Vic Morgan, the former president of the University of Houston-Victoria, plans to run for mayor of Victoria in 2019.
Morgan plans to formally announce his candidacy Wednesday evening at a campaign event at Moonshine Drinkery. He retired as head of the university in August.
Morgan was initially hired as UHV’s interim president in 2014 before the board of regents for the University of Houston system asked him to stay on the job permanently. Morgan took over the struggling university after the school’s two previous presidents were fired. Previously, Morgan was the university president at Sul Ross State University in Alpine.
“We kind of fell in love with Victoria,” Morgan said. “We really didn’t expect to stay here. I came thinking we’d be here about six months while the campus hired a new president.”
Morgan lives in Victoria with his wife, Mary Jane Morgan, who is active on various nonprofit boards.
The longtime academic leader said his experience as the head of two public universities provided him with the leadership skills needed as the head of Victoria’s government.
“A university is an awful lot like a city,” Morgan explained, adding that he worked on issues including infrastructure, policing, growth and budgetary constraints as the head of UHV.
“We have the same kinds of issues and problems,” he said. “And there was never enough money. There’s never enough money in the city.”
Morgan said he’s not campaigning on any specific set of issues, except a pledge to make Victoria a “destination city” and a commitment to responsibly and conservatively overseeing the city’s budget.
“I would like for it to be a place where people come and visit and want to come and live,” he said.
The candidate added that he thought the city should consider investments and upgrades – such as adding more bike lanes on city streets or increasing access to Riverside Park – to increase the quality of life and help attract younger residents to the city.
The mayor of Victoria is a part-time position and does not have veto power over the City Council. The city’s mayor is considered the head of city government for all ceremonial purposes and the public face of the city government.
Mary Jane Morgan said she and her husband are prepared for the public scrutiny that comes with serving as mayor.
Morgan added that once, when she and her husband were in Alpine, frustrated students knocked on her front door and asked to use the bathroom after hot water stopped working in one of the university’s dorms.
“When things aren’t right, you’re going to hear,” Morgan said, laughing. “I think we’re pretty used to that.”
Brent Carter, an insurance agent, announced his bid for the mayor’s office in September. Vic Morgan is the second candidate to announce a bid for the position. Candidates have until Feb. 15 to register for municipal elections in Texas. Election Day is May 4.
Paul Polasek, the current mayor of Victoria, has been in office since 2013.