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Corpus Christi City Council District 3 Candidate Profiles

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Posted at 12:23 PM, Oct 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 16:20:32-04

Roland Barrera

What is your age?

56

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

I own an employee benefits insurance agency and consulting firm since 01/2013.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I have strong experience in governance. I’ve served on the Council since January of 2019. During that time I have secured millions for infrastructure, expansion of police and fire department, parks and put them into action.

I’ve also served in many capacities on board and commissions locally as well as for the industry I work in.

Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority: Served eight years, two as Chair.

Texas Bridge Credit Union: Board Member, past Vice Chair

Corpus Christi Kiwanis Club: Past President

Coastal Bend Children’s Advocacy Center: Past President

Coastal Bend Association of Health Underwriters: Past President

National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Corpus Christi Chapter: Past President

Texas Insurance and Financial Advisors PAC: Past State Chair

National Health Underwriters PAC: Past Chairman of Region 6

Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce: Past Chairman

With regard to my industry and community advocacy, I’ve been quite engaged at the state and national legislatures and continue to do so for issues affecting the Coastal Bend for over twenty years. I’ve testified numerous times before various committees at the legislature and am quite familiar with the political process.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

A Corpus Christi native, I was raised in the heart of District 3, two blocks from Moody High School. I currently mentor at West Oso High School and know first hand the challenges facing both those areas of the community, youth and adult.

In the insurance industry since 1996, I’ve provided support and risk management services for working families and small business and I understand the challenges they face. Our staff of six manages tens of millions of dollars in assets for those working families and businesses. Our responsibility to those families is taken very seriously and we are committed to serving them.

As a small business owner myself, I know what its like to have to make payroll, pay taxes, provide benefits of insurance and a retirement plan. I know what it’s like to be actively engaged in the professional and personal development of those that our employed by my firm. Their personal and professional successes make our firm successful.

As a father, I’ve supported and raised three children through college and know the challenges parents face in Corpus Christi. As the only child of an elderly parent, I understand the challenges facing seniors on a fixed income.

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

The top three issues we face.

Continued street improvement: These past four years, we’ve appropriated an unprecedented amount of funds to emphasize on street improvement. However, there is still much work to be done. We must continue to expand the public works department to maintain and extend the life of streets that can be saved without major reconstruction.

Continued expansion of public safety: Since I’ve been on the council, we’ve added over 45 police officers and over 30 firefighters. In addition, we’ve continually funded the departments with the tool, equipment and training they need to keep the community safe. We are constructing a new police academy. We want a community that not only is safe, but where it’s citizens feel safe.

Water: We must continue to pursue alternative sources of water other than surface water. Corpus Christi is the regional water provider for seven counties in the region. Additional expansion of the economy will require more water and we must secure a safe, affordable and uninterrupted supply to continue that expansion. In doing so, we must hold ourselves responsible to the residential rate payer.

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

As I indicated above, the pursuit of alternative water sources in order to expand our economy. It must be safe for our citizens, the environment and it must be affordable to the residential rate payer.

The La Volla Creek Drainage Project is a legacy project that will address the frequent flooding during heavy rainfall events in the La Molina, Los Encinos and the Las Colonias areas. The project is currently in the review phase with the General Land Office and is nearing completion. Not only will it give peace of mind to our residents, it will reduce flood insurance premiums.

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

Current strengths in city government are emergency management. Staff must be commended for its efforts during the pandemic, during Hurricane Hannah. During Winter Storm Uri, several communities across Texas lost water and Corpus Christi was one of the first to be up and running. We are a community subject to hurricanes and we must ensure our Emergency Management Team is well equipped and trained to insure the safety of our citizens and our economy.

Also, as I stated above, the continued expansion of public safety.

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Eric Cantu

What is your age?

I am 37 years old.

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

I've been a small business owner since I was 18.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

Managing a city and a business are similar, just at different scales. The city needs to better manage the taxpayer's money and offer services that we all need. We need to prioritize our public safety, streets, and our water.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

Running a small business you have your ups and downs. You have to make every dollar stretch and make it work. You're not always successful but you always need to make sure all of your employees get to take home money for their families to ensure they can come back the next day.

I think all of the obstacles I face as a business owner and the struggles I face daily I can implement and help our city grow. Ensuring we are doing the best for all of our families.

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

In the current city budget that was passed of 1.4 billion, the current councilman financed a lot of things he wanted to get done. But we can't just finance all the wants.

I want to go to Disney Land every week but that is not realistic. We need to finance the things we really need. And if I am elected I will separate all the wants and the needs. And tackle all of our needs first. Things like finding more money to hire more officers to help patrol District 3.

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

We need more police officers in Corpus Christi. Our city has grown so much but our police department has not. We need about 600 for the size of our city but we only have a little over 450 officers. How are they expected to keep up with the call intake?

And the rise in crime? The reality is District 3 is ground zero, the majority of crime happens in our district. And nothing is being done! That has to change!

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

Our mayor Paulette Guajardo has stepped up and added 25 more police officers to the budget and the city council was able to approve this. We need to find more ways to get this done and help our Police Department reduce crime not just in District 3 but also in our City.

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Armon Alex

What is your age?

22

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

  • Science Communicator
  • Co-Director of Youth Engagement, Gulf Reach Institute
  • Co-Founder, Gulf of Mexico Youth Climate Summit

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

Armon Alex has a history of advocating for social rights and environmental protections. He has experience with working on city boards/commissions like the Island Strategic Action Committee and as the Vice-Chair of the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force.

He also work with federal agencies like NOAA to develop opportunities for youth engagement and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He has proven skills in communications & community-based policy. He volunteers his time on multiple non-profit boards to better serve their people and missions.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

Armon Alex has been a strong advocate for minority representation & environmental justice. His record of standing up for struggling communities & tax payers is apparent through his time in public service with City’s Island Strategic Action Committee and as the Vice-Chair of the Mayors Environmental Task Force.

He is a son, a brother & proud Tejano native raised with the values of Family, Honesty & Compassion. He was raised by a single mother that worked tirelessly to support her family and raised 3 wonderful children. Armon Alex knows how to make the best out of little and stand up for hardworking tax-payers.

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

Armon Alex is running on community-based priorities. Before running for office, he spoke to many of his community members to gather their concerns. His main issues are lowering our taxes through rebudgetting and holding corporations accountable, fixing our streets (infrastructure) at a faster rate so that our local businesses can prosper, diversifying our economy by enticing more jobs into our area and keeping our youth home, investing in education so that our kids are safe in schools, protecting our rights & our environment.

First day in office, we need accountability and a bold plan to bring progress to our city.

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

Our city needs an uninterrupted source of water. Desalination is not the answer. This is a project being paid for by the city, but it will mostly be used by industry. Why should the taxpayers be footing the bill for this? The answer is, we shouldn’t be.

Current council members are encouraging this disastrous project and are overlooking the negative impacts it will have to our fishermen & our community recreation. We need to invest in multiple solutions that better serve our residents, not the polluting industry that already skip out on taxes equating nearly $2.4 Billion.

We need an better solution for water, city development & a plan to address our houseless population.

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

Fixing our streets. But we need to do this more efficiently. Currently there are hundreds of businesses being impacted by the construction & updates from street repairs. Thousands of dollars are being lost daily due to the poor planning & leadership of council même vers to address these issues.

We need to make sure that when contracts go out for street repairs, we tighten the timelines so that it works better for our residents & business owners. We need to rethink how we plan out street repairs. The city continues to miss the mark on instituting low impact strategies when reconstructing our infrastructure.

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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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