EDITOR’S NOTE: Retired airline pilot Dave Newman announced his bid for mayor in this open letter. The Mercury prints unedited candidate announcement statements for all city and county candidates. Send announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Full text of Newman’s announcement:
Hello and Thank You for Your Interest in Our City:
My name is Dave Newman and I am running for Mayor of San Marcos, Texas in the November 4th, 2008 election.
Although I am originally from Houston, my roots in San Marcos date back to the early ’60s, when my family made a very special road trip to San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country. As a seven year old, I had never seen, but had only imagined anything as beautiful and enchanting as the San Marcos River. When my poor mother tried to coax me out of that clean, clear river stream, because it was Sunday afternoon, and time to head back home, I remember trying to find any reason to stay there in the cool water, there at City Park, even if just for another minute or two, and making every excuse why I wasn’t quite able to make it back over to the shore.
Well, I remembered this special experience vividly, until the day when my best friend in high school, had earned his driver’s license. He and I put together our first, of what became to be many, road trips to San Marcos, in order to hopefully verify that my distant memory of that river was accurate. At the time, I would not have been completely surprised to arrive and find something akin to Houston’s Buffalo Bayou, but to my over whelming joy and amazement, the San Marcos River was as beautiful and pristine as I had remembered it, and perhaps even more so.
It was then and there that day, which began my long term relationship with our beautiful San Marcos River, the City of San Marcos, and the greater Texas Hill Country, thus constituting a bond, which continues strongly unto this day.
Following graduation from Sharpstown High School in Houston, Texas, I eventually enrolled to attend Southwest Texas State University, which lasted for a period of two years, during the late ’70s, and then due to financial and economic reasons, I elected to return to Houston to finish up my degree at the University of Houston, where I received a B.S. in Physics in 1982, while working my way through school as a cable television systems designer, for Warner/Amex Cable in Houston.
Following my graduation from U of H in 1982, I applied to the U.S. Air Force for a slot in USAF pilot training. I entered the Air Force in late 1983 and completed OTS in San Antonio, and USAF pilot training at Columbus AFB, in Columbus, Mississippi. I received my wings and spent most of my Air Force career at Dyess AFB, in Abilene, Texas, flying C-130s in the Military Airlift Command.
In 1989 after receiving an honorable discharge from the military, I began my civilian flying career, most notably flying military contracts, and humanitarian famine relief efforts for the UN World Food Program, and similar relief agencies in southern Sudan, Ethiopia/Eritrea as well as into Mogadishu, Somalia, just before our U.S. military involvement began there. After four years of international flying, I also worked for Berry Aviation, at San Marcos Municipal Airport, for two years, which was a welcomed change, in that I was considerably closer to home every day. Following this period, I flew DC-8s for Air Transport International, which contracted to BAX Global, UPS, Emery, and other well known freight operators. Following this, and up until last year, I flew a Boeing-767 for Saudi Aramco, and carried the Saudi Foreign Minister (Prince Saud Al -Faisal) worldwide, to various Arab Summit conferences around the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Additionally my flying duties included transporting the Saudi Oil Minister to the various semi-annual OPEC meetings, worldwide. This portion of my flying career with Aramco, spanned the last 10 years, and I was able to eventually take a retirement package, which occurred in 2007.
Since then, I have concentrated on my personal life, and have revitalized my involvement with the San Marcos community, and our local government.
During my flying years, although I was typically overseas for several weeks at a time, I did manage to engage in some activities on the local scene which were near and dear to my heart. One was the eventual removal of the barricade fence that prohibited public access to the Falls at Springlake dam and the headwaters of the San Marcos River. Another issue which demanded my attention was the proposed deeding, by our city government at the time, over to (then) Southwest Texas State University, of the Comanche Wells, which at the time constituted approximately one third of our city’s water supply. These critical measures were eventually defeated, as a result of tremendous public outcry, and at least one of them has had a happy outcome which still benefits the community today.
Involvement with these issues led to my eventually serving on the board of the San Marcos River Foundation, as well as being a charter member of the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance. I am also an alumni member of the Zeta Delta chapter of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, here at Texas State University, and fulfill some advisory roles in that capacity.
Issues that I see as vital to our community at the present, are multi-faceted. Most critical is the need to promote and foster our continued economic growth, with the inevitable increase in population, while at the same time, protecting our environment. This is basic. From there stems the quality of life issues that face us daily. These include education, the expansion and availability of quality housing, higher paying, higher quality jobs with employee benefits, intelligent / environmentally sound building and development, greater career opportunities with clean, high tech industries that are attracted to our area, repairing and enhancing our community infrastructure, and plowing our tax and utility cash revenues back into our downtown and community, rather using it to lobby corporations, which observably have been able to offer only minimal long term career opportunities. Each year, we graduate a vast pool of talent from Texas State University, and then unfortunately, an extremely high percentage of these graduates are forced to leave our city, since there are few career opportunities which exist in San Marcos which would entice them to stay, and to continue to be a part of our community. We have some of the most beautiful, prime real estate in Texas, and I firmly believe that our city government should at least make the attempt to drive a harder bargain with our tax dollars, on behalf of our citizens,…..the voters and taxpayers of our community. If elected Mayor of San Marcos, I pledge to serve the interests of those special persons who in turn, gave me the privilege and the opportunity to serve them. I am one of you, and have been a resident of San Marcos only because of my love for this fair city and our very special region of Central Texas.
I look forward to this unique opportunity to serve the voters, and the community at large.
Candidate for mayor