Place 5 city council candidate Frank T. Arredondo kicked off his campaign Thursday night at Cuauhtemoc Hall.
In his stump speech, Arredondo said the devastation the Memorial Day weekend floods brought upon San Marcos residents was the tipping point in his decision to run for city council. Arredondo was a flood victim himself back in 1970 and 1972.
“I once was a resident of Blanco Gardens,” Arredondo said. “I know the anguish of being in the flood, the anguish of rainclouds forming and fallingagain multiple days on end.”
Arredondo said he empathized with the flood victims, specifically those of Blanco Gardens. Recently, the neighborhood’s residents received a federal letter from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stating residents must raise their homes by 12 feet in order to remain in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
“I’m not interested in a handout, but what can (the city) do when they approve apartments like the Woods, which I understood contributed to some of the flooding issues that those neighborhoods experienced,” said Diana Gonzales, born and raised resident of San Marcos. “What is the city going to do? What is the council going to do?”
Arredondo said there are several neighborhoods that do not feel they have representation on the council.
He said demographically established neighborhoods like Blanco Gardens represent 40 percent of San Marcos’ population, and they should carry the same weight as any other neighborhood.
“I am sorry, they also proportionately pay taxes too,” Arredondo said.
Arredondo noted all other members on city council are “Anglo-Saxon” besides Mayor Daniel Guerrero. The demographics alone should place at least three Hispanics on the council, he said.
“I have that genuine trait,” Arredondo said. “I am Hispanic. I have walked in those Indian moccasins.”
He said he wants to give Hispanic youth a choice to stay in San Marcos after they graduate and secure well-paying jobs.
Gonzales said Arredondo’s initiative to encourage the Hispanic youth to participate in civil service is inspiring.
“We need better representation, reflecting the demographics of the community,” Gonzales said.
Several elected officials were present at the campaign kick off, including Guerrero, Councilman Jude Prather, Place 2, and Hays County Commissioner Will Conley, Precinct 3.
“When Frank (Arredondo) told me he wanted to run for city council and the reasons why—the ones he mentioned tonight—that’s something I work on everyday,” Conley said.
Conley said he and Arredondo share a common thread concerning their interests in public service.
“I need ambassadors. I need workers. I need you,” Arredondo told his supporters.
Follow Alexa Tavarez on Twitter at @lexicanaa.