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San Antonio Runoffs: District 2 Profiles

Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio
Keith Toney and Jada Andrews-Sullivan

Texas Public Radio will run stories highlighting the candidates on the ballot for the June 8 runoff election.

There are three city council races on this Saturday’s runoff ballot, including District 2.

The runoff candidates are Jada Andrews-Sullivan, a veteran and business owner, and Keith Toney, who has served as an interim councilman for the district.

District 2 has seen five different people represent it on the San Antonio City Council in the last five years. Former Councilman Keith Toney is one of those five. He’s 67, and he says his life is about service.

“It’s been about service since I left Vietnam. I promised myself and I promised God that if I survived, my life would be about service to others; not just about myself and to my family,” he said.

He said the biggest issue facing District 2 is crime, and his plan for that is improving the workforce.

“We want a cadre of trained workforce here in District 2 (made up of) of District 2 residents — male and female — so that they can then be productive members of our society,” Toney said.

“At some point they’re committing crimes because they’ve been hurt. ‘I can’t find a job. No one will hire me. I’m not trained. I don’t have a GED.’ Let’s take care of those things and get them off the table because hurt people hurt (other) people. And we don’t want anyone getting hurt.”

He said part of his workforce plan would involve developers on the east side. If a developer wants to build in District 2, they would have to offer internships to people in the district.

Toney, a retired federal worker, finished first in the May 4 election. He received 27% of the vote. It wasn’t his first election.

Toney was appointed to the San Antonio City Council in 2014, after Ivy Taylor stepped down to become mayor. He was in the seat for about five months. He ran in a special election later that year, but lost. He ran two more times in 2015 and 2017 but lost both of those as well.

“There’s no embarrassment about it. If you still have the means, if God gives you means and the methodology to help, you have to help, and this is a bully pulpit," he said. "So it doesn’t matter. History is replete with politicians who have lost more than once and done wonderful things.”

Jada Andrews-Sullivan is 43. She’s running because she wants to be a voice for the district, and, if elected, her council office would employ District 2 residents who understand its day-to-day concerns.

“If you’re not coming home every day listening to the helicopters fly over, listening to the gunshots continue, listening to our elders that don’t even understand the lingo of how to get on a computer, how to get on a cell phone — until you live or work in this place in on a daily basis, a lot of things you bring to the table won’t help District 2,” she said.

Andrews-Sullivan is a veteran, and she started an advocacy group called Majestic Royalty.

“I’ve teamed up with Angel Eyes Foundation, and we speak about our own story of how we lived through our domestic and sexual abuse,” she said. “We advocate for those that are going to court. We help survivors and those that are trying to come out of an abusive relationship. We help the children of those abusive relationships find their boundaries and their strength.”

She’s also a baker, and she owns a business that makes custom cakes.

Andrews-Sullivan was one of three finalists selected to fill the council seat in January when former Councilman Cruz Shaw announced his resignation. One of her biggest priorities is to address what she said is a disconnect between the city and residents.

“If we don’t have our leadership in a position to where the community can trust them to make these this decisions to give us something better — especially with our economic segregation that we have here in San Antonio — until we’re combating and making sure everyone has a seat at the table, and that everyone is filled to have a purpose and means to make something happen, we as San Antonio will continue to fall short,” she said.

This is her first run at political office. In May she finished with 21% of the vote against Toney and six other candidates.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules