Final Kickoff for County Commissioner
Hoskins officially begins hunt for Precinct 1 seat
By Michael King,
7:00PM, Fri. Feb. 5, 2016
Wednesday evening, Feb. 3, at Tres Amigos, political consultant Marc Hoskins formally “kicked off” his campaign for Travis County Commissioner, Pct. 1, although he in fact entered the race a few weeks ago. Introduced by his former boss, state Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio), Hoskins welcomed a couple dozen supporters and reiterated his platform.
Hoskins again emphasized four issues as the centerpiece of his candidacy: economic development, re-entry for former offenders, affordability for “communities of interest,” and mitigating precinct traffic problems. “I want to keep communities of interest together,” Hoskins said, citing nearby University Hills, “where people of all different kinds of backgrounds have always lived together” but now find themselves beleaguered by high housing prices and property taxes. He emphasized generating employment opportunities for seniors, college graduates, and high school students, said that other candidates only began discussing “re-entry” when he raised the issue, advocated more efficient bus service for precinct residents, and said there needs to be a coordinated approach to affordability, especially addressing housing prices.
On the subject of re-entry, Hoskins reiterated his belief in “second chances” – and then joked that it also applied to Sen. Menendez, who is engaged in a tough campaign of his own for a second chance to “re-enter” the Texas Senate.
Introducing Hoskins, who had worked as his staff member during and after the last legislative session, Menendez emphasized Hoskins’ devotion to family (his wife Tatiana and daughter were in attendance), and noted his dedication to work at the Capitol, in San Antonio, and in the community. “I could see that he had grown from his personal experience,” Menendez said, “and that he understood the needs of the community.” Menendez also addressed the issue of Hoskins’ personal history – as a young man, he served a brief term in prison after a 1999 felony drug offense. Menendez emphasized that he hired Hoskins with that knowledge, realizing he had served his time and changed his life. “Everyone makes mistakes, but he’d been through the system and he changed his life,” the senator said. “No one should hold that against him.” He encouraged the candidate and his supporters to see the campaign as a challenge to outwork the competition: “Show [the voters] your heart and show them what you’re trying to do.”
After his prison term, Hoskins was subsequently elected (2006) to the Galveston City Council, but his time in office was ended when his eligibility (as a former felon) was challenged, and he lost a judicial appeal. He continues to believe that decision was in error, and says he intends to resolve the matter before the November general election.
Among Hoskins’ supporters in attendance Wednesday was Alfonso Royal, an administrator for the Texas Lottery Commission, who said he had grown up with the candidate in Galveston. “We sang in the choir together at Macedonia Baptist Church,” Royal recalled, and said he is just catching up again with his friend in Austin. Royal said that Hoskins is aware that he has a difficult race and that he started running long after his opponents, but that “he’s no stranger to being the underdog. I think he can go from little known to well known in a short amount of time.”
Early voting for the March 1 election runs from Feb. 16-26. Four other candidates are in the race: nonprofit president and activist Richard Franklin III, attorney James Nortey, retired city project manager Arthur Sampson, and city program administrator Jeff Travillion.