The El Paso Tribune - El Paso Texas Political Commentary
Ten Reasons to Vote for Roy Gray
May 4, 2005 - Roy Gray
All my professional life I was restricted from being political. I could not criticize the policies and decisions of the politicians who were in charge of my Marine Corps and me. Now that I have retired, for the first time I can take part in the political process. I decided to enter the race for City Council District One Representative because I want to continue to serve in a capacity where I can use my skills and talents to make things better for my community. I have been taught and trained that when you recognize that you are the best person to take on a mission, you volunteer. So here I am in the thick of a political race for a position that I am confident that I am the best person to protect the Quality of Life for the Westside.

As with everyone that is running for political office, I have taken some shots from many people and that is to be expected. Some have made comments that I should downplay my being a Marine and my conservative roots. I believe that once a political candidate denies their identity for the sake of getting a few votes then all is lost. I am proud of my heritage. I am proud of my upbringing. I am proud that I have served 33 years in the United States Marine Corps and earned the rank of full Colonel. If there are those that are uncomfortable with what I am then I am sorry for them. However, I am committed to prove that when I become the City Council Representative for the Westside this identity will serve me and you very well as I am charged with communicating and decision making.

I also have been criticized for using the medium of the El Paso Tribune to help get my message out to the people. People have seemed to want to pigeonhole me into a certain faction of El Paso politics because I have taken advantage of this venue. Well folks, when you are being outspent 8 to 1 by the incumbent you have to take what is out there to create what we call in the Marine Corps, a force multiplier. The El Paso Tribune has allowed me to communicate with you at no expense. From the feedback I have received, it has been very successful. This should be a testament to my ingenuity and innovative thinking to make this campaign a truly contested one. As has been noted by the Tribune before, anyone that can write intelligently can be published on the El Paso Tribune. Nothing is stopping my opponents from doing the same.

The early voting has ended and now Election Day is on Saturday. In my effort to continue to communicate with open-minded voters, here are the ten reasons you should vote for Roy Gray:

PLATFORM:  I have one, Ms. Austin does not. My platform revolves around the Quality of Life we enjoy on the Westside. The planks of my platform contain but are not limited to:

a. Protecting the property value of the homeowner

b. Protecting the property rights of private property owners

c. Fair taxation of property between the homeowners and the downtown building owners

d. Investigating the Central Appraisal District and find a way to stop the uncontrollable unfair rising of our CAD appraised property value

e. Tax relief for the elderly and disabled

f. Keeping Asarco from operating

g. Against listing El Paso as a superfund site.

h. Dealing with arroyo protection by involving the voters

i. Fighting for District One’s fair share of parks and recreational features

j. Respecting the voice of the constituents

k Taking care of mandated budget items before considering spending taxpayer funds on non-mandated items.

l. Against tax abatements for established businesses, unless that business can financially prove that by receiving an abatement will mean an increase in the quality and quantity of jobs for El Pasoans and the abatement is the only means that will accomplish this.

COMMUNICATION:  I will communicate in numerous fashions. Ms. Austin’s communication with the constituents is appalling. I will hold weekly breakfast meetings so you can have a regular time to look me in the eye and tell me what is on your mind. If there is only one person there, then it is worth my time. Ms. Austin has the opposite viewpoint where she stated that her time is too valuable and she must use it more efficiently, by holding meetings for specific issues. If you aren’t able to make that “one of a kind” meeting, then too bad so sad for you. If you just want to tell her something that is bothering you about your neighborhood, good luck in getting through to her. I will be accessible by phone, email, regular mail, by appointment, by my website, and of course by my weekly breakfast meeting. I will not avoid meeting and talking to my constituents. Case in point is the communication that has occurred during this election season. I have sent to the voters of district one three letters of substantial content. I have also posted on this venue three letters packed with specifics and ideas concerning my campaign. My opponents have sold you short on your attention span and capability to be interested or comprehend complex issues and solutions. They have relied on informational cards long on style and short on substance. Not one of my opponents has issued detailed letters with explaining their stands on the issues. Ms. Austin is  relying on your short voter memory to pull one over on you.

PREPARATION: Within 90 days of taking office I will have a master plan for representing the Westside. This plan will be developed with the help of various stakeholders throughout District One and this plan will be my compass, my guiding light, and my homing beacon of how to approach the complex issues that I will face and vote on. Ms. Austin has no plan to determine what is best for District One constituents. It is obvious by watching her at City Council she has rushed her preparation and is many times dazed and confused of what is happening and how to vote. This will not happen to me during my term in office. Your trust is too important to me.

