Voting is one of our most important rights and responsibilities, and now more than ever we must vote. Not only do we have the greatest and consequential national and state elections, but a local election that will determine our city’s future, as every one of our elected officials is on the ballot with several choices for each position.
I’ve lived in Galveston long enough to experience most of the good and the bad that living on a barrier island with extreme weather and an opinionated population has to offer.
Our island needs dependable, strong leadership. We had it during and just after Hurricane Ike and we’ve had it for the last six years. The island was nearly destroyed in 2008 by Ike and at the same time the economy of the entire country was in jeopardy, and the tragedy of Ike was off their radar. Our leadership was strong and they fought for us in Washington and in Austin. Their leadership mattered.
Four years after Ike, Galveston’s leadership changed in that election. It proved to be tumultuous and threatened our quality of life. The city was in jeopardy of losing hundreds of millions of recovery dollars because the newly elected mayor and council were determined not to replace federal housing with mixed-income housing on the island. The state sued.
Council meetings became must-see TV, as members duked it out with federal and state authorities and each other. In the end, the council had to raise its hands and vote yes to the housing or repay hundreds of millions and lose any future funding. The battle was costly, lengthy and unnecessary. Two candidates on that very divisive council are running again. Do your homework because leadership matters.
The mayoral candidates have acknowledged Galveston’s major issues: affordable housing, drainage, coastal flood control, support of local businesses, growing the economy, better city services, tourism and a need for the Pelican Island Bridge.
Of the five mayoral candidates, two have never held office. Roger “Bo” Quiroga was mayor from 1998 to 2004, almost 20 years ago. Bill Keese has never held a city office but was a state legislator 40 years ago in Burleson County.
One candidate, Craig Brown has been on council for six years, chaired the park board for three years, served on the Wharves Board and is serving as mayor pro tem. He has championed city improvements: the new wastewater treatment plant, new curb and sidewalk programs, 27th Street improvements, revitalization of city parks and more. Today, the city has its highest bond rating in recent if not total history, and it exceeds its charter-required 90-day reserve in all funds.
Craig is a calm, thoughtful person who listens to the residents. Recently, he knew what to do during Hurricane Laura and with Tropical Storm Beta because he’s been there before. Experience matters.
If you want our city to continue in the positive direction of the last six years, Craig is the person to lead us there. Please vote because your vote matters more than ever.