Five candidates, including the first-term incumbent, are running for Killeen’s mayoral seat on the May 5 ballot.

Mayor Jose Segarra, 53, a Realtor, is running against local businessman Hal Butchart, 70; Arturo Cortez, 65, a retired general contractor and writer; Jimmy Parker, 48, a local automotive technician; and Holly Teel, 47, a dog trainer.

Butchart and Teel had previously run for City Council seats. Cortez and Parker are political newcomers.

Under the city’s “weak-mayor” form of government, the mayor acts as the presiding officer of the Killeen City Council and a ceremonial face of the city without administrative power. In rare circumstances, the mayor acts as a tie-breaking vote for the council in the event of gridlock.

The mayor also sits on a number of city and regional organization boards, including the Killeen Economic Development Corporation, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The mayor also sits on standing council committees.

Segarra was elected mayor in May 2016 and served as the District 2 councilman prior to his run.

Teel ran for City Council District 1 in 2017, but lost to incumbent Shirley Fleming. Butchart ran for District 3 City Councilman in 2017 and finished in third place and has previously run for mayor.

QUESTION 1: What is your personal, professional and political experience and how would it make you a capable Killeen mayor?

Hal Butchart: I was and am a leader; as a Colonel in the Army, a member of the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity, a forensic scientist in the Army and San Diego Crime Labs for many years and a local small businessman. These experiences helped me to become a keen observer and a critical interpreter of facts, figures and motives.

Jose Segarra: Personally, I have always looked for ways to develop mental toughness and resiliency in order to overcome. It also helps me create a positive perspective while keeping me focused on the big picture, such as the vision or goal. My experience is six years on council, two years as mayor and 24 years as a local business owner.

Holly Teel: Leadership, administrative skill, ability to attract business, jobs, and tourists. Are just a few of the qualities a successful mayor needs. Earning my Dr. Mary E Walker Award shows leadership. Owning my own small business shows my administrative skills, along with having the knowledge of what attracts businesses to an area.

Arturo Cortez: Declined to respond to questions

Jimmy Parker: Did not respond to questions

QUESTION 2: What are the top three issues facing the city of Killeen?

Butchart: Crime badly damages our town’s reputation and standing and also prevents many industries and people from moving here. Crime prevention and law enforcement take a large disproportionate share of cities available resources that could be better spent if it was better controlled in our community.

Segarra: Updating and maintaining our infrastructure is very important, Public Safety is always one of the top three and finding ways to keep up with our continued growth within our Budget.

Teel: Crime and corruption, wasteful spending and most of all, the lack of ethical and transparent decision making.

Cortez: Declined to respond to questions

Parker: Did not respond to questions

QUESTION 3: What will you do as mayor to help tackle the city’s violent crime and homicide rates?

Butchart: The mayor as the face of the city; must work to create more and better employment opportunities for all of Killeen’s citizens. The fostering of a more civil and cooperative atmosphere in addressing city’s problems and promoting neighborhood based policing and crime prevention would make a true difference in the crime and homicide rates.

Segarra: We have seen a tremendous decline in both of these, but we cannot stop engaging with our citizens. As mayor, I always make myself available to neighborhoods that are looking to take a stand and work with the city to help reduce crime. Many have started Neighborhood Crime Watch or gone through our Citizens Police Academy.

Teel: Finding the funding for additional officers by adding more K-9 units. This adds a less-than-lethal force along with social opportunities for law enforcement and will help strengthen the KPD relationship with the community.

Cortez: Declined to respond to questions.

Parker: Did not respond to questions.

QUESTION 4: With projected operational fund shortfalls facing the city of Killeen every year into the future, how will you stay informed on the state of the city’s finances and strive to keep the public informed?

Butchart: The mayor must work with the City Council, city Department Heads, the city manager and the media to keep the public informed while controlling city finances by eliminating or redirecting wasteful, ineffective and redudant spending, personnel practices and services and rethinking/modifing some of the cities past costly agreements.

Segarra: We have a great city manager and finance director that always keeps the mayor and council informed on the finances, and we have special workshops during budget period to ensure mayor and council have full understanding. As mayor, I always make myself available to meet one on one or in groups settings to talk about finances or other city issues.

Teel: Talking, listening, reading and understanding. By making sure to ask questions. Taking time to research and study. Getting out and meeting with the public, using all resources possible to get information to the public is the best way to inform the public. Along with making sure the public gets the facts, first hand.

Cortez: Declined to respond to questions

Parker: Did not respond to questions

QUESTION 5: With Killeen’s population continuing to grow, how should the city attract and retain high-paying and stable jobs that diversify the Killeen economy?

Butchart: The attraction of major industry and retaining the diversity of business that we already have, to grow our ecconomy must be done by controlling business taxation, the offering of true business incentives, such as tax waivers for a period of time and working to improve and expand our strengths.

Segarra: We need to continue to highlight all the great benefits our city has to offer including our Unique Selling Proposition, which I believe is our tremendous workforce. As a salesperson, I am one that believes that before you can sell your product or service to anyone else, you have to be sold on it yourself.

Teel: Attracting and retaining jobs is hard for any city. Even harder when the city seems to be divided, on everything. Until we get a city council that can work together and with the public, it will always be hard to attract the right companies.

Cortez: Declined to respond to questions

Parker: Did not respond to questions

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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