Editorial note: This is the seventh in our series of electronic interviews with City Council, City Controller and Mayoral candidates. We have sent 10 questions based on seven different templates: (1) incumbent City Council, (2) challenger City Council, (3) open seat City Council, (4) challenger Controller, (5) incumbent Controller, (6) challenger Mayoral and (7) incumbent Mayoral. The following are verbatim copies of the questions sent out and the answers received.
Roland Chavez, Candidate for Houston City Council at-large Position #3
Texpatriate: What is your name?RC: Roland M. Chavez
T: What is your current occupation?
RC: Retired City of Houston Firefighter
T: Have you run for or held public office before?
T: What is your political affiliation? We understand that City Council elections are nonpartisan, but this is a point many voters find important. If you are not comfortable currently identifying with a political party, what was the last Political Party’s primary election you voted in (a matter of public record)?
T: Open seats typically attract countless candidates. Why are you specifically running for this seat?
RC: A native Houstonian, raised in the First Ward area of Houston, serving 34 years for the City of Houston Fire Department, and being part of the labor association and serving as President of the Fire Fighters Association, I feel I am the most qualified candidate having a true understanding of our entire city, the needs and concerns of our community, and city government. Public safety, infrastructure, quality of life issues, and a passion, courage, and commitment to continue serving our citizens is why I’m running for this seat. I will be a Full Time Council Member!
T: Are you in contact with the incumbent Councilmember for this position? Would the two of you have a good relationship for a possible transition?
RC: Yes, I am contact with the current Council Member and have always had a good relationship with Council Member Melissa Noriega. Our friendship will involve a very smooth transition.
T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
RC: I hope that after serving on Council, I would be able to reflect back and see that my hard work may had left a positive difference in the everyday lives of all Houstonians.
T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
RC: I would introduce several ordinances, including one that would ensure everyone working on a city contract has health benefits, and one that would ban contractors who fail to pay a fair and equal wage from future contracts. Another would be an amendment to the current Re Build Houston ordinance dedicating the secured revenue be used on a “worse first” basis.
T: Obviously, an officeholder strives to maintain a diverse core constituency and political base, but all candidates have interest groups they have been traditionally strong with and traditionally weak with, respectively. For you, what would be one example of each type of group?
RC: As a former Houston Fire Fighter and President of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local 341, it would be fair to say that my strong diverse core constituency would come from the public safety sector, the labor sector, the Democratic and Latino support. I firmly believe with my dedication to serving the entire City of Houston community and its citizens for 34 years, I never felt a weakness from any group and will continue to serve all with the same commitment, courage and compassion. But if I had to name a group that I’m weak with it would be the “Non-Pro Active” partisan group who refuse to come to grips with a new Houston.
T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
RC: I have learned that Houstonians from every section of the map have a great love, affection, and concern for their city. Safe neighborhoods, core services, affordable housing, adding jobs, and the quality of life are the subjects that are discussed in every forum across this city. I to can resonate with my fellow Houstonians, this is why I am campaigning to help make our city a better place to live and work, and enjoy!