San Marcos Chamber Interviews Candidates For Mayoral, Council Place 5 Runoff

Staff Reports

The San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce asked the candidates in the City Council Place 5 and Mayoral runoff races where they stand on key issues.

Candidates were asked the same six questions. The candidates include Mark Gleason and Omar Baca for Place 5 Race and Juan Miguel Arredondo and Jane Hughson for Mayor.

The topics included:

  • COVID-19
  • Cite & Release Ordinance
  • Economic Development
  • Housing
  • Classifying Non-profits As lobbyists
  • Innovation Initiatives

Do you believe San Marcos is losing interest in economic development? What kind of companies would you target?

On the topic of economic development, Gleason said he felt economic development was a vital part of the community.

“If we don’t have economic development, we can’t bring good jobs,” Gleason said. “If you can’t bring good jobs, you can’t bring incomes up. If you can’t bring incomes up, it affects housing.”

“The neighboring communities have done a very good job of trying to bring in industry and jobs whether it’s in technology or manufacturing or whatever we can do to try and bring up people income because it affects so much from property taxes to affordability, to keeping students in town after they graduate and so it’s beyond vital that the city work with the GSMP…” Gleason continued.

Baca said he thought San Marcos used to be a leader in business recruiting and used to be an industrial hub.

“Everybody is getting real aggressive at [recruiting,” Baca said. “And getting better. Some of them have open spaces with which to work with bedroom communities to facilitate housing and things of that nature.”  

Baca said San Marcos wasn’t as shiny and polished or aggressive as it used to be regarding economic development, and the city needed to do better.

Do you support classifying non-profits as “lobbyists?”

Mayor Hughson said she supported the lobbying ordinance the Ethics Review Commission has brought to the San Marcos City Council but non-profits were among the organizations the council did not want included.”

“What we have mentioned each time is that it should not be a problem,” Hughson said. “And nobody should have to register as a lobbyist as neighbors talking to neighbors. Non-profits is one of the things that we said at our last meeting, we don’t want them to register as lobbyists. That just doesn’t make sense.”

Hughson said she is still questioning whether the city needs a full lobbying ordinance at all, but she can see when it might work regarding big business.

Arredondo voiced opposition to the idea in his comments.

“I would not want to see the Chamber of Commerce or its members become or have to be labeled as registered lobbyists or the San Marcos River Foundation,” Arredondo said. “I think an engaged citizenry, especially in local government is critically important and I would not want to create obstacles for folks to get engaged and to weigh in and advocate for their perspective to elected officials.”

Residents can view the full answers to all the topics on the Chamber of Commerce’s website here.

Elections day for the local runoff election is December 8 from 7 AM to 7 PM.  

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