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ELECTION 2020: Corpus Christi city council at-large

Early voting begins today for Special Election
Posted at 2:15 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 11:25:44-04

Here are candidates running for Corpus Christi City Council at-large in this year's election. They are ordered by official ballot order that was determined by random draw by city officials. Empty bios can and will be filled when the answers to our questionnaires are sent back to us by the candidate. Minor edits have been made for clarity.

LIZ PEREZ

(no photo provided yet)

What is your age?

(no answer received yet)

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

(no answer received yet)

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

(no answer received yet)

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

(no answer received yet)

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

(no answer received yet)

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

(no answer received yet)

What is the City of Corpus Christi doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

(no answer received yet)

MIKE PUSLEY

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What is your age?

(no answer received yet)

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

I was in the oil and gas exploration business for almost 40 years. I began my career with Exxon Company USA and worked for them three years, I then moved to EOG Resources where I spent the next 35 years until my retirement in 2013.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

Although I have never served on the City Council, I have served for over 34 years in both appointed and elected positions here in our community. That service includes nine years as a member to the Tuloso-Midway ISD Board of Trustees, four years as a member of the City Storm Water Advisory Committee, six years as a member of the City Planning Commission, and nine years as Precinct One Nueces County Commissioner. I also currently serve as a board member of the Texas State Aquarium. My years on the planning commission provided me valuable insight to the challenges facing the development community, and I plan to use that knowledge to help guide our city back to prosperity following the 2020 pandemic. I strongly believe that my résumé of public service, and my success in the oil and gas industry, gives me a strong background in understanding what we need to do to make this a better place to live. I am committed to providing a strong voice of leadership as a member of the city council.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I was born and raised in Corpus Christi and graduated from Roy Miller High School. I also received an Associate Arts degree from Del Mar College, and graduated from Corpus Christi State University with a degree in geology. My wife and I have been married for 47 years and we have two beautiful daughters and five wonderful grandchildren, (whom) all live here in Corpus Christi. So I have a vested interest in working to ensure our city grows and prospers. I had many opportunities to leave this community to advance my career, but I chose to live here because I felt it was the safest environment to raise my children, and this is my home. I want my children and grandchildren to feel the same way, so we have some work to do, and I am ready for the task.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

Development, infrastructure, ensuring adequate funding for public safety, and a long-term solution to our water issues

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Development – I am very optimistic about the future of our city and local economy. There is no doubt the pandemic has taken a toll on many businesses, and it will be extremely important that our next city council is up to the challenge of making sure we are providing the support and leadership needed to foster strong business growth and development in our community. One of the many ways we can do that is to make sure the cost of government is not a deterrent to a strong recovery.

Infrastructure - There is no excuse for the state of our city’s infrastructure woes. If our city is going to remain competitive in the business world while providing first-class services to our citizens, this must continue to be a high-budget priority.

Police and fire – As our community grows, so will the need for additional funding for our first responders. With the violence we see every day in other parts of our country, public safety has risen to the top of the list for citizens in our community. The men and women who risk their lives to protect us need adequate funding to do their job safely and effectively. This is a key issue in helping our city grow; no individual or business wants to locate in a community where you have to be constantly concerned about your personal safety.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?
They have started the discussions for a solution to our long-term water issues. We need to expand on that discussion and come up with a solution that solves the problems without (undue) monetary burden on the ratepayers – small and large.

MICHAEL HUNTER (INCUMBENT)

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What is your age?

(no answer received yet)

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

(no answer received yet)

What relevant experience can you bring to the office?

(no answer received yet)

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

(no answer received yet)

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

(no answer received yet)

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

(no answer received yet)

What is the City of Corpus Christi doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

(no answer received yet)

MYRON GROSSMAN

(no photo provided yet)

What is your age?

(no answer received yet)

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

(no answer received yet)

What relevant experience can you bring to the office?

(no answer received yet)

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

(no answer received yet)

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

(no answer received yet)

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

(no answer received yet)

What is the City of Corpus Christi doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

(no answer received yet)

LARRY WHITE

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What is your age?

I am 70

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

I am a retired chemical engineer, and have worked part-time as a consultant engineer since I retired in 2012.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I am a licensed engineer with experiences in projects, project budgets, maintenance, and other technical areas. I have led multi-million dollar projects that have come in on-time, on-budget, with no serious incidents. Actually, all the projects I've worked on had the same results. I was on the City Ethics Commission and on the City Transportation Advisory Commission.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I was in the Coast Guard Reserve, which taught me discipline and teamwork. I have volunteered several times for KAIROS-outside which enlightened me about those who have difficulties in life. My Buccarader experience, and being a part of the Veterans Band have given me a sense of community service.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

Infrastructure maintenance. I'll push to get maintenance and capital maintenance as line items in the budgets of several city departments. This will make it harder to ignore needed maintenance. I will also "dig" into our sewer problem because of the potential impact to personal health and the environment. I read the EPA Consent Decree. I'm not happen with what I read.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Besides infrastructure maintenance, the growth of Corpus Christi needs to be slowed for our infrastructure to catch up. Growth also needs to be controlled to avoid overloading our sewer system and prevent traffic gridlock. Flood management and storm sewers need attention. We do not want to end up like Houston, relative to flooding and traffic gridlock. The other issue I'm becoming familiar with is the homeless. It is an on-going problem and appears to be getting worse because of the COVID-19.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

I think the COVID-19 response and the repair/maintenance of city streets are going well. I'm sure the residents are not happy with the pace of street repair, but in my view it is going as well as possible given the limited available tax dollars.

