5 Democrats challenge incumbent Rebecca Clay Flores in Precinct 1 Bexar County Commissioner race

Infrastructure improvement and economic plans are key focuses of the challengers’ campaigns

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The overall theme for many of the Democratic candidates running against Bexar County Commissioner Precinct 1 Rebecca Clay Flores in the March 5 primary election is her inaccessibility and disconnect with the community.

Ernest Arrellano Junior is a school board leader at South San Independent School District, his focus is infrastructure and creating a larger economic plan for that part of the county.

“If we want to get jobs, if we want to improve the level of the type of jobs that we get and we need to attract that kind of business. Meaning that we have to have not only have the land but at least, plan to present to these companies that we’re going to put some infrastructure there if they come in,” he said.

Lawson Alaniz-Picasso is a communications expert who worked for San Antonio City Council District 1. She brings a community-focused approach to the job, she said.

“The drastic makeup of precinct one is beautiful, but it’s also very complex. You go to the Northwest Side, go to Alamo Ranch. Those issues are a lot different than when you’re going to the South Side of it,” she said. “It’s understanding that there’s no one size fits all for this community. It’s understanding that there’s going to have to be differences of approaches.”

Amanda Gonzalez brings nonprofit expertise. She says housing, sidewalks, and flooding concerns are the same across the precinct. “A lot of these issues can be resolved on the county level if we have better and more efficient representation,” she said.

All candidates express concern about the lack of action by the commissioner’s court to provide temporary health care access to the community after the closure of Texas Vista Medical Center.

Incumbent Clay-Flores says she’s proud of the work she’s done in the county and will continue to fight for her constituents.

“We will continue to advocate for a mental health facility that doesn’t serve, only precinct one, but all of Bexar County. And, of course, we have a lot of people who come in also from our, rural areas, and we will continue to advocate for better jobs and infrastructure in Precinct 1,” she said.

Clay-Flores challenges the notion that she has not been accessible to constituents. “Not a single constituent, has complained to me about that because I am accessible, and I am responsive,” she said. “So, you know, because I’ve done such a good job in my first term, I guess it’s the only thing that my opponents could come up with. So it’s a lie.”

KSAT reached out to two other candidates Anna Uriegas Bustamante and Ismael Garcia.

Uriegas Bustamante sent KSAT the following statement after our story aired:

“The current commissioner is another person in a very important position of authority whose focus has never been on the needs of the south and southwest Bexar County rural areas. Her tenure has not made any difference to the taxpayers who reside in these areas and there are many folks who are very vocal about this reality. I’m surprised to continue to hear about her office not being available for phone calls and/or meetings and her serious lack of understanding concerning the role and responsibilities of an elected official and the importance of effective and community outreach for the folks who elected her.

“This is the reason I was compelled to run for this office. I have a deep-rooted commitment to the needs of my community. This awareness is clearly evident to anyone who knows me. My role and philanthropic efforts as a teacher, community leader as well my position on the Alamo Colleges District Board of Trustees have shown my passion and commitment to bringing positive changes to my community that are and will certainly change lives.”

Garcia responded to KSAT on March 5.

“There are a lot of issues facing Bexar County. One of my primary priorities is crime. The current incumbent has no idea how to find a solution to the problem but she likes to toot her horn and praising herself,  the sheriff and the rest of the commissioners on the great job they are doing. Pct. 1 needs real representation. Rebecca Clay-Flores is a complete failure. I will support any of the other candidates to see what they can do for the constituents of Pct. 1 just in case I don’t win. Rebecca Clay-Flores needs to go.”

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face the only Republican candidate Lida Prado in the November election.

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About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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