Two first-time Stafford City Council candidates will battle at the polls in a historic runoff election June 8 for the vacant Position 1 spot.
Alice Chen and Auturo Jackson will soon be part of the fabric of Stafford’s history, with the election serving as the city’s first-ever runoff election. Jackson led the May 4 vote with about 49.4 percent (868) of the 1,758 ballots, while Chen garnered about 44.9 percent (790) of the ballots.
Early voting for the runoff will take place May 28–June 4 at various locations around Fort Bend County. For more information on the election and voting locations, visit fortbendcountytx.gov/.
Here is a rundown of the candidates:
Chen has lived in Stafford for 30 years, working as a community activist, volunteer and small business owner. She has been Congressman Al Green’s community liaison since 2006 and also served on Stafford’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
“I love this city, and I know the great things we can achieve,” she said. “I promise to continue communication with the people of Stafford by leading them in important conversations about the needs of our city and the families. I want to care for our city wherever they are.”
One of Chen’s primary focuses is on continuing to grow the Stafford Municipal School District footprint.
“I want to support our school board, our school leadership so they have the funding and things they need in order to make our children the leaders of tomorrow,” she said.
Another of Chen’s top priorities if elected would be expanding opportunities to minority-owned businesses and creating incentives for small businesses to begin structuring economic development projects and sustainable public infrastructure. She plans to accomplish this by a combination of developing community centers and commercial establishments.
“I know that it’s not easy to compete against big companies,” she said. “That’s my goal, and I don’t see that in the city right now.”
Chen said access to affordable healthcare is another obstacle she would tackle if elected.
“I want to expand access to low-cost healthcare in our city,” she said. “Our families deserve to have the resources they need to lead a healthier life.”
Additionally, she said the biggest resident concerns she heard when knocking on neighborhood doors was what to do about the area’s stray cat population. Chen would like to find a way to get a no-kill shelter to find them homes while simultaneously creating a spay and neuter program.
Above all, Chen feels as though she can draw on her experience as a community activist and volunteer to drive her vision of Stafford to fruition.
“I know that as a city councilwoman, I can do so much more. I can bring fresh, new ideas to support this city – I will work day in and day out for the benefit of my neighbors,” she said. “I am the only candidate in this race who can hit the ground running on Day 1, and I hope [the city] will join my team so we can make this vision a reality.”
Currently serving as Senior Director of Contracted, Paratransit, and Vanpool Services for Houston METRO, Jackson has lived in Stafford since 1996. He was elected to Stafford MSD’s board of trustees from 2013-16 and remains employed as its senior director of transportation.
Jackson also has served on SMSD’s Strategic Vision and Planning Committee.
“I am honored and humbled to be in Stafford’s first runoff election. I thank the residents of Stafford for their support and encouragement,” he said. “The people of Stafford respect and appreciate hard work, a commitment to service and good ideas. Residents of Stafford know that voting is not only a right, but it is our responsibility.”
Jackson said his faith, family and friends inspired him to run for Position 1 after more than two decades of living in the city.
“For the past 23 years, Stafford has been a great place to live, raise a family, play and worship,” he said. “Whether it’s serving on the Stafford Municipal School District School Board, the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Fort Bend YMCA Board or volunteering in Stafford classrooms, I believe in giving back to the city of Stafford.”
At the forefront of Jackson’s campaign issues have been ensuring residents and businesses are kept safe and secure, maintaining zero property taxes as well as providing excellent city services and helping find fixes to flooding issues in the area.
“Thank you to the residents of Stafford for the opportunity to serve. I am proud of the campaign we have run,” he said. “We have walked and rolled up and down the streets of Stafford talking with and listening to residents.”
Though he believes the city council is well-run, Jackson he said there is one key change he would like to see if elected.
“I plan to work with council members to find ways to prepare for meeting agenda items in advance and reduce the amount of time residents and businesses have to spend in meetings. We can be more efficient,” he said. “I would also like to participate in more community meetings and homeowner association meetings.”
Additionally, Jackson plan to introduce new city programs if elected, such as a program to help seniors with modest home improvements, a summer youth jobs program, a program to help connect military veterans with needed services, and quarterly community, family and friends events.
“Many people know me and what I stand for,” Jackson said. “I believe in people, not politics. It would be my honor to represent them on council.”