Elias Vasquez, the incumbent for the Place 5 seat on the Robstown City Council, said the city has come a long way in just a few years, but more work remains to be done.
Vasquez, a 1963 graduate of Robstown High School, has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He and his wife of more than 40 years, Emma, have four adult children.
Vasquez, who will be facing challenger Noe De Los Santos in the May 14 city election, has also served as head pastor for a church in Alice, and he counts his faith as one of his main sources of motivation for serving. It was that belief in his faith that led him to seek another term on the council after initially feeling reluctant to run again.
"I'm a servant, just like I am with my faith and ministry," Vasquez said. "I help people out and I still haven't finished my mission here."
Vasquez said he feels the current city council has done a lot to improve the quality of life for residents, citing the city's purchase of new vehicles for the fire, police and Emergency Medical Services departments, as well as fixing much of the city's crumbling streets.
In addition, the council is actively seeking new businesses to invest in the area, including looking at ways to attract foreign investors, Vasquez said. One plan involves the development of an EB-5 Regional Center in Robstown that would allow for companies overseas to seek citizenship for its employees via a large financial investment in the area.
"That's part of investment," Vasquez said. "You have to reach out to partners who have the resources to invest in your community."
Vasquez said despite the city's increased reliance on state and federal grants to pay for new equipment and facilities, it has been necessary for the city council to issue new debt for some improvements. One example he listed was the new City Hall facility, which is being paid for via a $5 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The city issued $5.2 million in Certificates of Obligation, which do not require voter approval, as collateral for the loan.
"Those are tremendous opportunities that we had to take advantage of," Vasquez said.
Vasquez said, if elected, he will continue to work with the council to move the city forward.
"Robstown is my hometown and I just want to do the best that I can to serve the people of this community," he said.