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Corpus Christi Mayor: Candidate Forum & Voters Guide

This information was gathered and compiled by the League of Women Voters.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — KIII-TV has partnered with the League of Women Voters-Corpus Christi to help make sure our community has the information they need to make informed decisions at the polls this Nov. 3.

This candidate forum was recorded by the League of Women Voters-Corpus Christi via Zoom on two separate occasions. All candidates for Corpus Christi Mayor were invited to participate. Candidates that participated include:

  • First half: Priscilla Gonzalez, Paulette Guajardo, Eric Rodriguez
  • Second half: Joe McComb, Joe Michael Perez, and Carolyn Vaughn

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The following information was gathered and compiled by the League and published in their Voters Guide and on Vote411.org.

Corpus Christi Mayor

Description of Office:

  • Presides over meetings of the city council.
  • Exercises power of approval or veto over every ordinance, resolution, or motion passed by the city council.
  • Administers oaths and any other power conferred by the city Charter, state, and federal laws.

Description of Qualifications:

  • Resident of Corpus Christi
  • Term of office: 2 years
  • Term limit: Yes
  • Salary: $9,000

Joe McComb

Campaign Email http://electjoe@joemccomb.com
Campaign Phone Number (361) 739-3152
Website http://joe.joemccomb.com
Facebook http://Re-Elect Mayor Joe McComb

BACKGROUND: Describe your strongest competency and life experience that qualify you to hold this office.

Joe McComb Giving back to your community is being a good citizen. With all of us working, using our unique perspectives and capabilities, we are the builders of a strong city. I have been honored to serve in several elected positions, including the greatest of them all – Mayor, as well as leading volunteer efforts. My experience and knowledge of the city’s budget and operations are competencies I bring as a candidate. I am a leader willing and ready to make tough decisions.

ISSUES: During your campaign, what is the number one concern expressed to you by the residents of Corpus Christi? What is your response to this concern?

Joe McComb Infrastructure! Streets being rehabilitated, water system is now rated SUPERIOR, wastewater and drainage systems being upgraded. Improvements in maintenance activities, attention to parks, city facilities and potholes. This happened through citizen approved bond issues without raising taxes beyond those approved by the voters. Bond debt has decreased, and our rating has improved. Five new police officers each year for the next five years, and a new union contract.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: How would you rate the capability of Corpus Christi to respond to natural and human-made disasters, such as hurricanes, pandemics, chemical fires or spills, and flooding?

Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent

Explain your answer.

Joe McComb Outstanding job of responding to two hurricanes over the last three years, chemical and other fires/spills, improving drainage and responding to flooding, and dealing with the multi-faceted aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic that crippled other urban areas. Our reverse alert is a model for other areas. All emergency personnel, Police, Fire medical and other entities engaged in emergency management have earned the utmost respect of our citizens. Corpus Christi is extremely fortunate.

BUDGET: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all levels of government. What strategy, if any, would you make to prepare for increased fiscal restraints in the city?

Joe McComb We scrubbed the budget to so the city WILL NOT raise taxes or utility rates, while still providing modest service improvements, such as five additional police officers. We had been cautious, which meant we had fund balances to help us weather the pandemic. We must be vigilant on our revenue projections and work to rebuild these balances. Having fund balances is important and something bond rating agencies review carefully.

PRIORITIES: Other than the issues previously addressed, what are your top three priorities, and, if elected, how would you address them? 

Joe McComb ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. The City stepped up using 4B sales tax funds for loans to small businesses, but are still struggling. PUBLIC SAFETY, first responders and medical professionals. They have been outstanding the last several months. SOCIAL PROBLEMS and ISSUES related to public safety. The same is true for EMS services. Explore more mental health, counseling, and medical training support to help police officers and EMS personnel while attending the homeless population.

Priscilla Gonzalez

Campaign Email http://prisformayor@gmail.com
Campaign Phone Number (956) 563-6558
Website http://www.prisformayor.com/
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/prisformayor
Twitter 
@Prisformayor

BACKGROUND: Describe your strongest competency and life experience that qualify you to hold this office. 

Priscilla Gonzalez The most substantial life experience I hold is over a decade of experience managing a prominent successful business in the Coastal Bend. After working directly under a CEO, I gained the right leadership skills to oversee dozens of projects dedicated to helping the community.

ISSUES: During your campaign, what is the number one concern expressed to you by the residents of Corpus Christi? What is your response to this concern?

