Engaging Democracy in Waco, TX

by: Debrah Wright

As Waco prepares for its municipal elections, attention turns to the candidates and the diverse issues they aim to tackle. The mayoral race, in particular, has garnered interest, with candidates offering varied approaches to address the city’s challenges and opportunities.

**Mark Your Calendars: Election Details**

The general election for the City of Waco Mayor and Council Members for Districts I and III is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, 2024. Early voting will be open from April 22 through April 30, 2024, providing flexibility for residents to participate. Following the election, those elected will be sworn in at a Special Meeting on May 14, 2024, at 6 p.m.

**Accessible Voting Locations and Times:**

McLennan County has designated multiple early voting sites, including the Records Building, community centers, and libraries, ensuring accessibility for all residents. The early voting schedule offers extended hours, accommodating diverse schedules and commitments. Below are the early voting locations and times:

– McLennan County Records Building: 214 N 4th Street, Suite 300

– Robinson Community Center: 106 W. Lyndale Avenue

– Waco Multi-Purpose Community Center: 1020 Elm Avenue

– West Waco Library: 5301 Bosque Blvd

– Hewitt City Hall: 200 Patriot Court

Early voting times are as follows:

– Monday, April 22 to Friday, April 26: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day

– Saturday, April 27: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

– Sunday, April 28: 1 to 6 p.m.

– Monday, April 29 to Tuesday, April 30: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day

The mayoral race features three candidates:

Three candidates are vying to become the next mayor of Waco, to be decided in May. Jim Holmes, the District 5 council member and mayor pro tem; Aubrey Robertson, an attorney and former Democratic candidate for McLennan County district attorney; and Eric Brown, a pastor and activist, have each filed for the seat. The winner of the May 4 election will succeed Dillon Meek.

**Jim Holmes:** Jim Holmes has served on the Waco City Council since 2016. With 35 years of financial management experience, including roles as COO/EVP of FirstCity Financial Corp & SVP of FNB of Central Texas, he brings a wealth of expertise. Currently, he serves as President of HOTCOG, Chairman of Waco MPO, & Board Director for Waco Sports Commission & Cameron Park Zoo. Jim is a graduate of Creighton University and attended Baylor School of Law. Bringing a background in public service, Holmes emphasizes infrastructure investment and economic development as key priorities for Waco’s future. (https://www.jimholmeswaco.org/)

**Aubrey Robertson:** Aubrey Robertson is an attorney with a background in Political Science and Slavic and Eastern European Studies. Transitioning from aspiring to draft constitutions for former Soviet countries to focusing on the criminal justice system, he gained experience in mock trials and criminal law clinics. Aubrey’s extensive experience includes pro bono work, internships, and roles as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. Currently serving as the District Court Felony Chief at the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C., he prioritizes keeping clients informed and confident throughout legal proceedings. With a focus on economic revitalization and community empowerment, Robertson aims to foster small business growth and expand access to affordable housing, known for his stance on Public safety. (https://www.aubreyforda.com/)

**Eric Brown:** Eric Brown brings a dedication to public service and community advocacy. With a background in business administration, he focuses on economic development, education, affordable housing, public safety, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Eric aims to create a brighter future for all residents through innovative solutions and active listening to community voices. Advocating for grassroots initiatives and sustainable development, Brown prioritizes environmental stewardship, social equity, and inclusive governance. (https://www.ericforwaco.com/)

In addition to the mayoral race, other important contests include:

– Waco Independent School District Board of Trustees At-Large, Place 6: Keith Guillory and Lauren Caldwell offer their visions for the future of education in Waco.

– McLennan Central Appraisal District Board Member, Place 2: David R. Schleicher and Perry Felton vie for this position, focusing on fair property assessments.

– McLennan Central Appraisal District Board Member, Place 3: William “Bill” W. Vernon, Jr., Linda Hatchel, and Dennis DeGraff compete for this seat, each with their own ideas for effective property valuation practices.

**Get Involved: Exercise Your Right to Vote**

As the election approaches, it’s crucial for Waco residents to educate themselves on the candidates and their platforms. Whether casting their ballots during early voting or on Election Day, every vote counts in shaping the future of the city. For more information on voting locations and ballots, residents can visit mclennan.gov/elections and make their voices heard in this pivotal election.

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