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Online forum for Brownsville city commission races continue

5 months 6 days 9 hours ago Wednesday, April 14 2021 Apr 14, 2021 April 14, 2021 6:52 AM April 14, 2021 in Election Coverage

Voters in Brownsville got another look at some of the candidates hoping to represent them on the city commission Tuesday night.

Frontera Progressives held their second candidate forum with candidates and an incumbent for the At-Large B position and District 3 races in Brownsville.

The forum focused on similar issues as the first as candidates were asked about what the city should be doing to help migrants.

RELATED: Voters hear from Brownsville commissioner candidates during online forum

Incumbent At-Large Commissioner Dr. Rose Gowen said the federal and state governments limit how they can help.

"What we can do and what we are doing very proactively and very productively working hand-in-hand with many NGO's,” Dr. Gowen said.

Her challenger Erasmo Castro saying the city's lack of preparedness for migrants reflects the attitude during the winter freeze.

"One of the excuses that was brought up, was in regards to, 'No one could have prepared for it,'” Castro said. “My response to that was, 'We needed to be prepared for something.'"

In District 3, both candidates Jessica Puente Bradshaw and Roy De Los Santos offering much different viewpoints than their potential colleagues.

"We should focus on the community as we have it now - the established community - and what can we do to help them to achieve this status,” Bradshaw said.

"I can't name one citizen who will tell you: 'Every one of my needs is being met by the city of Brownsville,'” De Los Santos said. “And until that day, we should not start looking at programs where we're going to be giving away that money."

On economic development during the pandemic, Dr. Gowen touted the city's work through grants to help businesses downtown.

"We have worked with our own health department and planning department to come up with innovative ways to open, such as the parklet that you see in front of Terras,” Dr. Gowen said.

Castro saying it's the businesses that residents that need help can't afford to visit that always get the city's help.

"Very niche little restaurants out there downtown, who are able to provide this money to these individuals,” Castro said. “If we go back and look at the list, it's always the same people that are getting the benefits from the different committees."

On SpaceX, more common ground was seen between District 3 candidates Bradshaw and De Los Santos. Bradshaw said the commission needs to be firm in making the county and state hold the company accountable.

"The leadership within Brownsville seems to pander to this individual's whims," Bradshaw said. "They laud him. 'He's just excellent' and now he's going to give this money to downtown,' which many people don't even agree with that."

De Los Santos saying he'd lobby for that accountability and more.

"If he's going to be closing Boca Chica way more often than was anticipated—he can afford it," De Los Santos said. "He should be building a brand new road that goes around where SpaceX is so that it would never be closed."

Early voting in Texas begins on Monday.

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