HARKER HEIGHTS — Candidates vying for elected positions in Harker Heights discussed their platforms and answered questions from residents during a forum Thursday at the St. Paul Chong Hasang Parish Center.
Hosted by the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs, the luncheon forum served as an informative and educational event for the community, said Gina Pence, chamber president.
Each candidate was given three minutes at the podium.
Despite not having an active component to campaign against, Heights Mayor Rob Robinson told the 65 people in attendance he’s not taking anything for granted because Oscar Dominguez’s name still is on the May 10 ballot.
Dominguez announced last week he’s no longer in the running for the city’s top elected position.
“I’m dedicated to building on our reputation that Harker Heights is a great place for our citizens to live and to raise a family,” Robinson said. “I want to continue to be a good steward of our finances. Our bond rating has gone up two notches and our tax rate hasn’t increased in several years. I want to continue with (city) projects and to be your mayor.”
Political newcomer David Brown, who is running for vacant seat 4, opened his speech with a public service announcement to hire veterans. “Our city must continue to attract our Fort Hood soldiers and their families with safe schools and neighborhoods, excellent roads, sidewalks and parks. ...We need to be good neighbors to neighboring municipalities and our growth should and must be managed.”
Brown’s opponent, John Reider, was unable to attend the forum due to an illness, but sent his daughter, Lauren Reider, to speak on his behalf.
“John has 14 years experience serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission and as a city council member,” she said, speaking for her father. “He has been in commercial real estate and property management for 39 years, and his experiences in real estate and property management have given him invaluable insight into the past growth and future planning and development of the city.”
Previously, Reider said the biggest challenge he sees as the city prepares for its maximum population build-out of between 45,000 and 55,000 people are water rights and access and the need to plan adequately for water and waste water infrastructure.
Early voting begins April 28 and runs through May 6.