Challenger to Victoria mayor files for ballot spot

Jan. 30, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:31 p.m.

Opening day for Victoria's election filings brought a challenger to the incumbent mayor, a former councilman back to the ballot and two school board trustees hoping to retain their positions.

Richard Andrew Deases, 22, submitted an application to run against two-term incumbent Mayor Will Armstrong, 72.

Deases said he wants to be an alternative to the status quo.

"What I want to do is be a face of new ideas, of progress," said Deases, an employee at Kohl's department store.

Although Deases, who grew up in Victoria, has not previously held office, he said his philosophy to run is "Go big or go home."

Armstrong served as a city councilman from 1973 to 1979, and has been mayor since 2004.

In his announcement, Armstrong said, "While we've accomplished a lot, I believe the best is yet to come for Victoria."

The election is May 11.

City Secretary Scarlet Swoboda said Armstrong "was there when the window opened" Wednesday to submit the first application to be on the ballot.

Former Councilman Gabriel Soliz, 40, submitted his application Wednesday for Super District 5 to the city secretary's office.

He said he wants to remain active in the democratic process.

"I want to show I can lead by example," he said. "Democracy challenged is democracy validated."

Soliz previously represented District 1. When that seat was up for re-election in May, Soliz sought the Precinct 1 Victoria County Commissioner office. As a result, his mother, Josephine Soliz, sought and won his vacant seat on the City Council.

The Super District 5 incumbent, Tom Halepaska, has not filed for re-election yet. Joe Truman, who represents Super District 6, also has not submitted an application for re-election.

In the school district election, board vice president Bernard Klimist re-filed to continue serving Super District 6 and Pastor Kevin VanHook filed to continue representing District 1.

"I'm running because building the new schools was only the first part," Klimist said. "We still have a lot of work to do to fix our curriculum."

He wants to minimize hours spent on state testing and maximize hours spent on subject instruction.

VanHook said his motivation is encouraging minority students to plan for college and their careers.

"Not everybody is college bound, but we want to be able to train them for their areas of interests, allowing them to have jobs in the future," VanHook said. "My position as pastor allows me to have that contact with the community."

Trustee Michael DiSanto, representing Super District 7, said he has plans to submit paperwork for re-election by the end of the week.

As of Wednesday afternoon, no other candidates had filed to oppose trustees representing District 1 and Super Districts 6 and 7, and no other candidates filed for the city election.

Anyone interested in running for city office can pick up a packet at the city secretary's office, or print it off the Secretary of State's website, Swoboda said.



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