Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin has publicly endorsed Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lower in his 2013 bid for a Killeen City Council seat.
Lower, who currently holds the District 4 seat, now lives in District 3 due to redistricting. The move pits Lower against District 3 incumbent and fellow Councilman Terry Clark.
The District 3 race is the only contested race in the May 11 Killeen municipal election.
For six months, Clark, Lower and former Mayor Tim Hancock served alone on the council after the November 2011 recall removed five of the city’s seven council members.
Corbin, who also serves as state commander of the American Legion, said he chose to support Lower because of the strong leadership skills he has shown chairing the council when Corbin is unable to attend.
“One of my jobs as state commander is to visit every (Veterans Affairs) hospital in the state and (Lower) has proven his leadership ability to run the (city) meetings in my absence,” Corbin said.
In a Facebook post Monday, Corbin criticized Clark for comments he made at a recent candidate forum, in which he publicly endorsed one of the three water supply corporations currently in negotiations with the city.
“Council members must become informed about complex issues but we should rely on our experts’ analysis before we make decisions,” Corbin’s Facebook post said. “Mr. Clark has made a history of making such mistakes, including his motion at the last second to change the drainage design manual in November 2011.”
Lower said the mayor’s endorsement will be a great boost to his campaign.
“The mayor has done a great job and I just think it’s important to keep this moving in the right direction,” Lower said.
After hearing of Corbin’s endorsement, former Killeen Mayor Raúl Villaronga chose Monday to publicly endorse Clark.
“(Clark) asks a lot of questions and has done really well on the council,” Villaronga said. “He has his mind set on doing what is best for the city.”
The two candidates, Clark and Lower, differ on two important issues with the city: the upcoming city charter election and the city’s cooperation with Bell County Municipal Utility District No. 2.
MUD-2 is a 1,400-acre private real estate development planned to bring 4,500 new homes into the city´s extraterritorial district over 15 to 20 years.
Clark said he does not support the 33 proposed charter amendments on the ballot or MUD-2, which failed to get the council’s endorsement in March. Clark criticized Corbin and Lower for supporting the MUD-2 development.
“The mayor has his right to provide support for whomever he wants,” Clark said. “I believe that the MUD is in direct competition with the growth of the city and all of the other developers developing within the city limits.”
Early voting for the 2013 municipal election begins Monday.