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Candidate Profiles: Sulphur Springs City Council Place 1, Place 5

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Sulphur Springs City Council will hold an election to fill places left vacant when 4 members resigned in December. The election was scheduled to be held in May, but was postponed due to COVID-19. Voting will be conducted along with other General Election Voting on Nov. 3.

Sulphur Springs City Council Nov. 3 Special Election sample ballot

Early voting by personal appearance will begin Tuesday, Oct. 13 and continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, Oct. 30, in the Game Room at First Baptist Church Recreational Outreach Center, called The ROC. Extended voting times will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24; from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25; and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27 and Thursday, Oct. 29.

Sulphur Springs voters will be asked to select one of the four candidates for Place 1 and one of the two candidates for Place 5 listed on the ballot in each of the council races.

The election is a special election, thus, the names of the candidates for Place 2 and Place 3 will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, even though they did not draw opponents. Harold Nash Sr. was appointed in December to fill the Place 2 Council seat. He is unchallenged in the Nov. 3 Election. Oscar Aguilar was the only candidate seeking the Place 3 seat on the Council. The City Council in May appointed Aguilar to the seat until the election.

To help voters learn a little more about the six council candidates who are challenged for the seat they seek, KSST asked each to complete a candidate profile provide information about themselves and their candidacy, including their reasons for seeking a seat on Sulphur Springs City Council. Candidates responses are shared here, in ballot order by Place.

City Council, Place 1 Candidates

Jay W. Julian

Name and office sought: My name is Jay W. Julian, and I am seeking the office of Sulphur Springs City Council, Place 1.

Family information: My parents are the late J. W. Julian, Sr. and Mary E. (Ames) Julian. I have one brother, John P. Julian, of Winnsboro, Texas.

Occupation, brief job description: I have spent the last thirty-two years in Sulphur Springs in the community banking space in bank operations in one capacity or another. Currently I am an assistant vice president within the risk management department.

Education, training, special skills, experience: I have attended Sulphur Springs High School, University of Texas at Arlington, and East Texas State University.

Why are you seeking this office? I have worn many hats in my 30+ years of community banking — problem solver, fact gatherer/ researcher, negotiator, independent thinker, development team member, strategist, trainer, project manager, committee member, counselor, and futurist. As a result, I have a unique ability to manage multi-disciplinary projects and to navigate complex challenges. But my actual experience has taught me that my professional and civic values boil down to the following:

  1. I am a curious being, and I always have been. As a result of my curiosity, I ask a lot of questions on the journey toward solutions and believe that minds are like parachutes, working best when they are open.
  2. I dissect things in order to get to know and understand things. Understanding means fewer missteps, and missteps cost money.
  3. I have BIG ideas. Big ideas require execution, execution is what matters, and I DO execution.
  4. I run full steam ahead into “fires.” What I mean by that is, when things are chaotic and at their worst, I tend to thrive.
  5. I am a man of unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible.

I want to take my drive and work experience and apply it within the council environment to solve the issues of today and tomorrow.

What do you feel are the top areas of concern, need or challenges in the office you are  seeking, and your plan to address them: First and foremost, we need a city council that is committed to working together for the common good of the city and its citizens, leaving personal differences, personal agendas and grudges at the door. I do, however, believe that thoughtful fact based challenge and debate is healthy in all levels of government. It is by working through our differences coupled with compromise that yield the wisest decisions.

My top concerns, in no particular order, are growing the city’s tax base, an aging city infrastructure (that is, water, sewer, and drainage pipes/systems that are aged some greater than fifty years), city streets, and the recently annexed Luminant property. The Luminant property needs to be utilized in a way that generates tax revenue and/or fee income, or at the very least, be expense neutral and self sustaining—meaning that the Luminant property does not cost the city tax payers any financial resources.

What do you feel is most important for the public to know about you and your candidacy? I am a lifelong resident of Sulphur Springs. I have been attending Sulphur Springs City Council meetings as a regular citizen since approximately June of 2017 and have spoken out on many issues that have come before the council. In September 2018, I accepted an appointment to the City of Sulphur Springs Charter Review Commission. Commission members reviewed and updated the city charter for the first time since the 1980s. The commission was comprised of appointed citizens, city councilmen, the city manager, the city attorney, and the mayor. In June of 2019, I accepted an appointment to the Zoning Board of Adjustment and Appeals, on which I still serve. My ZBA voting record is open to the public, and I have endeavored to base every ZBA decision on its own merits with thorough research without any bias or favoritism. I think that my experience coupled with my increasingly incremental interaction with the city administration positions me to be able to ramp up on city issues quickly so I can have a positive Impact immediately.

Mark Bradley

Name and office sought: City Council Seat 1

Family information: I am a married man. Married to Gloria Bradley. We have been married for 41 years and have four children, Gavin, Angela, Graeme and Leigh-Ann and three grandchildren Kayla, Devon and Finzelle.

