Victoria is entering what can be a bright new era, and I have a lifetime of experiences that qualify me to help guide our city into the future. Growing up in a military family, I lived in many places including England and France before earning a degree in chemistry from the University of California-Santa Cruz. I taught in the University of California system while attending graduate school, then went into business. I’ve been active in our community for many years and served on the Victoria County United Way Board for a decade. I believe in lifelong learning and have completed the Victoria Citizen’s Academy, the Victoria Fire Department’s Civilian Academy, and the Victoria Civilian Police Academy. In 2016, I was honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award by the city of Victoria.

I’ve been married to my wonderful wife Doreen for nearly 40 years, and our children attended Victoria public schools. Our daughter served as a U.S. Navy Officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, completed Pharmacy School and works in a Veterans Hospital. After graduating college, our son began working for a little company called Apple, and is now a Senior Software Engineer there. I’m a proud father and grandfather, and I’m also proud to call Victoria home for over 30 years.

Attending nearly every city council meeting for over five years has provided eye-opening experiences. I’ve seen over time how fresh ideas and new perspectives are needed at city hall and that the root causes of many citizen complaints are not being effectively addressed. It’s definitely time for a change in how city hall operates and treats city residents. I have unique insights on this from nearly 40 years of hands-on business experience, with the last 25 years being in different levels of management with H-E-B. Customer service was a way of life with H-E-B, and I want to bring those values and ideals of treating people like valued customers to city hall. I’m now retired, which allows me to work and serve as a full-time councilman.

According to data from our State Comptroller, Victoria ranks 58th out of the 100 cities in Texas with the highest taxes. Of the 57 Texas cities with lower tax rates, only one has a higher debt rate than Victoria. Our debt is out of control; to the point our city’s Finance Director has said, “Our credit card is maxed out.” Of every dollar in property taxes or water bills we pay to the city of Victoria, 42% of our property taxes and 33% of our water bills go just to paying city debt.

I believe some of the most important roles of city council are listening to people and finding solutions for problems. City council members should give direction to the City Manager (not the other way around) and hold city hall staff accountable for achieving goals. The safety of my fellow Victorians and our neighborhoods are some of my top concerns, and I’m committed to enhancing public safety and reducing emergency response times.

City council meets twice a month at 5 p.m., and meetings begin with the citizen communication segment. In constantly attending council meetings, I often wonder if this is the best time for citizens to have their voices heard or if another time during meetings would be better so more residents can participate.

It’s time for new ideas on city council and to deal with problems instead of kicking the can down the road. It would be an honor to serve our city on council, and I’ll work to fix streets, cut the debt and get real results for taxpayers. People deserve to have an independent voice at city hall, and I’ll put the interests of local residents first. I’m committed to making a difference and improving our city! I would sincerely appreciate your support, and I ask for your vote in the May 4th elections.

Mark Loffgren has lived in Victoria for 33 years. He has been in big business for 40 years and has worked at H-E-B for 25 years. He has attended city council meetings over the past five years and received the Distinguished Citizen Award in 2016. Mark and his wife have been married for nearly 40 years. He can be reached at markl116@suddenlink.net.

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