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Welcome to the Wilson County News Candidates’ Forum. Candidates facing opposition for area city council and school board seats on the May 7 ballots were invited to participate in this print forum, as a free service to voters.
Candidates seeking election to the following were invited:
•Falls City ISD, at-large
•Floresville mayor and city council Place 2
•St. Hedwig City Council, Place 2
•Stockdale ISD Places 2, 5, and 7.
All were asked to respond to these questions:
•What is your personal and professional background?
•What is the biggest challenge facing your city or school district in the next four years? How do you propose to meet it?
Entries were limited to a maximum of 300 words.
Meet the candidates who chose to respond.
¦ Floresville Mayor
I have been Mayor since November of 2016.
Before becoming Mayor, I was retired from working in the field of broadcasting at my family-owned radio station, KWCB, here in Floresville.
Since being elected, it has been an interesting series of events with various major issues in our city, the most critical being COVID-19. Floresville has done an amazing job to see us through and will be stronger for anything that comes our way in the future.
The city has also struggled with finances and is currently working extremely hard to get us financially responsible. The city council has many issues to focus on and they include streets, population growth, and infrastructure.
As mayor, my responsibilities are to represent the city and oversee council meetings. As important, is the City Council, who leads by voting on any issue pertaining to the city. I ask that as voters, please research your candidates and select those most qualified for those positions.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Mayor and would like to continue for my third term.
I’m Juan Ortiz and am running for the Floresville mayor seat. I’ve been privileged to have served our great city for many years as a councilman and member of the 4A and 4B boards. I thank you, our constituents, for that honor and humbly ask for your support.
I was born and raised in the Lodi community and come from humble and modest beginnings. Because of that and my long public service, I know well the needs of our town and will work with all segments of our community. In and out of the public, I keep contact with all citizens and am open to helpful information. I strongly believe that we serve for our constituents’ needs.
Having lost my father at an early age, I assumed family responsibilities. That made me sensitive to what they go through and other similar needs. In that respect, I was instrumental for getting funds to make our downtown sidewalks more ADA (disabled) accessible. I was also instrumental in providing for burial benefits to first responders. Additionally, I was part of those who worked and voted for much-needed upgrade to our youth athletic fields and water/ sewerage systems.
My 11-year association with the armed forces started a lifelong dedication to those who serve and sacrifice. I’ve been involved with projects to honor our service folks — such as naming our event center for fallen U.S. Army Spc. Lauro G. DeLeon.
My goals are to continue my strong support of our uniformed officers, continued enhancement of our economic development efforts, keep taxes low, better roads, consider possible Floresville voting districts, establishing more transparency, and locating the mayor’s office at City Hall.
I’ve been married to Linda Martinez Ortiz — also a lifelong citizen — for 39 years, have three children, and five grandchildren.
Again, thanks for your continued support.
¦ Floresville City Council, Place 2
Gloria E. Martinez
I was born and raised in Floresville. Nash and I raised our family here and we have always been proud to call this special place home.
I worked in the special education department of Floresville ISD. In 1988, I began my career with State Farm Insurance, as a servicing agent for 24 years. I was also the supervisor for the Event Center for five years. Currently, I am working at the high school as a substitute teacher, helping shape the lives of students.
Community service is very important to me and I have always volunteered to serve where needed. I am a past president of the Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Peanut Festival Association, and past secretary and board member of the Consolata Healthcare Foundation. I also previously served on the FEDC, the FISD Redistricting board, the 4A Board, as well as a past and current member of the city council.
I supported the construction of the event center and sports complex. As a current member of city council, one of my top priorities is meeting the needs of our growing community. The city continues to implement new infrastructure to meet the needs of residents, as we see a surge in business and residential development. Crucial improvements include a new wastewater treatment plant, street maintenance, water line extensions, sidewalks, cemetery paving, and new police vehicles.
If re-elected to city council, Place 2, I pledge my continued service to the constituents of Floresville. Your continued support and vote will be appreciated.
Growing up in an Air Force family, I was blessed to have lived in and experienced cultures in different countries and learned at a young age that most people share the same basic morals and values that most of us hold dear.
I attended college later in life after working in the electronics industry, the Department of the Navy, as a Sheriff’s Technician, and paid my own way to earn my college degree in Criminal Justice Administration and ultimately became a probation officer until retiring in 2018.
Working as a probation officer was the most rewarding profession, where I learned to leave my own ego at the door and listen to a person’s needs each time we met. Some of those needs included housing, education, employment, as well as drug and/or mental health issues. It was challenging at times, but the successes in the lives I was humbled to be involved with are memories I will always treasure! Young people who thought they would either end up in prison or be dead by age 30, to then witness graduations from a charter high school, a college, vocational programs, and steady good paying jobs was truly an honor to be part of. Oh, the tough love stories I could share!
The biggest challenge facing Floresville is our city budget. I am a firm believer in fiscal accountability and transparency of our tax dollars, revenues, and expenditures to our residents. In reviewing the June 14, 2018, “Floresville Zero Base Budget Policy,” it offers a cogent proposal to bring our city back to responsible management of our finances. I feel that the next four years should focus on reducing our deficit, living within our means, and addressing problematic issues, like outstanding unresolved matters with contractors who have not honored their agreements with Floresville.
¦ St. Hedwig City Council, Place 2
I have lived in St. Hedwig for close to 30 years and am the fourth generation in my family to live here. I have 30 years of experience with roadway and utility design and supervising roadway maintenance.
