Denise Gutierrez-Homer ran for the District 2 Council seat in 2019, but lost the runoff by less than 60 votes. She’s back on the ballot in May, but this time, she’s running for mayor.

Gutierrez-Homer, who helps her husband run an animal clinic on the South Side, said she wanted to make the leap to citywide office because she was unhappy with the choice of Mayor Ron Nirenberg or former Councilman Greg Brockhouse. Gutierrez-Homer, who is Hispanic, also said she didn’t feel she would be successful in another District 2 run, as voters in the district have historically favored Black candidates.

“We know we have a very deep status quo in the East Side of San Antonio, and unfortunately we can’t change that,” she said. “I can do just the same for [the East Side] … as mayor.”

Gutierrez-Homer was the third and final candidate to participate in a series of mayoral forums hosted by KSAT 12, Bexar Facts, and the San Antonio Report. On Thursday evening, KSAT anchor Steve Spriester and San Antonio Report Editor Robert Rivard spoke with her through videoconference and asked about her priorities if elected to office, the coronavirus pandemic, and policing in San Antonio.

Gutierrez-Homer said she would not support Proposition B, which affects the San Antonio police union’s collective bargaining power. But she also declined to say whether she would support the City’s stance that arbitrators should not have the ability to reverse a police officer’s termination if they are fired by the police chief.

“I can’t make a decision right now because they … haven’t finalized their decision,” she said. “If it comes to me, then I will actually have to review everything that’s on the paperwork, but right now I do believe that the chief of police does have the authority to go ahead and review the incident, review the officer’s history, and make sure if it’s properly reviewed, if it’s warranted, to go ahead and have [the officer] removed.”

She criticized Mayor Ron Nirenberg for restricting businesses’ in-person operations earlier in the pandemic, arguing that people would have been cautious enough to still frequent businesses safely. Hospitals and grocery stores remained open and adapted to the pandemic, she said. 

Gutierrez-Homer also said that CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams should be removed from her position following the February winter storm that caused much of San Antonio to lose power and water access for several days.

“Her job performance proves” Gold-Williams should be removed, she said. “I think that we have to look at quite a few people at CPS.”

Early voting starts April 19. Election day is May 1.

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.