COPPERAS COVE — Voters in Copperas Cove will choose among four candidates to determine the city’s next mayor.
Joey Acfalle, Bradi Diaz, Ron Nelson and Brandi Weiand are running to replace former Mayor Frank Seffrood, who died Dec. 28 from cancer at age 79. Seffrood had just won re-election to a second term in a runoff election when he died.
Under the City Charter, a special election to fill the position must be held within 120 days of Seffrood’s death. The election is expected to cost $7,400.
Election Day is set for April 27. Early voting is already underway. After three days of voting, 198 ballots have been cast.
All voting is being held at the Coryell County Justice Center at 201 S. First St.
Polling hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 15, 16, 17, 18 and 22.
On April 23, polling hours will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Polls will also be open on Election Day, Apr. 27, from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.
If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election between the two candidates with the highest number of votes will be scheduled, according to the city charter.
MEET THE CANDIDATES
Acfalle enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from November 1987 to January 1999. In 2000, he joined the Army, and then the Army National Guard in 2005, then returned to the Army in 2007. Acfalle also has experience in the legal field and computer science.
Acfalle has a paralegal certification in 1999 from Loyola Marymount University in California. In 1999, he attended Saddleback Community College with emphasis in computer software development. In 2003, he attended the University of Phoenix in Missouri, with emphasis in business management.
He is a sitting director on the Economic Development Corporation. A resident of Cove since 2010, he said he aims to spur growth through encouraging more manufacturing distribution groups in the city.
The EDC director ran for mayor in the regular cycle against Seffrood and Taylor. Before that, he ran for Coryell County court clerk, which he said was his first attempt at trying to secure a seat as a local official.
Acfalle thinks Copperas Cove’s biggest needs are to grow its economy and to repair some of the city’s badly degraded streets. He feels he can help solve these problems by talking with experts and working with the city council to identify and accomplish long-term goals.
Acfalle thinks the biggest duty of the mayor to be the best representative of the city possible. He believes it’s his responsibility to review and research issues and be a presence when it comes to state, district and regional matters affecting Copperas Cove.
Diaz, a former councilwoman and mayor, was born and raised in Copperas Cove, graduating from Copperas Cove High School in 1987 and then from Tarleton State University in Stephenville with a bachelors of Business Administration.
She has worked in her family’s property management business since graduating from college and currently serves as a general partner and CFO. She and her husband also own a flooring business in Copperas Cove.
Diaz’s past involvement includes the Board of Adjustments, Planning and Zoning Commission, Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, Copperas Cove Education Foundation, Heart of Texas Defense Alliance board of directors and the Metroplex Health Systems board.
Diaz feels the biggest issue facing Copperas Cove at the moment is completing projects on the city’s Capital Improvement Plan while battling a limited amount of resources.
“As mayor, I would work with the Council and staff to continue to prioritize the projects and the funding needed for each.” Diaz said.
Like Acfalle, Diaz believes that effectively representing Copperas Cove both locally and in the surrounding region is the most important job of the mayor.
“I feel it’s the Mayor’s job to promote the City’s mission to be a community valuing opportunity and partnerships and promoting family values,” Diaz said. “By serving on boards such as the Central Texas Council of Governments and working with the leadership of Fort Hood. I would represent the citizens of Copperas Cove in these instances with the goals of our mission statement in mind.”
Nelson is a software developer with 25 years of experience in a variety of roles, including programmer, technical team lead, and VP of IT Engineering.
In 2006, he and his wife, Evelyn, moved from Chicago to Austin, where he worked with the local water conservation district to create software solutions for managing the district. In late 2014, after searching for a more affordable and comfortable place to live, the couple moved to Copperas Cove.
Nelson is involved with the local library, mentoring all ages in technology including 3D printing, microcontrollers, programming, and more.
When asked about the city’s biggest ongoing problem, Nelson pointed to the city’s tax base.
“Copperas Cove needs a larger tax base to pay for existing issues (roads, utilities) and stage the community for continued growth,” Nelson said. “Given our situation, raising real estate taxes is not the answer. Instead, our focus should be on bringing more tax paying businesses into the community.”
As far as the mayor’s biggest responsibility, Nelson said it’s mainly to listen to the citizens of Copperas Cove.
“As mayor, I will work with all groups to build a better sense of community. Part of this is coordinating and bridging together our efforts. We should not fall into the trap of us versus them. The issues are ours and we must work together to resolve them.”
Weiand has been somewhat of a mystery candidate in the race for mayor. Earlier attempts to reach her for background information and her election platform went unanswered, but it turns out there was a good reason.
Weiand said that she’s been tied up with family issues outside of Copperas Cove that have limited her ability to concentrate on the election. Now that she’s back in the city all the time, she’s trying to play catch up.
Weiand was born in Germany and describes herself as an Army brat. She came to Copperas Cove when she was in fourth grade and has lived in the city ever since.
After graduating from Copperas Cove High School in 2004, she enrolled in Central Texas College. Weiand said she liked the college atmosphere so much that she spent ten years teaching in CTC’s business department. She still has plans to further her education by getting additional degrees in business and hospitality.
Weiand has no political experience, describing herself as an average person concerned about her community.
As far as the biggest problem facing the city, Weiand says Copperas Cove needs “positive growth.” Rather than focusing on bringing new business to the city, she feels more should be done with those already present.
“There are so many people that have been here longer than I have,” Weiand said, noting that she’s 32 years old. “I just need to go and find the expertise and start bringing everybody together.
Weiand feels that if she was elected mayor, her main job would be organizing people to tackle the issues and problems facing Copperas Cove.
“Everybody has their skill set and what they want to do,” Weiand said. “All we’ve got to do is match people up and put them together and see what they can do.
“The results are going to be epic.”
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