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Mayor Jane Hughson is currently running for re-election this year to be San Marcos’s mayor for another term. She plans to continue her current work with the council, especially in workforce housing, workforce development, and community assistance, to better her hometown.
Life Before Politics
Hughson grew up in San Marcos, the daughter of a schoolteacher and a baseball player/cattle rancher. From them, she got her drive to always be learning and working towards improving her community.
“It is home to many people, and someone needs to make sure that we stay a friendly community, we have a lot of tourists a lot of tourists come here,” said Hughson, “so we need to make sure we look good to our community and that we continue to be welcoming to our visitors and new residents.”
Hughson attended Texas State University, which was called Southwest Texas State University, and earned a B.S. in education with a major in mathematics and a minor in biology. She also graduated with three teaching certificates, including the first Computer Science teaching certificate obtained from the university.
After graduation, Hughson worked at Texas State. While her job was always changing, she would manage software, purchase technology, assist in various departments, deploy multiple processes, and manage collaboration between others.
“But my job has always been working with very technical people and non-technical people,” said Hughson, “and I was known across the university for my knowledge but also my patience in bridging that campus, so that’s what I did to some extent for 33 years.”
Working for the Community
She has worked for multiple commissions, community service projects, and public service projects, such as the American Association of University Women, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, the League of Women Voters, the Women’s Political Caucus and more. For her work, she was named to the San Marcos Women’s hall of fame in 1993, which is one of her proudest moments.
Two things led Hughson to begin working in politics. The first was that she worked on the Master Plan Committee in 1995.
“We came up with this wonderful plan, and I just kind of started thinking, ‘You know the people that are responsible for implementing that plan are those seven people that meet, back then, on Monday nights,’” Hughson said, “and so I decided I wanted to make sure that plan is implemented.”
Furthermore, the second thing was that her parents had both passed away, and she said she began to think, “I can’t keep waiting for this other generation, you know, to be doing things. It’s up to me and my generation.”
Hughson worked on the city council for ten years between 1996 to 2002 and 2014 to 2018. During this time, she supported many services and the establishment of commissions, such as the Arts Commission, the Code Enforcement Officer position, the Transportation Advisory Board, the Water Conservation Representative position, the Wonder World Extension and FM 110 (San Marcos Loop).
Her Current Work as Mayor
Hughson was elected mayor in 2018 and re-elected in 2020. Her focus has been on helping San Marcos citizens have every opportunity they can. In January, she and the council established their top 5 projects—Workforce Housing, Community Safety, Economic Development, Sustainability and Covid-19 Response—with 2 areas of focus—Assessment of Community Assistance and Develop Equity Policy. Workforce Housing, Workforce Development, which is a part of Economic Development, and Community Assistance are three of the most important areas for Hughson, who works 30 to 40 hours a week as mayor.
In Workforce Housing, Hughson and the council have focused on developing more housing for cheaper costs. One way this was done was by allowing a standard lot width to be 42 feet rather than 100 feet. This allows developers to put twice as many properties on a block for cheaper.
There has also been a focus on creating health inspections of apartments. duplexes and single-family rental homes to make sure that San Marcos residents are living in safe environments.
“For the others, it is important for people who want home ownership to be able to achieve that. We have made a number of changes in our development code to try and help with that,” said Hughson.
Though a college education is one way to advance in life, some people do not have that opportunity. Hughson wants to focus on that by providing courses and trade school certification opportunities starting from high school when developing the community’s workforce.
“I’m looking at more what we used to call vocational—now we call them career tech—and that’s what we’re looking for,” Hughson said, “for people not necessarily go for a two-year degree, but be able to go and be a plumber…electricians; plus there is a need for all those trade folks.”
When it comes to community assistance, she wants to provide resources and assistance to those in need. One way to do that is by distributing the Community Development Block Grant money for the federal government to help those in low-income, slum or blight, or urgent need.
Hughson also noted that when she knows an ordinance is being passed that she will vote against, she will propose amendments that will benefit the community. She also spends her free time researching ways to improve San Marcos.
Hughson hopes to continue this work if she is reelected to Mayor this year. She said she has many attributes that make an effective mayor, especially the ability to bring people together and create compromise.
“I think I’ve done a good job, I am collaborative, I do work with anyone, all of the what we call stakeholders, and so I will continue to be collaborative and continue to work throughout the community.”
Featured Image by Preethi Mangadu.
Written by: Preethi Mangadu