Priscilla Gonzalez After speaking to dozens of business owners and a few hundred citizens, I can verify that one main concern is how they will financially and emotionally survive after this pandemic. My response to this concern is and will remain, "I promise to do everything in my power to help everyone in any way I can, whether it be as Mayor, private citizen, friend or family.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: How would you rate the capability of Corpus Christi to respond to natural and human-made disasters, such as hurricanes, pandemics, chemical fires or spills, and flooding?

Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent

Explain your answer. 

Priscilla Gonzalez To the best of my knowledge, for the past decade, the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, has handled hurricanes promptly. However, there is always time for improvement. During hurricane season, the city keeps us (the citizens) updated and informed.

In regards to the recent pandemic, I am going to change my rating to extremely negligent. Corpus Christi was and is not prepared; people are dying, businesses are closing. One life lesson I learned is that is always better to be over-prepared.

BUDGET: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all levels of government. What strategy, if any, would you make to prepare for increased fiscal restraints in the city? 

Priscilla Gonzalez My approach to preparing for increased fiscal restraints is to work with our local, state, and federal governments to ensure the restraints are not lethal towards our city.

PRIORITIES: Other than the issues previously addressed, what are your top three priorities, and, if elected, how would you address them? 

Priscilla Gonzalez It is challenging to only pick three issues out of so many. As mayor, I will focus on improving every citizen's quality of life by ensuring every issue that a citizen of Corpus Christi faces is addressed.

Paulette Guajardo

Campaign Email http://pauletteguajardo7@gmail.com
Campaign Phone Number (361) 688-9399
Website http://pauletteforccmayor.com
Facebook 
http://Paulette M Guajardo

BACKGROUND: Describe your strongest competency and life experience that qualify you to hold this office. 

Paulette Guajardo My two-term service as a Councilwoman At Large gives me the unique qualification to run for Mayor having already served the entire city, full time for four years. I have always kept my word to the voters, serving my full term of office. Being born and raised in Corpus Christi, I hold a business degree from Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, and am a former business owner, which gives me the experience to understand our city’s need to create great jobs for our future and fix our streets.

ISSUES: During your campaign, what is the number one concern expressed to you by the residents of Corpus Christi? What is your response to this concern? 

Paulette Guajardo The number one concern has been how I will address COVID-19. My response to this concern has been the following: Created Connect our Kids for school districts, secured $752,000 from CARES Act monies to provide Chromebooks/wifi for kids. Spearheaded-Small Business Regional Pandemic Grant Program-$750,000 in relief to small businesses Formed the COVID-19 Coastal Bend Food Bank Partnership Secured med masks for front line medical responders(at onset) Created/Donated Veterans Laptop Loaner Program

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: How would you rate the capability of Corpus Christi to respond to natural and human-made disasters, such as hurricanes, pandemics, chemical fires or spills, and flooding? 

Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent

Explain your answer. 

Paulette Guajardo I would not rate the city’s emergency management as high as it could potentially be. We must address the city’s aging emergency operations center bringing community resources together. Our city should be working to secure state and federal funding for this effort. We need the latest technological innovation to deploy coupled with greater logistical planning, especially in the event of a dangerous hurricane. With industrial accidents, the community does have added security with the Port.

BUDGET: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all levels of government. What strategy, if any, would you make to prepare for increased fiscal restraints in the city? 

Paulette Guajardo During COVID-19, we directed the City Manager to continue efforts to provide for financial efficiency including cutting waste and eliminating duplication. We also refinanced bonds to lower interest rates securing savings for our city. Moving forward, I would redouble financial efficiency efforts and work to build our economy to build a greater tax base for the future.

PRIORITIES: Other than the issues previously addressed, what are your top three priorities, and, if elected, how would you address them? 

Paulette Guajardo As your Mayor, I will focus on building our economy by working with the public and private sectors to attract and create good jobs. I will also prioritize public safety by funding the police department and working to hire additional officers. I will make fixing our city streets a high priority by supporting a residential street's repair program, street's dashboard program, concrete street's program, and efficiencies in street repair.

John Medina

Campaign Email http://Medinaejohn57@gmail.com
Campaign Phone Number (361) 765-3425

BACKGROUND: Describe your strongest competency and life experience that qualify you to hold this office. 

John Medina I’m a Blue collar simple common man that will work for the citizens of Corpus Christi full-time. John Medina will prioritize all the problems we’re having And work with the citizens of Corpus Christi, fixing our infrastructure, fixing our roads, improving or water , fixing the homeless problem. Keeping our Citizens safe and our city clean. I will be working with the first responders on issues, to keep citizen safe.

ISSUES: During your campaign, what is the number one concern expressed to you by the residents of Corpus Christi? What is your response to this concern? 

