The two candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Victoria County tax assessor-collector haven’t slowed their campaign efforts during the pandemic.
With the runoff election delayed for weeks because of COVID-19, candidates Ashley Hernandez and David Hagan have both changed the way they’ve connected with voters to consider safety and hope residents turn out to vote on July 14.
“Exercise that right to vote, be part of the change,” said Hernandez, who took about 46% of the votes during the primary election in March. “I hope people come out for this election.”
“I don’t know if any candidates for any office have ever had to ever run an election under more peculiar circumstances,” said Hagan, who received about 35% of the votes. “I’m hoping people are able to focus on this with everything else going on.”
While both candidates are encouraging residents to vote, they say their individual experiences and visions for the office make them best suited for the job.
Hagan, a former Victoria City Councilman, said his nine years as an elected official gave him a track record as a conservative Republican and taught him how to be a leader and make difficult decisions.
“I carry that experience and will bring a fresh set of eyes to the whole office,” Hagan said. “I have a willingness to look across the entire state for best practices and bring them to Victoria.”
Hernandez, on the other hand, said her years of experience in the tax office prove her dedication and make her most prepared to lead the office.
“I genuinely have a passion for this office,” she said. “I consider my co-workers family, and I have the knowledge in place to make sure this office fully functions at best capacity to benefit the citizens of Victoria County.”
Hernandez said her top priority is to provide a professional, knowledgeable and friendly staff that is always ready to assist and provide efficient customer service to our citizens. If elected, she said she’d work to provide a transparent and efficient office.
Longtime tax assessor-collector Rena Scherer is retiring at the end of her term and has endorsed Hernandez for the office.
“I’ve worked hard to gain the trust of those around me,” Hernandez said. “Ms. Scherer’s endorsement is an honor.”
As a councilman during the 2008 financial crisis, Hagan said he learned how to make decisions in times of budget shortfalls and uncertain times, something he said closely mirrors the current state of the economy.
“In ‘08 it was an extremely important time to make important decisions for our community, and I was able to do that,” he said.
If elected, Hagan said he would fight for lower taxes and work to improve customer service.
The two candidates will participate in a debate hosted by the Advocate on Monday.
The Republican nominee chosen during the runoff will face Democratic candidate Jane Bernal in the November election.