HONOR, COURAGE, COMMITMENT: As trite and hokey as these concepts are to some people in politics, these three words are basic the tenants the Marines live by. In keeping these concepts real and tangible, this has created in me a moral center that is rock solid. How refreshing it would be to have someone that keeps honor above all. How comforting it would be to know that you’re Representative will have the courage to stand up for what is right. How uplifting it would be to have a Representative that is committed to the protecting the Quality of Life on the Westside. This is what you should expect from your Representative and I will deliver.

EXPERIENCE: To be sure, the candidates for Westside Representative are accomplished in their fields. I am the best choice for the following reasons. My experience that matches the requirements for Representative far exceeds the others. My management and leadership experience over my career will serve the constituents of the Westside better for the simple reason  that the conditions in which I had to endure to succeed was extremely arduous. I routinely dealt with budget reductions, time constraints, limiting factors caused by world events, constant rapid turnover in personnel, substandard working and living conditions, and high expectations. This pressure cooker was a constant in my field and I excelled under these conditions. The pressure of being a successful Representative for my constituents will be served well by the translation of my Marine Corps management and leadership experiences.

HONESTY AND CANDOR: If you had the opportunity to talk to me or hear me speak at one of the many forums the past couple of months, perhaps you may have noticed that I am not one to mince words. Once I hear all sides on an issue I make it a personal priority to come to a decision on my stance on the subject. I am then straightforward and direct. This character trait may be cause for concern for I usually let people know my opinion before it goes through the political correctness sifter. This may offend some and if it does I apologize in advance. I feel it is better in the long run for people to know where you stand rather than engage in a guessing game wasting time, effort and possibly money. 

BRAC:  El Paso will undergo a transformation of sorts when the expected increase in soldiers and their families arrive and keep arriving at Fort Bliss as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decisions. If you were to look carefully you will see that of all the candidates running for office and incumbents on City Council, I have more experience than any regarding this process. This has significant implications as to the advice and counsel I could give the City Council, the City Manager, and the Mayor. I have been through BRAC over my career and carefully observed the effects on a community. I have the prospective of the senior military leadership that we will be working so hard to accommodate. I will also be in the best position to ensure that District One takes full advantage of the opportunities that will enhance our Quality of Life as a result of the BRAC.

INDEPENDENT: In last Saturday’s edition of the El Paso Times you may have noticed that I did not collect so much in campaign contributions. You may have also noticed that I spent much more than I collected from contributions and that is because I personally have provided the money for my political campaign. Although Ms. Austin has outspent me 8 to 1 in campaign expenditures and have taken 40 times as much as I have in campaign contributions, I will be the only candidate that can say I am beholden to no person for their contributions. Through spending my own money, I enjoy an independence that the incumbent can only imagine. I will be in the best position to make decisions based on the loyalty to no one except my constituents. Much has been said and touted concerning the length of time that candidates have lived in El Paso. Having only lived in El Paso for 5 years, I have the luxury to not be encumbered by long time friends, allies, family, and associates that may place me in precarious positions in regard to future decisions as a City Council Representative. This will serve you best to know that no person has bought me with either campaign contributions or with long associations to be taken advantage of. My future decisions will be made from the standpoint of what is best for the Westside and El Paso.

RESPECT EARNED BY COLLEAGUES: I am proud to say I have accomplished much in my life. I have been in positions of great responsibility where literally thousands of people relied on me to do the right thing. The nature of the beast of the military is you are subject to the constant changing of leadership and colleagues. As a result you are in a continuous state of establishing your credibility based on your abilities and talents. I will bring to City Council a unique set of skills, abilities, and knowledge that will result in a level of respect from fellow Council members and others that is not currently experienced by the incumbent.

SIMPLE COMMON SENSE APPROACH:  In government we have a tendency to over engineer every problem until it has become either unmanageable or too expensive. I will cut through the bovine fecal matter to get to the heart of the issue and identify in the simplest terms what needs to occur to make things work. My years of leadership and management has honed my skills to ask only relevant questions and find the people that can and will solve the problem. This will definitely serve the Westside well as when you have issues, problems, and concerns I know how to negotiate an unwieldy bureaucracy to achieve results. You will never here me say to my constituents, “you will just have to learn to live with it”, as Ms. Austin said to the residents of Rim Road when they went to her for help in correcting the monstrosity known as the big green matt.

As I mentioned before, I have been significantly outspent in this campaign by Ms. Austin. Where she hasn’t outspent me is in the area of ideas. Her campaign is a simple regurgitation of the old tired rhetoric of taking credit of the accomplishments of others. As the El Paso Times said, her performance has been “lackluster”. The Westside deserves someone in office that will do much better than that. I ask that you help me by printing multiple copies of this article and distribute this to your family, friends, and colleagues. I am asking that you be my “force multiplier” in my effort to oust the worst Representative the Westside has had in years by voting in a person that will make you proud to say to the rest of El Paso that you live on the Westside.

Thank you and vote for Roy Gray on May 7th.

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