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Corpus Christi City Council At-Large Candidate Profiles

CityCouncil AtLarge
Posted at 12:23 PM, Oct 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 16:21:02-04

Mike Pusley

What is your age?

N/A

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

Retired 2013

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

N/A

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

N/A

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

If elected this will be my second term, my priorities will be the same, Streets, Infrastructure, Public Safety, and new drought proof water sources for Corpus Christi and its customers.

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

Streets, Infrastructure, Public Safety, and new drought proof water sources for Corpus Christi and its customers.

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

Street reconstruction throughout the City.

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Rachel Caballero

What is your age?

46

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

Self-Employed/Light accounting & bookkeeping company; No.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I am a citizen ready for change in our local governing body. I have researched and understand the political environment. My life experiences here and financial background will be extremely helpful to delve into the financial issues we seem to constantly have.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I grew up here in Corpus Christi. I also lived in a large metropolis for 13 years, Denver, CO. I have been back in my hometown for 13 years now. I see where & what we are lacking. We also need community consideration in decision making which we do not currently have. I hope to be the voice of the community on council.

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

I don't think it's honest to say I could address issues immediately on the first day. But I do plan to take a deep dive into the budget and expenses, along with road repair scheduling and how that works. I would also start advocating for off shore placement of the desalination plants to protect our bays.

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

Infrastructure, streets, streets, and more streets and taxes, taxes, and taxes. We need reform and performance ASAP.

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

I will have to touch back on this question at another time.

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Jim Klein

What is your age?

I am 58 years old.

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

I am a Professor of History at Del Mar College. I am currently employed.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

We as individuals and collectively are defined by our actions, and so I have involved myself in various community service projects that I believe make Corpus Christi a better place to live. These include leadership positions in environmental groups such as the local Sierra Club group, the Clean Economy Coalition; and faculty advocacy groups such as the Del Mar College chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the Texas Conference of the AAUP.

I also have led a mentoring project to encourage students to finish high school and consider post-secondary education or training. I served on the Corpus Christi Landmark Commission for six years (two as Chair of that body), and currently serve as Vice Chair of the Nueces County Historical Commission.

I will bring this perspective of hard work, intellectual curiosity, and community activism to the Corpus Christi City Council to best represent the interests of the people of Corpus Christi, and I am asking for your vote to do so.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I grew up on a farm, where long days of hard work with livestock and field crops taught me the value of hard work at an early age. I put myself through college by taking a variety of jobs. I drove and worked on transit buses, I drove delivery trucks and school buses, I laid asphalt with a road crew, and I worked in a salvage yard among other odd jobs.

Ultimately I earned a Ph.D. in United States History and accepted a faculty position at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. My training as a historian has taught me a determination to follow-up on long term projects, to examine issues from a variety of different angles, and to always ask questions. Throughout my studies, I have maintained a deep appreciation for the perspective of working people.

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

I would reexamine the City’s reckless plans to pursue desalination plants that are designed to benefit a few corporate investors at the expense of area water rate payers and that threaten the life and health of Corpus Christi Bay.

I also would reexamine the street repair contracts to ensure that projects are completed in a more timely manner than three to four years. I also would urge a return to the “worst is first” standard for street repair from which the City has strayed.

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

We need to diversify our local economy. In the last seven years we have seen the oil and gas sector of the economy grow extensively, often at the expense of human and environmental health.

We need to attract a more diverse type of businesses to the city to insulate this region from the vagaries of the oil and gas market. The trade journals indicate that the fossil fuel industry is in decline and that this decline will be a long term trend as alternative fuels are developed and adopted around the world to slow the advance of climate change.

We are seeing the effects of climate change in the Coastal Bend already during winter storm Nuri from 2021 and as coastal flooding continues to increase in Flour Bluff, North Beach and Ingleside On the Bay. In short, we need to start thinking long term about what we want Corpus Christi to look like in fifty years.

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

Services offered by the city staff generally are good. These should be expanded as contracted services (which tend to be of lower quality at higher costs) are reduced. In particular the resumption of neighborhood street repairs by City staff is a positive development that should be expanded.

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John Martinez

What is your age?

49

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

Attorney

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

Current Corpus Christi City Council Member At Large

Former member of Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District

Former Chairman of the Nueces County Hospital District Board

Former Nueces County Court At Law Judge

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

Growing up in Corpus Christi, I have seen our City struggle to meet its potential. We have allowed our streets and infrastructure to fall into disrepair and have fallen behind in providing adequate police and fire protection. I have served Corpus Christi in many capacities to help to address these issues.