Occupation, brief job description: President and Chief Executive Officer of “A2Z Contractors”. And in a partnership B Builders

Education, training, special skills, experience: Lived in South Africa for the first 45 years of my life. Immigrated to the United States of America Legally in June 2000. I am a CPA (CA SA) equivalent. Trained at KPMG. Been in Property Developer partnerships, owned my own business and have been employed as Chief Financial Officer’s for most of my life. Have been part of constructing new buildings and houses, renovated old historic buildings with extreme care and recycled and repurposed buildings to create better use for them.
Immigrated to the USA years 20 years ago and worked in Orange County and Los Angeles as a Chief Financial Officer for the first ten years after immigrating, before purchasing my own company.
Currently, we are general contractors: “A2Z-Contractors” and working on property development B Builders and A composting business. We strive to do excellent work in everything that we do.

Why are you seeking this office? The people and Town Council of Sulphur Springs have done a wonderful job developing the downtown area, and recruiting new businesses to our area, but there is still a lot of work to do.
I have a vision to create Sulphur Springs as the Garden Town of north East Texas It will be the Hallmark Town where everyone will want to be.
We can take what has been started by the excellent people of this Town and make it grow, so that it can me more prosperous, successful and beautiful than ever before.
Imagine Broadway Street, Church Street, College Street and the others with Sweeping sidewalks, manicured lawns and gardens. Overhead lighting sporting spring succulent baskets and Christmas wreaths in the winter.
I want to give back to society and especially the people of Sulphur Springs. Many houses are derelict. The owners as well as the tenants have lost interest in their assets. Let’s help give the people of Sulphur Springs pride of ownership, where everyone can feel safe and feel great in their surroundings, so that Sulphur Springs and all its people will prosper.

What do you feel are the top areas of concern, need or challenges in the office you are seeking, and your plan to address them:

  1. We need better affordable housing for all.
  2. We need financial Stability for Sulphur Springs.
  3. While we have a wonderful downtown area, we need to improve and beautify all roads and accesses to this area.
  4. Parking and Travel routs to and from the downtown area need better planning
  5. We need to clean up some properties. We will find the legal way to help and assist all people.
  6. Let’s help diversify the businesses in order to create more jobs.
  7. Create more small affordable retail outlets and affordable commercial outlets with ample parking to assist entrepreneurs, where we can use the diversity of our many cultures and multi cultures to encourage success.
  8. Let’s focus on the town center and build our ideas outwards. We have so many pocketed developments outside of the Town area.

What do you feel is most important for the public to know about you and your candidacy? I love the United States of America. My family and I adopted this wonderful country 20 years ago and this country adopted us. We are now all, American Citizens.

I am people orientated. I am hard working and honest and I never give up. I always try and think out of the box and try to get on top of a situation rather than be wallowed up in the confusion of friction. I always pray for wisdom and as a result I am very aware that when one chooses a side, that there will always be those that are rejected as well. Hence, I try to accommodate everyone.
I treat everyone with respect, regardless of what class status they have, or do not have. Excellent education is crucial for all our children and no child should be left behind simply because they mature educationally or emotionally at a slower pace.

May God Bless this wonderful country of ours.

Vanessa Diosdado

Name and office sought: Vanessa Diosdado-City Council Place 1

Family information: I am the daughter of Juan and Nereyda Diosdado and granddaughter of Maria E. Medina and Alfonso Diosdado.

Occupation, brief job description: I am a full-time college student at Texas A&M University Commerce. I am majoring in Political Science and have a minor in English. I plan on graduating in May 2021.

Education, training, special skills, experience: I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. I have worked in past local elections as an election clerk. I have also volunteered in past campaigns, such as Reiko Alexander’s county clerk and city council campaign.

Why are you seeking this office? I am excited to add more diversity of age, gender, and culture to the seats of our city council. One of the main reasons I have decided to run is because of what many of the younger generations, and even older generations, do not realize. Local governments impact our life every single day. There are many important decisions made here downtown at City Hall. I strongly believe that this is the greatest opportunity for me to spread that awareness over local government to the youth and learn.
I also want to be an inspiration to other first generation students, children of immigrants, young moms, overall the youth, and many more. I want to set the stage for the future leaders of Sulphur Springs who will one day join me in the decision making of our town.

What do you feel are the top areas of concern, need or challenges in the office you are seeking, and your plan to address them: Everyone starts out somewhere. I want to start here. No one begins their journey knowing everything. We learn as we go. I truly believe that my will to learn and listen will create a positive impact and outcome for the city.

What do you feel is most important for the public to know about you and your candidacy? I am the youngest, the only woman, and part of the diversity of the campaigns. I think we need that. We need as many voices of representation when running for a position. The city is made up of various people.

