Candidate Forum: Clay-Flores, Lara Vie To Represent Precinct 1 On Bexar County Commissioners Court
Come November, San Antonians will vote to fill many elected positions including two seats on the Bexar County Commissioners Court.
Democrat Rebeca Clay-Flores, who unseated 16-year incumbent Sergio "Chico" Rodriguez in a July runoff, faces Republican Gabriel Lara, who ran unopposed in the primary.
Clay-Flores said she has been a life-long Democrat.
“I feel because of my diverse background that we need to look for the similarities that all of us have that unite us — instead of talking and focusing on differences that divide us. And that's why I am Democrat. And so when I decided to run for County Commissioner, it was no question that I would run as a Democrat,” Clay-Flores said.
Lara said he’s running as a Republican less so because of his connections to the party.
“The Commissioners Court is currently controlled by Democrats yet, we have so much that's been spent on novelty projects in the downtown area and given so little to the people of Precinct 1. So when I see that I said, well, that's not what I'm about of saved lives for a living. And that's what we got to keep doing. It’s changing the outcome here, because we're not going to get very far we continue this same route. So I chose to run as a Republican because I dearly care about my fellow man,” Lara said.
Neither Clay-Flores nor Lara have ever held public office.
Lara and Clay-Flores will go head-to-head in the 2020 election to represent Precinct 1, which covers a large portion of the county's South and West sides.
Both candidates said that income equality is connected to systemic racism. For Lara, the priority is finding a solution to economic inequity.
“We need to focus on that issue here. Find higher paying jobs bring in higher paying jobs. Have a workforce ready for these high paying jobs. It's not enough just every year to say you're going to do something about it, and not do anything about it,” Lara said.
Clay-Flores agreed and added that racial issues are often tied to economic and educational disparities.
“A lot of times and in some of our schools, some of our zip codes, instead of there being a school-to-college pipeline, school-to-vocational-training or school-to-military pipeline. There's a school-to-jail pipeline,” Clay-Flores said.
As for the City of San Antonio and Bexar County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,
“I have been happy to see that the city and the county have been working — I think the most I've ever seen them work — together,” Clay-Flores said. “Unfortunately, speaking specifically about not about Metro Health, I do not think that they have handled it the best, they are definitely getting better.”
Clay-Flores added that asking the military for help, especially since San Antonio is a military city, would have been beneficial. Lara agreed.
“(The military has) special training. They could have been such a huge, huge assistance to us. But one of the problems though, also, is that there are these three forms of testing or four or five forms. And each one tells you you're going to get the results and three hours and the next one says you have to take a week, though there was no standardized testing. So that made it very difficult,” Lara said.
Early voting in Bexar County is Oct. 13-30. Election Day is Nov. 3. More information here.
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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, October 7.