McAllen mayoral candidates discuss their goals for the city
This election season, McAllen residents will have to choose between five candidates for the next mayor of McAllen.
Among those seeking your vote is Veronica Vela Whitacre, who's served on the McAllen commission for eight years and is currently the mayor pro tem. Whitacre says her top priority is adjusting the budget to help meet the needs of the community.
“Businesses that were strong at one point, and they deserve to be strong again, so we need to make sure that we have the grants that are able to help get them over that one little hump,” Whitacre said.
READ ALSO: First McAllen mayoral debate held virtually
Also in the race is Dr. Shahid Rashid, who believes his work as a physician has connected him with some of the most vulnerable populations in McAllen, giving him a better understanding of their struggles. Rashid’s focus will start with addressing COVID-19.
“We have to get our citizens vaccinated as quickly as possible so that we can be able to get back to our economic recovery, and for that, what we are going to do first and foremost—we are going to establish the vaccination clinic all over the city,” Rashid said.
Attorney and businessman Michael Fallek is also looking for your vote. Fallek believes his experience developing businesses across the city and state makes him the best fit for mayor. His goal is recruiting new businesses.
"There's American federal Rescue Act funds that are going to be coming in and we should put that money to work to support our local business community,” Fallek said. “But it's also important that we go out and find new business to come to town."
District 1 Commissioner Javier Villalobos, an attorney and businessman, is also among the candidates running for mayor. Villalobos says his service as a commissioner has allowed him to understand the challenges the city is facing, like traffic issues.
"We need to make sure that the developers and builders have the resources in the city to do what they need to do and do it quick,” Villalobos said. “We need to extend wherever possible our corridors for traffic. We have bad traffic congestion and we have to improve it."
McAllen mayoral candidate Othal Brand Jr. says he believes his service of 18 years as an elected official sets him apart from his opponents. A businessman who's worked in both the private and public sector, Brand says his top priority is improving traffic and drainage for the citizens of McAllen.
“Those are two things I know I can impact immediately because I know the funding is there; I know the ability to do it is there,” Brand said. “It requires someone with the ability to get it done. That's what I will bring."
A mayoral debate is set for Wednesday at 2 p.m. at New Life Church in McAllen.
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