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Nueces County Commissioner, Precinct 3: Candidate Forum & Voters Guide

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

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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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

John Marez (Democrat)

Campaign Email http://Johnmarezpct3@gmail.com
Campaign Phone Number (361) 813-2105
Facebook http://JohnMarezforCommissioner
Twitter 
@JohnMarez

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

My passion is public service, which I have done my entire adult life here in Nueces Co through various community, school and religious organizations. I am the current Commissioner, former City Council member & former School Board Vice President. I have graduated from all local schools including Del Mar College & Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. I have experience with Public Budgets, HR, Administration and Public Policy. Each of these skills are necessary to handle the daily operations of the county.

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? 

The number one issue has been regarding COVID19. My response includes providing daily updates in person, on social media or through various interviews regarding my sharing of positive cases, testing site locations & various other data to ensure the public is well informed of developments as soon as I am. My response also includes working with our staff to seek outside funding to help offset the enormous cost of managing the county’s response to this pandemic.

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. 

Preparing for any disaster is one of the main responsibilities for our county so having a healthy fund balance determines how long Nueces County can pay for essential services to maintain operations during a catastrophe. Our current goal is to have a $25 million fund balance which is recommended by our auditor and helps the county when rating agencies (S&P or Moody’s) evaluate our ability to have a lower interest rate for any bonds for roads, buildings. This is all tied into disaster recovery.

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? 

Whether facing a pandemic or downward trend with industry I believe it is essential for our community to diversify the types of businesses here. I support working on various incentives to attract, maintain businesses (big or small). This should support our overall economic health with better paid jobs. This also impacts our housing market, quality of life & schools. Access to healthcare is important because the county is required to cover indigent healthcare so we must have good paying jobs!

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

There are several challenges facing us including Street/Road Improvements, Job Creation and Fair Valuation of Taxes, however, Flooding/ Drainage is the biggest issue facing the Precinct whether you live in or outside the city limits. I will continue to work on receiving new outside funding sources to improve Flooding and Drainage issues in Precinct 3. As your Full-Time Commissioner, I am the ONLY candidate to work on these issues among others to help improves the lives of our residents.

Richard H. Mitchell (Republican)

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

My strongest competency is my unfailing desire to see the county operate at its peak performance level. Accomplishing this with the smallest tax burden as possible. My experience in both the private and public sector and knowledge of dealing with people more than qualifies me to perform the duties of this office.

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? 

The number one concern expressed by the residents of Nueces County is its general obligation debt. On October 1, 2019, the general obligation debt was $120,004,835.00. During this fiscal year, Nueces County will repay $8,222,528.00. This amount does not include accrued interest of $4,909,799.00. General obligation bonds and certificates of obligation should be paid at the earliest opportunity. The County bond rating was lowered several years ago and the debt should be paid.

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. 

I agree that the County should plan for disaster relief. However, I disagree that there should be a budget center for this purpose. Catastrophic events do not happen every year or five years or in the case of COVID-19, every hundred years. Catastrophic events should be funded from total cash, cash equivalents, and investments. As of the last quarterly report, dated June 30, 2020, the value of this fund was $143,422,302.00.

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 COVID-19 pandemic will fade into the past when medication, treatments and vaccines are developed in the near future. Our local economy will regain its growth and its increase at that time. I feel that the only things that would prevent a bright future for our County is not having a stable source of dependable water and tax rates set by the taxing jurisdiction make it unprofitable to live here. As chief Justice Marshall said many years ago, “the power to tax is the power to destroy.”

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

If elected my priorities will be 1) County government must meet the needs of a growing populace. 2) County government must be funded well enough to meet these needs. 3) Protect the tax base from crushing tax rates. I would press these points on the County Judge and other commissioners. I would meet with my constituents whenever necessary to discuss their needs and inform them of the needs of County government.

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.