Southwest Side could elect a woman to San Antonio council for first time
With the one-month filing period for municipal elections starting today, we should get an answer to that question pretty soon.
As of now, however, there is only one City Council seat that definitely will be open this year (not counting District 2, where new appointee Art Hall’s current stance is that he won’t risk a run in May).
After serving the Southwest Side for eight years, District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña is term-limited out, making him only the second council member to serve four full terms since San Antonio voters approved term-limit extensions in 2008.
Saldaña loyalists, who support the councilman’s push to create transportation, infrastructure, housing and education equity for the Southwest Side, have hoped for a worthy successor who could carry on his agenda.
That candidate just might have emerged.
Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia, the former chairwoman of the city’s Ethics Review Board, is one of several contenders likely to file for the District 4 race. But her credentials will be hard to match.
Garcia, 39, has experience with nonprofits, the business community, city government, higher education and is active in her church.
She has lived on the Southwest Side for 35 years and raised her son, Steve, as a single mom while attaining a Ph.D. in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin. In doing so, she became the first member of her family ever to get a college degree.
As a communications and special-projects coordinator for Project QUEST, Garcia got a first-hand look at the job-training challenges facing this city.
As vice president of communications for the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, she gained an understanding of the concerns of local entrepreneurs.
As an assistant professor in marketing at Our Lady of the Lake University, she has passed on her knowledge to the next generation of students.
As the marketing manager for SAMMinistries Furniture for a Cause, she worked to get homeless on the road to self-sufficiency.
During her three-year stint as chairwoman of the Ethics Review Board, the Southwest High School grad led the effort to create a package of ethics and campaign-finance reforms passed by the council last June.
Given her high level of civic involvement over the years, the only surprise is that it’s taken Garcia this long to run for elective office.
“I always knew that I wanted to do something,” Garcia said. “I had been approached a few years ago by community members, before Rey Saldaña even ran, and I wasn’t ready. My son was in middle school, so raising him was the priority. Now he’s 19 and is entering his second semester of college and I thought, ‘I think it’s time.’
“I want to continue the momentum that Saldaña has done for the district. I think he’s done great with infrastructure, etc. And I think because he has done a great job with the needs of the district, I can bring an additional focus beyond that. So I’m excited about the opportunity.”
One of Garcia’s best attributes — and one that’s essential for any successful public servant — is that she recognizes what she doesn’t know and works to do something about it.
“I’ve always tried to learn about different issues. So if I didn’t know about something, I’d volunteer, so I could learn,” she said. “Case in point, when Councilman Saldaña appointed me to the Ethics Review Board, I was probably one of the only nonattorneys on the board. So I always felt like I had to learn a lot.”
District 4 never has elected a woman to the City Council. (Its lone female council member, Leticia Cantu, served two months on an interim basis in 2010, while her then-fiancee, Phil Cortez, took a council sabbatical for military training.)
Garcia might be the district’s best bet to make history in 2019.
Bumpy start for Roy
It only took Chip Roy a week-and-a-half on Capitol Hill to stir up some controversy.
Roy, the U.S. District 21 Republican who succeeded longtime Congressman Lamar Smith, was one of only seven House members to vote last Friday against a bill guaranteeing back pay to federal workers suffering during the protracted federal government shutdown. The bill also would apply to government workers affected by future shutdowns.
Roy, the former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, defended his vote by saying the bill makes it too easy for elected officials to shut down the government, because it reduces the political consequences of their actions.
The freshman representative said he could not support “putting federal spending on autopilot indefinitely,” adding that it would “shield members on both sides of the aisle from feeling pressure for failing to fund necessary government.”
Article by Gilbert Garcia for The Rivard Report San Antonio Express News