2022 Elections

Ruben Becerra wants a second term as County Judge

todayOctober 31, 2022 34 1

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Jordan Young

News & Culture Director

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra / Jordan Young KTSW

 

San Marcos native, small business owner and current Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra hopes Hays County residents give him another four years in office.

He was first elected in 2018, defeating former republican Hays County commissioner Will Conley by 2,640 votes. Becerra’s win signaled a shift in Hays county politics, as the last democrat to hold the position was Liz Sumter in 2010.

But before rising to the highest office in the county, Becerra was raised by Sofia and Pedro. The father of two sons which he shares with his wife Ruby, has served San Marcos and Hays county in multiple roles. In his first term as county judge, the self-proclaimed fiscal conservative oversaw one of the lowest tax rates in Hays County since the 90s. He also has fought to bring a public defender’s office to Hays County.

If elected to a second term as county judge, Becerra faces a criminal justice system that lacks the capability of handling the number of inmates and cases in the county and the ever-worsening drought and water supply shortage. Ahead of the November 8th election between Becerra and Commissioner Mark Jones, I spoke with Judge Becerra to see how he will handle some of the problems the county faces.

 

Expanding Voting

The county judge wears many hats, and one is being the chair of the elections commission. In his capacity as chair, Becerra wants to increase access to voting for Hays County residents.

“So I want to provide more access to residents of our community. I was part of the movement that brought both centers to the county. I’m of the belief that the most sacred thing is voting,” Becerra said. “If we can’t have confidence in our voting system, if we can’t have confidence in our process, then we’re dead in the water.”

 

Economy and Jobs

 Judge Ruben Becerra in front of the Gil's Broiler logo
Judge Ruben Becerra in front of the Gil’s Broiler logo. / Jordan Young KTSW

As county judge, Becerra is the chief budget officer in Hays County, and when handling county finances, Becerra says he harkens back to his experience as a small business owner.

“As a small business owner, I had to grab a nickel, slice it down the middle and make it spend like two dimes. And since I’ve done that for decades in the private sector to feed and raise my sons,” Becerra said. “Well, it was only natural for me when I went into county government, and I saw the bloat. I saw the waste and the inefficiencies. And I said well, we could easily cut back on this without compromising things, services, or anything that you’ve come to expect.”

Becerra has overseen a steady decline in the county tax rate and In his second term, Becerra said he will continue to make sure the county has a low tax rate because “you can have a lower rent, a lower mortgage, a lower everything if the tax bill is lower,” says Becerra

On jobs, Becerra has a three-P strategy, meaning public-private partnerships. He attributes these types of partnerships to bringing high-paying jobs to the area. With companies flocking to the Central Texas region, Becerra believes regionalism is the best way to bring jobs to Hays County.

“I believe in regionalism, and I believe in that support, and just because Tesla and the Gigafactory is in Travis County now. We have Tesla property purchases going on right now in Hays County for components that go right back into the Gigafactory,” Becerra said. “And so we are regional partners and we must remain that way, but do it in a way which provides proper direction so that we don’t compromise our precious resources and our precious charm.”

Water Supply

Hays County has seen the effects of climate change harm the communities within it. The Texas Drought Monitor still has Hays County under an expectational drought. This summer also saw severe heat put a strain on some of the water sources in Hays County. The Lower Colorado River Authority oversees the Colorado river and Highland lakes. Becerra wants organizations like the LCRA to help Hays County with its lack of water supply. The LCRA could help recharge Edwards aquifer says Becerra.

“ I brought an agenda item to court, asking the LCRA which manages Highland Lakes, to help recharge the aquifer. (The resolution did not pass) They manage a lot of our water,” Becerra said. “And I brought a resolution to court asking the court members to support it to simply ask LCRA to update their drought plans to include elected officials, local elected officials and regional organizations and more grassroots support so that we could more intelligently together move towards a more sustainable plan.”

Judge Becerra said he wants to be proactive in addressing the issues of the county’s water supply becoming more strained. Hays county has many probate watering wells, and for some households, those wells have gone dry, leading some Hays County residents to rely on trucks to bring them water. Becerra again sees regionalism as the best way forward to make sure Hays County has enough water.

“The unfortunate reality is we are facing an inevitable drought that is going to continue to grow for years. And one of the things we’re going to be forced to do, whether we like it or not, is to pipe in water from lower-density areas in our state to our region,” Becerra said. “I see that as an inevitability whether we like it or not, so we’re gonna have to play nice, play good regional partners, and make that negotiation down the roadway.”

The election for Hays County judge is November 8th. For more information on Ruben Becerra’s opponent Mark Jones, click the news tab on the blog.

Written by: Jordan Young

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