Mayoral candidates weigh in on education at TAMU-SA debate

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Early voting continues through May 5 for city election.

By Priscilla Galarza

Nine of the 14 mayoral candidates exchanged ideas on education during a mayoral forum April 1 at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

The three high profile candidates included Mayor, Ivy R. Taylor, former state Rep. Mike Villarreal, and Bexar County Precinct 4 Commissioner, Tommy Adkisson.

Former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte did not attend.

Other candidates were Cynthia Brehm, Pogo Mochello Reese, Gerard Ponce, Paul A. Martinez and Raymond Zavala.

Other candidates who will be on the ballot are Douglas S. Emmett, Rhett Rosenquest Smith, Julie Iris Oldham and Cynthia T. Cavazos.

Michael Valdes, former KABB-TV Fox 29 anchor, was moderator.

Questions from students submitted online were read by college President Cynthia Teniente-Matson; Al Arreaola, CEO and president of South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce; James Adam Cotter, vice president of Cotter and Sons; and John Griffin, executive accountant of Cotter and Sons.

“What are your plans for establishing high school students’ post-secondary education following high school graduation?” Teniente-Matson asked.

Zavala focused on the removal of the TAKS test from public schools in San Antonio.

“These students are taught to pass tests and not get educated … which doesn’t prepare them for college,” Zavala said.

Villarreal jumped in on the question of post-secondary education.

“Stop having the mentality of some students going to college and some not,” Villarreal said.

Even topics on the economy led back to education.

Economic development is education and workforce development, Villarreal said.

Arreola posed a question on making Lackland Air Force Base a strong source of employment for the South Side.

“We are Military City USA,” Taylor said.

San Antonio has to work together. The city has always had a strong partnership with the military, and her administration wants them to continue to grow, Taylor said.

Cotter read a question about the expansion of North U.S. Highway 281 as opposed to the development of the inner city and downtown.

“I see how our West Side and East Side is being forgotten,” Martinez said.

San Antonio needs to not only develop downtown but all other 10 City Council districts. There should be equality within the city, Martinez said.

“Our No. 1 goal should be to make San Antonio the city of opportunity,” Villarreal said.

The election is May 9. Early voting continues through May 5.

For information on voting, log on to the website for the Bexar County Elections Department at


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