Summerlin confronts Garcia on 'attack ad' during forum

Kerrville City Council Place 1 candidate Mary Ellen Summerlin (left) and her opponent Roman Garcia (right) participated in a candidate forum hosted by the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce and moderated by KACoC Chair Brian Bowers (center).

An “attack ad” placed by supporters of Kerrville City Council Place 1 candidate Roman Garcia against his opponent and former city council member Mary Ellen Summerlin took the spotlight in Thursday night’s candidate forum sponsored by the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce.

After thanking the citizens watching and the chamber for hosting the forum, Summerlin said she looked forward to discussing the issues at hand, but “first I need address one that I think is paramount.”

“An attack ad, unlike anything I’ve seen before, appeared in the newspaper yesterday, paid for by Mr. Garcia’s supporters,” Summerlin said. “The allegations in it are false and inflammatory with the kind of scare tactics that so many of us have become sick of. And, so I must ask … Roman do you approve of ads like that? Do you favor tactics such as these for our campaign? Because if you do, I think that is as important than as other issue in our election.”

She said Garcia has presented himself in a manner that would make any community proud “and I’m hoping tonight to hear you disavow that ad.”

The ad that Summerlin was referring to ran in the April 14 issue of the Hill Country Community Journal and claims that Summerlin supports “Taking your guns. Raising your taxes. Favoring the the ‘Good Ole Boys.’ Increasing debt without voter approval. Open borders and sanctuary cities. Ignoring constitutional protections.”

Throughout the 37-minute broadcast forum, Garcia did not distance himself from the ad, despite being asked to address it.

At the end of the forum, Summerlin said “I’m sorry and disappointed and troubled that Mr. Garcia has chosen not to disavow the divisive ad that I mentioned. I believe Kerrville deserves better from its leaders and from its potential leaders.”

Throughout the forum, moderated by Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Brian Bowers, stark differences were drawn between the two candidates on the issues brought before them.

Summerlin praised the efforts put forth by city staff with regard to financial planning, affordable housing development implementation efforts, infrastructure work and economic development.

While Garcia agreed to some extent, he claimed that citizen input was not present in city government in many instances.

Summerlin holds a bachelors degree from Abilene Christian College and a masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She and her husband, Tim, retired president of Schreiner University, have lived in Kerrville since 1999. Summerlin has served on city councils in cities she previously lived, including being elected as mayor of Port Arthur, Texas, twice. Locally, she was elected to the Headwaters Ground Conservation District and was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Kerrville City Council from 2016 to 2018.

Garcia is a fourth generation Kerrville resident. He claims to have served the City of Kerrville for the past five years, including two years while a high school student on the Mayors Youth Advisory Council. He also served on a subcommittee for the Kerrville 2050 plan. He volunteers for youth and sports organizations, food pantries and charitable organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, the Kerrville VA Hospital, Playhouse 2000 Theater, Salvation Army and UGRA.

Complete candidate forum coverage will be posted tomorrow. To view the forum in its entirety, please visit https://www.kerrvilletx.com/forum/?fbclid=IwAR0R9RFz2R5srxpOpKzzKUT2tFm4oyXIV3aqkt_FRAeded9gljyy7hgfPew.

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