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Vivian Rojas, El Paso City Council City Representative District 7 candidate

NAME: Vivian Rojas

OFFICE YOU SEEK: City Council Representative District 7

AGE: 46

OCCUPATION: Case Worker with the Texas Health and Human Service Commission

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science Degree from Texas A&M University FAMILY: Single. I am the oldest of 6 children. I am very close to my grandmother.

1) NUMBER-ONE CAMPAIGN FOCUS: The voice of the citizens of El Paso needs to be respected and listened to. City government cannot disregard the will of the people: the citizens of El Paso. Open government is the key to restoring trust with the municipal government of El Paso and the citizens of El Paso. I have always believed that the best form of government is that in which the people participate in the process. I will listen to my constituents. The will of the people matters to me! The concerns of the residents, which I represent matter to me. I will always remember that I am here to represent my constituents’ views, concerns and interests.

2) WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM YOUR OPPONENTS? My 21 years as a public servant sets me apart from my opponents. Since returning back to El Paso after graduating from Texas A&M University, I have served in the social work field. I have worked with the Area Agency on Aging, the Texas Health and Human Service Commission and other social service agencies. I have always been interested in serving others and my 21 years in public service proves that I want to help others and serve the community.

3) RELEVANT EXPERIENCE THAT QUALIFIES YOU FOR THE POSITION YOU SEEK: Both my personal experience as a private citizen advocating for the property rights of my grandmother and her neighbors, gave me a firsthand education in city government and community activism. By working together with the residents, business owners and community leaders affected by the Tax Increment Finance Districts 2 and 3, we eventually repealed the ordinances which created these Districts and were successful in protecting our property rights from the use of eminent domain for private use. Also equally relevant, is my experience serving as a City Council Representative for District 7 for two years from 2003 to 2005. I am familiar with the proceedings of city council meetings and city government. I have firsthand knowledge of the needs and issues which face District 7. I have a proven record of successfully working with the Neighborhood Associations in District 7 to address the unique concerns which face their respective neighborhoods. I also have experience in securing over 15 million dollars in CDBG and Capital Improvement Projects, through the 2004 Bond election, for Quality of Life improvements and infrastructure improvements, especially street and drainage infrastructure.

4) IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO REVOKE ONE ORDINANCE IN EL PASO IMMEDIATELY UPON TAKING OFFICE, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE? I would revisit the City’s Debt Management Policy which was amended on June 26, 2012 and removed the threshold of less than $100 million for the issuance of certificates of obligation. The amendment removes this threshold completely and allows the city to consider future issuance in any amount. The issuance of certificates of obligation does not require voter approval. Therefore, the city council can now approve these debt instruments without the approval from the voter, the taxpayer, in any
amount. I would place a cap amount regarding the issuance of certificates of obligation. Therefore any amount that exceeds this threshold would be required to go to the voters for the voters’ approval.

5) DESCRIBE A MOMENT THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE: When I became involved as a community advocate for my grandmother and her neighbors, defending their property rights, and citizens from the community asked me to run for public office. I resigned from my position at the Texas Health and Human Services, ran a successful campaign and was elected to serve as the City Council Representative for District 7! It was a life changing experience and that is when I knew that my passion was to serve the community as a city council representative. I loved serving the community in that capacity and that is why I am running for City Council Representative again.

6) IN WHAT WAYS IS EL PASO ON THE RIGHT TRACK, AND IN WHAT WAYS DOES IT NEED TO CHANGE COURSE? El Paso is in the right track as far as welcoming the opportunities which have come forth due to the expansion of Ft. Bliss and the development by certain philanthropists of the Downtown district. El Paso is looking for ways to create a more diverse economy and to improve the quality of life in all areas of the city. However, El Paso needs to change its course concerning the disregard of the vote of the citizens of El Paso. The El Paso city government cannot ignore the will of the people and disregard the opinions, views, concerns and interests of the majority of El Pasoans, in favor of a select few. The people, the citizens of El Paso, have to be a part of the process in order to ensure the success of the future of El Paso.

7) IF ELECTED, HOW WILL YOU BALANCE THE NEEDS OF FAMILY, YOUR CAREER AND YOUR OFFICE? I am single and I resigned from my position with the Texas Health and Human Service Commission in order to run for public office. Therefore, I would serve my constituents as a full-time city council representative. I know what the demands are in serving as a city council representative and I am ready to meet those demands full-time.

8) WHEN AND WHY DID YOU COME TO EL PASO (IF APPLICABLE)? I came to El Paso, Texas, when I was four-years old. My father requested a transfer from California back to his hometown of El Paso, Texas.


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