I was on the St. Hedwig City Council in the 1990s, when we had several miles of city-maintained gravel roads. I worked with the other council members where we proposed a plan to pave those roads, which was approved and completed over the period of several years.
One of the biggest challenges facing the city now is residential and commercial development. I believe development is good for an area, but it needs to be the right type of development and it needs to align with what was approved by the City of St. Hedwig Planning and Zoning Committee and the City Council. St. Hedwig covers a large area and we need to consider the near-term and long-term effects and make sure our infrastructure isn’t damaged by allowing the wrong type of development to come in to the city.
There is a lot of character and history in St. Hedwig and I would like to be part of maintaining the small community feel and the heritage of this unique city for future generations.
¦ Stockdale ISD Board of Trustees
Salvador Urrabazo, District 7
My name is Salvador Urrabazo III; most people know me as “CJ.” I am married to Kirby Urrabazo and have three daughters that attend Stockdale Elementary. I come from a three generation family that all attended and graduated from Stockdale High School. I own a concrete business and have worked building custom homes for the past 12 years. As a Deacon of the Stockdale Church of Christ, I have had the opportunity to work with many of the youth in our community.
I believe the biggest challenge facing our schools today, and in the future, will be trying to get our students back on track after a one-year loss of classroom instruction. We all know that during the pandemic, virtual learning was difficult on our students. Many students still suffer from repercussions of this instructional loss. As a Stockdale School Board Member, I will be determined to monitor and review effectiveness of current and future school policies, communicate with the community, and stay informed on the operations that concern our children.
I have always appreciated respect, honor, and dedication. I want to ensure that all members of our community feel valued, respected, and heard. I strongly believe that there are always workable solutions available that can develop quality education and opportunity for all our students. I believe that together we can make a difference in the lives of every child in our district.
Sherry Lambeck, District 2
I am an alumna of Stockdale High School and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where I obtained a master’s degree in professional accounting. I am a licensed CPA and a tax partner with KPMG LLP, where I have worked since 2002. My husband, Carter, and I live in Stockdale, and our two children attend Stockdale Elementary School. We are members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Stockdale.
Over the last 20 years, I have held numerous leadership positions with various organizations, including the University of Texas at San Antonio Accounting Advisory Board, Stockdale ISD Education Foundation, Stockdale City Council, San Antonio Tricentennial Commission, Childsafe, Miss Rodeo Texas Association, and the Stockdale Chamber of Commerce.
I believe in accountability, continuous improvement, and that children are motivated by the behaviors that are modeled by their peers, mentors, and leaders. We must show them success!
The future of our school district is grounded in the recruitment, retention, support, and promotion of our best teachers. To accomplish this, as a district, we must be able to arm our teachers with the resources they need to be successful. Technology enhancements and innovative curriculum offerings in the classroom, vocational training programs for students, classroom and advanced degree stipends, and more competitive compensation packages — these are just a few of the things that we must find a way to address within our means.
Given my professional and educational background, I am well-equipped to work with our school administrators toward our funding and budgetary goals. I am passionate about providing all of our students with a foundation for a successful future, while instilling pride in themselves and in our school and community. If elected, this passion will drive the decisions I will contemplate while serving on the Board. I appreciate your vote and support.
Teri Dugi, District 5
I have served as a board member for 18 years and am running for re-election for Stockdale ISD Board of Trustees, District 5. I am a 1983 graduate of Stockdale ISD, married to Tommy Dugi for 38 years. Our family consists of Bryant, Jonathan and his wife Kristan, and daughter Alexis.
I have worked in Stockdale for the last 38 years in the banking and insurance industries. The knowledge gained in these areas of business, both in customer service and office management, has better qualified me for this Board position.
I am experienced, and during my tenure I have completed over 190 hours Continuing Education. Some of the projects completed during this time include: Renovation of the junior high building, high school, track, cafeteria, ag shop, tennis courts, junior high gym, weight room, and elementary pavilion.
In the next few years, our district may face many challenges, such as inflation, growth of our community, and hiring and retaining quality staff. With this being said, the Board of Trustees will have to continue to work as a team along with the Administration to find strategic ways to conquer these issues without compromising the quality education we strive for.
I pledge to continue to improve and expand our program, and to keep the education, safety, and wellbeing of each student and staff member a priority, to protect the best interest of students, staff, and taxpayers, and to maintain and expand high-quality education to prepare our students for college, the workforce, or tech school. I want to create a district where students thrive. Both Stockdale ISD and the community have a vested interest in doing what’s best for all students.
I am asking for your support and your vote during this election.
¦ Falls City ISD Board of Trustees
Hello, I am Robert Hons, a candidate running for a position as a member on the Falls City ISD Board of Trustees. I was raised in this community and graduated from Falls City ISD. I have remained in this community, married to my wife, Elaine, for 24 years, and our three children have all attended and graduated from Falls City schools with the most recent of whom will be graduating this year.
Working and acting in your best interests as a board member, I will assist other board members, school administration, and teachers in making a determined effort to strive for excellence in all areas of the school’s operations. I intend to represent our district while upholding and defending educational principles, ethical standards, morals, as well as ensuring that our tax funds are spent in the most effective way possible.
I am currently employed as Plant Manager of Texaloy Foundry Company, where I have worked for 22 years. Through my experiences in a number of leadership positions, I’ve learned the value of cooperation, teamwork and dispute resolution. These are the essential attributes and skill sets that I will bring to my role as a member of the school board on a daily basis.
I implore you to speak to anyone in the community about myself, my work and life ethics, and what positive new ideas and possibilities I can bring to better the future of all our children within the community.
I humbly ask for your vote and support on May 7.