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Election Q&A: Mission City Council candidates

20120504_Mission-City-CouncilEditor’s note: The Progress Times asked the four candidates in the Mission City Council election questions about their qualifications, top issues facing the city and their vision of the future for Mission. Candidates were given a word limit for each question. If a candidate went over the word limit, their response was truncated.

Question #1:

What are your qualifications for elected office for the Mission City Council? (50 word limit)

Rene De La Cruz, Place 2 Candidate:

I have been self employed since 1985; the experience of owning and operating different kinds of businesses and succeeding in all of them speaks for itself, the experience of owning and operating a restaurant, special event center, developer, builder, working with engineers, architects and other business owners well qualifies me to….

Ruben Plata, Place 2 Incumbent:

As a council member for more than four years, I have committed to serving the citizens of Mission. My proven leadership serving in non-profit organizations makes a difference due to my loyalty, commitment, accountability, and dedication.  With 15 years of executive banking experience, I have contributed to the success of the community.

Armando O’caña, Place 4 Candidate:

I have previously served the City Council for six years. I have served as fire chief and city employee. I have served as Mission Boys and Girls Club liaison for Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas. I have served on Hidalgo County 911 Committee for six years. I have authored city ordinances.

Leo Olivarez, Place 4 Incumbent:

My education includes having a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Bilingual Education. In addition, I was a sergeant E-7 in the United States Army Reserve and have served on the Mission City Council for a total of 12 years, five of which being the Mayor Pro-Tem.

Question #2:

What are the top three issues facing the City of Mission and how do you propose to address them? (200 word limit)

Ruben Plata, Place 2 Incumbent:

1. Safety (Business, Private)

It is important to maintain safety as our city experiences growth in the business and private sector.  Such attraction to the amenities our city offers its occupants requires an obligation to detail along with the strength of our municipalities. The City of Mission needs to continue hiring and invest in the training of personnel.

2. Manufacturing (Higher Paying Wages, Economic Growth)

The City of Mission has the infrastructure to attract various manufacturing industries which will offer higher paying jobs for our local college graduates, along with the continued support of our local businesses that have built the foundation of our city’s economic growth. These business sectors strengthen the city’s workforce hand in hand with the economic development and the Chamber of Commerce efforts in expanding the City of Mission’s business potential.

3. Utilities & Services (Private Sector)

The citizens of Mission have always been and will continue to be the most important reason I serve on the city council. The hard working people have been the backbone from generation to generation. It is for this reason the city has always given back to the citizens of Mission and will continue to provide the best utilities and services with efficiency….

Rene De La Cruz, Place 2 Candidate:

Quality of Life - I will utilize the city’s local parks, community centers, and outdoor venues to promote cultural and spiritual growth, healthy living, and family entertainment. Did I mention a dog park? You see I believe that spending time with your family and friends builds and bonds a relationship with your loved ones with good values. I will keep working with the existing project on hand with our current city council and bring more ideas to the table.

Growth - When you grow you need to adjust. I will work closely with our current head department leaders to find out what their needs are to serve our citizens to the best that we can.

Jobs - By creating an atmosphere in our city, business owners will come and compete to be part of it, therefore creating jobs. As a councilman, I will use my experience as a business owner to support and recommend measures that will create new and support existing businesses; establishing new job opportunities that will positively contribute to our local economy.

Leo Olivarez, Place 4 Incumbent:

One of my top priorities is the safety of the citizens of Mission. I will continue to support the Mission Police and Fire Department and listen to their concerns to ensure Mission is a safe community to live in. I believe that it is better to be proactive, and it is my job to ensure these departments have the resources they need since they are the first responders to any situation.

Secondly, addressing the infrastructure needs such as continuing to widen roads and bridges is crucial to address the increase of population in our city. We have many projects underway where we are widening roads to ensure the traffic flow runs smoothly now and in years to come. In addition, I will continue to address the drainage system to ensure that all citizens are flood free.

Finally, I will continue to support the Parks and Recreation department. I feel that we need to continue to provide parks, and facilities so that our youth and all citizens can enjoy their leisure time. The Boys and Girls Club have done an outstanding job with involving our youth with many activities, and it is essential that these programs continue to thrive and expand.

Armando O’caña, Place 4 Candidate:

My belief of the top three issues of the city is:

1. Juvenile crime, gangs and graffiti.

2. Lack of sidewalks connecting our schools.

3. Quality of neighborhood parks.

First, I plan to request policy for the enhancement of the Mission Police Department by providing them adequate funding, personnel, tools and facilities to deal, prosecute and investigate juvenile crime at its utmost. Second, I want to provide to revisit the current sidewalk ordinance and recommend why as of today this ordinance has not served to connect our children who walk from their neighborhood to their respective school at 100% of the campuses. Third, I want to provide the Parks and Recreation Department the additional tools needed to create our parks so our citizens can use more often and create a quality of life second to none in Mission using our neighborhood parks.

Question #3: (100 word limit)

Select the description below that best describes what do you see as the future for Mission 20 years from now, and explain what you believe the city needs to do to achieve that vision for the future.

1. The best bedroom community in South Texas with its greatest emphasis on quality of life, such as parks, recreational opportunities and beautification.

2. A re-enlivened tourist center offering an attractive downtown, city beautification, sports complex, and arts and crafts boutiques.

3. The American Dream City that is job creation driven with a prosperous commercial base including big box stores, franchised restaurants and other businesses, civic center and hotels.

Rene De La Cruz, Place 2 Candidate:

I foresee people walking the streets and enjoying their time with friends and families, being proud of being part of a community that works for all the citizens in all four quadrants. I see more people wanting to be involved to want to serve and contribute for a better and prosperous City of Mission.

Ruben Plata, Place 2 Incumbent:

The American Dream City

I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with many Mission residents in the banking field along with my personal friends that dedicate their time to family and service. It is the dream these citizens have watching the city they grew up in prosper for their children and the growth within their own town. I have a vision that will bring jobs and unity through the city’s own event center and restaurants attracting more family events with tourist activities. Such activities along with continued tourist attractions will create demand for new businesses and hotels chains.

Armando O’caña, Place 4 Candidate:

My selection is to re-enliven downtown and make Mission a Tourist Center. Since the completion of the Anzalduas Bridge, it is evident that the connection to the global economy is closer to Mission. My focus, first, would be to revitalize downtown so our city can begin to shine from the middle of town to the outskirts. Second, I would like to bring in a public safety and city facility in and around South Conway to bring needed relieved already to the Police Department and City Hall. This center of town facility would serve as twofold: be large enough to have….

Leo Olivarez, Place 4 Incumbent:

The American Dream City

I want the City of Mission to be the Dream City of the Valley in the next 20 years.  We need to bring in businesses and big stores so that our citizens can have all of their needs met in the City of Mission.  The revenue the businesses will bring will not only help continue meet the needs that come with the growth of Mission, but will create thousands of jobs to our area. I believe that a dream city includes the following: citizen safety, addressing infrastructure needs and providing nice recreational facilities so that Mission….

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