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Nueces County Commissioner, Precinct 1: Candidate Forum & Voters Guide

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

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.

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

County Commissioner

The Commissioners Court conducts the general business of the county and consists of the County Judge and four Commissioners.

The Court

  • Adopts the county’s budget and tax rate.
  • Approves all budgeted purchases of the county.
  • Fills vacancies in elective and appointive offices.
  • Sets all salaries and benefits.
  • Has exclusive authority to authorize contracts.
  • Provides and maintains all county buildings and facilities.

Terms of office

  • Term length: 4 years
  • Term limit: No
  • Residency: Yes, of Precinct 1
  • Salary: $81,050

Robert Hernandez (Democrat)

Campaign Email http://RobertPrecinct1@gmail.com
Campaign Phone Number (361) 726-0981
Facebook 
http://Robert Hernandez

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

After 22 years, I retired from the purchasing department of Nueces County. 22 years of hands on experience can't be taught or bought. I have seen first hand the positive and negative aspects of county government. I know what the employees go through and I have seen the wasteful spending. I have been a small business owner, so I know how hard you have to work to survive. I plan to serve with an open mind, common sense, and 22 years of Nueces County government knowledge under my belt.

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

There are two equally competing issues residents of Precinct 1 seem to bring up. The first issue is always about the concern of raising taxes. I believe very strongly that we can find ways to cut wasteful spending and reallocate resources in order to avoid any tax increases. The second issue is drainage. The residents of Precinct 1 are tired of double-talk and continued planning. It is time to put the plans into action. We must work to be more fiscally responsible.

DISASTER RECOVERY: The county budget should plan, in advance, for funding disaster relief for catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, flooding and pandemics. 

Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neither agree nor disagree
Agree
Strongly agree

Please explain your answer. 

We can never be too prepared. In times of disaster or catastrophic events, the County will utilize its reserve fund in order to meet its needs. Normally, state or federal programs are available to assist in times of crisis, but there is some type of "matching" that is required. In order to be able to assist our residents, we must have an adequate balance available in our reserve fund balance. We must use this reserve very cautiously.

ECONOMY: The COVID-19 pandemic has created a feeling of uncertainty. What are your views of the future for our local economy, including local jobs and property values, and general well-being, including healthcare, affordable housing, and schools? 

We must speak honestly and openly about the financial stress Covid-19 has placed on our county budget. While we are hopeful that we will receive assistance and/or reimbursement for expenditures made as a direct result of Covid-19, nothing is guaranteed until the money is in the bank. With local businesses closing and more houses up for sale in Precinct 1, we have to anticipate the needs. We must be ready to assist the school districts as they cope with unexpected costs as well.

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

The top three priorities to address other than taxes and drainage which I discussed previously, are cutting wasteful spending, equalizing employee pay and benefits, and public safety. We must stop spending money (millions) on programs and projects which are unnecessary. We must use resources already available to save money where possible. it is only through making sound financial decisions we can give employees the raises they deserve and increase rural law enforcement personnel.

Bill Kelly (Republican), Write-In

Campaign Email http://steve@steverayassociates.com
Campaign Phone Number (512) 803-0229
Facebook 
http://Bill Kelly for County Commissioner, Pct.1

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

As a father and a husband, I know the challenges facing our families, and I recognize that government should try to help families not replace them. As a Eucharistic Minister I give reverence and service to God. As an attorney I have volunteered to represent Catholic Social Services protecting indigent elderly. As a 4 term City Councilman, I have balanced the need to provide quality services against not overburdening the taxpayers. As a 2 term School Board Trustee I have had to deal with the

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

Recently more and more people are concerned about public safety. In other communities, peaceful civil rights demonstrators have been hijacked by rioters who have called for defunding police departments. I believe that Law Enforcement Agencies and the community can work well together, and I promoted community policing when I was on the City Council.

DISASTER RECOVERY: The county budget should plan, in advance, for funding disaster relief for catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, flooding and pandemics.

Strongly disagree
Disagree
Neither agree nor disagree
Agree
Strongly agree

Please explain your answer.

Given where we live, planning for hurricanes etc. is essential. This is done several ways: While on City Council, we improved infrastructure such as raising the JFK Causeway, getting Texdot to open an evacuation lane on IH37, and improving drainage. This is also one of the reasons a large fund balance is important. We must have sufficient cash reserves to keep the county running and provide extra resources to the community. The county must also have plans in place and train our employees so ever

ECONOMY: The COVID-19 pandemic has created a feeling of uncertainty. What are your views of the future for our local economy, including local jobs and property values, and general well-being, including healthcare, affordable housing, and schools?

The pandemic and the drastic measures required to address it have created uncertainty. People have gotten sick, and some have died. Businesses have closed, and jobs have been lost. Government revenue will be down. During challenging times, it is especially important that the people we elect have experience. As we come out of the pandemic, we must emphasis job growth for our families and our community. I have run a successful business for 31 years. As a City Councilman and School Board Trustee I

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

My priorities are better summed up in a philosophy. I believe strong communities are based upon healthy families. In my 16 years of public service, I have tried to address each issue based upon its impact on our families. At this time, I know that experience is necessary. That is why I choose to run for County Commissioner even though I am a write in candidate. Yes, to vote for me you have to write my name for County Commissioner on your mail in ballot, or click on write in at the polls and type

The above information was gathered and compiled by the League of Women Voters-Corpus Christi, 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.