JOHN MARTINEZ

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What is your age?

47

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

Former Judge, currently an attorney

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I have lived in Corpus Christi my whole life, and have been actively involved with our community for over 20 years. I have served on the Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District, as chairman of the Nueces County Hospital District, and served as a judge for a Nueces County Court-At-Law. Serving in these capacities has given me insight and perspective on the needs and deficiencies in our community. I will bring these perspectives to city council to come up with solutions that benefit us all.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I am a lifelong resident of Corpus Christi. I have seen the struggles with water and infrastructure we have faced for generations. I have also seen the issues with mental health and crime through my service as a Judge, and as a member of the hospital district and crime control and prevention district.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

The first thing I would address is the lack of communication and coordination between the local facets of government. The city should be working with the county, the university, the port and the local hospitals to come up with solutions to benefit our community.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

The main issues that need to be addressed are improvements and development of infrastructure and a long-term water solution. Both of these issues are important for the future growth and development of Corpus Christi, as well as for improvement in the quality of life for the residents.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

Assistance for small businesses struggling through COVID(-19) with the (LiftFund) program. The city is also doing a good job with promoting economic development through its various programs and boards. The Lift(Fund) program and similar programs could be expanded to assist more individuals through outreach and assistance in the application process. The economic-development projects could be further expanded through greater cooperation and collaboration with the university, the county and the Port of Corpus Christi.

RICARDO HANKERSON

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What is your age?

71

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

Government employee 44 years/retired

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

My years of leadership in civil service and organizations such as: Elks Lodge (exalted Ruler), Masonic Lodge (33 degree - Worshipful Master - District Deputy), American Legion (Chaplain & Dept of Texas 14th District Commander), Corpus Christi Army Depot (Federal Manager Association 2nd Vice President), Corpus Christi Army Depot (25 years Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor), Fleet Reserve Association (current president). Currently, Municipal Court, Corpus Christi (bailiff/security).

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

Based on my many years of experiences in the above organizations, commitments and leadership roles I maintained; along with the faith people had in me to provide leadership.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

The most pertinent issue concerning the residents of Corpus Christi.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Property tax, street maintenance and the homeless situation.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

Keeping the public informed on the current situations and future developments in and around the city.

EFRAIN 'FRANK' ARRIAGA

Efrain Frank Arriaga.jpg

What is your age?

35 years old

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

Small Business Development/Entrepreneurship

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I believe that my experience in small-business development and administration helped prepare me to solve problems with a team concept in mind.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I grew up on 14th St and Morgan, bought a home in Lindale, and currently reside on the Island. I was born and raised in Corpus Christi and chose to make it my forever home. Like others on council and seeking to serve, I, too, want to help build a community that our kids and grandkids will want to stay and live in.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

There are many issues ahead of us. Personally, I am eager to discuss ways to make Corpus Christi the safest and cleanest coastal community in Texas. Long-term planning decisions like desal, wastewater, and road infrastructure will be front and center. I am eager to take part in those discussions, as well as those centered around improving our quality of life through the use of green spaces that promote outdoor activity.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Wastewater, water, and road maintenance are the big elephants in the room

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

The push to build more of our own streets and invest in capital equipment that promotes in sourcing is a huge step in the right direction. I applaud the city manager, city staff, and council for making those investments that protect taxpayers from paying contractor rates on things we can build ourselves with the proper equipment and training.

RICHARD DIAZ

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What is your age?

I'm 26 years old

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

I currently work as a warehouse worker

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

As a former member of our Transportation Advisory Commission I have some level knowledge on how our city operates and the limitations of what our government can or cannot do.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

(no answer received yet)

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

The first issue I would work to address is the limited opportunity for the average person to run for city office. Currently the average would not be able to commit to serving as a full time City Council member or Mayor due to the salary being only $6,000 & $9,000 a year, nor can most people adjust their schedules to accommodate serving in office. By increasing this to match the counties living wage we can allow more people the opportunity to run for office and commit their full time to bettering the city, whether that person is a single parent, college student, or "retired" worker who still has to have a full or part time job to make ends meet.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Our (city's) water management system has seen many improvements in the last few years. However, the concerns over weak water pressure in some areas, and the latest controversy over the desalination plants seemingly planned to only benefit a handful of companies on the port while the homeowners and businesses of Corpus are the ones who will foot the bill with our bond money and increases in our water bill. These issues must be addressed.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

(no answer received yet)

PATRICIA PENA-NOYOLA

Patricia Noyola City council at large 1 (2).jpg

What is your age?

I am 53.

