Victoria resident and former H-E-B manager Mark Loffgren will run for a seat on the City Council, he announced Friday.

“I think one of the best things you can do in life is to serve other people,” Loffgren said. “I think I could offer some different insights and some different leadership to the City Council than is there now.”

He said the current Council needed “new ideas.”

Loffgren, 70, is a longtime student of Victoria’s local government. He began attending City Council meetings regularly in 2013, when he came to City Hall to express concern over the condition of the city’s residential streets. Since then, he’s attended almost every meeting of the government body. Loffgren said he advocated for better residential streets and called on the city to move up its timeline for fixing and updating older roads.

Improving the quality of streets and sidewalks in Victoria is a top issue for Loffgren, but he also added that he wanted funds to pay for quality police and fire protection and strong water and sewage systems. Loffgren criticized the new road, Placido Benavides Drive, which the city is building to alleviate traffic congestion, as a “feel-good” project, which he thinks should have taken a backseat to other city initiatives.

“We should fix the streets that we have here before we build some new streets,” he said.

The candidate will run for the Super District 6 seat on the Council, which is currently represented by Tom Halepaska. Halepaska, who has served on the Council for 15 years, announced Tuesday he would not seek re-election in May. Loffgren is the first candidate to announce a bid for Halepaska’s seat. Loffgren previously challenged Halepaska in the 2016 elections. Loffgren took 514 votes to Halepaska’s 927, according to the results from the Victoria County elections administrator.

Filing for the May 4 elections begins Wednesday, and candidates must file by the Feb. 15 deadline. The terms for two council members, Halepaska and Andrew Young, are up in 2019 as well as the term for Mayor Paul Polasek.

Loffgren managed two H-E-B stores and worked as operation leader for the H-E-B Plus! store in Victoria. Loffgren said his experience working in a large business and managing hundreds of employees and a large budget would be a valuable perspective on the City Council. Loffgren retired in 2011. He lives in Victoria with his wife, Doreen, and has served on the Victoria County United Way Board for more than a decade, he said. In 2016, he was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award.

Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at cmccarthy@vicad.com or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara.

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Health Reporter

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. She reports on insurance, the cost of health care and access to care, local hospitals, and more. Contact: cmccarthy@vicad.com or call 361-580-6597.

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