NOTE: PETER FLORES stopped by the Pleasanton Express to discuss his candidacy for Texas Senate District 19. The Pleasanton Express will be interviewing Charles Urbina Jones, Democrat from Poteet on Wednesday morning. His story will in the July 18 issue.
Peter Flores will make history if he is elected as the first Republican Senator for District 19 since the reconstruction. SD19 has long been categorized as a blue (Democrat) district. Flores who plans to paint the district red states emphatically that one simple action is needed for history to be made, “Atascosa, you must get out and vote.” SD19 is the largest district in the state of Texas and is composed of all or parts of 17 counties including Atascosa running from Bexar west to Brewster and encompassing a long stretch of border with Mexico.
Flores made a name for himself running against Senator Carlos Uresti in 2016. Flores was a newbie running for public office and 10-year incumbent Uresti was a sure bet to win. Flores though gave him a run for his money only spending 22 cents per vote while garnering an impressive 40 percent totaling 97,682 votes. Little did Flores know then how that race would set him up as a true contender for this July 31, 2018 special called election. Flores is confident that in this special election he can beat his Republican opponents and knows he is posing a threat to top runner Democrats – Pete Gallego and Roland Guiterrez .
“Democrat Roland Gutierrez is the crown heir apparent,” states Flores. “His voting record is unremarkable. I have known Pete Gallego for 20 years. He is a nice guy but a career politician. So those two are probably the biggest threat.” Flores said that this time around he is being seen as a threat too. “I am getting calls from organizations, groups, media and TV stations that I did not get before in the 2016 election. They realize that I can pull this off.” Flores says that special elections create special environments for Republicans. He states he does not have the powerful funding of career polititians , but he does have a better grassroots campaign than his opponents in all of the counties including Bexar.
A former leader of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s statewide law enforcement division with strong ties to South and West Texas, Flores sees the Texas State Senate as another way he can serve the region. “I would bring strong managerial, budgetary, governance and leadership experience to the Texas Senate having been responsible for $60-million budgets, managed more than two dozen field offices, and supervised more than 127 civilian employees and nearly 532 commissioned officers,” Flores said.
As Colonel Game Warden for Texas Parks and Wildlife, Flores built a strong reputation for implementing communitybased law enforcement protocols and successfully coordinating law enforcement operations with local, state and federal law enforcement officials. Pete Flores believes his years as a Texas game warden will fit well with his new role as a candidate. “We have a saying that a good game warden never met a stranger. I look forward to discussing issues and ways we all can work together to make this part of Texas an even better place to live, work and raise our families. I will draw on my experience in law enforcement and government and will value their experiences and ideas.”
Flores calls himself a regular guy with a regular income. He lives in Oak Forest in Pleasanton and like the majority of the city saw his property tax evaluation skyrise. “I am a retired game warden on a fixed income. I am middle class. These property taxes are killing me. That is the number one top shelf issue that people are talking about. I get it.”
Flores said that better oversight of the County Tax Appraisal Districts by the State Comptroller should be increased to provide an improved check and balance to those entities that levy property taxes upon us all. Flores states that taxation hinders robust establishment and growth of business – the franchise and inventory tax should be eliminated.
He is a fiscally conservative Republican who believes in transparent government and transparent taxation. He believes in a secure border and is profamily, pro-Life, and pro right to bear arms. Flores became a Republican at the age of 18.
“I grew up in Laredo under the old party, under the Mayor Martin regime with the Patrons, and that is why I have been a Republican since I was 18,” said Flores. “I do not like people who are our public servants who think they are our masters instead of servants. In my life as a public servant, I have dealt with these type of guys all throughout Texas from one side to another at all levels. There are still the same bunch operating out of the South Side acting like there is a hereditary dukedom.”
In Atascosa County in 2016, Flores received 7600 votes. He knows that with the quick call of this special election he can at the most hope for half of those voters to turn up. Flores said that he would need at least 11,000 votes throughout SD19 to get in the runoff. He is confident that if he gets in the runoff, he will win the election. He said that the Republican Party would show up. “We actually could take this race. There is probably no other time in history than this opportunity here for us to turn this into a Republican district with a Republican Senator. No better window than now. Right here this moment in history. To take this seat as a Republican has not happened since reconstruction. Plus, it will provide a super majority in the Senate. Moreover, while it is not about race Flores said, SD19 will have representation as the first Republican Hispanic Senator.” SD19 is 66.7 percent Hispanic, 24.4 percent Caucasian, 7.5 percent African American and 2.3 percent other.
Flores said that he is running for Senate to continue his lifelong dedication to public service. “The Senate job pays $7500 annually,” said Flores. “You don’t do it for the money. Some people do it for the power and the influence to line their pockets.”
“I am encouraging voters in Atascosa County and throughout SD19 to make their voice known. If not for the party then check out the person.” Flores urges voters to google him and see that he has a long scandal-free public life of service with a clean record. “I have led my life honorably. I am without scandal. My service record is very clean. My beliefs are well known, and they are conservative. I have been married to the same woman for 36 years in sickness and in health. I keep my word.”
While the challenge is daunting to run a campaign in just 36 days, Flores said, “It is not impossible. The good Lord works for a reason. So it will come out the way the good Lord wants, but it still requires you to get out there and work. It is not only myself but folks all over the district getting out and giving their time to spread this word that we need to get out and vote. This is our chance to remove the yolk that has been on us for generations. Roland Guiterrez says that it is time to talk about new ideas. He has been there for 20 years. If they want somebody new, then I am their guy.”
Flores and his red truck are visiting every county possible. He says he has been all over. Last week, he was in Alpine, Fort Stockton, Ozona, the Pecos Rodeo, Eagle Pass, Uvalde and as always Atascosa County.