By William Barnes, NDG Contributing Writer
As the May 6 Irving Mayoral Election approaches, four candidates are vying to be the voter’s paramount choice in moving the city forward. Elvia Espino, J.C. González, Rick Stopfer and Kristi Weaver Pena, are working hard to become the next leader of the city.
When she completed the North Dallas Gazette’s Candidate Survey, Espino identified her top three priorities if elected as mayor.
“I would bridge the racial divide in Irving by empowering our community to get engaged in an effort to diminish the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. I would fight for economic Development for “all” of Irving, and create an accessible and accountable city government,” Espino shared.
Pointing to the fact that today, Irving is a majority-minority city Espino wrote, “Not only do I look like and represent the majority of the citizens of Irving, I am them. Historically, Irving has not had a city council that is reflective of the people they serve. Many scholars have shown through their research that when city governments have cultural inequities within their leadership and or misaligned and or not proportionate with the community they serve, the people that need help the most are prevented access. Today Irving, Texas needs a leader that represents the majority of the people.”
Follow Espino’s campaign through her website at elviaespino.com.
Juan Carlos González
González describes Irving as a community where everyone knows everyone, and people come together to reach a common goal of unity. In a recent discussion via ICTN’s 2017 “Open Line Election Special” González shared, “I’ve been in management and leadership for quite some time. One thing that hasn’t changed is keeping an open door policy, making sure that with me you are able to build a true relationship. I want to hear your concerns, what’s important to you, I want to work with everyone to make sure this is the right city for you, for me, for our neighbors and to attract more people coming in.”
González sees home ownership as more than buying a home; his goals include the creation of affordable housing. “Through home ownership, we clean up our city, we take pride; we take better care of our city. It will take the whole city to work together. I can’t wait around for other people to step up. We are the individuals called to take on this role, to make a better Irving.”
Visit his website to learn more at jcarlosgonzalez.org.
Stopfer, former Irving City Councilmember from 1998-2012, moved to Irving with his wife 28 years ago, his community involvement began with a through a 20-year dedication to his local homeowner association. During his work with the association, Stopfer became aware of an opportunity available to serve on the planning and zoning commission. He saw this as an opportunity to help his community on a deeper level before he eventually was elected to the city council. He later was appointed in 2013 by the Irving City Council to represent Irving on the DART Board of Directors.
Economic development is high on Stopfer’s agenda. “Seventy-three percent of the taxes are paid by the businesses around us. This is unique; in most cities, they have the complete opposite. We are so fortunate to have these businesses within our cities. But there are a lot of things left to do.”
Stopfer shared, “We are seeing single family homes come out of the ground, businesses redeveloped. We have a real opportunity to make this a showplace for the metroplex. I believe there are so many opportunities out there in every area of the city. I’ve had the opportunity to serve the residents of Irving for the last 20 years and I’m excited to serve the city as your mayor.”
Visit RickLeads.com to learn more about his campaign.
Kristi Weaver Pena
Pena has been a lifelong community member of South Irving. In recent years Irving has shown a great deal of division, Pena’s “One Irving,” theme is a call to unite and mend the prolonged divide city has faced.
“I know the issues, and I learned the main job of the mayor is to be a voice for the people. To be for the people, by the people and of the people. And when elected mayor, I vow to be that voice.” Pena wants to put corporate growth in perspective, meaning keeping taxes low. She wants to propel Irving forward without raising taxes, had has made a pledge to never advocate for a tax increase.
To learn more about Weaver’s platform, visit kristiforirving.com.
The election is scheduled for May 6 and the community has an opportunity to make a choice for change.