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

I am in the financial-services industry, specializing in federal retirement planning.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I am a small-business owner who has experience in budget planning. During my career I was also a small-home builder, participating in the Affordable Housing Program. This has given me the experience to understand the processes involved in bringing a development project to fruition.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

As a single mother of five daughters and a small business owner, my ability to multi-task, oversee and delegate, participate in day-to-day operations, and build relationships, has allowed me the experience to complete my objectives.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

I would like to address any pending work orders for neighborhood street repairs and improvements. In my own neighborhood, the potholes are getting worse with every rain. I would like to find out the composition of materials being used to repair these issues and uncover the reason why it's not lasting. I feel we (Corpus Christi) should be working smarter and not harder, and getting streets repaired once with quality materials.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Neighborhood street improvement, park maintenance and improvement, and a development of our workforce.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

A new public works director was hired. That was a move in a positive direction. However, we must have a more immediate expectation of objectives that need to be met. There should be some accountability within a 3- and 6-month period reporting the improvements within our neighborhoods. Our main corridors are being addressed; my main concern is our family neighborhoods.

BRIAN ROSAS

Web

What is your age?

46

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

I am currently an employee at Corpus Christi Army Depot. My position there is a sandblaster. And no, I am not retired at this time.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

Being a former city council member, I have a thorough knowledge of city budget. I would be able to prioritize city spending on much needed areas of public safety, streets, infrastructure and housing affordability.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I am a lifelong resident of Corpus Christi. I have a great interest in this city because my children and grandchildren are being raised here. I also know the problems and issues my neighbors are dealing with like public safety, streets and infrastructure. They are some of the most important topics to citizens right now because they have been ignored for so long. I also have a wealth of knowledge about the city budget, planning and how the tax-paying dollars can be prioritized to give citizens city services at 100%.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

I would be dedicated to addressing streets along with public-safety issues that are most important to the citizens and prioritize them within our budget without costing taxpayers more money. Since the funding is already available, I would aggressively champion for a better-planned ramp-up of the current repair schedule, so that more streets can be completed sooner.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

I see public safety being a big issue because we have not aggressively funded officers to catch up with the times. We are already short 100 officers. Our fire department has also been short on manpower, according to (the) national standard for best practices. Along with public-safety issues, many funding sources have been implemented, yet streets are unfixed, and frustration has set in. By enforcing a systematic approach, we can determine a better street-repair order because funding is already available. By revamping our bidding process to small, qualified contractors with good performance records, it can help alleviate the workload for the larger contractors. Considering concrete streets, instead of asphalt, where applicable, will also create long-term savings. There are many other infrastructure issues that need to be addressed, including a reliable and affordable water source, wastewater and sewerage issues.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

The Coastal Bend is already attracting industry, businesses, and jobs because of the port dredging and the new bridge project, that will allow larger vessels in and out of the port with more product. The key for economic growth is to attract future employees to Corpus Christi instead of the surrounding cities. With good infrastructure, great city services and public safety, we can attract new residents and expand our tax base, helping to relieve some of the tax burden on our current residents.

DEANNA MICHELLE KING

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What is your age?

(no answer received yet)

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

Currently, I work as a legal assistant for a criminal defense attorney, John Gilmore.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

My skills working in the legal field for 30 years brings a different perspective to the city council. I have helped, and worked, with people from all walks of life, which gives me the capability to work alongside anyone. My work experience has taught me that people have stories and goals. Their stories are just as important as mine; and they contribute to society just as we all do.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

My parents taught me the value of hard work, but also the value of people. Humanity is defined as the human race (everyone), and working together is when humanity is at its best. As a city council at large member, I am willing to reach across the aisle to work with people who do not look like me to reach a common goal.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

(no answer received yet)

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Our city needs help. The infrastructure is cratering. The streets are a visible sign of it. We have people who are homeless. Most have mental- and/or substance-abuse problems. We must address those underlying problems which they may have instead of herding them from one side of the city to the other, as if they are cattle. Our water supply needs to be drinkable as well. Everyone cannot afford to buy bottled water. Overall, we need to be able to fix and maintain the problems we currently are having, instead of taking on new projects which would cost taxpayers more money in the near future.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

(no answer received yet)

JOHN GARCIA

What is your age?

44

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

Small-business owner, tourism industry executive, community leader

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

My experience as a business owner, community volunteer and employee who helps market the area uniquely qualifies me to serve our city as a councilman at large. As a lifelong resident of Corpus Christi, I understand the unique challenges we are facing with the need to hire more police officers, fix our streets, and grow our economy to meet our future needs.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I believe the characteristics of a good leader are being a good listener, understanding that with the responsibility of leadership comes responsibility to respond to the hardest questions. I also believe a good leader should be honest, work hard and ethically, have integrity, and the fortitude to move forward with good public policy.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

Workforce issues
Water supply
Rebuilding the economy post COVID-19

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

I am running for city councilman at large to be a change agent. I will work to fix our streets, build public safety, and work to create economic development opportunities.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

Street repair, affordable housing, economic-development opportunities and public safety.