Saturday, June 3, 2023
    HomePoliticsQ and A: 6 running for Killeen City Council | Center for...

    Q and A: 6 running for Killeen City Council | Center for Politics

    Three seats are up for grabs in the May 6 Killeen City Council election with early voting beginning Monday.

    Killeen’s seven-member council has four district seats and three at-large seats. All council members serve for two years per term.

    This year is an election year for the four district seats, with enough people filing for contested races in Districts 1, 2 and 3. In District 4, incumbent Councilman Michael Boyd had no opponent, and that election was canceled.

    However, the other three district incumbents all have challengers. Voters in each district will choose who represents a particular district.

    Elected in May 2021, District 1 incumbent Jessica Gonzalez, 46, is a director of property management. She grew up in Killeen.

    Her challenger, Gabriel A. Montalvo, a Realtor, also grew up in Killeen.

    In District 2, incumbent Riakos Adams, 49, is running for office for the first time. He was appointed in March 2022 to fill the vacancy left by Debbie Nash-King when she was appointed mayor,

    He is a retired Army major, having served in the Army National Guard from 1994 to 2000 before switching to active duty from 2001 to 2017 as a military policeman. He deployed in 2003 to Iraq.

    Adams has lived in Texas for almost 10 years, including more than six years in District 2.

    His challenger, Joseph Solomon, 63, is a staff member of Christian House of Prayer and executive director of The Refuge Corporation. He’s also a former Copperas Cove City Council member.

    Solomon served a three-year Army enlistment at Fort Hood, followed by service in the National Guard in Killeen, and Army Reserve and National Guard in Austin.

    According to his ballot application, he’s lived in Texas for more than 44 years, including the last 6½ years in District 2.

    In District 3, challenger Patsy Bracey is a registered nurse. She’s lived in Texas for more than 77 years, including the last 67 years in District 3.

    Nina Cobb, the incumbent, is an outreach coordinator and nurse. Elected in May 2021, she has lived in Texas for 35 years, including the last 30 years in her district.

    Questions and answers

    The Herald sent questions to the six candidates. In alphabetical order, here is how they replied:


    1. What are the top three major issues facing Killeen? What would you propose, if elected, to address them?


    Adams: The top 3 issues in Killeen are affordable housing, economic development, and public safety. To address these, I propose a comprehensive affordable housing initiative, tax incentives for businesses, and increased funding for police and fire departments to exceed industry standards, community policing programs, and technology-based solutions


    Bracey: Did not reply


    Cobb: Did not reply


    Gonzalez: Killeen as whole, is experiencing some challenges regarding our crime rate and I will continue to work with our police Chief and our engagement units, and community partners to develop partnerships and innovative ways to be proactive in our community. Proactive crime solutions are going to be a key to our success.

    North Killeen is experiencing a food desert. I have been working diligently with our area chambers, economic development corporation and industry leaders to identify the challenges, and now we are partnering to overcome those challenges and I hope we have some good news soon! I am leaving no stone unturned.

    Our youth population continues to have a need for engagement, by supporting our areas non-profits and organizations that are here to serve our youth they are working together to help find alternative avenues to connect our young people.


    Montalvo: Reducing Crime: I believe that we need more police officers to help reduce crime. In order to do that, I will work with the city council and the city manager to provide competitive pay to recruit qualified police officers.

    Jobs: I will work with the Killeen Economic Development Corporation to recruit companies that will pay higher salaries. Also, I will work with the city council and the city manager to allocate more funding in the budget in order to attract more small businesses to locate in the downtown area.

    Programs: I will partner with youth organizations and churches to create more youth programs on the north side of Killeen. I will also work with organizations throughout central Texas to provide more programs for our senior citizens.


    Solomon: Crime: Crime is a significant issue and I propose competitive pay and adequate funding for first responders to attract and retain them in the service of our city.

    Employment: Killeen is a great place to live, but we must make it more attractive to larger businesses. Offering incentives to new businesses, creating a plan to present the city to potential industries, and refining the plan as needed using community input and feedback.

    Supermarket needed in the North Killeen Area: Killeen is a growing city and there should not be a food desert in any part of our city. … In the interim, I propose considering locally or area-owned single operators, or a locally owned chain. Also, contacting out-of-town stores that are in the same or similar demographics as the north side is a viable option.


    2. Why should Killeen voters elect you? What specific qualities do you possess that would make you a good Killeen elected leader?


