guerrero said. "I have the knowledge of what's important in Precinct 4 because I drive those streets every day."
Sheila McNeil served two terms on the San Antonio city council. She also wants to focus on health care.
"We have some of the highest cancer rates, highest diabetes rates in this county," McNeil said. "We need to make sure we're addressing these issues head-on and we're doing what we need to do to bring quality health care to our community."
She said she wants to attract more people to areas of the precinct other than downtown.
"I want to see us take the assets that are like our arts and the entertainment and sports that happen in the core of our community and market that area, make it a destination," McNeil said.
Nicole Elizalde has lived in the precinct for 15 years. She currently works as a civil rights attorney, but has worked as a teacher on San Antonio's west side and southwest side. She said she's invested in the community and wants it to succeed.
"What people are telling me is that they don't want politicians, we want sincere leaders who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get into the community with us," Elizalde said.
She wants better sidewalks, better streets and to see Bexar County get control of the stray animal population.
"People are telling me that their neighborhoods aren't walking," said Elizalde. "That's a problem."
Joaquin Gonzalez is a legislative director for State Representative Philip Cortez. He said the health care needs of Precinct 4 residents needs to be addressed. He also said Bexar County needs to keep specialty courts – like those addressing drugs, veterans and mental health issues – on the books.
"I want to make it a priority to keep them funded because they are working and they are preventing people from re-offending and also increasing reentry programs, making sure people coming out of jail have a good chance to get a job and reintegrate into society," Gonzalez said.
He said it's time for economic growth to move outside of downtown.
"It's about bringing together businesses and the community and the more money we do save on issues such as health care and the justice system, the more we'll have to spend on infrastructure projects as well," said Gonzalez.
Tommy Calvert has been active in politics for years. He says the murder of Ruth Clay around Christmas time is one of the reasons he's running for commissioner. He used to take her to the polls to vote.
"Her death was a reminder to me of just how important it is for elected leaders to keep our community safe and protect our families. I'm running to get more manpower on the streets, get a northeast side substation to increase response time for our citizens," Calvert said.
He also said the precinct -- which includes parts of downtown, San Antonio's east side, Elmendorf and Schertz – needs more funding to improve infrastructure and the quality of life. He said health care services are lacking.
"The loss of Southeast Baptist Hospital in a medically underserved community has gone on long enough. I want to deliver a University Health System clinic in the eastern triangle and Southeast Baptist Hospital," Calvert said.
Timothy Wilson has served on the Kirby city council for seven years. He's been the mayor there for the last two years.
"I would like to better not only the city of Kirby, but the other 12 cities that surround us and the 65 unincorporated neighborhoods," said Wilson.
Wilson said the commissioner's court has lost focus. He said priority projects have taken precedence over what keeps neighborhoods safe.
"Police substations, police patrols and sheriff patrols should be number one on our list and not special projects such as San Pedro Creek," Wilson said. "The street cars, the new tower that commissioner court is in, I really think they've lost focus."
Alan Baxter has been the mayor of the City of Windcrest for three-and-a-half years. He said he's on a mission.
"The four principles of what government does is cracked. It was cracked here in Windcrest and we fixed it, and I want to do the same thing at the county level – especially for my precinct where I grew up," Baxter said.
He said those basic principles are the backbone of government.
"Everything that my opponents say they want to do, you can't accomplish any of those goals unless you get back to having great police, great fire protection, good streets and roads and nice common areas and parks," Baxter said.
Reinette Alecozay has spent more than three decades as a contract negotiator for Randolph Air Force Base. She said she wants to bring transparency to Precinct 4, particularly for small business owners in the community.
"Right now, they're not getting a fair shake with the county," said Alecozay. "I want to bring total transparency so that everything is on the web."
She said she is opposed to VIA's streetcar project.
"I'm passing petitions out to 85 neighborhoods and many other organizations to get signatures so that the voters can decide do they want to spend a half a million dollars for a 5-mile line street car or not," said Alecozay.
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