Thursday, November 7, 2013

Meet Your New District 9 Representative (for now)

Posted By on Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Fare thee well, Elisa Chan. We knew ye more than we desired and we can only hope your foolish quest to spar with the region's current queen of conservative culture warriors, Donna Campbell, for the kingdom of State Senate District 25 ends in a mutual deflation of political capital for ye both.

But enough fairy tales. Today City Council appointed a temporary representative to fill District 9's chair on the dais until a general election takes place in May. In yesterday's B Session, council heard from all 11 candidates, some of whom plan to run for the open seat, and some of whom demurred from seeking a permanent place; council then narrowed their selection to three acceptable candidates: Paula McGee, Art Downey and Joe Krier.

While McGee's ascension to finalist was a bit baffling (she presented herself as "an ordinary, average citizen" with "no preconceived ideas" about her priorities whilst serving the District, though her husband is the chairman-elect to the San AntonioChamber of Commerce), both Downey and Krier have had longtime interaction with the city. Downey was the first to file for the open seat, and has decades of experience on homeowners associations. He also served on the initial citizen bond oversight committee and the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority. His experience attracted both District 2 council member Ivy Taylor and District 10's Carlton Soules, who supported his nomination.


Joe Krier at a Humanities Texas event.


Ultimately though, it was Krier who locked the nomination from the Mayor and remaining members of council. Krier is best known for chairing and acting as CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce for two decades. Even prior to the interview process, Krier was thought to be the favorite. Krier focused his speeches today and yesterday on his ability to build consensus and didn't shy away from declaring himself a "constructive conservative." (Side note: If you doubt the waning power of the far right, just look at how many modifiers those not affiliated with the Tea Party are now putting in front "conservative" these days to distinguish themselves from the Ted Cruzes of the GOP). Basically, he acknowledged that despite his private sector background, his experience has taught him that in many cases, the City plays a prominent role in helping to close major deals that benefitted the business community, and, in theory, San Antonio at large. So he might not be a hard "no" for any and all discussion of utility rate hikes, tax increases and incentives, and other projects that tend to divide the Council along idealogical lines.

He was immediately sworn in this morning after the vote approving his appointment.

Krier has stated that at this point, he does not intend to run for the position in May. For that matter, neither did Downey, and McGee said she would consider running, but was still undecided. So District 9 is still a wide open field for May.

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