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Endorsement watch: Express News goes for LVdP for Mayor

Early voting has begun in San Antonio, and the Express News has made its choice for Mayor.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

Will San Antonio be blessed enough to elect three exceptionally strong mayors in a row? That’s a tall order.

But if any of this year’s crop of 14 mayoral contenders has the potential to wield maximum clout at City Hall, it is former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. The 60-year-old former lawmaker has the best combination of political skill and understanding of policy among the contenders. And we recommend that voters elect her as the city’s next mayor.

Only four of the 14 candidates have a plausible case for election — Van de Putte, former state Rep. Mike Villarreal, appointed Mayor Ivy Taylor and former County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson.

Van de Putte’s more than 25 years of legislative service and her track record of working well with colleagues are the strongest credentials in the 2015 mayoral field.

After emerging as a surprise victor in a 1990 contest for the Democratic nomination to a Texas House seat, Van de Putte proceeded to put together a solid legislative career marked by her determination to help the state’s needy and ensure that military veterans are treated well in Texas. She also led the charge to pass legislation to fight human trafficking and played a vital role in expanding health care for needy children.

And Van de Putte was a steady voice for better public education, as well as an influential force on behalf of San Antonio’s institutions of higher education. Van de Putte worked well with her colleagues in Austin, including Republicans.

[…]

Villarreal has shown that he is a serious student of municipal issues, but his track record of clashing with colleagues in the Bexar County delegation raises doubts about his ability to consistently muster majority support on City Council and be an effective leader.

While being an appointed mayor imposes limitations, Taylor has not grown in stature or demonstrated that she has the ability to take charge during her several months as mayor.

Adkisson’s quirky approach to the campaign and city issues is entertaining but does not inspire confidence in his leadership.

Van de Putte is the candidate best suited to dealing with the routine grind of hammering out policy agreements and being the city’s ambassador to political and business leaders on a national and international level. The city is most likely to maintain political stability and continue successfully nurturing its economic development efforts with Van de Putte at the helm.

I don’t have a dog in this fight. From my perspective, either Van de Putte or Villarreal would be fine by me. Current Mayor Ivy Taylor’s vote against San Antonio’s updated Equal Rights Ordinance, followed by her pandering to a church crowd about it, disqualifies her in my mind. I know little about former County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, and to the extent that I have paid attention to this race, I’ve not seen anything interesting or notable from him. The place where I might break a tie would be in future statewide potential. LVdP has already run statewide and didn’t do anything wrong, it just wasn’t a good year. Still, she’d be 68 at the end of four Mayoral terms, so you have to wonder if this would be her swan song. As for Villarreal, he is 45 and has had statewide ambitions for awhile, so serving as Mayor would be a good jumping off point for him in the future. That’s an edge for him, but as I said either of them would be fine by me. For a dissenting view on that, see Randy Bear, who strongly backs Villarreal. If you’re in San Antonio, who is your first choice for Mayor?

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