The Hispanic Leadership Council held a forum Thursday night for Abilene City Council Place 5 candidates. Moderator Kevin Pantoja asked audience-submitted questions of the three candidates for Place 5, incumbent Kyle McAlister, and the two challengers Cynthia Alvidrez and Cory Clements. Each candidate had two minutes to answer each question.
The audience wanted to know how the candidates planned to improve the economic well-being of Abilene, how to address the low income and homeless situation of Abilene, among other things...
One of the main focuses of the night was how to address public mistakes made by council members, referencing a recent resurfacing of Councilman McAlister’s controversial social media posts. Councilman McAlister’s decision to run for reelection has sparked backlash from some concerned groups. Challenger Cory Clements addressed these posts as a clear mistake, but said that these mistakes do not indicate an ominous agenda.
“As a criminal defense lawyer I represent some people who have made horrible mistakes, but they’re good people and I think that we forget and lose sight of the fact that for the most part we are all good people, and certainly that if you are running for a dollar a year job, you’re not doing that to advance a nefarious objective.”
Cynthia Alvidrez, who has said Councilman McAlister’s social media posts were part of what prompted her to run, also expressed forgiveness towards McAlister, “We have council members that make mistakes," she said "It's unfortunate, but we learn from those, and I think that we need to use certain situations in a way in which we can grow from those as a community.”
Abilene voters will have a chance to hear from candidates for the open Place 6 seat, when the Hispanic Leadership Council hosts its next forum, Thursday, April 11th at the Mockingbird Lane branch of the Abilene Public Library.
Voters will choose among the Place 5 and Place 6 candidates on the ballot for the May 4th election. Early voting begins April 22nd.