John Medina That our current city Council is not focusing on the roads and are repairing roads that don’t need to be fixed. My response is to prioritize the worst roads in every district, utilizing and working with the engineers and city supervisors training the city employees with the new equipment call zippers and start working on these roads immediately.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: How would you rate the capability of Corpus Christi to respond to natural and human-made disasters, such as hurricanes, pandemics, chemical fires or spills, and flooding? 

Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent

Explain your answer.

John Medina Our infrastructure needs to be worked on Especially the drainage. Securing our beaches removing Portable restrooms so they won’t be washed up into the Gulf and contaminate the water. Preparing our citizens for evacuations needs to be improved.

BUDGET: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all levels of government. What strategy, if any, would you make to prepare for increased fiscal restraints in the city? 

John Medina John Medina would look at all options of safety for the citizens of Corpus Christi And would act in a responsible manner for the safety and well-being of all our citizens of Corpus Christi.

PRIORITIES: Other than the issues previously addressed, what are your top three priorities, and, if elected, how would you address them? 

John Medina 1.Prioritize & work on all Infrastructure - 2. Reducing crime and improving Citizens safety, giving all the first responders equipment required. Hiring orthodox and unorthodox grant writers with a proven record and applying for grants that would pay for their salary.

Joe Michael Perez

Campaign Email http://joeperez404@gmail.com
Campaign Phone Number (361) 946-5445
Website 
http://joemichaelperez.com/news

BACKGROUND: Describe your strongest competency and life experience that qualify you to hold this office. 

Joe Michael Perez My strongest competency is having the ability to be innovative to accomplish a laser focused plan. I was born and raised in Corpus Christi and graduated from Roy Miller High School. I always wanted to play football so I went on to play at Texas A&M University - Kingsville. I am a proud small-business owner of a retail store. As a true conservative my whole life, I dedicated my time creating events to raise awareness for great causes that effect our beautiful city, like our beaches.

ISSUES: During your campaign, what is the number one concern expressed to you by the residents of Corpus Christi? What is your response to this concern?

Joe Michael Perez The number one issue for residents is street repairs. I believe we have an efficiency problem from the top down. It's been decades where residents have been frustrated telling the mayor and city council their needs and ending up being ignored. It should be our top priority repairing streets that doesn't affect the tax payer. We need a strong mayor that isn't just sitting in a chair behind a desk. We need a mayor, like myself, to be out there working hard for the people. Let's get it done!

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: How would you rate the capability of Corpus Christi to respond to natural and human-made disasters, such as hurricanes, pandemics, chemical fires or spills, and flooding? 

Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent

Explain your answer. 

Joe Michael Perez I believe our emergency management officials do a tremendous job on hurricane responses. On the other hand, they've responded terribly to the COVID-19 pandemic by shutting down our parks, beaches, and small-bussiness service providers. It has effected the public health and local economy. Recently, we've seen another man-made disaster in the ship channel and another in Port Aransas where a natural gas well blew out, causing serious concerns of how policy is set. We can do better in this city.

BUDGET: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all levels of government. What strategy, if any, would you make to prepare for increased fiscal restraints in the city? 

Joe Michael Perez My strategy would be to exercise spending limits. Everyone has been effected by the pandemic, except local government. There is a lot of fat that needs to be cut at City Hall. I would push for pay cuts for those top earners that have bloated salaries. I wouldn't suggest pay cuts for police officers due to crime. The savings would go towards street repairs and police officer overtime due to the uptick in crime. We have to cut spending to keep vital operations going in our city, without taxing.

PRIORITIES: Other than the issues previously addressed, what are your top three priorities, and, if elected, how would you address them? 

Joe Michael Perez My top three priorities on day one is the economy, streets, and public safety. On day one, I will address the economy by creating a comprehensive economic development plan by calling up our top officials in Washington DC and in Austin, Texas. I will work directly with non-profit organizations to help alleviate drug use that is creating serious crimes in our community. Lastly, put together a task force to repair downtown streets for tourism and create a citizen committee to improve public safety.

Eric Rodriguez

Campaign Email http://erodriguez198@gmail.com
Website http://rodriguezcc.nationbuilder.com/
Facebook 
http://www.facebook.com/cctodaytomorrow

BACKGROUND: Describe your strongest competency and life experience that qualify you to hold this office. 

Eric Rodriguez My guiding principles in decision making is fairness, equity, and protecting the public trust. The most important thing about being a mayor, is having a character that has no special interest and is in it for the people. I believe my experience as a leader in many organizations such as AFGE, Sierra Club, Nueces County Delegate, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Texas World Affairs Council, gives me the experience to work constructively with a number of different people.

