Despite having several differences of opinion, both Ruben Becerra and Abel Velasquez agreed on a handful of points in Monday’s League of Women Voters primary debate in San Marcos.
Becerra, a longtime San Marcan, is running for the Democratic nomination for County Judge in order to convey a “spirit of giving and love of community.” Becerra cited his time serving on the San Marcos Main Street board and on the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission.
Velasquez, a longtime Hays County resident and military veteran, said he is running because he “didn’t like the leadership and the way the county was going.” Velaquez said if elected, he plans to “drain the swamp,” and get the county back “to the people and not special interest groups.
On ensuring the county meets public safety needs, Becerra said improved connectivity is needed, as well as improving salaries for emergency personnel. Becerra cited a need for light rail, but also focused on paying for it by working with other cities.
“If we work together for something that helps us all for the greater good, that’s a good investment of our time,” Becerra said.
Becerra said there is also a need to avoid building on environmentally sensitive areas, and avoiding construction in aquifer recharge zones.
Velasquez said building roads where they are needed is more important than building in areas with less population. Velasquez cited a lack of a loop system along the Interstate 35 corridor in the Buda, Kyle and San Marcos area.
However, Velasquez said light rail was “not on the table anymore,” and disagreed with Becerra, citing a high price tag.
“We need to make sure we build the roads where we need them and not where we like to have them,” Velazquez said.
However, both Becerra and Velasquez agreed that it was the county’s job to run its health department, and both advocated for a paper and electronic balloting system.
When it comes to securing future water sources, Velazquez said desalinization of ocean water was his plan, and that the county “can’t be stealing someone else’s water.”
Becerra said desalinization was the “least desirable route,” but the county should also delay piping in water from other sources. Becerra advocated for improved conservation tactics, such as rainwater collection, and avoiding construction on recharge zones.