Justin M. Brown

Name and office sought: Justin Brown, Sulphur Springs City Council Seat 1

Family information: Single, never married, no children

Son to Bobby and Delores Brown

Grandson to Hubert Poskey and Dell D’Lizarraga

Occupation, brief job description: Walmart, Assistant Store Manager

Customer service, oversee daily operations, control wages and expenses, reduce loss of inventory, and monitor safety

Education, training, special skills, experience: Sulphur Springs High School – Graduated with diploma

South New Hampshire University – Currently enrolled for Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Formerly Licensed and Trained Texas Peace Officer and Corrections Officer

Wage handling, Reviewing Profit and Loss reports and making administrative adjustments accordingly, administrative investigations, Partnering with private and public entities to reach a common goal, adapting to and advancing in new work environments

Why are you seeking this office? Sulphur Springs is my home. I was raised here and I plan to settle here. I feel that my generation needs to take a more active role in the local government infrastructure and help guide it into the future,

What do you feel are the top areas of concern, need or challenges in the office you are seeking, and your plan to address them:

I feel that we need employers that can pay higher wages in order to raise the median income, and a selection of affordable housing to help give more options to the community as a whole.

What do you feel is most important for the public to know about you and your candidacy? I am your peer. I know the struggle of finding work and housing. I want to do what is best for our community. Our local government has done a great job revitalizing the square and immediate surrounding area, but now is the time to see how we can improve the daily life of the average citizen.

City Council, Place 5 Candidates

Ricardo Chavarria
Ricardo Chavarria

Name and office sought: Ricardo Chavarria, City Council Place 5

Family information: I am Married to Maria Chavarria and have four children ages 17, 14, 12 and 10.

Occupation, brief job description: I am a Master Sergeant (MSG) with the U.S Army and scheduled to honorably retire by the end of October 2020. During the past 21+ years I have travel the world on different missions in defense of our Nation and have deployed seven times on multiple contingency operations such as, Operation Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Spartan Shield … to name a few.

Education, training, special skills, experience: (Civilian) Graduated Central Texas College with a two year degree in Applied Science and Applied Technology and working on a Bachelors degree in Romance Languages. (Military) Basic Military Training, Advanced Individual Training, Primary Leadership Development Course, Advanced Leaders Course, Senior Leaders Course, General Engineering Supervisor, and Safety and Occupational Health Specialist. Also, I served as the Mayor in a Military Base, Bagram, Afghanistan.

Why are you seeking this office? “Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage”. I have lived these values ever since I learned to use common sense, and I strongly believe that serving the people honorably, is one of the most rewarding duties to perform as a Citizen of this greatful Nation.

What do you feel are the top areas of concern, need or challenges in the office you are seeking, and your plan to address them: In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Solve one Concern, one need or one challenge at a time, as long as it is for the improvement of the community.

What do you feel is most important for the public to know about you and your candidacy? I met my wife here. My parents are buried here and I will most likely be buried here as well, so why not serve this Sulphur Springs of mine while the Lord keeps me alive.

Gary Spraggins

Name and office sought: Gary Spraggins, Place 5, Sulphur Springs City Council

Family information: Wife, Deanna Spraggins, 45 years, music teacher at SSES; 3 boys all went to SSHS.

Occupation, brief job description: salesman

Education, training, special skills, experience:

First president of the Choral Society when it started 23 years ago.

Originally from Jacksonville, born in Tyler, went to high school at Riverside in Fort Worth, then moved Brownwood, where I graduated Howard Payne University. I pastored a church in Brady for 5 years. I do a little preaching, doing music, and am fairly well entrench. I served on the Planning & Zoning Commission and 6 years on City Council. My two terms on City Council were while the city was engaged in the Downtown project to support increased business in our community. I do all sorts of stuff, cater, DJ, marrying and burying licensed (performing 1-3 wedding and funeral a year).

Why are you seeking this office?

I tried to talk myself out of doing. I wanted to. When six doors are open, that’s an opportunity. I’m a natural born politician in the best sense. A good politician is imperative to community, state and nation to Drive in government to keep things right. I’m excited about things the Council will be doing in few years. If I go on and off, I want to leave it in better shape than when I got there. I’m very excited about the upcoming opportunities and excited to serve on the Council.

What do you feel are the top areas of concern, need or challenges in the office you are seeking, and your plan to address them:

Obviously, infrastructure is important. We are still behind. Street, water lines and sewer lines are an important part of our city. We are behind on it, behind about 50 years. We are trying to catch up, but doing it slowly. The general flow and attitude of our city, not saying it’s bad, but I want to chance to be part of something very good. I want to be part of something that’s good. I don’t have an ax to grind or any cause. I think you hire good people, then get out of their way to work. The Council is important to set police and tone of the city to going in a positive direction.

What do you feel is most important for the public to know about you and your candidacy?

I do not have an ax to grind. I do have experience being on council already. I miss going and seeing.

I don’t know and don’t have anything against the man running. I tip my hat to him. I will apply commons sense to the way we do things. We will do well.

Come to the pole and I will ask people to vote for Gary Spraggins May 2. I want to make a difference in our city. I think it’s a good place to live.

Author: Faith Huffman

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