LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Two candidates running for Ward 3 city council in Lufkin both said there’s much more than a seat at stake; both were excited at the prospect of serving the community they love.
Lynn Torres, superintendent with Lufkin ISD, has served on the council since 1999. She’s been through 7 election cycles, and she said she looks forward to celebrate her 20th year as representative for Ward 3.
“One of the reasons that I keep on running is because I do enjoy the work,” Torres explained. “I think I consider the work you do on the city council kind of like your volunteer work. It’s my way to give back to a very giving community.”
Tino Villasana was a public servant with the City of Lufkin for 26 years when he decided it was time to give his time to the city in other ways.
“While at that position, I also volunteered through the Parks and Rec,” said Villasana. “My wife and I, and our family, felt like we needed to be plugged in and participate. The community has been very good to me and my family. It just felt like the right thing to do was give back."
Torres said experience with city leaders and the community itself makes her ideal to represent Lufkin.
“Being on the council for 20 years, [I’ve] been involved in a lot of things,” Torres said. “I’ve been involved with three city managers, 3 different mayors in my tenure on the council. Through that time, Lufkin has been through some dire times. We’ve suffered some economic downturns, and I think one of the important things for us moving in the future is to make sure we’re poised economically to attract new businesses and to find jobs for our citizens.”
Villasana said his opponent may have the experience, but what he brings to the table is a fresh look.
“I think I bring a different perspective than what’s already there,” said Villasana. "Even whom I’m running against has a lengthy history of running on the council, and they’ve done just an incredible job just this year.
“I’m excited about the things that are happening. I would like to get involved more,” Villasana added.
Despite their differences, they do have something in common: a love for their community, and a passion to serve.
“I just want to be accessible. I want to be receptive to the needs of the constituents,” said Villasana. "My focus is going to be on the quality of life. That’s what brought my wife and I to East Texas, and if there are concerns within different departments of the city, maybe I could provide some different insight.
“I would like to align my concerns with the concerns of the council, and the concern of the employees," he added.
“Twenty years of experience on the council, I think, speaks a lot,” said Torres. "I’m dedicated, I’m hardworking, nobody is going to work harder than I do. I have to be willing to learn at all times.
“I think with me you’re going to get a proven leader, they’re going to get one with experience, and I would encourage people to vote.”
Early voting will be held from April 22 to April 30. Election Day is May 4.