San Antonio City Council narrowed its list of contenders to replace District 10 Councilman Perry from 17 down to three Wednesday.

On Thursday, council members will interview and select a replacement to represent the Northeast San Antonio district while Perry is on a leave of absence following his involvement in an alleged hit-and-run crash. They will choose from among former Councilman Mike Gallagher, longtime communications worker Joe F. Garcia and Pauline Rubio, a business professor who has worked for two San Antonio chambers of commerce.

If one of the three receives eight votes from the 11-member council they’ll be sworn in immediately. If not, they’ll be sworn in Dec. 12.

Applicants submitted letters explaining their qualifications, and City Council heard three-minute pitches from many of them Wednesday. Council members then met for roughly 30 minutes in executive session before announcing their three finalists.

All three applicants said they did not intend to seek election to the seat in the upcoming May 2023 city elections.

Gallagher, who is a friend of Perry’s, is the president of the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance. He previously represented District 10 and served as a White House aide under President Ronald Reagan.

Speaking to council members, he referred to Perry’s stated intention to use his leave of absence to seek help from medical professionals, though Perry did not specify what that would involve. The third-term councilman was arrested Nov. 10 on charges of failing to stop and give information, a class B misdemeanor.

“This is a sad moment for our District 10 City Councilman [Perry],” Gallagher said. “I just hope that his rehab goes well, and that he can get back on the job.”

Rubio is an adjunct professor at Palo Alto College who has worked for both the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Each of my former employments was very meaningful for me and gave me the credentials as a well-suited candidate for this opportunity,” Rubio told the council.

Her letter noted that as a Hispanic woman, she would represent a change for a district that has long been represented by white men.

Garcia worked for AT&T for more than 30 years and was a member of the Communications Workers of America. He served on the Victoria City Council from 1995 to 1999 and ran unsuccessfully for San Antonio City Council District 1 in 2003.

“I do not intend to change anything,” said Garcia, who referred to himself as an independent in his letter to City Council.

In his speech Wednesday, Garcia pointed to his work on the VIA Metropolitan Transit board as valuable experience for representing District 10.

Other applicants included energy attorney Ezra Johnson, who ran unsuccessfully against Perry in 2021 and 2017.

This article has been updated to correctly reflect when Ezra Johnson sought the District 10 City Council seat.

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Andrea Drusch

Andrea Drusch writes about local government for the San Antonio Report. She's covered politics in Washington, D.C., and Texas for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, National Journal and Politico.