ISSUES: During your campaign, what is the number one concern expressed to you by the residents of Corpus Christi? What is your response to this concern? 

Eric Rodriguez Infrastructure is a huge concern for the citizens of Corpus Christi and the amount of money we invest into it. Currently we have to invest over a billion dollars into failing infrastructure because it hasn't been properly maintained. We need to implement a asset management maintenance program. This program would help eliminate these types of financial holes in the future.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: How would you rate the capability of Corpus Christi to respond to natural and human-made disasters, such as hurricanes, pandemics, chemical fires or spills, and flooding? 

Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent

Explain your answer. 

Eric Rodriguez Our hurricane responses are good but our response to the Covid-19 pandemic was too slow. The results ended in our city having more deaths than 15 states. Regarding chemical fires and spills, the current emergency management plan lacks any guidance or preventative measures and they must be created. The city also doesn't take flooding into account and does not have a proper storm water drainage plan.

BUDGET: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all levels of government. What strategy, if any, would you make to prepare for increased fiscal restraints in the city? 

Eric Rodriguez I would stop giving tax breaks to industry and look to increase revenue from industry in the industrial district agreement.

PRIORITIES: Other than the issues previously addressed, what are your top three priorities, and, if elected, how would you address them? 

Eric Rodriguez Number one is to increase revenue from industry, the new industrial district agreement is up for negotiations in the next council term. This would allow revenue for both infrastructure such as streets and human infrastructure such as social services, police, and department staffing.

Carolyn Vaughn

Campaign Email http://info@electcarolyn.com
Campaign Phone Number (361) 400-5001
Website http://ElectCarolyn.com
Facebook 
http://Facebook.com/electcarolyn

BACKGROUND: Describe your strongest competency and life experience that qualify you to hold this office. 

Carolyn Vaughn I believe your past reveals a lot about yourself. Raised by a single mother, 8 brothers and sisters. Grew up in a home with an abusive dad, they were divorced and my stepfather was abusive as well. My mother taught us how to work and the value of a dollar. We built a company from the ground up. My years on City Council and Commissioners Court have given me the ability to be well versed in both aspects of CC. My strongest trait is the ability to listen, take action and produce results.

ISSUES: During your campaign, what is the number one concern expressed to you by the residents of Corpus Christi? What is your response to this concern? 

Carolyn Vaughn Concerns expressed by the residents are: vision, safety, debt & infrastructure. My response is to tackle these issues equally. Not enough room to expand on the answer.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: How would you rate the capability of Corpus Christi to respond to natural and human-made disasters, such as hurricanes, pandemics, chemical fires or spills, and flooding? 

Poor
Below average
Average
Above average
Excellent

Explain your answer. 

Carolyn Vaughn Separate the familiar and unfamiliar disasters. We are familiar with hurricanes and flooding, live on the coast and I believe we understand and act when those occur. What 2020 brought us was totally unfamiliar. When a pandemic strikes it may be shocking and unknown but it’s up to the leadership to execute safety measures and instill the reality and hope that we will come through this together. Utmost importance is to inform the community, make sure reports are accurate, and don't panic the city.

BUDGET: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all levels of government. What strategy, if any, would you make to prepare for increased fiscal restraints in the city? 

Carolyn Vaughn COVID-19 has not only touched every level of government but also each person in the community whether it’s a loved one’s life or a job. The first responsible fiscal action is you don’t take on more debt that is irresponsible in a year such as this (Desal Plant). The city needs to look at all departments and cut 5% from each department. Implement a hiring freeze.Your biggest expense is people, need to evaluate if you are top heavy and cut when necessary, if it be salaries or put on part time.

PRIORITIES: Other than the issues previously addressed, what are your top three priorities, and, if elected, how would you address them? 

Carolyn Vaughn I have three top priorities. They are Leadership, Vision and Fiscal Responsibility. Its time for Corpus Christi to have a Mayor that instills hope and confidence in our citizens. Good leadership requires working together with our region and other partners. The vision of Corpus Christi has been stagnated over the years with a few running our city. I’m tired of looking in the rear view mirror, we need to look forward.

Number two is the city's homeless issue, the city needs to own and take charge of the problem. We need to supervise the services if we are going to change the outcome of the growing homeless population.

Candidates Pancho Villa and Roberto Seidner will also appear on the ballot, but have not yet responded to the League of Women Voters.

The above information was gathered and compiled by the League of Women Voters, a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to voter education.

3News has partnered with the League in order to help make sure our community has access to all the information they need before they hit the polls. You can find more of this information at Vote411.org.

Back to the Voters Guide.