Most recently I have served as an At-Large City Council Member. In those two years, the City has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to street and infrastructure repair and have added to the police force by over 25 officers. I will continue to vote to improve those conditions and allocate the funds necessary to get us where we should be.

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

As a second term Council Member, I will continue to provide a friendly environment for local development and the addition of quality of life projects to our City. I will continue to support the Downtown development plans and a street maintenance and repair plan, that will help our streets last loger and stay in good repair.

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

The biggest issue facing our community is the need for a long term, sustainable water supply. We need to bring in new water sources to our community and diversify the current sources. Adding groundwater and desalinated water to our resources will be an important project for the future of our City moving forward.

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

Improvement is needed everywhere. Although we are making a lot of progress in many areas, there is still a lot of work to be done. We need more efficiency in how we do things and look for more cost effective measures in the projects we have before us.

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Nancy Vera

What is your age?

59

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

I am an educator. I taught in the classroom for over 30 years, and I have been and an educator and child/family/community advocate for over 35 years. I teach English/Language Arts, speech/communication, drama and theater.

I have a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Corpus Christi Mexican-American history. I received all my degrees from Texas A &M-Corpus Christi. I am currently the full-time release president for the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers. I am not retired.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I have extensive/quality community experience in the following that are relevant to city council activities:

communication, public relations, consensus-building, consultation, community organizing and engagement, budgets, mental health services, libraries, contracts, police training advisory, health insurance, mediation and relationship building, clean water/environmental advocacy, domestic violence victim advocacy, child adoption advocacy, LGBTQIA+ advocacy, human and civil rights advocacy, family and community partnerships, pensions, immigration, migrants, leadership development, personnel law, education law, effective committees, time management, parliamentary procedure

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I am a 4th generation resident of Corpus Christi. I grew up on the west side of the city with my parents, grandparents and brother in a two-bedroom house in which I still reside. My experience as an advocate for all aspects of our community has been paramount since I was a child growing up in Corpus Christi.

I read the newspaper diligently following the work of the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers' President John Cole, the American GI Forum's Dr. Hector P. Garcia and local labor leaders. As a child, I remember the hardships of my family to provide my brother, Roger, and me with food and a sound education.

Although our family struggled financially, and many times suffered from racial slurs and discrimination that I still remember vividly, my parents and grandparents instilled in me a love for reading and education. Because of this, I have dedicated my life to helping others and especially the children who suffer from domestic violence, or mental challenges, discrimination and/or poverty.

I know that education is the key to rising from poverty. Because of my role as a teacher and my role as a teacher leader, labor leader, community leader, state leader and national leader, I have the know-how, the training and the resolve to help in whatever way I can to help working families and the disenfranchised and marginalized. I care.

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

I would:

  • Eliminate the giveaways to special corporate interests so that we can fund what our families need
  • Prioritize the environment: a clean city means clean air, clean drinking water, and clean bays for the future of our children and families
  • Create a working task force to establish a plan to help the houseless
  • Assess the infrastructure work in our city to expedite repairs and take action for better accountability to our taxpayers
  • Communicate with my fellow Corpus Christi citizens.

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

I think that the debacle with the destruction of Hillcrest, the flooding on North Beach, and the neglect of the downtown area and west side, and the development in flood zones in our city must be addressed. It is unconscionable that people are suffering because of a lack of forethought, consideration and planning on the part of our current elected city leaders.

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

They have projects going that I hope can be expanded to help all areas of the city.

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John Garcia

What is your age?  

46

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

Tourism Industry

What relevant experience can you bring to office? 

As the founder of the Food Truck festivals, I am running for Corpus Christi City Council to grow opportunities for small businesses, fix our streets for residents and economic and workforce development efforts and enhance resources for our police and firefighters.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?  

I have been active in the hospitality industry for 25 years. Born and raised in the Westside of Corpus Christi, I've created opportunities for small businesses with the food truck festivals. I have deep roots with the community and have served as a volunteer for two decades. I'm ready to offer my leadership to the city with a humble heart and strong work ethic.

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

Prioritize water for the future, public and health safety. Open discussion with the city of corpus christi citizens and elected appointed officials and with city staff.

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

Public Safety, keeping our neighborhoods, children, senior citizens, veterans and Corpus Christi citizens safe. Establishing the legitimacy of the city’s efforts to strengthen public safety.

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

Corpus Christi's economic growth and continued investment that the city is addressing community needs, including public safety, streets, water and wastewater infrastructure, and parks

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Answers to KRIS 6 News questionnaires were written by the candidates in their own words and received little-to-no editing from KRIS 6 News employees.

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