Alice Mayor Jolene Vanover won't run for third term
Alice Mayor Jolene Vanover recently made an announcement that she would not be running for re-election for a third term.
Vanover started her campaign with a three-word platform: approachable, accessible and accountable.
"I started my campaign because I wanted to make a change, I grew up in Alice and I will always have a passion for the innovation and creativity to dream for a better city," Vanover said.
The two-term mayor has been through conflicts with adversaries, two city managers, two city attorneys, soon to be four police chiefs, Hurricane Harvey, and a global pandemic.
"It's been a rough four years but I am proud of the work I have accomplished. I am proud of not playing politics and standing up for what I think is right, being a voice for the citizens by upgrading the social media platform for transparency in local government, and bringing to light the dark areas of corruption in Alice," said Vanover.
Vanover took the lead on the check and balance at the Alice Chamber of Commerce finances and was the whistleblower in the executive director's termination for “misappropriated funds” and ultimately the entity's demise.
Vanover took on the police department that she accused of corruption and tried to create a more diverse culture the community could trust.
She takes pride in aesthetic accomplishments at the golf course, the old Exxon building on Main Street, the restrooms at the softball field, upgrading the vehicle fleet at the police department and the old fire station building on Reynolds Street, the YMCA business plan for the Multi-Use facility and infrastructure projects.
"The fire station has expanded with more resources to support the south side of town," said Fire Chief Partick Thomas. "This is the first time the department has been fully staffed to allow better public safety. We have gained two new trucks and a ladder truck which is the first for the department."
"The city staff has been wonderful and I am very thankful for their support during this journey, Vanover said. "I'll be honest, it has been difficult with some of the City Council members because my hands have been tied with some areas of innovation -- but that's life and I hope I have paved the way for the next generation of city leadership because Alice needs it."
Vanover said she wants to encourage innovation, fresh ideas and for younger people in the community to get involved in city politics.
"If you are tired of things in the area not changing put your ideas and name on the ballot. I hope my path gives people the inspiration to make a change and stand up for what they think is right."
Larry Martinez, a former Alice Mayor, 10-year City Council member, and current county economic development director, has been impressed with Vanover's work because he knows firsthand it's not an easy position to hold.
"I admire Vanover for being able to draw the line between politics and doing what's right. I have seen many people in my political career get caught up in holding their position and care more about being re-elected than doing what's right," Martinez said. "She's a smart businesswoman and I respect her authenticity. We have worked well with each other and I am thankful for her contribution."
Martinez and Vanover have worked closely with state and national leaders to improve education opportunities and future economic expansion in Alice.
Vanover will hold the position until May of 2021. She still has a few projects in the works that will focus on public health and economic improvements in Alice.
"I have enjoyed working with the city staff, Senator Hinojosa, Senator Zaffrini, Larry Martinez and so many others, I truly feel they all have the best intentions for Alice and I pray the city has "new blood" on the City Council and the community lets their voice be heard and votes, and the residents get involved in city government to move Alice forward to a new era."