City Council race takes shape

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Local government observers watched closely as the minutes and hours ticked away toward the filing deadline for City Council races on Friday afternoon. A late rumor circulated about a possible challenger for Place 2 incumbent Kim Clarkson, but as the plaza bell tower struck 5 PM, no such challenger appeared. Clarkson will be unopposed in her re-election effort.

Place 1 will be a competitive race. Current councilmember Gary Cochrane chose not to seek re-election, leaving a wide open race. The contest for Place 1 will be between Mary Ellen Summerlin and Roman Garcia. Election Day is May 1.

Neither candidate is new to local politics. Roman Garcia was defeated just three months ago in an election for Place 3 by incumbent Judy Eychner. Garcia aligned himself with mayoral challenger David Barker and challenger for Place 4, Brenda Hughes. Garcia has not held elected office before, but did serve on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board while in high school, and participated in a Kerrville 2050 Plan subcommittee. Garcia’s father, Mario, sought a position on council in 2019, and was defeated by Kim Clarkson.

Summerlin has sought or served in various local government positions since 1980. In Kerrville, she was appointed to fill an unexpired council term from 2016-2018. During her time on council, she regularly sparred with then-mayor Bonnie White. Summerlin did not seek re-election to her post in 2018. Summerlin was elected to the Headwaters Groundwater Conservation District board in 2004 and 2008. She has also volunteered with numerous local nonprofits, including Home Opportunity Advisory Board, Habitat for Humanity, Riverside Nature Center, and Kerr Connect. Her husband, Tim, served as president of Schreiner University from 1999-2017.

Each candidate has established web and social media pages, which can be found at the links below.

Mary Ellen Summerlin

Roman Garcia