CONVERSE — Voters should spot some familiar names on the
Nov. 5 ballot.
Two City Council members, Deborah James of Place 2 and Kate Silvas of Place 4, are challenging Al Suarez, who is seeking his seventh term as mayor.
An Air Force retiree, Suarez works for the Bexar County Adult Probation Department. He has been active with multiple area business, veterans and civic organizations.
Suarez said his years of leadership enable him to tackle issues such as maintaining public safety, accountability and open government, and enhancing economic development.
“With the current projected growth, the city of Converse needs an experienced mayor that is prepared and willing to work with the city staff, citizens and local partnerships to make Converse a better place to live and raise a family,” Suarez added.
Silvas, first elected to the council last November, previously led the city’s Economic Development Corp., and before then, worked in economic development for Seguin and at Port San Antonio.
She’s campaigning for economic progress, government transparency, public safety and fiscal responsibility.
“I possess vision and passion for Converse. In fact, I built the community’s comprehensive master plan in order that the city can move forward,” Silvas added.
In her second term as a councilwoman, James calls for more honesty, transparency and better communication from local government.
She’s also anti-annexation, saying expansion may negatively impact current residents’ needs.
“Many of our citizens do not understand the effect of this process that involves all of us as a city,” James added.
Place 1 Councilwoman Kathy Richel faces opposition from cybersecurity analyst Billy Ortiz, entrepreneur David Hayes, retired teacher and Planning & Zoning Commission member Ray Garcia, and Troy Kilhefner, a customer-service representative.
Other than Kilhefner, each candidate previously ran for council.
Hayes is a political scientist, activist and small-business owner who advocates government transparency, fiscal accountability, environmental stewardship, sustainable growth and improving infrastructure.
“Our work calls us to strengthen relationships, listen to each other and work together toward meaningful solutions,” Hayes added.
Ortiz, also on the P&Z board, is an Army veteran. He’s focusing on maintaining public safety and infrastructure, especially with expansion through annexation.
“Lastly, I want to make sure that as the city continues to grow, that the elected leaders and city officials are conducting themselves and making their decisions with the citizens in mind,” Ortiz added.
Place 3 Councilwoman Shawn Russell, a coding manager, faces challenges from former Councilwoman Nancy Droneburg and military retiree Chip Coleman.
Russell emphasizes better communications with residents, ethical management of city affairs, conservative growth management, and improving public safety and infrastructure.
Droneburg is campaigning for better public safety, particularly given annexation plans.
“Many have a hidden agenda and it shows at each meeting,” she said. “I feel I can bring some stability and sanity back to Converse.”
Place 5 Councilman Chris Clark, a property manager, is opposed by retiree Jeff Beehler, and former Fire Chief Richard Wendt.
LOCAL Community News did not receive comments by deadline from Kilhefner, Richel, Garcia, Clark, Beehler or Coleman.
Early voting takes place Oct. 21-Nov. 1.