City Councilman Clayton Perry (D10) is running for his second term, and faces four women in the May 4 election. Though he feels confident about his re-election odds, he said he’s keeping an eye on all of them.
“They’re all passionate about certain things and want to do a good job for District 10 and for San Antonio,” the 63-year-old said. “I think that’s awesome that people are stepping up to do this job.”
Reinette King said gender wasn’t a factor when she decided to run again but said she was encouraged to see so many women in the District 10 race.
“I think it says something,” she said. “It makes a statement that we’re tired of the good ol’ boys club.”
Like Perry’s other challengers, King said she is running because she knows voters want a change. The 67-year-old real estate investor, who was a spokeswoman for the fire union-backed charter amendments last year, pledged to prioritize transparency in City Council, responsibility in spending taxpayer dollars, management of growth and quality of life, and property tax relief.
“[Property taxes are] a terrible burden on our families,” she said. “Something I can do as a City Council person is to reduce City property taxes. It hasn’t been done before but I feel like it’s high time we do it.”
King also emphasized her 33 years of experience in contract negotiations. She formerly worked on government contracts for Randolph Air Force Base, retiring in 2006. King also served as a zoning commissioner for District 10 and ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2017.
Texas Workforce Commission employee Linda Montellano said she wants to run to represent the entire community and to encourage civic engagement. The 55-year-old said the most important thing to give a community is the education and tools to be involved with government.
“I want to be the voice for the voiceless,” she said. “A lot of people think, ‘Why should I run, why should I vote, nobody cares, nobody’s listening.’ You matter. You’re a member of the community whether you’re a homeowner or renter, a great job or on public assistance. Every voice matters.”
Montellano said she gained public policy and government experience from her time working in constituent services for State Sen. José Menéndez, being a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens, lobbying in Washington, D.C., with the National Women’s Commission, and working for Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti. She also volunteers with the American Red Cross.
“I’ve been a public servant my whole life,” Montellano said.
Pediatrician Elise Kibler, 43, positions mental health as the foundation of her entire platform. San Antonio has a mental health services shortage and many problems the city faces stem from failing to address mental health issues early on, Kibler said – including domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, and substance abuse. Like Perry, Kibler said she supports a City homestead exemption, which would give homeowners a discount on their primary residence’s property taxes. She also advocated switching to sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Kibler decided running for City Council would be the most effective way to address mental health in San Antonio.
“The City Council decides how our budget is spent,” she said. “Right now, the vast majority of our budget by far is police, fire, and roads. These are all very important things, but I think that we need to increase the funding for basic services like mental health and cleaning up our city. I think we need to fight pollution and littering and on a local level address climate change as best as we can.”
Self-employed tutor Maria Perez, 50, also wants to address climate change at the City level, but she considers public safety to be one of San Antonio’s most pressing issues. The City has also yet to meaningfully address homelessness, assault, and human trafficking, she said. Though there are many organizations in San Antonio that focus their time and energy on these issues, Perez said if she were elected to City Council, she would help them sit down together and address problems holistically.
“They want to help but don’t know how to help,” Perez said.
Perez also criticized the City’s approach to transportation and increasing traffic congestion.
“We can’t fix this until we get light rail, and that’s the only solution to that,” Perez said. “Construction is always going to be there. We are a growing city. It’s over capacity, it’s so crowded. We need to work on affordable housing, infrastructure, also public safety.”
Perez has raised zero dollars, according to her Jan. 15 report; she did not file a 30-day report. Neither Montellano nor Kibler have filed any campaign finance reports. Meanwhile, King raised more than $5,900 from July 2018 to March 2019. She reported having $822 on hand, according to her latest financial report, and spent nearly $13,000. Perry raised $41,835, has nearly $62,000 cash on hand, and spent more than $30,400 in the same time period.
Perry anticipates a smooth road to representing District 10 for another term. He was first elected to the historically conservative district in 2017 after winning a runoff against current VIA Metropolitan Transit board member Ezra Johnson. Perry has already secured the endorsement of the county’s Republican Party, as well as from the San Antonio Police Officers Association.
“I’m feeling confident, but I’m doing everything I should be doing,” Perry said. “I’m doing the block-walking – everything you should be doing in a campaign I’m doing.”