Candidate filing period for local city government, school board positions opens soon

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TRI-COUNTY — The candidate filing period for available local city and school board positions, which will appear on the May 6 General Election ballot, begins on January 18 and runs through February 17 with a filing deadline of 5 p.m. Early voting begins Monday, April 24, and runs until Tuesday, May 2. 

In order to qualify to run, candidates must have resided in the respective city where the office is held for at least six months, must be 18 years of age or older, be a U.S. citizen, and must not have been convicted of a felony. A full list of qualifications can be found on the secretary of state’s website

The Big Bend Sentinel spoke to area municipalities and school districts to obtain the details on which positions will be up for election this May and how interested candidates can apply for public office. It is free to apply for local city and school board positions. Council members and mayors serve two-year terms, while school board members serve three-year terms. 

PRESIDIO COUNTY 

Marfa City Council

The role of the mayor of Marfa, currently held by Manny Baeza, will be up for election in May. Baeza was first elected as mayor in 2019, then ran unopposed and was reelected for a second term in 2021. Before becoming Mayor, Baeza served as a city council member starting in 2008. Baeza told The Big Bend Sentinel he has yet to make a firm decision but was currently leaning towards running again. 

The term of Councilmember Irma Salgado, who has served on city council since 2017, will also be up. Salgado currently serves as mayor pro tem for city council, a position which is appointed by fellow council members once a new council is sworn in. Salgado said she will not be running for another term. 

The seat of former Councilmember Jason Ballmann, who tendered his resignation in the fall, will be up for election, as will the seat of Councilmember Raul Lara. Lara said he plans to run to stay on council. Council members convene two times a month and are paid $50 per meeting. 

Interested parties may access applications in both English and Spanish online on the city’s website closer to January 18. Applications will also be available for pick up starting January 18 at City Hall. To submit applications, individuals may file in person at City Hall, mail their applications to City Hall at PO Box 787, Marfa, TX 79843, or email them to [email protected]

Marfa ISD School Board 

The Marfa School Board will have two trustee positions up for election in May: Place 1 and Place 2. The board recently solicited letters of interest from the community in order to fill Place 1, which has remained vacant since the resignation of previous Board Member Christa Marquez in July. 

The trustees are set to discuss applications and whether or not to appoint someone to the seat at their next board meeting on January 16. If the board chooses to appoint a new member, that individual will have to run for the seat, if opposed, in May, or may be appointed again at that time if running unopposed. 

Interested parties are encouraged to pick up an application packet at the district’s administration building, located up the stairs next to Martin Field’s Lincoln Street entrance. 

The school board is currently in discussions regarding whether or not to put a $57 million school bond initiative, which failed to pass the popular vote in November, on the ballot in May. If the board decides to put the bond up for a vote once again, they will need to order the election by the February 17 deadline. 

Last May, the City of Marfa election, typically held in conjunction with the school board, was canceled due to a lack of candidates vying for the available seats. 

Presidio City Council 

Presidio City Council will see the position of mayor, currently held by John Ferguson, up for election, as well as two council member seats. Ferguson has served as the Mayor of Presidio since 2013. The seats of council members Arian Velazquez-Ornelas and Nancy Arevalo will be up. 

Starting January 18, those interested in applying may visit City Secretary Brenda Ornelas at City Hall, 507 W O’Reilly St., or email her at [email protected] to pick up a packet. Applications will also be available in English and Spanish on the city’s website. 

The City of Presidio will hold a joint election with the Presidio Independent School District in May. Voting will likely take place at the Presidio Activity Center (PAC), per Ornelas. 

Presidio ISD School Board 

Over half of Presidio ISD’s school board will be up for election, with the terms of Yvonne Spencer, Ethel Barriga, Hugo Ramos and Fidel Baeza expiring in May. 

The superintendent’s secretary Elizabeth Melendez will have application packets available online and for pick up at the administration building, 701 E. Market Street, starting January 18. Completed applications may be submitted via email to [email protected], in person at the administration office and by mail to Presidio ISD, PO Box 1401, Presidio, Texas 79845. 

BREWSTER COUNTY 

Alpine City Council 

Three Alpine City Council member seats will be up for election as the terms of Judy Stokes, Ward 1; Sara Tandy, Ward 3; and Jerry Johnson, Ward 5, expire in May. All are serving their first terms as council members. Johnson also serves as mayor pro tem. Applications may be picked up in person at City Hall, 100 N 13th St. 

Alpine ISD School Board

The Alpine ISD School Board will have two seats up for election in May, District 2, currently held by Joe Portillo (of no relation to the newly-elected Presidio County judge of the same name) and District 6, currently held by Dr. Adrian Billings. Portillo has served on the school board since 2019 and Billings since 2017. 

Alpine ISD has held school board elections in the recent past, with at least one contested race on the ballot. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the administration building, located at 704 West Sul Ross Ave., to pick up an application from the Superintendent’s Secretary Marsha Roach.

JEFF DAVIS COUNTY 

Valentine City Commission 

Due to its size, the City of Valentine is run by a city commission rather than a city council. The city commission consists of the mayor, Summer Webb, and two city commissioners, Laurel Coniglio and Danny Garcia. This May, the term of Garcia will be up. The mayoral seat will be up for election next year in May 2024. 

According to the City Clerk Albert Miller, Valentine has not held an election in years as candidates have run unopposed, but if an election is held it will be in conjunction with Valentine ISD. Interested parties may contact Miller at the city in order to apply, (432) 386-3437. 

Valentine ISD School Board 

The Valentine ISD School board will have two seats opening up in the upcoming school board election. A seat held by Clay Webb and a seat which is currently vacant will be up for election. Applications for a place on the ballot can be picked up and returned to Secretary Sylvia Lopez at Valentine Elementary School Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.