    Adams: Voters should elect me because I am a strategic thinker, a problem-solver, a good listener, and a collaborative leader with a passion for serving the community. I have a deep understanding of the issues facing Killeen and am committed to finding solutions that will improve residents’ lives. I will always represent all resident’s always.


    Bracey: Did not reply


    Cobb: Did not reply


    Gonzalez: I came to the table with a vision and a mission to move our City forward and have a proven track record of success. Supported improvements for our first responders, approved and championed downtown events and revitalization efforts, allocated the funds to improve our area parks, meals on wheels and much more.

    Look around and see the progress. I am running to complete the tasks that I have been charged with. I promised an unwavering commitment to community unity and to work through the challenges for resolutions. Anyone wanting to hold this seat should be able to lend innovation and ideas.

    My qualities, I am an effective, clear and concise communicator, I have the ability to work through challenges, approachable, work collaboratively, cooperatively with all I encounter.


    Montalvo: Killeen voters should elect me because I believe in what the Northside of Killeen can be! I will be a passionate advocate for the citizens of District 1. I will go to work on the first day to meet your needs and listen to your concerns, no problem is too big or too small. I will prioritize working on getting a grocery store to the Northside of Killeen.


    Solomon: The voters should elect me because I am passionate about moving our city forward. I have been an elected leader, as a councilmember in Copperas Cove.

    I believe that I am a consensus builder and a listener, I want to hear the citizen’s concerns, and I have been involved in helping the community for over 30 years.


    3. If elected, what are some things you would do to lower the crime rate in Killeen?


    Adams: To lower the crime rate, I propose increased funding for the police department, community policing programs, and technology-based solutions such as cameras and crime-mapping software. I would push to continue to fund and expand the Summer Youth Employment Program I proposed this past year and we just initiated.


    Bracey: Did not reply


    Cobb: Did not reply


    Gonzalez: Increase community partnerships with our police department and community partners to find proactive solutions that can help us with this effort. Work to improve our areas quality of life, and community connections through programs like neighborhood watch.


    Montalvo: If elected, I would work to reduce crime by hiring more police officers and increasing community engagement through youth programs.


    Solomon: As the largest city between Austin and Dallas, offering competitive pay and adequate funding for the first responders is essential to lowering crime. Additionally, organizing community involvement/engagement in neighborhoods, and finding avenues to address mental health are ingredients to lowering crime.


    4. If elected, what would you do to bring more jobs to Killeen?


    Adams: To bring more jobs to Killeen, I propose tax incentives for businesses, streamlined permitting processes, and investment in workforce development programs. This will attract new companies and create opportunities for residents to succeed in the modern economy.


    Bracey: Did not reply


    Cobb: Did not reply


    Gonzalez: I am currently an active champion for our City, so having continued conversations with industry leaders, engaging with our Economic Development Corporation and area Chambers of commerce is crucial. It is imperative that we are on the same page with a shared vision and direction for our City. I hope to be able to continue to build our communities bridges and bring more opportunities to this area. Once City One Goal!


    Montalvo: If elected, I would work with the Killeen Economic Development Corporation to recruit companies that will pay higher salaries. Additionally, I will work with the city council and the city manager to allocate more funding in the budget to attract more small businesses to locate in the downtown area.

    Solomon: Bringing jobs to Killeen is a collective effort that requires input from everyone, including the citizens. I believe we can start by growing businesses that are already here. Then use that internal growth to attract other businesses.


    5. Do you believe the city does a good job with transparency in government? Please explain.

    Adams: Transparency in government is important, and while Killeen has made some progress, there is room for improvement. I propose holding more public meetings, providing more information online, using a system that provides councilmembers better connection with constituents, and making it easier for residents to access government records. Open and transparent government builds trust between elected leaders and the community.


    Bracey: Did not reply


    Cobb: Did not reply


    Gonzalez: There is always room for improvement. I believe that I, along with this council, have done more to increase the transparency, and I will continue to work towards improving this across the board for all of our citizens.


    Montalvo: The city of Killeen does a great job sharing community events with the public on the city’s website and Facebook page. However, I believe the city staff and council members should be transparent and accountable to the residents on all aspects of city government.


    Solomon: Transparency is vital in any city government. They must always be open and honest with the public. The public expects details on how the government made their decisions. The city does an excellent job providing information through city council meetings, workshops and on their website. We all benefit when government is fair and transparent.



    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    - Advertisment -
    Google search engine

    Most Popular

    Recent Comments