Raul Rodriguez is running for commissioner, Pct. 2. He has three opponents: Incumbent Dolores (Lolo) Urias, Robert Alvarado and Shane Grubb.
Mr. Rodriguez has been a Van Horn resident for the past 46 years. He is a graduate of Van Horn High School. Following graduation, he opened the old Highway Bar on Broadway while he worked in construction. He eventually changed the name to Gilbertâ€™s Lounge. The bar has been in its current location for the past 15 years. Since 1982, he has held a full-time job and working at his business in the evening.
In 1993, he was hired by the Town of Van as groundskeeper for the cityâ€™s Mountain View Golf Course. He has served as manager of the golf course for the past 13 years. “I run a streamlined operation at the operation at the golf course with a small budget and two employees,â€ said Mr. Rodriguez. “We look at every penny we spend, and I am very vigilant with my budget to make sure we are using the taxpayerâ€™s dollar wisely.â€
For the past three years, he has also served as a board member for the Housing Authority.
“If elected, I want to concentrate my efforts on the airport, the City-County Park and making sure our county roads are well maintained,â€ said Mr. Rodriguez. “Thereâ€™s always going to be more needs than money. Thatâ€™s why we have to manage our money well,â€ he said.
Mr. Rodriguez said he has been campaigning door-to-door to get a better feel of the constituents in his precinct. “As I knock on doors, I donâ€™t promise things because if I do, Iâ€™d be lying to our citizens, he said.â€ “My goal is to work with three other commissioners and any judge that will be in office to make the correct decisions for the county.
Mr. Rodriguez added that he believes in a careful budget process that allocates dollars to several projects, instead of spending a larger amount on one project. In addition, he said he would like to the county apply for all available grant monies that would help relieve the burden on the county taxpapers.
“You have to take advantage of grants,â€ he said. “Grants are very important to this county because we are a small community. You have to apply for the grants, and if awarded, you have to use the money. Van Horn and Culberson County are not in a [financial] position to reject grants.â€
Mr. Rodriguez takes the position that commissioners and the county judge must work in a collaborative manner. “Iâ€™m only one vote out of four commissioners,â€ he said. “If I present an idea in commissionerâ€™s court, three other commissioners have to agree with me. I may not be book-smart, but I have a lot of common sense, and thatâ€™s what I bring to the table.â€
If elected commissioner for Precinct 2, Mr. Rodriguez said, “I would learn every day and I would put all my energy into making good decisions for the community. I want to work with any commissioner in an effort to help those who are asking us to assist. Working together is the most important thing. If someone comes to me with a particular request, I want to tell that person, â€˜If it can be done, itâ€™ll get done.â€™â€