The Gonzales Inquirer sent out questionnaires to the candidates in contested races for Gonzales City Council Districts 3 and 4, and for Gonzales County Sheriff. The candidates’ responses appear below as each was received and none were edited by The Inquirer. Photos were provided by the respective candidates.
Here are the responses from Bobby O'Neal and Jace Opiela for Gonzales City Council District 3:
• Age: 71
• City of Residence: Gonzales, Texas
• How many years have you lived in Gonzales? 64 years
• What is your current profession? I retired from GVEC with 43 years of service, and am currently working as a part-time employee for GVEC.
• Do you have experience as an elected official? I have 5.5 years as a city councilman and 16 years as mayor.
• Please list any college degrees, certifications, specialized training, etc.: I have a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Degree from Southwest Texas State University.
• Why are you running for this office? I am running for this office because the council has made great progress in the last 3.5 years and I want to see that progress continue.
• In your opinion, what is the most important function of a city councilman? The most important function of the city councilman is to be a good listener and work harmoniously with city staff and the residents of the city to economically provide the best services possible.
• In your opinion, what is the most important issue in this race, and why? The most important issue in this race is to keep our city moving in a positive direction. Three and one-half years ago, the city was on the verge of receivership, with no funds to do any infrastructure improvements, which can have a negative effect on potential businesses and/or residents moving to Gonzales.
• What are your plans for the City of Gonzales? My plans for the City of Gonzales involve continuation of replacing infrastructure facilities that have been neglected for years, such as old waterlines that continue to break, causing outages and expensive repairs, as well as, dilapidated sewer lines, some of which are actually broken. I will be sure that the inspection and replacement of rotten poles on the electric system continues, as well as, trimming trees from the lines, which also cause outages and unnecessary expenses. I will continue to work closely with staff on the yearly budget to be sure that the funds are spent wisely.
• Why are you the candidate best suited for this office? I believe that I am the best candidate for this office because of my years of experience as a councilman and as mayor, and my opponent has none. I have learned a lot over the years, and I realize that in a political position, the decisions that you make are sometimes extremely difficult, however, I seek guidance from God, and I have a peace about those decisions.
• Age: 42
• City of Residence: Gonzales, Texas
• How many years have you lived in Gonzales?: 42
• What is your current profession?: Technician II – Troubleshooter (Guadalupe Valley Telephone Co-op)
• Do you have experience as an elected official (please list)?: No
• Please list any college degrees, certifications, specialized training, etc.: Multiple certifications as needed for employment
• Why are you running for this office?: I am seeking an elected position to serve those within my community. I grew up in Gonzales and have a sincere interest in seeing our community thrive.
• In your opinion, what is the most important function of a city councilman?: The most important function of a city councilman is to represent the taxpayers. While together we represent a diverse community, with a collaborative effort we will make a positive impact. A councilman must be willing to recognize the operational needs of the city as well as the wants of the community.
• In your opinion, what is the most important issue in this race and why?: The most important issue in this race is identifying the needs of the taxpayers. The needs versus wants of our city must be identified and addressed accordingly.
• What are your plans for the City of Gonzales?: If elected I plan to work together with other taxing entities. I feel that a joint effort with other entities could be cost effective and yield a positive collaboration. If elected I plan to work alongside those that volunteer and, support city staff. I believe in accountability and transparency. If elected it is my plan to confirm all money is spent appropriately and not wasteful. If elected I will continue to be involved and work closely with all ages and races of our community.
• Why are you the candidate best suited for this office?: I was born and raised in Gonzales. My heart is in Gonzales. If elected I am going to be honest. I am going to see that our City’s Charter is followed, and I will have the courage to speak for those that are vocal, as well as for those who cannot speak. If elected I will represent the taxpayers.