San Marcos mayor candidate Sam Brannon sees growth, economics as top issues

The general election is Nov. 8.

The general election is Nov. 8.

sambrannon


Length of residency in San Marcos: 6 1/2 years


Experience: advocacy related to fluoridation, taxation and debt, voting integrity, water issues and more; testifying on behalf of citizens at the Texas Senate; served on the San Marcos Kiwanis board of directors; founding board member of the San Marcos Texas Community Radio Association


Why are you running?


There’s an overwhelming sentiment among the people of San Marcos that we have systemic problems at City Hall in how the city goes about making decisions and rolling out its agenda. Residents feel that the human beings that live here are becoming second-class citizens to outside interests. I’ve been involved for years at a grass-roots level, calling for greater transparency and accountability in local government. I’ve been on the receiving end of some bad dealings by the city.


What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing the city? 

Without a doubt, growth and household economics are two major issues, and they are intertwined. Growth CAN pay for itself without further burdening homeowners, renters and small businesses, but that is never even presented as an option. As mayor, it certainly will be presented and thoroughly discussed, and I believe the public will support growth paying for itself moving forward. It does not require spending cuts, simply some common sense and restraint. The people of San Marcos have had five tax increases in five years, and are carrying the load of the cost of the growth that is occurring, and that's very unfortunate. Many are at the breaking point, and many more are on their way there.

Why do you believe you’re the most qualified candidate?

My corporate career has given me a distinct set of skills that are unique among the candidates. I was in industries that required navigating highly complex and ambiguous environments, and leading people toward solutions that serve them well. My years of experience as a citizens' advocate here in San Marcos and Hays County have given me strong trans-partisan support because people understand that I am an honest broker of information. The common theme among the many projects I've been a part of is transparency and accountability in government. And in 2016, that's what people want. I also organized the successful Fluoride-Free San Marcos Coalition – no small feat. After repeatedly being turned away by City Council, we took the argument directly to the neighborhoods, gathered their support, and won at the ballot box last November with 61% of the vote. Whether one supports or opposes fluoridation, I've earned the street-level respect of the people in this community for the personal investment I've made in making it a better place to live.

What do you believe the city should do to protect neighborhoods and ensure adequate housing for students?


One recent decision that seems to have hit the mark is the development planned at Springtown. That struck me as an ideal location that is near campus and that will not hurt property values or quality-of-life of long-time residents. I speak a lot about respecting the people that live here today and about protecting neighbors, neighborhoods, culture and environment. My goal as mayor is to guide the conversation and keep these ideals at the forefront of every such decision.


What do you believe the top priority should be as the city begins administering the $25 million disaster recovery grant from 2015's two floods? 

This is a highly complex issue, and I don't know that the answers are as clear, or even all of the questions at this point. I've talked to some people who feel desperate in their situation, and who feel like victims of past council decisions, so I think the top priority will be transparency, and balancing the need to move swiftly with making sure that we are being good stewards and providing aid where it's needed most.