The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Mayoral candidates to face off in forum

By Gloria Petit/@GloriPetit

Updated 11:30 a.m. March 31: SGA president Andres Holliday confirmed the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce will serve as title sponsor of the event, contributing a total of $600.

Student Government Association (SGA) will hold a mayoral forum April 1, drawing all 14 of the mayoral candidates together to the A&M-San Antonio auditorium in Central Academic Building, located at One University Way (Campus Map). Candidates will face off in discussions focused on education, business, and city infrastructure.

SGA invites all students and community members to engage in the 2015 City of San Antonio mayoral race. Elections are May 9. This is the city’s first mayoral election following Mayor Julian Castro’s transition to Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As SGA actively plans for the forum, event organizers and university administrators say they hope students will learn about the candidates and the major issues facing San Antonio.

University president Cynthia Teniente-Matson said she hopes the students will participate “to help support civic engagement in the political process in our community.”

“I’m hoping that they will really learn and hear what the differences are amongst the candidates who are running,” she added.

Members of student government called to secure the mayoral candidates, panelists and Mike Valdes, former KABB Fox 29 news anchor, to moderate the event.

SGA President Andres Holliday said students can expect “exciting conversations with the leaders of the community.”

“We want our students to be a part of the policy making in the city,” he said.

The event is marketed throughout social media as well as event calendars on various news outlets. A Facebook event confirms nearly 100 people will attend, Holliday said in a March 23 telephone interview.

“We expect for this to be much more than a student event, because it is also an event for the community,” he said.

Planning to attend? 

Arrive early for seating. The event starts at 6 p.m.

Learn about the candidates:

Get involved:

Whether students are attending in-person or watching online, SGA said they welcome student questions and input. Questions from online users, the audience and panelists will help guide those conversations with the mayoral candidates.

NowCastSA will partner with The Mesquite to offer a live webcast. Viewers can watch the forum live and chat their questions, or route questions through a social media hashtag. Check back March 30 for confirmed Twitter hashtag.

Students can submit their questions to ushers as they enter main campus auditorium. SGA members will draw questions and route them to the mayoral candidates


Panelists reached this week said they are still crafting their questions and will focus on major issues including education, business, the city’s infrastructure and economy. Confirmed to lead the panel questions:

  • Dr. Cynthia Teniente Matson, A&M-San Antonio president
  • Al Arreola, president/CEO for the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
  • James Adam Cotter, vice president of the company Cotter & Sons
  • John Griffin, executive accountant and manager of financial aspects for Cotter & Sons

Matson confirmed she is most interested in questions related to higher education.

“As a concerned citizen, I am certainly most interested in understanding the candidates’ perspective on higher education and the role A&M-San Antonio has in that vision,” Matson said during a March 23  interview in her office.

Arreola said in a March 26 telephone interview he is most interested in knowing about the business and development of the South Side of San Antonio.

Griffin, executive accountant and manager of all financial aspects for Cotter & Sons, said he is interested in knowing candidates’ perspectives on the economic development of the city, development of the city’s landscape and economic impact.

James Adam Cotter was unavailable for comment.  The company’s vice president is a confirmed panelist representing Cotter & Sons. The company manages office and retail space, which includes managing seven properties in San Antonio.

Financial Details/Sponsorship   

Sponsors representing diverse political views donated a total of $1,900 to the event. Sponsors include South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is the lead sponsor of the event, donating a total of $600.

Libre Initiative and Americans for Prosperity donated $500 each to the event. For a list of all other sponsors and their donations, see sidebar.

“I made it my mission to not spend SGA funds,” Holliday said. “The only thing we did do, was set aside emergency funds of about $200 in case anything were to happen.”

The forum is free and open to the public. For more information, email or call (210) 784-1333.

About the Author

Gloria Petit
Gloria Petit is managing editor for the Mesquite-News. She is majoring in communications-journalism and recently finished her minor in English. She attended Northwest Vista College, where she received an associate degree in Liberal Arts, prior to transferring to Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Gloria gained an interest for journalism while serving with her high school news broadcast at Southwest High School. Most recently, she served as an editor for the student news organization at Palo Alto College. Gloria hopes to return to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree. Email:

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